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Publishers plead: ‘Stop the price wars’

Following a spate of aggressive promotions from the likes of Morrisons, Woolworths and Asda, leading industry figures have urged retail to hold fire on further cuts to new release pricing.

With fears over the economy at an all time high, ultra-crowded release schedules and retailers fighting for supremacy, many are concerned that new release prices could plummet.

And now publishers have pleaded with the trade to keep its nerve as the festive pressure mounts. “Price cuts in an industry which shines above the gloom can only be the strategy of those concerned that their mode of delivery to the consumer is facing threats, and they are doing their best to accelerate their own demise,” Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens warned.

Sega’s UK MD Alan Pritchard agreed: “We have seen the loss-leading activities that Morrisons ran before, and it is not something that Sega would encourage.

“Development costs are not getting cheaper so it is important for retailers to sustain full SRP points.”

And Activision’s UK MD Andrew Brown feels other ideas should be explored instead of just slashing prices.

“We recognise the short-term pressure on retail, especially if we are on the edge of a recession,” he said. “But I believe retailers should drive growth by developing improved in-store solutions, rather than forcing the prices down.

“The overall strategy needs to be sustainable.”

Despite the warnings, several retailers have told MCV that there are more cuts to come. “We feel we’re offering great value for our customers,” explained Asda’s software buyer Andy McFie.

“More promotions are inevitable as it is a competitive market, and we have got a very strong offer for Q4.”

A GAME spokesperson added: “The UK games market is very competitive and has been for years. We remain focused on our offer and are confident in our proposition.”
Woolworths, who recently cut all chart DVDs to under £10, have also stated that it is looking at price cuts:

“We are always looking to cut prices on our games,” said a Woolies spokesperson

Price Battle: The story so far

* Woolworths cut £20 off Wii hardware bundles for a limited period

* Morrisons slashed 50 per cent off new releases like Mercenaries 2 for £24.99

* Amazon.co.uk is offering Resistance 2 on PS3 for just 29.99 if you pre-order

* Gamestation has sold new titles Infinite Undiscovery for £19.99 and LEGO Indiana Jones for £24.99

* GAME, Zavvi, Gameplay and HMV have reduced Too Human on 360 to under £20

* Star Wars: The Force Unleashed offered for just £30 from Asda – and Tesco followed suit

* De Blob on sale at Play for half price – just £17.99 on Wii

* Asda is set to offer Sonic Unleashed for £29.93 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

* GAME has slashed big-name movie tie-in Wall-E to just £12.99 on Wii

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Tags: sega , asda , morrisons , woolworths

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