Why are console games more expensive than movie DVDs?
One man’s argument for why video games should not cost more than Dhs75.
I’ve been on a quest of late to try and find out why video games cost as much as they do. The average price for a new PS3 or 360 game in Dubai these days is Dhs279 (approximately $76). That’s a lot of money and I’d like to know why a video game costs me four times as much as it takes to fill up a full tank of petrol. Let’s take a look at some of the arguments:
1. High production costs — Yes, I’ll agree that it takes millions to make and distribute a big budget game. However, it also takes as much or even more to make a big budget movie and I only have to pay Dhs30 ($8) to watch it at the cinema or Dhs75 ($20) to buy it on DVD.
2. Piracy — Yes, piracy hurts video game sales and increases prices which in turn leads to more piracy. It’s a vicious cycle, I know. However, you can find as many pirated movies on the Internet (no, I won’t send you links if you email me) or as a bootleg DVDs at shady corners of the street as you do video games. So, why can’t I pay Dhs75 for a video game, the same as I do for a movie?
3. Marketing Costs — Again, I’d argue that the movie industry spends more on marketing than the gaming industry – particularly in this part of the world.
4. The Cost of Shipping Games — Perhaps the video game industry needs to take cue from the movies industry and just print the game on DVDs/Blu Ray locally rather than spending a small fortune shipping in the games from Europe.
5. The Blu Ray Factor — Yes, Blu Rays are more expensive than DVDs and Sony’s probably a little more justified than Microsoft for their prices but even still, an average Blu Ray DVD movie costs $25 to $40 — almost half the price of a video game.
6. The Console Factor — Consoles are sold cheaper than the cost of production, in the hope that the video game sales offsets the difference in cost. Marketing gurus call it the Razors and Blades strategy — sell the razor for cheap and charge a small fortune for the blades (made even more effective by giving it a name corresponding to a multiple of the speed of the light). Honestly, I’d be happy to pay a little more for the consoles as long as I don’t have to pay Dhs279 for every new game.
Microsoft’s been spending its time raiding pirated games stores and we say kudos for the effort but if you really want to try and sell more games — start taking a better look at your prices. Until you do, you’ll find me at the bargain bin section of the store delving through old classics that deserve my Dhs75.