Sadly predictable price-cutting has emerged ahead of the PSP launch on September 1st, whilst Sony itself this week lifted the lid on an epic £10m marketing campaign for the UK.
Despite a suggested price for PSP software of £34.99, Argos is offering the full launch line-up at £29.99 each, as is Jersey-based online outfit Play.com. Amazon, meanwhile, has cut 25 per cent off the pre-order price for selected titles, such as Ridge Racer and Virtua Tennis.
After the brutal price war of the last 12 months, many UK retailers were counting on a return to RRP with this year’s new systems. But these latest price moves have sent a shiver through the trade.
“As soon as one retailer does this everyone else will follow suit,” one multiple told MCV. “It’s not going to affect the larger retailers too much, but the consequences for indies are dire. Customers will expect these prices and resent indies who charge more.”
Carl McKay of leading indie Gameforce agrees. “We’ll never return to full price software now,” he added forlornly.
Sony, powerless, could only reiterate that it is up to retailers to sell products at whatever price they choose.
Meanwhile, the company presses on with more positive moves – committing £10m of marketing money to the launch. The campaign begins this week with the appearance of a series of teaser posters.
With stocks being initially limited, Sony has opted not to advertise the PSP on TV during its first weeks, but a campaign has been created and will likely go to air late October. Print ads will focus on games such as Ridge Racer, WipEout Pure and Everybody’s Golf.
With less than three weeks to go, SCEE VP of studios Phil Harrison was keen to highlight the significance of the launch.
“PSP isn’t a new chapter in the PlayStation story, it’s the start of a whole new story,” he told MCV. “It has the potential to have wider cultural impact. That’s what we strive for; to change the way people consume and regard entertainment.”