Why didn't Sony cut the PS3 price in the UK?

Written by Joe Martin

July 19, 2007 // 11:17 a.m.

Tags: #britain #cut #england #europe #guardian #playstation #price #ps2 #ps3 #reeves #retail #sony #uk #united-kingdom

The news that the recent PlayStation 3 price cut wasn't all it appeared to be has shocked and angered gamers worldwide lately. Not only does it turn out that the $100 price cut will only cover the 60GB version of the PlayStation 3, which is soon to be discontinued, but Sony has also decided not to extend the price cut to Europe.

Well, Sony, what have you got to say for yourself?

In a recent interview with The Guardian newspaper, David Reeves, the President of SCEE, revealed a few of the factors behind the move.

"We've only been on the [UK] market for three and a bit months. We're actually not doing too badly - we're not selling as well as [Nintendo's] Wii or DS, but seasonality-wise, compared to, say, the PlayStation 2 at the same time we launched it in 2001, we're doing quite well on a regional level...In the US, they've been going for more than six months, so they took the decision that going down in price was a better thing to do," Reeves told The Guardian.

So, the same bland, custard-flavoured type of spin that we've come to expect of designers, producers and politicians everywhere. There was one moment of insight however, when Reeves said that "We thought if we reduced the price [in Europe], we'd annoy a lot of people."

Reeves goes on to argue about how good the value-for-money factor is for the new PlayStation 3 Value Pack, which will be released in Europe and includes Motorstorm, Resistance: Fall of Man, two SixAxis controllers and a 60GB model of the PS3.

"The added value in there is £120 to £125. We know that most people anyway are going to buy two to two-and-half games. So when you do the maths, you have $499, which is £250, plus two games and a SixAxis controller. Which is going to come up to £380 to £390. But there's VAT in Europe, so you have to take 15 percent off, and there's GST [sales tax] in the US, and the average sales tax is 8.5 percent. So when we did the maths, and this is the case in Australia as well, they are exactly the same."

No, not exactly the same and I think the maths are a little off too. In the US they can get a better model of the PS3 (albeit for a limited time) and some different games if they want - the standard bundle includes one game, so the value add is more like £75 to £80 in Europe.

Still, the numbers certainly hold up a fair way if you account for the different vendor margins - typically 15 percent in Europe, as opposed to only seven percent in America - and a close analysis reveals that the price difference between the US and Europe really isn't that massive, though the console is still too expensive for our tastes on a global scale.

Many continue to argue that while the PlayStation 3 is an impressive and powerful machine, it has suffered from poor marketing and a lack of decent launch titles. Sounds about the size of it to us, though things are doubtlessly going to improve when Metal Gear Solid 4 hits as a PS3 exclusive later in the year.

Got your own opinions on the price cuts, or are you just tired of the whole thing? Let us know how you feel about it in the forums.

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