Retail piles pressure on pricing

Following EA’s decision to slash the price of new releases Black and The Godfather by $10 in the US, the upper echelons of the retail community have come together to plead with all publishers to do the same in the UK.

“It is unrealistic for publishers to expect older formats such as PS2 to still hold the same value to the customer as two or three years ago,” Tesco head of games buying Simon Boyd told MCV.

And trading manager for games at Woolworths Gerry Berkeley agrees: “A price cut would be good news. The time is right for a universal move to a lower price point on a mature format. It worked for PSOne when we saw an extended life-cycle due to lower hardware and software prices.”

The perspective from the indie sector is much the same. Ajay Kejriwal, MD of ePlay, told MCV: “In the US EA has recognised that we are in the midst of a difficult transition period and has realigned pricing accordingly. Volume increases would make a price review beneficial for all parts of the distribution chain were prices adjusted to better reflect prevailing market
conditions.”

But for Microsoft, any move on pricing would signal further instability in the market. “The software price is vital to the way the industry works,” said UK boss Neil Thompson. ”Once you start to undermine that it all falls apart and becomes a mess.”

Ubisoft’s MD for Northern Europe Rob Cooper is vehemently against a drop, too: “I don’t want any price cut. Consumer pressure is key, but publishers and developers have to be brave – it’s vital to maintain pricing in this transitiion period.

“There has to be money around to invest. Retailers have to understand that we have to make some money for the good of all concerned.”

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