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Sony slashes Japanese PlayStation Vita price

Sony has dropped the price of its PlayStation Vita hand-held gaming console in Japan, with similar price cuts expected world-wide over the coming months.

While the device has its fans, thanks to a high-quality touch-screen interface, rear-facing touch sensor, augmented reality gaming support, 3G connectivity and improved controls when compared to its last-generation PlayStation Portable predecessor, sales of the PlayStation Vita have been slow. Its high cost has been mooted as one reason the system has failed to deliver at retail, with the device costing more than £200 in a market where Nintendo's rival 3DS can be had for just £133.

The results are clear: buyers are flocking to the 3DS, which combined with its larger 3DS XL sibling is the most popular hand-held console in the world. In Japan and Europe things are particularly concerning: Vita sales have dropped to a fraction of those enjoyed by Nintendo with its 3DS, and are even below the last-generation PlayStation Portable - a device which can't match the Vita on features but continues to sell thanks to a far lower purchase cost and broad catalogue of affordable games.

Sony's solution is a price drop, bringing the device closer to that of its rival Nintendo's offering. Starting in Japan next week, Sony will drop the cost of a PlayStation Vita Wi-Fi by 20 per cent and the PlayStation Vita 3G by 34 per cent - meaning, interestingly, that both will be available at a cost of ¥19,980 (around £139 excluding taxes.)

If, as is expected, Sony drops the UK price by the same percentage, both models of PlayStation Vita could cost as little as £160 including VAT - and at a premium of just £27 over the Nintendo 3DS, Sony's flagship portable could finally gain the traction in the market its impressive specifications deserve.

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