You Cost How Much?

This post was originally birthed the night of Sony’s GamesCom conference to have a real look at the cost of the Slim. However, with rumours circulating about an Xbox price drop imminent I decided to wait. Incidentally, at the Lionhead press conference, no announcement was made about a change in the pricing, so although there have been various rumours of an expected price cut for the Elite, this post was going to look at current pricing. However, today Microsoft have announced the discontinuation of the Pro model and the price drop for Elite, so this will now look at the new pricing.

One thing that has always been bandied about is the difference in price between the various on-market consoles. With the recent announcement and implementation of the PS3’s price cut, many gamers – including several of our very own readers – have dismissed the impact that this may make. Whilst I agree, the price drop may not be massive on our little island, but as soon as you look further afield, the difference becomes much more promising.

  • UK
    • PlayStation 3 – £249.99
    • Xbox 360 Arcade/Elite – £159.99/£199.99
    • Wii – £179.99

So, here in the Queens-land, the PS3 is still the most expensive console, but the gap is now much more negligible. I’ve decided not to look at the ‘overall’ cost of the consoles as it has been done so many times previously, and is often not considered by your ‘average’ gamer. Plenty of consumers will go into a store and see a PS3 for £250 and find that a much more appealing price than before; on top of that, the added factor of a new version of the console being released will surely boost sales.

  • EU
    • PlayStation 3 – €299.99
    • Xbox 360 Arcade/Elite – €179.99/€249.99
    • Wii – €249.99

In the rest of Europe however pricing is very favourable now. You can walk into any high-street and even paying RRP will only be 50 euros more than a Wii or a 360. The addition of a built-in Blu-Ray player, Wireless adapter, controller chargers and free online play as well as the well-renowned brand name of PlayStation makes this seem fantastic value for customers.

  • US
    • PlayStation 3 – $299.99
    • Xbox 360 Arcade/Elite – $199.99/$299.99
    • Wii – $249.99

However, it is the US where things look really good, now at the same price as Elite version of the 360 and just $50 pricier than the standard-definition Wii. With a fantastic line-up of 2009 releases still to come, this could be a very significant time for PlayStation and Sony.

Now onto a bit of a rant. In unusual fashion, I will be looking at the real cost of the family-friendly Wii as it somewhat pissed me off the other day. It was my mothers birthday over the weekend where she turned the ripe age of fifty. A few months back she was asking me some questions about the Wii, whether she’d like it, whether it’s any good, etc, as she knows I know my stuff. Anyway, my sponge-like memory kept hold of this golden nugget of information until now, where we put it to good use as the family bought her a Wii to celebrate five decades of life – it’s okay, she doesn’t read the site…I hope. With it came Wii Sports (obviously) but we also purchased EA Active which she has loved. Now why has this annoyed me you say? Well, it hasn’t directly, so I’ll continue with my story. My sister wishes to buy a few games so asked for some recommendations; having taking to the boxing like a fish to water, I suggested Punch Out, but to also get another controller to then play multiplayer at home.

This was the moment I was truly shocked. I can purchase a Dualshock 3 for £34, an Xbox 360 controller and battery for £33, but to buy an entire controller for the Wii – which now consists of the Wiimote, Nunchuck and Wii Motion Plus – would cost a staggering £55; that’s not even RRP pricing either. So to truly experience the Wii, as a family/party console, you need two, three probably four controllers which will almost cost the price of the console itself. I couldn’t believe it, and it got me thinking and also slightly aggravated at the cost of our beloved hobby. I’m sure most gamers – David Jaffe for sure – would agree that games are too expensive. If games were cheaper, we’d buy more, probably resulting in more sales. The preconception of the £40 price-point being normal expense is as set-in-stone as thinking that £10 for a downloadable title is expensive.

I therefore ask you; what are your thoughts on the cost of modern-day gaming? If prices were lower would you buy more? How do you feel when spending a tenner on a quality downloadable title? Yet you may spend £30 on an average retail product. Will the Wii’s sales start to slow now the the other two competitors are considerably more favourably priced?