President of Konami Europe Kunio Neo has told MCV that publishers are being harmed by constant reductions in retail prices. In the interview, Mr. Neo stated that UK prices are “very poor.”
“Retailers are always reducing prices and the profits for publishers are getting smaller. The UK is really suffering.”
He pointed out Germany as an example of where publishers are doing better and noted that, since Konami is based in Germany, they were doing better than a US-based retailer who focuses on the UK.
The criticism comes off of what European GM of marketing, sales, and products Martin Schneider calls a “price war” related to the release of multiple AAA titles in the region, including an almost half-price discount of Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution to £21, down from £40. Tesco (editor’s note: Americans, think Wal-Mart) followed suit in dropping the price to £30.
Kunio Neo has a long history at Konami and has been credited on multiple entries in the Silent Hill series as well as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
Analysis: Forgive me for not shedding crocodile tears at the plight of the poor, pitied publishers who are suffering so indignantly at the hands of honest competition in the retail market, especially in a market that has been screwed over for decades from both a release and a price perspective. AAA titles in the UK are £40 usually, which comes out to $65 US. That’s $5 above our AAA price, but that’s also offset by two facts: 1) the American dollar is weak right now, and 2) the effective price of the game is much lower once you consider Britain’s VAT. By that note, Britain’s doing well.
Funny, though, I don’t hear anyone at Konami saying anything about the price of games in Australia. I’m going to do a little comparison of the cost of 505 Games’s Rugby World Cup 2011. Foreign currencies will be transferred to American currency for comparison’s sake.
Needless to say, retailers are silent about Australia’s “problems” because they seem to be doing OK in that region.
Regardless, this is good for UK gamers because with the market becoming increasingly anti-consumer by way of online passes, multiple forms of DRM, and the forced proliferation of DLC that used to come with our purchases, I’ll cheer the one bright spot we get out of this.