OPINION: Are the price cuts enough for UK games retail?

As the saying goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn.And, metaphorically speaking, the High Street and online outlets selling boxed games have faced one long, sleepy night during these last few months.

The 3DS price cut has started to rouse the market though – but the immediate PS3 price cut is the alarm going off. Deus Ex next week, a meal I can’t wait to sink my teeth into, is a hearty breakfast and… well, I’ll stop the parable there.

You get the message: serious price cut action and a flow of actual product can help us out of the doldrums.

But are the price cuts enough?

Retailers have been telling the world for months – either via comments in MCV or via national ads promoting the latest deals – that the pricing of games and hardware is too high.

Consumers need to be tempted into stores to buy things they can afford. So last week’s 3DS slice and the new PS3 price should satisfy games buyers (both types) as they hope for a turnaround Christmas.

But 3DS is proof that retailers will push these prices even lower. The handheld came out with an estimated price of 230. Nobody sold it for that. Most went below 200. But even that was too expensive. The new 3DS price is more compelling, but even at ‘around 149′, its most popular deals have been those like Tesco’s 115 offer and similar deals.

Nobody will be surprised if the PS3 is temporarily 150 at Christmas as someone uses it as a loss leader for a weekend.”

That same thinking will no doubt be applied to PS3’s drop down from 250 to 199.99 (exactly as we said it would five weeks ago).Many retailers had been selling the console for close to 200 for months. So expect PS3 pricing to read closer to 179.99 on store shelves.

And nobody will be surprised if the PS3 is temporarily priced at 150 at Christmas as someone uses it as a loss leader for a weekend.Shaving a few pounds off the margin is a risk, but one worth taking to drive people in store. Especially when punters are hopefully back out on the High Street come October, November and December.

The message from retailers has been clear: if suppliers aren’t going to cut the price, then they will.

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