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

Thursday, 28 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.