UPDATE! Why Are Next-Gen Digital Titles Still So Expensive?

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UPDATE! Why Are Next-Gen Digital Titles Still So Expensive?
EA cuts price of PS4 titles

New Update!!

Sony have finalised their PS4 launch prices. Precise euro prices included below...

Update.

EA has sliced the price of its PS4 games on the Playstation Store. They are now all £3 cheaper. No explanation so far from EA as to why the price was dropped. Or indeed why the price remains £5 more expensive than Xbox One counterparts. Strange behaviour, but you can't say they aint moving in the right direction....

Original Story.

[For the sake of brevity, I’m only tackling the Digital vs. Disk price, here. I’m not even going to tap that hornet’s nest of DLC and microtransaction with an inquisitive toe. We don’t have all night!]

Have Sony and Microsoft learned nothing in the past 7 years?
Frankly, I wonder. Maybe Microsoft have? Like, a little.
But I remain dubious. Let’s look at the facts..
Digital titles wholly eliminate the need for plastic packaging, printed manuals, physical discs, retail outlets, retail staff, warehouses, shipping costs, honouring the second-hand market and a host of industrial process which escapes me at present. Basically, they’re a publisher’s wet dream. And yet console customers are still getting boned something royal for opting into the digital format!

Steam proves on a daily basis the perks of going digital; ease of transaction and saving on household storage just two in a growing list. But Steam is perpetually falling over with special offers, sales, bundles, deals and dare I say it, INCENTIVES to encourage, nay, galvanize a digital future.

Sadly, this digital future, the one XBOX ONE was so desperate to spearhead, isn’t looking especially bright on consoles right now.

According to this Playstation Blog post, pricing and availability of digital products ultimately lies with the publisher. But despite even the glitz and the glamour of PS Plus, the Next Generation digital marketplaces aren’t the consumer haven we’ve been crying out for…

[Please note – I don’t have the price in Euros for PSN, Xbox Live or Tesco titles. I’m sorry. And I’ll update as soon as I get the chance. Also, for more comprehensive lists of Xbox Live and PSN digital prices, check out these articles by Eurogamer and The Sixth Axis respectively.]

Battlefield 4

Xbox Live £54.99 [~€65] (33.66GB)

PSN £54.99/ €69.99 (36.4GB)

HMV €64.99 (Retail Disk)

Tesco £48 [~ €57.50] (Retail Disk) CHEAPEST

Gamestop €64.99 (Retail Disk)

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Xbox Live £54.99 [~ €65] (20.25GB)

PSN £54.99/€69.99(21.7GB)

HMV €64.99 (Retail Disk)

Tesco £48 [~ €57.50] (Retail Disk)

Gamestop €64.99 (Retail Disk)

Steam €49.99 (Retail Disk) CHEAPEST

Ryse: Son of Rome

Xbox Live £44.99 [~ €54] (34.94GB) CHEAPEST

HMV €69.99 (Retail Disk)

Tesco £48 [~ €57.50] (Retail Disk)

Gamestop €59.99 (Retail Disk)

Knack

PSN £52.99/€59.99 (34.8GB)

HMV €64.99 (Retail Disk)

Tesco £48 [~ €57.50] (Retail Disk) CHEAPEST

Gamestop €64.99 (Retail Disk)

Dead Rising 3

Xbox Live £44.99 [~ €54] (19.9GB) CHEAPEST

HMV €69.99 (Retail Disk)

Tesco £48 [~ €57.50] (Retail Disk)

Gamestop €59.99 (Retail Disk)

Killzone: Shadow Fall

PSN £52.99/€59.99 (38.2GB)

HMV €69.99 (Retail Disk)

Tesco £48 [~ €57.50] (Retail Disk) CHEAPEST

Gamestop €69.99 (Retail Disk)

So what kind of sweeping generalisations can we make about the state of the Next Gen marketplace from this tiny cross section, eh?

For starters, Next Gen games are about a tenner more expensive than their current generation counterparts. No surprise there. They try this crap every generation. Prices eventually settle back down to the €60 Maximum after the opening quarter.

Xbox Live looks like it’s getting its act together. Barely. It’s consistently level with the retail disk price and, in some instances, actually lower. Laudable. But with retail titans like Tesco constantly positioning games as loss leaders, Microsoft NEED to incentivise digital customers further. Suggestion – MIMIC ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING STEAM DOES!

Finally, I have no idea what PSN are up to! This marketplace is a sloppier affair with prices either totally ignorant of wholly indifferent to both the market average and in some cases, the RRP. And the fact all EA titles are a full EIGHT BRITISH POUNDS more expensive than their Xbox Live counterparts is laughable.
Ha.
See?

Virtually every single aspect of Sony and Microsoft’s respective Next-Generation Marketing Campaigns has revolved around digital media. They’re fully aware of its relevance, importance and pervasiveness. That their digital shops still, STILL look like they were run by a character in a Lewis Carroll novel baffles me. Right in my Jabberwocky!



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