…But we have no games.
Yep, you read that right. And I assume it’s true for other people too.
The one game we really wanted to get at launch was Watch_Dogs. The game comes from Ubisoft of all people, who ruined Assassin’s Creed with its promising début way back in 2007 and its even better sequel 2009, but we’ve sadly found its most recent additions quite poor. Watch_Dogs has since been delayed to… some time in early 2014.
But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. I want to talk about money.
I read, interesting, from Joystiq about how the PS4 sells at a profit, which is fantastic news for Sony, as they sold the PS3 at quite a loss for a long time. The Joystiq article links to the full details, but essentially thanks to advances in making cheaper, smaller bits of technology we can pay what I consider to be a pretty reasonable price for the console at roughly £350. And from what I’ve seen so far it’s worth it, but we’ll get to the console positives in a bit.
It’s also reported that the Playstation Plus service (where you subscribe and receive free games and discounts, but I assume you know about this stuff at least a bit if you’re interested enough to read this far) is doing really well. Joystiq reports that GameStop have sold a full one third of their subscriptions in the week of the PS4’s release alone, though with no real figures, it leaves us to assume since it’s been selling them since 2010 that it’s a significant number.
So, if they’re making all this money, and they are selling so many consoles – on the UK version of Amazon at least, the PS4 was the highest pre-ordered item before its release for quite a while – why are the games so expensive on PS4? And why do we still have such a disparity between UK and US prices?
The standard edition of FIFA 13 for the PS4 on Amazon UK at the time of writing is £47. This is compared to £27.99 for the PS3. On the Amazon US website, the game is $49.99. This translates to £30.54 roughly with a currency converter (Yahoo if you’re curious). A whole £17 cheaper. For argument’s sake, many people talk about how the UK adds tax to all their purchase prices – which is true – a %20 tax rate [Many states have sales tax too – Ed.] would push the total to £36.64, roughly. This is still a full £10 cheaper than the listed price, closer to the price of PS3 games at retail, and a price I’m much more willing to pay. People also make a similarly unconvincing argument about how games are made in the US, where they (apparently) press a lot of the games, so they’re cheaper for them. I’m pretty sceptical about both those claims.
The games that we have for the PS4’s release are mostly games that are already available on the PS3 – I don’t think it’s an unfair stretch to call these early games ports. Ports that cost £17 more on the PS4, which is already making a nice profit on it’s own back.
But I’m cynical. I certainly have opinions on the matter. I realise the prices are partially developer set. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to point out that in the UK there are only about 10 games on sale at the moment for the PS4, there are many more for pre-order, but only a few to play now. Are people really willing to pay a bit of a premium to have something, at least, to play on release? Probably, I guess.
We didn’t, though we are now considering getting Killzone: Shadow Fall. We’re still watching to see if the prices change and become more competitive (like they have with the PS3) with time.
To finish up on some console positives, in brief: I like the controller, it feels comfortable, and I like all the extras in it, I like how fast and responsive the console is, it has a better browser (OMG!WTF!FINALLY!), better options for typing in messages, and a very neat ability to drop in and out of what you’re doing with the console keeping it running in the background where you were for you.