Sony’s Genius Vita Marketing Ploy

Today is the day. The Vita is finally released in the US, UK and just about anywhere that isn’t based in Asia. By now you have already decided if you wanted to get the WiFi-only version or try out the 3G version. If you are a reasonable person like myself, you may have noticed the bundle deal offered for the 3G version of the device. For $300, which used to be the price of the system alone, you receive an 8 GB stick, a free month of 3G and a free game if you pay for a month first yourself.

Even taking into consideration having to activate a 3G subscription to get some free stuff, this seems like a pretty good deal, right? In comparison to what was originally offered, of course this is the better deal. But what if this was Sony’s plan the entire time? What if we have all just been played into picking up the 3G version of the system?

Remember at last E3 when Sony announced the prices for the Vita? Everyone was happy that it was going to be $250. People practically forgot about the 3G version because, why would you need it? It’s not like that Vita is that portable that you will be carrying it around in your pocket. Also, most of us have smartphones that can act as hotspots for other WiFi devices, which means that the Vita could easily access the Internet from anywhere. There was no need to have another 3G device.

Now fast forward to the launch. Isn’t it a bit too convenient that this bundle, which is only for the 3G, was announced right before the system was released in the US? It makes perfect sense. Selling the 3G version alone was going to do jack squat for AT&T. There was no incentive for any owners to actually use it if they got it. How do you entice people to use your product? Throw in some “free” incentives and suddenly, there’s a whole new revenue stream just from people wanting to cash in on the free items.

Finally, throw in a free Sony-made memory stick (most likely extremely cheap for Sony to manufacture), and the value of the 3G version just jumped from only having 3G to “OMG I GET $50 WORTH OF FREEBIES!” Sony gets more of their expensive version of handheld into the market with an added bonus of the customers more willing to download something from the store because of the included storage.  AT&T gets a guaranteed $15 from all users who want the free month of 250 MB and Super Stardust Delta. We get the satisfaction that we save money by getting this bundle. And frankly, I don’t even care.

Now shut up and take my money, Sony!

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  1. Cory (not the blogger)

    Hm…your analysis seems correct. It does sound like clever marketing from the Sony folks. We’ll see if people continue to pay for the 3G after the initial time runs out.

  2. I’m in Australia and I ordered a 3G model Vita here even without the great bundle they are doing in the US. To make it worse? The 3G model costs $420 here in Australia which at current conversion rates is about $446 US dollars haha. Having said that the WiFi only is $350 which is about $372 US. I figured if I was going to spend the cash to buy a Vita I might as well get a fully featured unit even though I can use my phone as a hotspot. The data plans are better here in Australia though with Vodafone I think. for $29 a month which is like USD$31 we get 6Gb of data, or for $39 a month (USD$41.50) we get 12Gb of data.

  3. Lukas Heinzel

    I personally think, that after the japan start, a lot of questions needed to be anwered.

    This is one of them.

  4. Outcats

    The GAME bundles were all based around the Wifi model here in the UK (At least, didn’t notice any bundles advertised for the 3G version)

  5. richieboy

    I was going to go WiFi only, but with Vodafone here in the UK giving you a free copy of wipeout for topping up £5 I pushed the boat out and went 3g, I’m such a sucker.

  6. StinkPalm

    I won’t lie…I am kind of annoyed about this. Not because I was tricked into getting the 3G model over the wifi one. Honestly, I wanted the 3G version just incase down the line there might be a really cool use for it. I’d rather have 3G and never use it than regret not getting it later. I’m not annoyed about the fact that I gotta Pay a month to get 1 month…I don’t care about the free month.
    What annoys me is that when I got home and opened my Vita after the midnight launch, I couldn’t download my free game. That’s bullshit! and on top of that I have to pay $15 to get that free game and wait 30 days for the download code.

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