‘Stop the price war’

The UK games market must stop slashing prices, or its worth will be eclipsed by other European territories, Konami has warned.

The publisher’s Euro chief Kunio Neo told MCV that the UK market is suffering, while other territories like Germany are thriving.

His words come as a fresh price war erupted around Square Enix’s Deus Ex, console versions of which went on sale for 21 last week as GameStop.co.uk moved to secure market share. Tesco followed suit with a 30 offer on the game.

UK games pricing is very poor,” said Neo. Retailers are always reducing prices and the profits for publishers are getting smaller. The UK is really suffering.And he said that Konami is far from the worst-off publisher in this situation.

We’re based in Germany and despite the economic conditions in many other countries, Germany is doing alright. So we’re not as affected as a US publisher that has a UK office. They’re suffering because they focus their sales on the UK.”

Konami’s European GM of sales, marketing and products, Martin Schneider, simply added: Tell the UK shops to stop the price war.”

But the UK boss for a global publisher said the price war has its benefits. I am envious of my opposite numbers in France and Germany – they never have to have the conversations I have. I get many calls giving me grief when our games are discounted, but there’s nothing I can do. Legally I can’t make them put prices up.

While it can be frustrating, the result is that we do sell more boxes. Other firms talk about devaluing the market, but I bet they don’t mind when they see how many extra units they’ve shifted.The sheer number of UK games retailers means shops are having to be more aggressive with prices,

Bee.com’s Gian Luzio said: It’s extremely competitive. Whereas other countries have one or two major players we have at least ten with five per cent plus market share. This means the customer has more choice and the retailer must fight to win that customer by offering a balance of price and service.”

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