Earlier this week, Sony announced a Japanese price cut for the handheld, dropping the price of both Wi-Fi and 3G models to 19,980 yen (that's around $215).
When asked in a roundtable interview if a similar price cut would arrive in North America, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida stated, "no, it will not."
Yoshida gave exchange rates between Japan and North America as the main reason for the price drop in only one region, telling Polygon, "One answer could be when you compare the pricing on PS Vita across regions, because of the yen value. In Japan, the system had been priced the highest. We had been selling for 25,000 yen; that's more than $250 when you compare the exchange rates."
Exchange rates and expectations
The new Vita price in Japan is now much lower than the price overseas, so price parity through the exchange rate is not the only factor at work.
Hiroshi Kawano, president of Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan, recently admitted that Vita sales in Japan are "a little behind the numbers we originally pictured," in an interview with Famitsu magazine.
So why not a price cut in North America? While Vita sales in North America have not exactly been much better than Japan, the price cut could be a matter of expectations.
Sony's previous handheld, the PSP, saw considerably higher sales in Japan than North America, which may have influenced Sony's projected sales for Vita.
With higher expectations for Vita in Japan, the price drop was necessary to boost sales closer to expectations. North American sales may also be under-performing, but with lower expectations Sony is afforded more wiggle room before resorting to a price drop.
With the PlayStation 4 announcement, Sony gave another reason to own a Vita through a Wii U-like remote play feature.
However, with the PS4 launch not slated until the end of the year, Sony's more immediate Vita plans for North America are still in question.