A sign of Global recession?
September 28, 2001 2:49 AM   Subscribe

A sign of Global recession? For the first time I can remember, it's cheaper to buy a console in the UK than it is the States. Over here, we're used to seeing straight dollar to pound conversions ($299 = £299), so this is a first. Do you think it's sign of recession or just Sony developing a conscience?
posted by jiroczech (10 comments total)
That always confused me.. Why did we always have to pay 1.5 times as much as those over in the US?? Bravo Sony, I'm off to buy a PS2 now, bye..
posted by Mossy at 3:51 AM on September 28, 2001

I thought the pound was about 1.5 US dollars?
posted by revbrian at 4:06 AM on September 28, 2001

at the moment it's about 1.4US dollars to the pound.
posted by stevridie at 4:29 AM on September 28, 2001

The exchange rate hovers around 1.5 dollars to the pound, but for stuff like cars, electrical goods and that, the price in the UK is usually the same in pounds as it is in dollars in the US.

We're used to getting ripped off here - the usual arguments centre around supply and distribution blah blah.. but I don't believe that.

Recently a number of car dealerships owned up to charging more in the UK, simply because they could get away with it.
posted by jiroczech at 4:38 AM on September 28, 2001

aren't you supposed to charge what the market will bare?

My guess is the market at a higher price has gone soft so they're lowering to increase sales.
posted by Mick at 4:50 AM on September 28, 2001

I would say there is a global recession, and signs have been a lot more powerful than a simply playstation pricetag.

There have been umpteen retrenchments in Australia over the past few months, and thousands in the US as well. I'm not sure how the UK & Europe is fairing, but if it's the same then I'd say, no matter what the economists say, those doing the drudge work will agree the recession is well and truly underway.
posted by Neale at 4:52 AM on September 28, 2001

Well my boyf just emailed some of mine and his former colleagues to see if they were coming out for a lunchtime pint, only to be told they don't actually work there anymore. I think that's a sign of a recession. I'm sitting here freelance working from home after being 're-evaluated' at my former place of work. My friend's boyf has just learned his job may be on the line as well.
posted by Summer at 5:16 AM on September 28, 2001


My guess is the market at a higher price has gone soft so they're lowering to increase sales.

Console price doesn't really have any relation to the price the market will bear - they're bigtime loss-leaders. They really would give them away to open up a vast consumer software market, if they didn't face the problem of effectively giving away free CD/DVD players to people that might not use them for games at all.

My reading of the situation is that Sony have a seriously aggressive marketing strategy in Europe (particularly the UK). The big niche markets that Nintendo and Sega have in the US and Japan (hardcore arcade or gameplay freaks) don't exist to such a great extent, so all the consoles are marketed pretty much to the same demographic. Sony feel that they can afford to adopt a brutal price-cutting strategy because they make so much of their money either from their own developed or third-party game sales. They adopted a serious guerilla marketing tactic with the Playstation in the UK, cutting the price to around £100 on the same day as the N64 launched (at a price of £400 iirc). This, like most of the PS marketing was widely perceived as a massive success.

I'm not too sure what the release schedule is for the X-box at the moment, but I'd bet that the main reason for the price cut is to cement market-share while the opportunity is still there. It's also been timed to co-incide with the release of serious flagship titles like Gran Turismo 3 of course - press release here.
posted by bifter at 5:50 AM on September 28, 2001

Why are you complaining? We have to fork over three hundred little pieces of paper. You only have to collect two hundred pieces of paper.
posted by dhartung at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2001

Mick said : "aren't you supposed to charge what the market will bare?"

And, you're right. The British tend to stomach high prices since there's little choice. Competition between companies is less cut-throat than in the US.. and if one company charges a high price for something, the others will too, just so they can all keep comfortable.

We've been paying over $4 a US gallon for gas for some time now, but we'll keep buying it.. we want to drive. If they want to charge double the US rate for a console.. who cares? Someone will buy it. And those who don't want to will just go and buy the illegal hooky versions.. or steal it. That's probably why crime is so rife in the UK.
posted by wackybrit at 6:21 PM on September 29, 2001

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