It’s that ‘Gouge the UK’ time of the year again

Apparently games in the UK are due to get a price hike this Christmas. I can’t see this going down well, £50 is a huge amount to pay for a game where an equivalent would have been £40 last year. And to add insult to injury, although they’re happy to put prices up when the pound is weak, we didn’t see them rushing to lower prices back when the pound was strong.

Either way, we lose.

As a PC gamer, none of this affects me overly (yet). MMOs seem like comparatively better value than ever, and there are plenty of good indie/ downloadable games to keep a player occupied while waiting for the prices of the new releases to come down after the first couple of months. (I blame RPS for turning me on to Bookworm Adventures which is my latest timewaster of choice. It’s like a scrabble RPG!)

I’ll be curious to see how these price rises affect sales. Or in technical terms, what’s the price elasticity of games for hardcore gamers in the UK these days? We’ve been hit as hard by the recession as anyone.

Interestingly, EA responded to Activision’s price rises (which will no doubt include Diablo III and Starcraft II, if anyone hadn’t twigged yet) with a thunderous,

“There has been no change in our trade pricing policy and there will be no change in RRP.

It will be interesting to look at the sales charts next January and see who made the smartest call.