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Konami: UK games pricing is poor

European president Kunio Neo criticises retail strategies

Konami's European president Kunio Neo has spoken out against the trend for aggressive discounts and competitive pricing in the UK.

"UK games pricing is very poor," Neo told MCV.

"Retailers are always reducing prices and the profits for publishers are getting smaller. The UK is really suffering.And he said that Konami is far from the worst-off publisher in this situation."

He also suggested that Germany, where Konami's European operations are situated, isn't experiencing the same culture of price slashing.

"We're based in Germany and despite the economic conditions in many other countries, Germany is doing alright. So we're not as affected as a US publisher that has a UK office. They're suffering because they focus their sales on the UK."

The report also included comments from the publishers European general manager of sales, Martin Schneider.

"I am envious of my opposite numbers in France and Germany - they never have to have the conversations I have. I get many calls giving me grief when our games are discounted, but there's nothing I can do. Legally I can't make them put prices up."

Last month Konami's financial results showed a 4.3 per cent rise for Q1.

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Latest comments (15)

Perhaps if games in UK were priced correctly (as what retailers are discounting the prices to) in the first instance, there would be no need tp discount. The Euro on the otherhand is getting very pricey indeed

On average a game will retail at Euro 49.95 RRP
Whereas in UK the suggested RRP varies from 36.99 to 49.99. These often get discounted back to 34.99 because psychologically the average brit will not pay above the 35 barrier. Not in this period of economic Hardship.
So moan as much as one wants, the retailers know what the customer will be absolutely willing to pay and in the sep to dec blood bath, its better to have some sales than no sales at all due to the glut of large titles coming out.

And if there are overall poor sales in the end, there is only oneself to blame due to the individual stategies to compete against other robust titles.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dr. Chee Ming Wong on 5th September 2011 11:27am

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Guzmn Daz8 years ago
Console games in my country retail at between 59.95 and 69.95 (fortunately, PC games are cheaper), with games never going down in prices at all. As a result, people don't buy many games, since the most they usually can afford is a game every 1 or 2 months. That is a poor pricing IMHO.

Ever since several retailers in the UK sell overseas through their websites such as Play.com and Zavvi.com, people all around Europe can afford buying games at decent prices, sales from many stores here are going to the UK and as a result I've been kicked out of Game and Gamestop stores for mentioning these websites. I myself have bought more than 100 UK games over the past three years because I could afford to buy them. If I were to buy them in my country, I probably wouldn't even have a console.

The current pricing is great for retailers and customers, not that great for publishers, but they should know that most of their games wouldn't sell if their price didn't go down. And as Chee said, some sales is better than no sales.
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So, in fairness is this article taken in context or represents a bit of moaning?
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Show all comments (15)
Fabien Roussot Developer, Gunjin Games Ltd8 years ago
I used to live in France where games are 60/70, and I know live in UK where I buy new games for 30/35 (~35/40). I don't buy second hand by principle, and I pre-order in most cases. With the price for a new game being half the price in UK, I don't by two but three or four times more games. Because It's easier to save 40, especially when you have many others expenses, than pilling up 70. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in this case.

I don't think the price is bad is UK, I think it helps new sales where everyone get some money over second hand market where only the retailers see profit. After, it is true that the price is dropping very quickly... I bought Darksiders new for 14 only a couple of month after it was released. I don't think it is helping anyone in this case.
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Mark Raymond Gamer; Consumer; Blogger 8 years ago
Obviously publishers are going to be hating, but as a consumer I think it's wonderful to be living in a country where such healthy competition is allowing more people to buy and experience games on a larger scale. I'm sorry that Konami don't feel the same way.
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Joo Namorado Project Manager, Portugal Telecom8 years ago
It's hard to follow the reasoning behind these statements, since it is the retailers, not the publishers, who are receiving less money per unit. I suppose this is targeted at massive discounts made by some larger retailers, which unbalance the market and make it very difficult for smaller shops to sell their inventory. I wouldn't be surprised if publishers got some angry calls from smaller retailers when this happens.

As for the actual price of games, here in Portugal AAA console games sell for 69.95 and most second hand copies are sold at 59.95.
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So as a mini summary.

Games in Euros are exorbitantly expensive. Not everyone can afford it.
Game pricing in UK is actually reasonable.

If i were a smart cookie retailer, i'd look into exporting to the Euros, because even with mail/postage - it would be a bargain for the consumer.

if I were a publisher, I would realize times are hard worldwide, and some readjustment of prices is in order to ensure regular sales. And perhaps not get quoted out of context at the risk of looking silly.

(unlikely to happen...hehe)
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University8 years ago
forgive me for not knowing, but what shops do reducing prices a lot?
non of the shops I been to have do not have a lot of reducing. (i do see it online)
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus8 years ago
It's obvious that the Australian model - where you pay $120 for the games and like it - is the better model.

Seriously, this is barely an issue to me. They would charge 80 if they could. And really? Games in the UK are STILL extremely expensive. Madden '12 at GAME is 40; in American currency, that's $65, $5 above our marked price.

The REAL issue is in Australia. EB Games Australia is charging $98 for Rugby World Cup (a 35 game in the UK, and unreleased in the US). That's $103 USD, about 64. Even Europe (53.90, which is about 47/$76) isn't that bad. I somehow don't hear Konami bitching about that. (As an aside: why is the price at Game.es different for the PS3 and 360 versions of this game? Is that a trend in Europe?)

Put it this way: I'm not shedding crocodile tears because of Konami's "problems". And don't they charge the same going out the door anyway? That's like saying Amazon's deal a day is bad.

Consumers have been so screwed by AAA publishers over the past few years by Project Ten Dollar, Online Passes, DRM, a forced reliance on online play and the forced proliferation of DLC that used to come with the game that I'm perfectly OK with them getting one over for once.

EDIT: Rugby World Cup '11 is $50 in the US, according to GameSto-- wait, they're charging $50 for that thing!?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 5th September 2011 7:01pm

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
I can only assume that the reason it effect Konami (as people point out, if the store is discounting they are still paying the same to the publisher) is that people in mainland Europe are importing, and retailers in those countries are pressuring publishers to reduce prices so they can compete.
As for Stephan's comment about stores not reducing prices, RRP is generally 45-50 on Xbox/ps3 games. On the odd occasion you see a game at 45 in Game, you can bet its a 50 RRP.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 8 years ago
Where i am games retail for 60-70 brand new. Even platinum games (that are old and have sold a lot) are 30-40. Cheapest i've seen a game is 25.

I sometimes order through amazon... however, even when pre-ordering, they do not send the game in advance, meaning that i have a 10-day wait after its release. It also doesn't make sense for me to purchase games singularly due to the postage cost. Meaning that i either wait for three games (appears to be the optimum) that i do want or potentially waste 12-15 Euros on P&P.

I'm in a pretty no-win situation when it comes to pricing here... Whereas when i lived in the UK it was easier, more convenient and cheaper to buy as many games as i wanted. I guess publishers don't like that...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 5th September 2011 9:15pm

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Tony Johns8 years ago
These social economic times are a sad part of our industry.

You guys pay so much less for your games, while me in Australia with the strong aussie dollar has to keep on paying loads on money for a game that is still at $100 even though I should have been paying at least $50 for it.

It seems that the pricing for games in Australia has been the same as it was 5 years ago, and the price for games in Australia is way too high compared to what other consumers are paying for in other countries.

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Max Priddy8 years ago
I don't think this guy understands that people will buy where the prices are cheapest, because I'm not gonna pay 40-50RRP brand new if I can buy it for cheaper off Steam, Green Man Gaming or Zavvi etc. That's why prices are competitive, and all for the better in my opinion because to build on what Chee said, selling cheaper games = more sales = more money as opposed to selling full price = less sales = less money made, unless you're Activision who can apparently charge whatever the hell they want for a new CoD4 rehash.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Max Priddy on 6th September 2011 12:24am

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David Skoumbourdis Senior Analyst / Programmer, Journalist 8 years ago
I'm another Australian and I've been importing the majority of my consoles and software for the good part of a decade. Importing hardware and software, even factoring in shipping and on the rare occasion taxes is still a lot cheaper than purchasing locally.

Why buy a new title from a local retailer - who may not even sell you an unopened copy mind you - for 30-50% more than it would cost you to import a sealed copy inclusive of shipping? I'd be prepared to support local retailers a little more if pricing were more competitive and they stop trying to sell opened copies of games as new.

The only time I buy locally, is if it's a game I simply cannot wait for or when I want to secure a collector's edition that can't be had easily from overseas.
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