Sony have announced that they will be hiking prices “due to adverse changes in the Yen/Euro & Euro/Pound exchange rate over the last six months”. I’ll break that down for you: They don’t want to be hit too hard by the global economic crisis. I wouldn’t mind so much if they’d actually lowered prices when the pound was so strong but they didn’t. Doing some quick Google-work suggests things are still more expensive in the UK than they are in the US or Japan, even with the pound being worth less than the groat on the financial markets.
I’m sure Sony have some finance boffins that will be able to justify this in a perfectly reasonable way but all I see is this: Prices weren’t lower when the pound was very strong; prices will be higher now the pound is a bit weaker and finally, prices will more than likely not come down when the pound strengthens (as it has started to do), they’ll just make more money.
“The precise level of price increases has not yet been agreed,” said a Sony spokesperson, “but it is likely that the vast majority of products affected will see increases of significantly less than 33 per cent.” Which is a masterclass in suggestive language. Read the quote again, it almost sounds like the price increases won’t be that bad doesn’t it? Well, 33% increase on a PS3 game that was (for ease of calculation in my mathematically challenged brain) £30 means that now the same game will be £40.
Just for shits and giggles why don’t you count how many games you have on your shelf/under your telly/spread accross your floor. Imagine each one is a crisp new tenner. But it’s not your tenner, it’s Sony’s tenner. This all happened a couple of weeks ago though so why the news now? Well, they have said (more recently) that they won’t increase the price of the PS3, which is a shame because I wouldn’t mind selling mine second hand for a profit and buying an Xbox, they don’t seem to need to hike their prices do they?
UPDATE: People seem to be ready to explode about this news so I’d like to point out that nothing has been definitely agreed yet, other than the fact that they need to make price increases to protect themselves against possible problems in the future. These price increases are also to the retailers so there is a chance that Amazon, Game, HMV et al. will just eat the rises and not pass them on to your, the consumer.
Don’t freak out, it might all be ok in the end.