Why Sony needs to be flexible on PS Vita download pricing

As the game industry manages the awkward transition from a focus on retail distribution to a focus on purely downloadable titles, Sony seems to have come up with an interesting compromise position for its new handheld, Vita. The company has promised that any retail game for the system will also be available for download from the PlayStation Store, and usually at a price roughly ten percent less than the suggested retail price. (Titles like EA's FIFA Soccer, Sega's Virtua Tennis 4 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 are currently showing up at the same price for download or retail purchase, however.)

At first glance, this seems like a great way to gently encourage players to purchase from Sony's online store, a boon for publishers that often hate to see their games resold on the secondhand market. But that encouragement is based on a price advantage that might be hard to maintain over real-world brick-and-mortar stores in the long run.

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