With its limited shelf space and associated shipping costs, retail has been a thorn in the side of console makers, but according to Sony, it's still necessary.
"Some consumers like shopping in retail stores, talking to knowledgeable store clerks, buying and playing games on the spot. We do not want to remove that capability from consumers," Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida told Edge
More important than maintaining that experience, though, is a global broadband concern.
"Some PS Vita titles, like Uncharted: Golden Abyss
, will be close to 4GB in size, which could be too large to download for consumers
who do not have a fast broadband connection," Yoshida explained.
"There are consumers in parts of the world – this is a global device – where the digital model has not yet fully been embraced," added Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president and CEO Jim Ryan.
Sony previously launched a digital-only version of its current portable, the PSP Go, though the device failed to excite consumers: in Japan, the company stopped shipping
the Go completely.