A few weeks back at E3, Sony announced, against all expectations, that their upcoming handheld would be priced at just $249 bucks- that’s a highly reasonable price for a system that offers as much as the Vita does.
According to Yoshida, Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios, said it was their objective “from the very, very beginning” to keep the price low.
“Going through the PlayStation 3 experience was difficult for all of us involved,” he said in an interview with GameIndustry.biz. “So when we started working on PS Vita three years ago we set goals, and one of those goals was to hit $249 price point, €249 from the very, very beginning. That was springtime 2008.
“At the same time using the advanced graphics, the larger screen, the network options – these were things we wanted to do so we spent a year looking at every single option in terms of hardware devices that will become available in the 2011 period. The hardware group provided us with some components and prototype hardware for our studio teams to use so we could experiment with our prototypes, such as what if we have a touch panel behind the unit. Initially we thought that was strange, but the BigBig team in the UK came up with the Little Deviants prototype and we realised it would work.
“We showed it to the SCEI guys and the hardware guys were convinced by it. That was how we looked at every single option, with always in mind our budget in terms of cost is to hit the $249 price, which is a totally different approach to the PlayStation 3.
“In terms of hardware development it was between 2-3 years and I don’t think we spent any longer than we had before. The difference was the timing of the Worldwide Studios and game teams involvement in the process. We were involved in Vita development before we made the decision on what kind of CPU and GPU to use. That’s usually the very first thing because of the semi conductor development cycle, it’s the first thing we had to decide on.
“That shows how long we’ve been involved and so we were there all the time when the SCEI hardware guys got hands on the components. In the past, up to the PS3, they kept everything behind closed doors, even from ourselves, and making decisions based on their inspirations from a mostly hardware engineering standpoint.”