Activision breaks silence on pricing

Giant publisher Activision has defended its decision to slap a 55 RRP on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, insisting the game justifies the price tag.

Some retailers had previously expressed concern to MCV over the effect the price – which is 5 more expensive than regular Xbox 360 and PS3 titles – would have on cash-strapped consumers over the Christmas period (MCV 17/07).

And Activision is set to launch a series of premium-priced products this Christmas, including DJ Hero and Tony Hawk: Ride, both of which come with peripherals and cost around 100.

However, the firm finally broke its silence on these controversial price points this week, reassuring the trade it was confident that consumers will pay premium prices for these games – and still feel they were getting bang for their buck.

The question is what represents value for money,” Activision’s UK managing director Andrew Brown told MCV.

At the end of the day, there is a spectrum of what people can afford and what people are prepared to spend. These things are key.

Is what I am buying supplying me sufficient value for money and can I afford it? If so then I will buy it.

This is an industry where things cost a lot to develop and it’s a risky business. We talk about building franchises; it is very expensive to do this from every respect. What we are finding is that for the right products, if you look at the time someone will spend playing something and compare it to something else, people are saying it’s worth it.

There’s nothing in life that isn’t price elastic. Price at retail changes all the time depending on how successful a product is or isn’t. I think there is a lot of controversy over I don’t know what.”

Brown’s comments echo similar opinions from fellow publisher bosses, whose products are feeling the pinch from tough exchange rates and record development costs.

One figurehead at a publisher’s UK HQ added: If you look at the amount it costs to see a movie at the cinema or play a DVD, you watch it once and you’re done. A 55 game is far better value for money.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is released on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on November 10th. MCV revealed last week that it will be backed by a heavy-duty marketing push.

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