Sony slashed the price of its modern PS Vita handheld game console by about $50 — in Japan. But here in the United States, we won’t be seeing a price cut anytime soon, according to Sony exec Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with Joystiq’s JC Fletcher. That’s apparently because of the exchange rate.
With the Vita selling as poorly as it is right now, you’d think Sony would be doing whatever it could to get all that overstock out its doors. So far, though, it isn’t, and that means their loss is your loss as well. So if you were waiting for a huge price drop, you might have to wait another year or two.
That said, there’s never been a better time to pick up Sony’s older handheld console — the PlayStation Portable, or PSP. Here’s why:
1. The price
A Vita costs $250 for the Wi-Fi model. Add up to $100 on top of that, depending on how big of a memory card you want and whether you want any space at all to put games on.
In contrast, you can get high-capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo memory cards for the PSP for dirt cheap. Same with the system itself, which has officially had its price reduced to $129 but can be found for much cheaper, especially used. Same for pretty much all PSP games and accessories, really, including the ones that used to be really expensive at launch.
2. The best console for PSone games
The aforementioned cheap accessories include A/V cables, that you can plug into an HDTV or standard-definition set in order to output the PSP’s screen to it. (This is a feature the Vita doesn’t even have yet.) Most games are heavily letterboxed, but PSone titles — the same ones you can get for your PS3 or Vita — aren’t. So you can play games like Final Fantasy VII on the big screen, using your PSP as a console. It’s certainly more convenient than having to copy saves between a PS3 and a PS Vita!
3. Forwards compatibility
Note that you can play all (well, almost all) the same PSone games on both handheld consoles. Now also note that most dedicated PSP games will work on the PS Vita, if you bought them digitally on the PlayStation Network. So you won’t have to leave them behind when or if you upgrade later on.
4. UMD disc exclusives
Not all PSP games ever appeared on the PlayStation Network. For instance, Square-Enix PSP exclusives Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. The PlayStation Portable remains the only way to play these games, and will until (and unless) publishers get their acts together.
Besides that, UMD games can often be found for cheap at used game stores, and they have a feature which modern Vita games lack: Actual printed manuals.