PlayStation 3 games will be priced between ¥8,800 ($75) and ¥9,800 ($84) in Japan, according to Japanese news site Impress Watch. Apparently, the increase is due to rising development costs, as Gamasutra reports.
The Random Tracking editorial, from respected Japanese journalists Munechika Nishida and as translated by website IGN and others, quotes “multiple information sources” for the figures, which have not yet been announced by Sony Japan.
If true, the price increase would mark a significant increase from the average PlayStation 2 game price in Japan of ¥6,800 ($58), although the lower figure is on par with high profile PlayStation 2 releases, such as from the Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy series.
Japanese game prices can vary considerably across even a single format, depending on the title. Higher profile games, such as the recent Nintendo DS title Final Fantasy III, are often sold at an increased price. Similarly, Xbox 360 titles Dead Rising and Lost Planet will be priced at ¥8,379 ($72) when they are released - ¥1,000 to ¥2,000 ($9 to $17) more than usual. Tecmo’s Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 will be sold at an even more excessive ¥9,240 ($79).
Apparently, Sony also had plans to lower their royalties for smaller developers. These plans have, apparently, been shelved, though.
Interestingly, the article mentions Sony seemingly considering a move away from their two-bundle strategy. This would tie in with their recent announcement to include an HDMI port with the core version, after all.
Sony is attempting to move the focus away from the twin SKU (stock keeping unit) model originally announced for the PlayStation 3. In his feature Nishida suggests that, in Japan at least, Sony will deemphasize the more expensive 60GB hard drive model in a change to its original business model for the format.
Other territories might still see two versions, mirroring Microsoft´s strategy with their Xbox360 (which was only available as part of the premium bundle).
Higher price tags for next-gen games have pretty much been expected. SCEA boss Kaz Hirai told media in June that software prices would be higher, but less than $99.99 (see Games Industry). Given this statement, a price between $75 and $84 is not all that bad, in my opinion. Of course, we will have to wait and see how prices turn out in other territories.
Much more interesting is Sony´s rumoured focus away from the two-tier strategy of a core and premium bundle. Though, again, this may only affect Japan, it would be a wise move on Sony´s part to make sure the core bundle does not become known as a ´retard pack´, as is the case with Xbox360. At $100 less, its core version lacks a harddrive. But a memory card already costs $35, reducing the saving by a third. And you are still without a harddrive (sold separately for $100) and wireless controllers. As a result, I have always mentioned in my reports that the Xbox360 costs $400, i.e. €400.
As far as making sure that the PS3´s core version is more than a dud, only enabling the pricing to be communicated as ´from $499´, the inclusion of a HDMI port was a vital step and may be seen as proof of Sony´s intentions to up the core version.
Thanks to: SidePocket