Playstation price cut expected to lift computer games industry
Key players in the West Midland video games publishing sector are hoping Sony’s move to slash the price of its PlayStation 3 will give a shot in the arm to flagging sales across the industry.
Sony is cutting the price of its flagship console in a bid to boost sales and is launching a new slimline version of its existing model early next month, which will cost £249.99 compared to the current £299.99 price tag.
The move comes after PlayStation 3 (PS3) sales lagged behind rival consoles such as Nintendo, while the wider industry has also suffered from weaker demand amid the recession.
Sales of the video games played on consoles have also been on the decline on both sides of the Atlantic – the latest industry video games figures showed a 5.7 per cent drop in year-on-year video games sales in the UK in the first half of this year.
A more accessibly-priced PS3 would widen the market for video games publishers – a sector which has a strong presence in the West Midlands with many world-class companies concentrated around the Leamington Spa area.
The town – which has been dubbed “Silicon Spa” - is home to Codemasters, one of the best-known names internationally with titles such as Ashes Cricket 2009 as well as Freestyle Games, a subsidiary of US giant Activision Blizzard, which has worked on the hugely popular Guitar Hero game.
Leamington Spa is also home to Blitz Games Studios, which has a wide offering including family-oriented and serious games.
Blitz chief executive officer Philip Oliver welcomed the move by Sony to drop the price of the PS3.
He said: “It’s not just a reduction in price which means it’s more attractive for new gamers to adopt the PS3 and more people to use games. They have also redesigned the PS3 so it’s smaller, lighter and uses less electricity and that’s also good for the environment.
“The whole industry is hoping PS3 sales will increase and grow more of a market to sell games. We hope companies like Microsoft and Nintendo will follow suit and drop the costs of their machines.”
The number of home and portable gaming consoles in the UK now stands at 24 million which is around the same number as there are UK households.
Blitz Games has been actively working with the government and the educational establishment to promote ways to support a thriving games industry in the UK.