Monday, February 20, 2012

Buy 2 Get 1 Free Vita Game?

Playstation Vita seems to be a hot topic right now mostly because it’s a new gaming hardware, and of course people get excited about gaming hardware all the time. Well, apparently it wasn’t such a hot product considering it only sold a mere 300,000+ units after its initial launch in Japan during Christmas 2011 . You would think that more units would be sold, right? Well, despite this little hurdle, it seems like the Vita might be a bit more welcome with the US release, or maybe not...

What seemed like just one retailer offering an incentive to buy a Vita has spread quickly like wildfire. Before it’s launch, Target had offered consumers a few compelling reason to buy a Vita. You get a $20 gift card with the purchase of a system and you can buy 2 games and get 1 free. It’s a really nice deal and if I had the money, and time, I would totally go out and get one. Sadly, I have neither. Going back to the point though, Target isn’t the only one doing this though. According to a thread from NeoGAF, a large gaming forum, other retailers are also offering some really nice deals. Full Details at the link below. Best Buy is offering trade-in offers, Toys-R-Us are marking down games, and even the Sony Store is giving out a free game for its first 200 costumers. Is this perhaps a sign? 

Let’s compare this to a recent portable system launch, the Nintendo 3DS. This hunk of technology launched at $250 dollars. That’s a lot of money. It had a steady sale but Nintendo didn’t think the base was large enough so it dropped the price to $170. People who bought it at its initial price received free games and it was a nice trade for what it was. Now, there were no incentives offered by retailers or anything of the sort, at least to the Vita’s magnitude. Does this speak something to Vita’s future? Perhaps. I think that the Vita is a very nice piece of technology and to be honest, the launch lineup is pretty good. Still, I believe that the system is doomed to fail and this is only the start of it. I’ve never seen, or at least to my memory, where an initial system launch offered so much goodies. It’s almost as if Sony is desperate to get the Vita out to the people. Maybe this is a marketing trick from Sony so that the install base is huge initially at launch. Still, this is very fishie. 

Heck, even Amazon has joined in offering a screen protector with the purchase of a 3G model of the Vita. You also get to buy 2 games and get 1 free but from a larger selection than Target. Marketing, sales, and pre-orders speak a lot about the future of a product and I think while this aggressive stance that Sony has taken could work to their advantage, I can’t help but feel that perhaps this is a lack of faith that Sony has in their new handheld. 

The Japanese have had the Vita for a while and many gamers and press have imported to test it out. There have been articles floating around gaming websites to Yahoo! about the Vita and while reception has been mostly positive, there have been some common gripes. Things such as a poor UI and the inability to multi-task and some unfriendly controls are something of problems that people faced. Perhaps Sony found out that the populace  now knows a few of the Vita’s flaws and wanted to change their minds about buying the Vita. If I read that my $250 portable system was going to perhaps not work as nice as I’d like it to, it would change my mind. Still, if someone gave me free games and free stuff, I’m more inclined to buy it. 

So, what does this all mean? Honestly, the pre-order incentives and the mass mayhem revolving around the Vita is something that seemed common. However, the magnitude of so many goodies before launch is unprecedented to me and it shocked me a little. Am I going to buy a Vita because of all these things? No. Are the general populace going to buy it? Maybe. The future looks a little uncertain for the Vita and to be honest, the incentives are a bit telling. To me, I read it as a lack of faith from Sony in trying to sell their product without a little handicap. After all, Sony thinks that its new kid needs training wheels to go forward.



  1. Did you miss all the 3DS sales when it launched?
    Toys R US had a B1G1 50% one even.

    1. Yeah, but I don't think it's as big as buy 2 get 1 free. This is more money that Sony is trying to get from consumer while making it a deal.

  2. There were tons of great deals at launch with the 3DS.

    A week or two after the 3DS launched, Best Buy was selling Steel Diver and Pilot Wings for $9 each. That was a much bigger fire sale than Buy 2 Get 1 Free sales, which Toysrus does every single November and with each launch. Amazon and Target always prize match them to stay competitive.

    Retailers are offering incentives to buy the Vita because they want you to buy your future Vita games from them as well. Offering incentives to get people to buy from you is a fairly common practice.

    It sounds like you just weren't paying attention.

    1. If I remember, those were after the system launched. I could be wrong though. Also I did note that incentives exist for launches but they weren't as big as the Vita is getting right now. As for the retailers wanting you to buy the future, the Vita supports buying full games digitally at a lower price. While it doesn't seem big, soon retailers are going to get hurt by this since they make more money selling software than systems and if people stop buying physical products at the retailers, something will happen.