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PS4: Sony explains digital game prices

PS4: Sony explains digital game prices

As many of you eager new PS4 owners will be learning today, games on the PSN aren’t exactly cheap. Most of EA’s titles are selling for £54.99, and Sony’s own exclusives are only slightly less at £52.99.

What’s interesting is that these prices are significantly higher than retail, a confusing decision considering that digital distribution on PC has exploded thanks to cheap prices and frequent sales.

Our pals over at Eurogamer took some questions to Fergal Gara, head of PlayStation in the UK:

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

“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 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,”
he said.

In regards to third-party games, Gara reiterated that publishers set their own prices on the PS Store, with Sony having no say in their choices.

“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. 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.”

“Buying full games digitally is still a relatively new thing,”
he said. “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.”

We hope that, as more and more gamers make the jump to digital, Sony and other publishers will start being more reasonable with their prices. As for now, it’s just too expensive to recommend. Retail doesn’t look to be dead just yet.


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  • Mark Santeramo

    Honestly, that’s a pretty stupid response. Digital games should be a few dollars cheaper, or some equation that takes into account how much packaging and shipping retail costs against a digital download. A few bucks isn’t undercutting anyone, it’s not being a prick to your customers and doing the right thing, you know, the things ya’ll promised us before the digital “revolution” in the first place.