Trade politics between the U.S. and China may soon result in a 25 percent tariff affecting the video game and tabletop industries.
In a document published by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the White House lists goods that are subject to new or revised tariffs up to 25 percent. These goods include game controllers, coin- or token-operated game units, consoles, and tabletop games, among thousands of other products.
Tariffs are basically taxes that make products more expensive to have imported than to have produced domestically. Governments use tariffs to create new domestic job opportunities, but this can come at the expense of the consumer.
For consumers, the proposed tariffs could result in price hikes on video game products, and at a critical time: Sony and Microsoft are soon expected to reveal the next generation of consoles, and it’s possible new tariffs could impact the cost.
GameDaily.biz reports that these tariffs could have a negative impact on the tabletop industry. Smaller developers rely on the cheap cost of foreign materials to develop their board games. The margin created by those cheap costs allows companies to cover things like overhead expenses. Should the increased tariffs become de facto, developers will likely increase the cost of their products to compensate for the increased costs of production. One developer, White Wizard Games, told the outlet it anticipates a 5-to-10 percent increase in prices across the tabletop industry should the tariffs go into effect.
Tariff meetings begin June 17.
We’ve reached out to the Entertainment Software Agency, the lobbying group for the games industry, for comment and will update the story as it develops.
Last month, a similar situation unfolded after the U.S. published a list of EU imports subject to tariffs, including game consoles.