Saturday, July 06, 2013

Gamers protest about EA's hike PC game prices in India

The leading gaming brand Electronic Arts (EA) has increased prices of its PC and console games in India, with PC games witnessing a hike of as much as 133% over last year's prices.
Popular PC racing game, Need for Speed:Most Wanted - 2012 was priced at Rs.1,499, last year. The game's latest edition, Need for Speed: Rivals, has been priced at Rs. 3,499. Similarly, FIFA 14 is priced at Rs. 2,499 for the PC edition, while FIFA 13 was priced at Rs. 1,799. Both titles were available for Rs. 999 on the PC the year before.

Dramatic price hikes on EA games in India will see titles like Battlefield 4 cost more than double the launch price of their predecessors.

It was revealed earlier this week that new titles in some of EA's most popular franchises would see dramatic price increases in India. The forthcoming Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals, for instance, are listing for Rs3499 ($58) on PC, compared to launch prices of Rs999 for their predecessors Battlefield 3 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted; the PC version of FIFA 14 will see its price increased by 66 percent over FIFA 13, from Rs999 to Rs2499. Non-EA games are going up as well but not nearly dramatically: The PC versions of Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV and Splinter Cell: Blacklist are all being listed for preorder at Rs1499.

As noted by gaming-focused website Indian Video Gamer, it seems the rationale behind this price hike is not the the weak Indian rupee, but EA's intent to have prices of PC games on its Origin Web store and for Box packs, in India, close to international prices. It notes that EA is now pricing PC games at $60, even in the Indian market.

If the Rupee rises again, the prices may fall marginally, but will perhaps be still too high for PC gamers used to popular titles from the likes of Ubisoft and Warner games being priced around Rs. 999. With these increased prices for PC games, they're now at par with console games which have always been priced higher, upwards of Rs. 2,499.

The article also tries to introspect why EA has also increased prices of Boxed games in India. It assesses that illegal re-exporting is very prevalent in the Indian market which essentially means that users, distributors, and resellers sell codes for Origin store that are supplied with box packs internationally at higher prices, which has resulted in the price hike.

On its part, EA feels that PC game sales are not increasing even at the Rs. 999 or Rs. 1,499 price points, so it's not worth sticking to lower prices. The report quotes Jayont R Sharma of Milestone Interactive, the company that distributes EA's PC and PlayStation games in India as saying that volumes are increasing even at higher prices as evident from pre-orders and that volumes did not change much when the company dropped prices.

Following this situation, it's feared that PC gamers will resort to piracy as these games have become extremely unaffordable.

To reach out to EA, the site has even started an #EAPCIndia movement on Twitter through which gamers can tag @EAIndia in their tweets and speak their minds out on the rising PC game prices in response to EA's move.

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