Sony: 3G’s expensive – but it’s our investment in the future

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The PlayStation Vita, Sony’s shiny new handheld that launches tomorrow, comes in two flavours – a cheaper Wi-Fi only model, and a significantly pricier one that has 3G capabilities. Sony wasn’t sure about releasing two SKU’s and took a gamble on 3G, considering it to be a burden.

“That’s a question we asked ourselves maybe 200 times over the course of the development,” Sony Worldwide honcho Shuhei Yoshida told GameInformer at DICE, when asked if the 3G was really necessary.

“But from the very outset, in early 2008 when we first started the project, we had a very high level goal. We looked at all the technology we could and the advancements that we could use in a new system. 3G was always in the top five things we wanted to do.

“Because of how people are using social networks and how people are connected, we saw the opportunity that games can be enhanced by having 3G and an always-on capability.” Continuing, he said “More so than the cost of goods involved to have 3G capability, it’s a burden having 3G, because 3G – it’s not cheap. It’s an investment from consumers and sometimes they have to make a commitment depending on the country. More pre-paid plans are available but it’s still additional money people have to spend on top of the content. We want people to spend more on the content, not on the connectivity, to be honest. There’s a balance.”

Separately, Yoshida has said that the inclusion of 3G is an investment in the future, and an example of forward thinking.

“3G is our investment in the future. I hope some consumers will believe in that investment of their money for the future,” Yoshida told IndustryGamers. “These systems last many years, and we will upgrade firmware, add new features, but it’s not easy to update hardware.”

It’s primary use – for the time being – will be to bolster the system’s social features.

“The main purpose we believe in for having 3G in PS Vita is the social connectivity features that we have put at the center of PS Vita,” Yoshida said. “When you open a game, you don’t automatically start a game, but you’re taken to one page which is constantly updated from publishers as well as your friends doing activities or giving you in-game items. So all that social connectivity is enabled by the 3G.”

The Vita’s out tomorrow; which will you be getting? I’ve got money propped for a Wi-Fi version – because i can tether it to my phone if I need connectivity when not at home.

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Last Updated: February 21, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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