Skip to main content

Price slashing will 'confuse and disappoint' consumers

But boss believes higher RRPs "are a sign of things to come"

The recent price war conducted by some supermarkets on the release of FIFA 10 earlier this month has been branded as "stupidity" by director Neil Muspratt, who has told that he believes the practice will only service to confuse - and ultimately disappoint - the consumer.

Speaking in an exclusive interview in the build-up to what the industry hopes will be a busy Christmas period, Muspratt explained that while the recent hardware price cuts were good news, he expected the new higher RRP of Modern Warfare 2 to become the standard in future.

"The price reduction of hardware is excellent news and so far it's certainly had a profound effect on our sales," he explained. "I see this as being one of the key Christmases in the lifecycle of the consoles especially Xbox and PlayStation as, arguably, Nintendo's installed user base is already further on than those guys, so the price reductions of hardware is excellent news for the industry.

"With regards to software pricing it's early days as we're only just in to Q4 but do I see higher RRP prices in terms of software a sign of things to come? Yes I do."

However, the lack of consistency around recent pricing - and particularly the slashing of FIFA 10 to just GBP in some supermarket stores - is causing him to worry.

"As a retailer I have some concerns though because I don't know that those higher trade prices will be properly reflected in the ultimate selling price," he said. "The stupidity with [the aggressive price slashing of] FIFA10 is perhaps also a sign of things to come and shows that retailers still believe that this particular entertainment format is ripe for crazy discounting."

But while some independent retailers claimed to buy their stock from such supermarkets because it was cheaper than getting it from distributors, Muspratt was sceptical that it was a widespread practice.

"I don't think that there are many independents that do that on a massive scale. I think those quoted as saying that have really been making the point that it is quite ridiculous that they could go out to supermarket and buy this title far cheaper than they can from the official distributor.

"There's absolutely nothing anybody can do to control that. Nobody can set prices as that's illegal, and no publisher is going to limit the planned day one numbers in order to control price. We just have to have to hope that the big players can recognise and respect the importance of what they do regarding price and also recognise that it is important that we send out fairly consistent messages to consumers.

"Selling this title for GBP 25 or less when in a few weeks the year's biggest game [Modern Warfare 2] is coming out at double that price cannot, in anybody's mind, be seen to be a consistent message to consumers.

"It's a fairly lazy excuse that by slashing the prices of games the retailers are giving the customer what they want. Of course they are in the short term, but what it means is that same customer is going to be very disappointed when they turn up two or three weeks later to buy the next big game and it’s up to twice the price."

The full interview with Neil Muspratt is available on now.

Read this next

Related topics