Milestone Interactive, EA’s main distributor in India, has said that the price hike for PC games is warranted as PC gaming is a ‘premium experience’ and should have a ‘premium price.’ In response to an email, Jayont R. Sharma, CEO of Milestone also said that in the past PC game prices were subsidised in India as the PC was considered to be a mass market platform but that even at the subsidised price, PC game sales did not grow ‘as per expectations.’ He added that gamers today had options like mobile and tablet gaming and free to play games, which has also made PC games a more ‘premium’ segment.
Sharma also said that since the cost of a gaming PC is often comparable to consoles, PC gamers should be able to afford higher priced games. He stated that retailers understood the reasoning behind the price hike and that Milestone believes that retailers who weren’t interested in selling PC games because of low prices would now look at them favourably. Interestingly, Sharma also revealed that Milestone was looking at the possibility of importing all PC game titles just like in the case of console titles. Milestone will also ensure that the price of an EA PC game is the same for physical copies and digital downloads from its Downloads4U service. Sharma said that he expects PC game sales to fall in the wake of this price hike but only for as long as it takes Indian PC gamers to ‘adjust’ to the new pricing.
A selection of PC games available for pre-order or purchase on Nextworld.in
The sad truth that emerges from this exchange is that subsidising PC game prices to combat piracy (or just to increase game sales) has failed as a strategy here. Unfortunately, all that this price hike will do is drive more people towards piracy and hurt the PC gamers here who want to continue buying games legally. The price hike is especially unfair on those PC gamers who have spent substantial amounts of money on building a PC with the lower game prices in mind. These gamers will now have to contend with either spending a large sum on new games too, or looking at piracy, which, unfortunately, still runs rampant.
If this pricing strategy gathers momentum, then I see absolutely no reason to buy games from retail stores in India, and absolutely no reason not to rely on Steam or other digital distribution services. I also don’t see this new price hike going away anytime soon, because we already have gamers on the console side who have been shelling out Rs. 3,499 ($60 approx.) for a game for ages.
So far, it all looks like doom and gloom on the horizon for PC gamers here. Now with two of the biggest game publishers in the world (Activision and EA) selling PC games in India at US pricing, it is likely that other game publishers could follow suit. If you are a PC gamer who obtains games legally, how do you plan to cope with this price hike? Tell me on Twitter @postwar or in the comments section below.
Also read:EA makes PC games in India much, much more expensive