PS4: steep store pricing explained by Sony

PlayStation 4 digital titles have come under scrutiny this week, starting with EA titles FIFA 14, Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals each selling for £63 a pop. Sony has now stepped forward to explain why its own titles Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall cost £53 on the store.

Eurogamer has flagged up that Killzone: Shadow Fall is £48 on Amazon, which still undercuts the PlayStation Store by a few quid.  Responding to the site, PlayStation’s UK boss Fergal Gara said, “Digital pricing is an interesting question to raise. First of all, we want to support a healthy retail channel, so it’s not in our interest to go and seriously undermine retail.”

He added that bricks and mortar shops in the UK often price games lower to secure sales, and stressed that Britain is one of the most fierce nations in this regard. Eurogamer flagged up the Amazon example, to which Gara replied, “Let’s not forget the UK is probably the most competitive retail space there is in the world.

“So when it comes to any recommended retail prices they will frequently choose to price significantly below them. You mentioned Amazon as an example. Amazon control their own pricing. We don’t set the pricing. So if they decide on some crazy low prices they’d like to charge their customers, that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for the PlayStation Store to match or follow that price. These are effectively all independent retailers.”

Will Sony appraise the matter on an ongoing basis however? Gara seemed confident, and added, “Will there be a settling down and an alignment, and where would we expect digital pricing to be? We’d hope it would be roughly equivalent to street pricing for the disc. That’s where we expect the dust to settle over time.”

Concerning EA’s steep pricing, Gara explained, “In respect to third-party content, obviously we’re only part of the pricing equation, and the PlayStation Store is only part of the pricing equation, and the publisher has a big say particularly about the price they offer it to us at. So I can’t be drawn into comment on that.”