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PS4: steep store pricing explained by Sony, Killzone & Knack £53 each

Thursday, 28th November 2013 16:30 GMT By Dave Cook

PlayStation 4 digital titles have come under scrutiny this week, starting with EA titles FIFA 14, Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals each selling for £63 a pop. Sony has now stepped forward to explain why its own titles Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall cost £53 on the store.

We reported on the steep price of EA’s titles earlier this week. They were then discounted by a whole £3. Sony then stated that European pricing would be changed ahead of tonight’s PS4 launch. We’re under eight hours away and things haven’t changed.

Now, Eurogamer has flagged up that Killzone: Shadow Fall is £48 on Amazon, which still undercuts the PlayStation Store by a few quid.

Responding to the site, PlayStation’s UK boss Fergal Gara said, “Digital pricing is an interesting question to raise. First of all, we want to support a healthy retail channel, so it’s not in our interest to go and seriously undermine retail.”

He added that bricks and mortar shops in the UK often price games lower to secure sales, and stressed that Britain is one of the most fierce nations in this regard. Eurogamer flagged up the Amazon example, to which Gara replied, “Let’s not forget the UK is probably the most competitive retail space there is in the world.

“So when it comes to any recommended retail prices they will frequently choose to price significantly below them. You mentioned Amazon as an example. Amazon control their own pricing. We don’t set the pricing. So if they decide on some crazy low prices they’d like to charge their customers, that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for the PlayStation Store to match or follow that price. These are effectively all independent retailers.”

Will Sony appraise the matter on an ongoing basis however? Gara seemed confident, and added, “Will there be a settling down and an alignment, and where would we expect digital pricing to be? We’d hope it would be roughly equivalent to street pricing for the disc. That’s where we expect the dust to settle over time.”

Concerning EA’s steep pricing, Gara explained, “In respect to third-party content, obviously we’re only part of the pricing equation, and the PlayStation Store is only part of the pricing equation, and the publisher has a big say particularly about the price they offer it to us at. So I can’t be drawn into comment on that.”

He added, “Buying full games digitally is still a relatively new thing. Buying DLC and add-ons is already a significant business. So I think we’ll find the right level that allows retail to coexist, selling discs and giving a great high street presence for our games, but also the digital option to coexist alongside it. But I would expect under normal circumstances that digital pricing for first-party titles will be in and around the street price you would expect to pay for the disc.”

“The digital space is where we’re introducing a swathe of titles right now,” he concluded, “and a further stream of them to come. The indie sector is opening up and coming to PlayStation, which means price points are all about £50 or nothing. There are many price points in between, from free-to-play to the £10-15-20 type price points for maybe shorter experiences, but nonetheless, very affordable experiences.”

In the meantime, Gara assured the site that Sony is, “listening to the feedback.”

What do you make of the above? Let us know below.

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32 Comments

  1. FabioPal

    “store pricing explained by Sony”

    it doesn’t really read as an “explanation” tbh.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Luciferous

    @1 They don’t want to murder bricks and mortar store, which is a massive chunk of sales in the UK – They say they don’t follow Amazon’s lead with pricing because unlike Amazon they want a healthy retail space – Amazon just want your money and don’t care for street level retail.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Kieran

    Sure in my local game store there 64.99euro its a rip off so much for next gen games being the same price as ps3s and x360 stupid so it is there gonna have less game sales il miss the 44.99 price of a new game :(

    #3 1 year ago
  4. absolutezero

    What brick and mortar stores?

    They’ve all fucking shut. Oh you mean Supermarkets? Great. Thanks Sony!

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Dave Cook

    @4 Supermarkets are well cheap though. I’d buy games from them for sure. Sod giving GAME the money. Too steep.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. absolutezero

    I have a dreadful Tescos in town.

    Its the worst Tescos I’ve ever seen and nothing else. The Blockbusters is closed and that was the only place left.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. DrDamn

    I understand needing retail somewhat, but they aren’t in a position to dictate any more. They need a good hard kick in the nuts to clarify exactly who is who’s bitch now.

    If they plan on bringing prices down to match retail I’ll just hold on to my cash until you make good on that.

    Also price points need to be f2p-5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40-> not just budget and AAA. Sony did this much better with PSV so hopefully this will resolve itself over time.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. tenthousandgothsonacid

    @6 it’s not Sony’s fault you live in crap area :)

    Move :)

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Panthro

    What a pathetic excuse…

    ‘We cant price games lower than retail because we don’t want to undercut retail stores’

    Face it, this isn’t about undercutting the retail shops at all, its about maximising the amount of money you can squeeze out of your customers.

    Everybody knows the majority of retail stores are waaaaaay overpriced and now sony follow suit just because there is more money to be made and they know there isn’t much choice for the consumer.

    These console companies are living in the past and need slapped so fucking hard to get them into the future (DIGITAL).

    We shouldn’t have to pay more for digital over retail, its fucking ridiculous.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Fin

    @2

    +1

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Panthro

    ^ and if they don’t want to undercut retail, come to an agreement instead and price both formats at the same price but cheaper… Say £30-£40 for both upon release.

    When a game comes out at £60 I always avoid it until its cheaper, games just are not worth that type of money.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Fin

    “not worth that type of money”

    Dude, I paid £17 to see Gravity in 3D last night. The film was 90m long (with 30m of adverts on top of that).

    For £50 I can get something like Assassin’s Creed IV, with 40+ hours of content (more if you include MP).

    I don’t understand why people think games aren’t worth the price they pay.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. yeoung

    @DrDamn; The mid tier died a quiet death in the PS360 era. Remnants of this bygone period are all that remain; EDF and the occasional knockoff ARPG, but little else. That said, everything up to 30 is covered on PSN, with budget gaming stores (which today are mostly websites) basically moving AAA games from 30 up to 50 and the retail titans claiming the 50 to 70 day one targets.

    Gara’s argument holds little water considering value-cost-price ratios with digital content v physical content. I wonder what the reason is for “maintaining a healthy retail space”, because it sounds like typical PR rationalization and I can’t fathom a reason why Sony would actively safeguard the retail space to such a degree. A marginal difference, with digital subtly undercutting retail I could understand, as it would allow for consumer choice as well as maintaining the retail space. Equal pricing again would make sense given his argument, it starts to get shaky but still it can be considered acceptable.

    Having digi-games cost a significant amount more simply smacks of “getting away with it” rather than masking some sort of noble and altruistic gesture. It makes no sense, people.

    /cue Chewbaca.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. yeoung

    @Fin:

    Although I appreciate the sentiment, you can’t cross-compare interactive and non-interactive media. There’s too many holes in the argument presented.

    Aside from that, 50 quid also gets you five $10 games that may add up to 300+ hours of content, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to buy Oblivion, Fallout 3, etc. etc. over Infamous:SS when it hits. Determining value for money is by no means an exact science, nor are the ‘measurements’ constants. Entertainment paradigm, blah blah, subjective, etc etc, individualist variables, yada yada. You get the picture.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. SplatteredHouse

    “We shouldn’t have to pay more for digital over retail, its fucking ridiculous.”

    Well said. And, of course it is. But, the dinosaurs are roaring at the sight of the build up of ice.
    When the industry is at a point of recognizing the importance of accumulating DIGITAL sales data, and acknowledging that the weekly sales charts are offering skewed perspectives on what is most popular in games, what’s actually selling (and on the subject, I’m sorry, Mario and FF whatever it was-back-for-another-go-around – but, I think it’s more than a fair guess that the majority of their addressable audience would be unlikely to be grabbing those digitally)

    But, anyway. Where we have reached a point of diminishing usefulness in retail chart coverage, I do think it a bit strange to see Sony dashing in here with crutches to aid the flagging GAME and its ilk. Save yourselves the pain. Make the change now, while early stumbles can still be explained away and accepted – rather than following the example of the RETAILERS THEMSELVES that “left it too late” and failed to gain sufficient market share and they shut down.
    Sony shouldn’t allow themselves, their progress to be undermined by some cloying sentiment. Let retail sell codes, and the odd box. The market’s moving towards digital. Today, I just don’t see the point in platform holders not focusing there.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. DuckOfDestiny

    “We can’t piss off retailers as we need them to sell our consoles.”

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Gheritt White

    ^This. Give it a couple of years, though…

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Fin

    @14

    I didn’t mean to compare media per se, I meant for something giving you a lot of entertainment, games are great value.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Lloytron

    I put this through the ‘corporate bullshit’ filter and it just came out as follows;

    “A fool and their money are easily parted. People pay these stupid prices trolololololol.”

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Legion

    “First of all, we want to support a healthy retail channel, so it’s not in our interest to go and seriously undermine retail.” Undermine retail? What about undermining the gamers? No reason a digital copy should ever cost more or even equal to the disk copy of a game.

    And, “Buying full games digitally is still a relatively new thing.” No it is not a relatively NEW THING! Almost all of last generation system time used up that supposed “NEW THING” aspect of digital games. This generation is supposed to be the digital age!

    Sony and Microsoft both better start realizing that digital copies of games need to be greatly reduced compared to hard copies!

    #20 1 year ago
  21. TheBlackHole

    Called it.

    http://www.vg247.com/2013/11/25/ps4-digital-games-cost-as-much-as-63-in-the-uk/#comment-566800

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Legendaryboss

    @21
    Good job!
    http://www.freewebs.com/peelsterjava1/photos/For%20The%20Codes/Cookie.GIF

    #22 1 year ago
  23. nostramo

    Digital content, costs more than a hard copy, has no resell value
    whatso ever…. for the time being.
    Has anyone actualy given an ounce of thought as to why this may be?
    The only winners in this scenario, today, are the gamers,
    for the time being, and that aint a bad thing, but why do the licence holders and publishers
    persist with this pricing model for digital content, knowing its £10-£15
    cheaper to walk into tesco or asda and buy an intrinsic, real
    physical product which has worth and which can be trade’d
    for a new physical product/game, or indeed just sold to anyone through the
    small ads in the local rag…..
    We are not in posession of all the facts as regards future pricing and availability
    of our gaming media.
    Watch this space.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. bradk825

    @23 Well, on many platforms you’re right about the cost of digital content, but I think that will change. On the XB1 store right now, new games are the same price digitally as in-store.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. mistermogul

    While this talk of not wanting to undercut retailers etc might be true, it still doesn’t explain why the same games cost more on PS4 than XB1 eh?

    #25 1 year ago
  26. gsxrlove

    Next-gen graphics, next-gen pricing, current gen gameplay. Thanks for making it easier to wait a while Sony!

    #26 1 year ago
  27. TheBlackHole

    @22

    Digital fucking cookies!

    Yeah.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. DSB

    “Buying full games digitally is still a relatively new thing”

    Jesus fucking christ. Fergal Gara, 2004 called. It said you were talking massive loads of shit on Eurogamer.

    That makes him look every bit as fucking clueless as Don Mattrick running his mouth about nuclear submarines.

    Just because you’ve deliberately chosen to put yourself behind the rest of the world for half a decade, it doesn’t actually mean the world stopped. We’ve been receiving games through the air on our phones and computers for close to a decade now.

    It’s not new. You’re just old.

    I mean I realize this is just a pathetic attempt by an executive to hang on to this makebelief “narrative” and that he has to be aware that NO ONE is ever going to buy it. But fuck. That is truly sad. That is fucking pathetic.

    Kill yourself, Fergal Gara.

    Inhale.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. revolting

    Explanation? All I see is excuses, hyperbole and half-truths.

    Steam launched in 2003. This isn’t new. It isn’t even new to Sony; the PSP launched a year after Steam, the PS3 in 2006… I don’t recall when the PSN opened up for the PSP/PS3, but it’s certainly not a “new” occurrence, nor does it explain the shafting that Europe and the UK in particular is receiving.

    @28 The frustrating part is that uninformed customers (kids, parents, whatever) will buy them and justify his ridiculous claims.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. DuckOfDestiny

    @25 It’s all that extra resolution and frames, 1080p @60FPS is expensive.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. DrDamn

    @27
    Unfortunately despite the digital cookie not being as filling as a cookie from the shop, and the fact you can’t share it with friends or sell it on you still have to pay the full shop price for the cookie as you know … have to keep retail happy ;).

    #31 1 year ago
  32. asymetrix

    To keep retail making money they need to reprice everything.

    New games should be £25 retail and £30 DLC. No more. Fixed to even Amazon.

    Games could be placed in tiers #1 new within 1 year old 100% price, 0% discount.
    #2 are all 2 year games 10% discount on £25
    #3 are all 3 year games 20% discount on £25
    #4 are all 4 year games 30% discount on £25
    #5 are all 5 year games 40% discount on £25
    #6 are all 6+ year games pay what you can humble bundle discount packs.

    Anyone who wants the cheep price go into your local games store.

    More than £30 a game is insult to the gaming community.

    All games should be priced so that they reduce in price over 5 years.
    After 5 years placed on special discount pricing scheme like humble bundle.

    If console developers and publishers dont sort this out soon, the public would rebel and force competition into open source console and games community.

    #32 1 year ago

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