No matter what way the price is rationalized - I do believe the price will prove catastrophic to sales in Europe. I'll always stick up for Harmonix though - they gave the world Frequency after all.
eurogamer news piece.
Harmonix/Ea can say what they want in the explantation of the price tag but it still doesnt justify european customers paying double what the us pays, i was looking forward to this game just as much as anybody but i will definetly not be purchasing it at that price. Me and all my friends are calling a boycott on any harmonix/ea products until we recieve a significant price reduction and an apology.
Great explanation Greg, and thanks for taking the time to post it. Now let me shoot a few holes in that.
First of all, you name VAT, shipping etc etc as part of the reason of the high price. Explain to me, as a dumb nitwit consumer, why I can ship the Special Edition bundle (which is guitar, mic, drumkit and game, I'm sure you remember) from the US to Europe for 210 euro, including shipping, handling and VAT and profit for the retailer in question, while I have to pay 240 euro for that same package in local stores. Normally, bulk-transport is cheaper than individual transport, why is this the other way around for Rock Band?
Second, your colleague Rob Kay claimed that consumer electronics have always been higher priced in the UK than in the US. While true, the price for UK-products has never been twice as much as the US-retailvalue.
Third, your products are manufactured, assembled and then shipped in China. Is China --> Europe that more expensive than China --> North-America?
Fourth, you claim the size of the box is driving shipping-costs through the roof. While this may seem like a perfectly good explanation, your Rock Band-box is smaller and weighs less than the box my US manufactured amplifier came in. Oddly enough, the price I payed for my amp was not twice as much as the US-SRP. And no, it was not on discount or something like that.
Fifth and final point, you claim your game is "unique", while true, you are not the first to develop a game with unique and mega-sized controllers. Back in the days there was a game called Steel Batallion and it came with a ful-sized Mech-control-panel. The game, including controller, weighed nearly as much as the Rock Band-Special Edition-package, and cost $199 US SRP. In Europe, the game was launched at a SRP of 199 euro. I must add to this that the euro back then was worth less compared to the dollar to make my point even stronger; are you claiming Capcom was selling games at a loss? Sounds like the worst business-idea ever to me.
Rock Band sounds fantastic to me. I've spent more hours on Guitar Hero 1 & 2 than I have on any other game, and Rock Band is the logical successor to that franchise. It's a game that's both hardcore and casual.
That said, I will not buy a product if I have the slightest idea I'm being ripped off (which is why I don't own an iPod BTW). Compare the US price to the European price, compare the cost to import to the cost to buy it at retail, and compare the prices of games and game-peripherals overall, and you will see that you are ripping European consumers off.
I'm not asking you to sell Rock Band at a loss, I'm asking you to sell it at a fair price. 240 euro is not a fair price, there is no way you can justify this.
I really dont get all this noise. I understand WHY Europeans are upset over the price. The game is high priced. I can understand anger over that. What I dont get, are people acting like EA/HMX are trying to rob you guys blind, as if you HAVE to buy this game. Before the release and price was announced, dont you think they took a good look at that and said:
"Oh S**t. This game is going to cost an arm and a leg, and were going to lose gamers out of this"
Or, do you think they said:
"HAHAHA! Those stupid Euros are going to pay out the nose to play our game!!!" and then proceed to light cigars with a fistfull of burning hundred dollar bills.
Point is, I am a big HMX fan, and a not-so-big fan of EA's practices. But they are still in the business of selling games. And they are not going to make the price so radically expensive because they feel like it. EA would not be the gaming giant it is today if it was that stupid.
Besides, this game coming to Europe has taken forever. And people were complaining about the wait. Maybe its because they looked into every possible way to bring the price down, but just couldnt get it done, and figured they just have to release it, and hopefully the die-hard fans will buy it.
All im saying is. Unfortunatley, the price is what it is. If it could be lower, it probably would be. And its not going to drop because alot of gamers are all the sudden international shipping moguls, and think they can find a more cost effective way of shipping thousands and thousands of 20+ lb boxes overseas and across Europe. So..just make the call, either its worth it to you or its not. Honestly, I am looking forward to playing with European players online. As I enjoy playing COD4 and R6V2 with them. Im not trying to come across as a snotty American, and I hope I havent. Im just trying to come across as a rational person whose trying to convince fellow gamers to not take a high price personal.
Lower prices would equal more people buying. Its just apparent its not possible.
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I think if you look carefully at the original post, there is a hint to the real reason for the SRP.
Yes the SRP is high - but the real price is going to be much lower and fall over time.
In Europe we have only one *really* large hight street retail outlet - they have over a thousand stores. They are the only way that the game can be seen set up.
They are in expensive high street locations which cost them a fortune is space, they have borrowed to buy out the competition and have promised their shareholders large growths in profit. With the credit squeeze starting to bite they want the money real bad....
They need to sell it for a ridiculously high price for those reasons- They can t be seen to sell it over the SRP - If EA announced a sensible SRP, that company would not stock/promote their games - they have done it before to EA- and without that support the only way rock band will be publicised is by gaming mags and word of mouth.
So EA bit the bullet - announced a stupid price to keep that game shop happy - knowing there was enough margin for people like Play to sell it for £50 less than the SRP. - Now Play aren't a charity - they will be making good money on it (and the £130 includes shipping)
I would imaging EA/Harmonix would have loved to announce it at an SRP of £120-130, if not a bit lower.
The other stuff they say is true - it is expensive over here, import duty on electronics is 5%, VAT is 17.5% shipping is expensive, distribution and warehousing costs are high - but that is really only a portion of the cost.
I would imagine that it actually costs the retailer about £90 - so companies like play are probably only making 20%- 25% after paying the VAT.
That is not unreasonable.
So lets not bash them too much - we know Harmonix aren't bad guys and we know EA aren't stupid - you don't get that big if you can't run a company. Equally they can't say its a particular shops fault for the price as that would be bad for business too.
So as I like to be different from everyone else I'd like to say that I feel sorry for the Harmonix developers - they love the game and want it to be cheap so everyone can enjoy what they've created.
What if they intend to sell us a completely new set of instruments that is far more resilient to hardcore users to make up for the 1 year warranty issue ?
Maybe they dont want to frustrate their previous US customers by confessing they sold them substandard quality equipment while they intend to make it right to foreigners !
well yeh, they might be selling us good qualoty stuff and not admiting it.