Sony cuts PS Vita price in Japan ahead of PlayStation event

PlayStation Vita
Image caption The PS Vita may link up with the new PlayStation 4 console

Sony's handheld console the PlayStation Vita is set for a price drop - ahead of the widely-rumoured launch of a new PlayStation console.

Both the wi-fi and 3G model of the PS Vita will retail in Japan for 19,980 yen (£139).

Sony has not yet said if the price drop will come into effect in other countries, but a major PlayStation event is to be held on Wednesday.

PS Vita sales have been at the "low end" of expectations, Sony has said.

The price change will come into force from the 28 February. Until the announcement, the wi-fi-only version had retailed at 24,980 yen (£172), while the 3G model cost 29,980 yen (£207).

The PS Vita's new price brings it in line with Nintendo's 3DS XL handheld.

The 3DS has sold more units worldwide than the PS Vita, but has been considerably cheaper for some time.

Console war

Analysts say both handhelds are struggling in a market that has somewhat thwarted by many casual gamers playing games on smartphones rather than dedicated devices.

The PS Vita's high price point was also heavily criticised by gamers. In November last year, the PS Vita was reported to have sold even fewer units than its predecessor, the Playstation Portable (PSP).

Speculation about the PS Vita's future includes its potential role as a peripheral for the PS4 - similar to the controller system used by Nintendo's latest console, the WiiU.

If Sony does indeed launch the PS4 on Wednesday, it will mean Sony has something of a head start against its main console rival, Xbox.

Unlike in 2005, when the Xbox 360 stole a march on the PS3 by launching a year before its rival, roles will be reversed this time around with the Sony console likely to hit shelves first.

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