Electronic Arts Faces Anger Over Major Price Hikes in India

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Electronic Arts Faces Anger Over Major Price Hikes in India

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.

Rs999 has apparently been the "standard" price for new PC releases in India for some time, and although console prices are going up as well, the increase isn't nearly as dramatic. The PS3 edition of FIFA 14 is going up to Rs3499 from Rs2999 for the 2013 release, a far-more-palatable jump of 16 percent, while Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals are going up the same amount. EA Regional Director Chris Gatherer said in June that the goal is to bring PC game prices in India in line with the rest of the world in order to clamp down on gamers who have been accessing Origin India via VPN to take advantage of the region's lower pricing.

As you can imagine, this has not gone over well with Indian gamers, who have taken to Twitter to express their anger with the #EAPCIndia hashtag. One compared the Rs3499 price point to his rent, which is Rs9000, and many others have noted that the move will likely result in even higher levels of piracy in the region.

Source: MCV India

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This is how you increase piracy in nations without the means to pay these prices.

Ah well, I'm sure all those people who were using India to get lower prices will now buy the games full price, making up for all the Indian gamers who will now probably just pirate. Because that's how these things work, right?

*claps* Way to go EA. The worst of the worst. And publishers wonder why other nations pirate so much.

captcha: lo and behold, EA is at it again.

The best way to make more money is to increase prices so much no one can afford them!

Still less then the actual exchange rate.
But apparently it's only okay for corporations to find the cheapest solutions.

Oh, so they have the money to buy the equipment and services to play those games, but not the money to buy the games?

Entitled brats. They should be honored to be blessed with EA modern military and car porn rehash.

Now we wait for an EA executive to slither out of their hellpit to explain that this isn't a price increase, it's all part of the EA experience and is 100% required for the games to function properly.

I don't quite see the big deal. I'm for the idea that games are a luxury and it seemed like they were getting very low prices. Rs999 translates to roughly $16, the prices are literally just more in line with the rest of the world now.

You people can't be telling me with a straight face that you were happy paying $60 for the same game that someone in India (or VPN'ing from India) could buy for $16.50. Yes, that's what RS999 converts to - $16.50 for an AAA title.

Look, I'm all for cheap games but that is just unfair because that price isn't available anywhere else. I'm aware India has a vastly lower GDP compared to US but...come on, that is absurdly cheap.
Especially considering us New Zealand folk have to pay $90 NZD ($69 USD, or RS4187) for games while people from India scoot along paying less than a quarter of that price.

So the Indians are supposed to pay the same as everyone else now and this is supposed to be an outrage because...

Face it, video games are a luxury.

I'm not exactly wealthy either and can spend 30 bucks per month at best. Do I cry? No!

I wait till prices drop naturally or I get a good offer. Also, as CrossLOPER said, when they can effort the equipment necessary to play Battlefield 4 (i5's and Radeon HD 7xxx don't exactly come cheap), they can afford spending a bit on the latest games as well.

Yuuki:
You people can't be telling me with a straight face that you were happy paying $60 for the same game that someone in India (or VPN'ing from India) could buy for $16.50. Yes, that's what RS999 converts to - $16.50 for an AAA title.

Look, I'm all for cheap games but that is just unfair because that price isn't available anywhere else. I'm aware India has a vastly lower GDP compared to US but...come on, that is absurdly cheap.
Especially considering us New Zealand folk have to pay $90 NZD ($69 USD, or RS4187) for games while people from India scoot along paying less than a quarter of that price.

The argument used in vaying price like this is often that of competion. Basically prices are set at an equivilent rate to the price it would be to make it there to a certain extent. Living costs etc. When the local made products are much lower you risk not selling, and if they are much higher the local industry winges at the goverment to add in protective taxes and regulations to force your price up. At least thats the theory. In practice things get wonky, and the prices arent always a fair representaion, internet retailing affects the price balance and the price becomes disconnected from the price it actually costs to make.

Chaosritter:
So the Indians are supposed to pay the same as everyone else now and this is supposed to be an outrage because...

Face it, video games are a luxury.

I'm not exactly wealthy either and can spend 30 bucks per month at best. Do I cry? No!

I wait till prices drop naturally or I get a good offer. Also, as CrossLOPER said, when they can effort the equipment necessary to play Battlefield 4 (i5's and Radeon HD 7xxx don't exactly come cheap), they can afford spending a bit on the latest games as well.

And now a game in India costs the, well.. Comparing wages and the cost of food in the west, Ten times what we pay for games.

You have 30 bucks a month? Good for youuuuu.

The discussion is about EA making games so ridiculously expensive that Indians no longer can afford them, thereby they have lost a massive income they had before. Which hurts them aswell as Indians, that is 'why' we look at this and call it stupid. Because there is no winners, merely one party who thinks they are winning... While really they are loosing. Every year. Constantly.

While I can understand those in India being annoyed at the extreme price hike, the EA guy actually has a point. It's bringing them in line with everyone else. It's not that it's unfair, they've just been getting it significantly cheaper than everyone else up until now, not to mention the people that have been exploiting the system outside of India.

Perhaps if they sell games in store, they can keep the price from before, or at least not increase it as much? Would mean that people from outside India wouldn't exploit that anyway.

Yeah, smart move EA. This won't result in more piracy from a country that is known for having an entire city dedicated to IT. Bangalore is going to become the homebrew capital of the world.

The average Indian is poor, but many an Indian is tech savvy and knows how to adapt old tech to modern standards.

Nikolaz72:
And now a game in India costs the, well.. Comparing wages and the cost of food in the west, Ten times what we pay for games.

You have 30 bucks a month? Good for youuuuu.

The discussion is about EA making games so ridiculously expensive that Indians no longer can afford them, thereby they have lost a massive income they had before. Which hurts them aswell as Indians, that is 'why' we look at this and call it stupid. Because there is no winners, merely one party who thinks they are winning... While really they are loosing. Every year. Constantly.

I'm German, we're already paying 10-20€ more for new games than the rest of Europe does, let alone America or Asia. I'm actually importing games from England because retail price + international shipping is usually still a lot cheaper than buying the same disc in the next mall.

So yeah, my compassion is limited. They got a hell of a discount for god knows how long, and now they're paying the same as everyone else. Also, the market dictates the price. If the full price games don't sell, the price will drop in no time anyway.

Alternate headline:

EA Pisses Off Someone Else

Nice and generic, because let's face it, EA is always making someone mad. My only concern is that eventually every fourth headline would be identical.

P.S. Thanks

It was kind of inevitable really. With the next gen consoles being region free they were going to have to start making a worldwide standard price for games to stop us buying new titles for half nothing from lower priced markets

Hmmm, a lot of people don't seem to understand regional pricing. The overall exchange rate in inconsequential, no one is working on a world economy. There isn't only a single currency. Perhaps we should also be super pissed the person quoted above is only paying 9000rs ($149) for their rent when I'm paying $975 (58838rs). They aren't the entitled one's you jerks, you are the entitled ones. It's called shared suffering and the general consensus is that if you have to pay $60 for a game, they should have to pay the same even though they live in a different country with a totally different monetary value and economic level. You think it's being fair that they pay what you pay, but when they make a 10th of what you make in terms of exchange rate, it's not actually fair.

But, it is a leisure activity, and since people take leisure really seriously, it will only increase piracy rates dramatically. So, good for EA, you have made a nation of pirates because they are not a nation of rich people. Now they'll have an excuse for more DRM, we should all be happy about that, right?

PC gaming is Eastern Europe and Asia is a special thing... India reminds me of Russia in that regard. Console games in Russia cost same as in all European countries save for UK - $70-80 for newly released one. But PC games? $20. It just how it goes.
It is kinda wrong and in case of India just as wrong too, but any good businessman will tell you that instantly tripling the price is a bad idea. Hell, try selling games for $80 in US and you'll have an outrage.

Damn, I wish I could get new games for $60 at launch day... Anyhow, there's only one thing that will suffer and it's EA profits in India.

Yuuki:

Look, I'm all for cheap games but that is just unfair because that price isn't available anywhere else. I'm aware India has a vastly lower GDP compared to US but...come on, that is absurdly cheap.
Especially considering us New Zealand folk have to pay $90 NZD ($69 USD, or RS4187) for games while people from India scoot along paying less than a quarter of that price.

A normal sized loaf of bread in India costs 50 cents. Five dollars can buy a pretty good meal for two people. This is the comparison you're working with. 'Vastly lower GDP' is not just a turn of phrase.

Tell me this... how would you react if a game cost a third of your monthly rent? What would you say if the price of your games went up from $90 NZD to $300 NZD?

balfore:
I don't quite see the big deal. I'm for the idea that games are a luxury and it seemed like they were getting very low prices. Rs999 translates to roughly $16, the prices are literally just more in line with the rest of the world now.

True they now pay around the same as we do in the US & UK, so that sounds fair from our perspective. However you have to consider that the average wage is generally much lower in India than here in the west, so it becomes a big deal for Indian gamers as few can likely afford that. Generally makes better sense to price products in such a way that they are affordable to the average person in that country so as not to out price them from buying your products and limit your market in that country. That is one of the reasons why Valve splits Europe into two regions, to offer prices suitable for that region and encourage buying games rather than piracy. If your products cost a third of someone's rent, then your pricing is a little disproportionate.

Chaosritter:
So the Indians are supposed to pay the same as everyone else now and this is supposed to be an outrage because...

Face it, video games are a luxury.

I'm not exactly wealthy either and can spend 30 bucks per month at best. Do I cry? No!

I wait till prices drop naturally or I get a good offer. Also, as CrossLOPER said, when they can effort the equipment necessary to play Battlefield 4 (i5's and Radeon HD 7xxx don't exactly come cheap), they can afford spending a bit on the latest games as well.

CrossLOPER was trying to be satirical. You've been Poe'd.

Also, no. Indian goods cost less because everyone is paid less. Computer parts DO come "cheap" in India. I don't get how it meshes with the rest of the world, but it does, and raising the price of games literally above what they can afford is not how you tweak the market.

spindoctor:
Tell me this... how would you react if a game cost a third of your monthly rent? What would you say if the price of your games went up from $90 NZD to $300 NZD?

By that logic my actual rent would shoot up to $1000 to reflect that proportion...which is why you're wrong on multiple levels.
Firstly, loaves of bread are made locally, there is FIERCE competition in a country that densely populated, manual labor is worth peanuts and therefore the cost of daily commodities (again, made locally) is extremely cheap if you compare it to US or NZ.

Rent is VERY cheap in India compared to US/NZ due to the intense competition (again, LOCAL shit)...that's why that guy on twitter was able to make the games vs rent comparison. Let me know when you can find a place in US that has a $150 (RS9000) monthly rent. Doesn't freaking exist.

Are games made locally? No, of course they're not. There is no competition in India against AAA titles, their only source for industry-standard games is from abroad. Games which are made by foreign developers and imported in as retail copies (a lot of India still functions on CD/DVD's btw, internet is absolutely shit). Which means they need to pay the same amount of money as the rest of the world, or at least something close. I'm not a total asshole and I can grant as much as a 20-30% deviation on price, almost like a permanent sale.
But getting over 72.5% of the price off? Sorry but that is absurd.

chiefohara:
It was kind of inevitable really. With the next gen consoles being region free they were going to have to start making a worldwide standard price for games to stop us buying new titles for half nothing from lower priced markets

^Bingo.
For all of the sarcasm outrage and snark, this is actually why this is happening.
Regions, for all the flak that gets thrown at them, are necessary to prevent arbitrage.

Otherwise, you will end up with someone buying bulk games in one region on the cheap and selling them in another reason at their marginal price (which is higher) making huge profit for no effort, with the result of one region being shorted on games (and thus, those that remain, if any, are sold at a premium or acquired through illicit means) while another is flooded but at a higher price.

Yuuki:
I'm not a total asshole and I can grant as much as a 20-30% deviation on price, almost like a permanent sale.
But getting over 72.5% of the price off? Sorry but that is absurd.

There's nothing absurd about it. It happens all the time.

The actual cost of producing a physical copy of a game is pennies. Practically free online.

India has developed industry, more than enough that local production would be viable. It's quite likely that EA has contracts with local production and distribution for that region's games. Printing DVDs and shipping within the country would domesticate the costs, making the good profitable.

(there are the issues of country/local laws and tax codes, but I do know this: EA wouldn't bother with the region at all unless they had a way to make their games profitable.)

Yuuki:
You people can't be telling me with a straight face that you were happy paying $60 for the same game that someone in India (or VPN'ing from India) could buy for $16.50. Yes, that's what RS999 converts to - $16.50 for an AAA title.

Look, I'm all for cheap games but that is just unfair because that price isn't available anywhere else. I'm aware India has a vastly lower GDP compared to US but...come on, that is absurdly cheap.
Especially considering us New Zealand folk have to pay $90 NZD ($69 USD, or RS4187) for games while people from India scoot along paying less than a quarter of that price.

image

Products are priced based on the country in question, specifically their wages, import/export policies, etc.

India's prices for games are "absurdly cheap" because their wages are absurdly low. As the original article points out, one man's rent in the country is approximately RS9000, or roughly $149.14 in the US. Thus, their video games originally cost about 11% of their typical rent costs. To compare with the US, rent usually hovers around $600 depending on where you live, thus a video game costs about 10% of your rent. This is how it's supposed to be, it's a comparable price given your living costs and wages.

What EA is doing is driving up their prices to RS3499, which means that yes, their games are now much closer to $60 US ( in actuality they're still a little lower). However, this also means that a single video game costs about 39% of their rent.

If that rate were to be applied in the United States, you'd be paying about $233 per game. Still sound "fair" to you?

The only reason this is a problem is because region locks are finally going away. Yes, the removal of region locks creates a complex problem that means some countries will pay "less" than you have to pay. And you may consider this "not fair" if you wish. But screwing over a country because their wages and standard of living are considerably lower than ours is not the right response.

lacktheknack:
CrossLOPER was trying to be satirical. You've been Poe'd.

Also, no. Indian goods cost less because everyone is paid less. Computer parts DO come "cheap" in India. I don't get how it meshes with the rest of the world, but it does, and raising the price of games literally above what they can afford is not how you tweak the market.

Well, entertainment electronics doesn't seem to be THAT cheap in India either:

http://www.xbox.com/en-IN/Xbox360/Consoles/Bundles/xbox3604gbconsolewkinect

RS26,990 is around $450.

For comparison, the same set costs less than two third in the states:

www.amazon.com/Xbox-360-4GB-Console-Kinect/dp/B003O6EE4U/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1373051895&sr=8-3&keywords=360+kinect

What do we learn? Video games actually ARE luxury in India. At least when it comes to gaming consoles.

Anyone mind to compare the prices of PC hardware? My internet is slow as hell, and I don't really feel like spending half an hour watching pages load right now.

And all I could think about was this: rent is only $150 there? Fuck, I should save up for a move.

But in all seriousness, that's still unfair for them, considering how low the GDP is there. I hope EA changes back soon, otherwise it will be a massive crock of shit. Hell, I hope most of these companies do, because from the looks of it EA is the only one, they're just the ones that took such a drastic step. I hope their PC games sales plummet there so as to discourage other companies from following.

Come on, give us at least one train wreck. The Xbone averted disaster, but you can still crash EA. I really want to see a massive failure at least somewhere.

balfore:
I don't quite see the big deal. I'm for the idea that games are a luxury and it seemed like they were getting very low prices. Rs999 translates to roughly $16, the prices are literally just more in line with the rest of the world now.

But India is relatively poor compared to the various first-world nations that the prices are being increased to. Gaming, as a hobby goes, is rather cheap, and if you increase the price in nations where the vast majority of the population are further locked out of it, all you'll do is hugely increase piracy rates, no helped in that I don't believe India has many enforceable anti-piracy laws.

Now watch what the headlines will be in a few months:

Andy Chalk:
India Faces Anger Over Major Piracy Hikes From Electronic Arts

I hope you're happy EA.

so they take one of the regions with the least disposable income and jack up the prices? GENIUS!

balfore:
I don't quite see the big deal. I'm for the idea that games are a luxury and it seemed like they were getting very low prices. Rs999 translates to roughly $16, the prices are literally just more in line with the rest of the world now.

see now that would be fair if their wages were inline aswell, however as anybody could tell you they are not.

Phrozenflame500:
Now watch what the headlines will be in a few weeks:

Andy Chalk:
India Faces Anger Over Major Piracy Hikes From Electronic Arts

I hope you're happy EA.

Had to fix that post a bit. Something about them being really tech-savvy in India. Probably nothing. I'm sure they're all TOTALLY just going to buckle down and pay though, absolutely!

*SARCASM OVERLOAD HAAAALLLLP!!!*

"to clamp down on gamers who have been accessing Origin India via VPN to take advantage of the region's lower pricing. "

Genius! Now piracy in the country AND worldwide will also triple!
Better make some even more EVIL DRM to punish the ones that still will buy honestly!!!!

EA Regional Director Chris Gatherer said in June that the goal is to bring PC game prices in India in line with the rest of the world in order to clamp down on gamers who have been accessing Origin India via VPN to take advantage of the region's lower pricing.

How many people are actually doing this? I'd like to see EA give actual numbers if they're going to pretend this is a real problem and not some bullshit excuse they made up.

Because nobody else did it, I did the research myself:

http://www.absoluteblogger.com/2013/04/build-best-gaming-computer-pc-under-rs-50000.html

That's the kind of PC you need to play Battlefield 4 and other recent games properly, and RS50.000 is considered a good price. Mandatory peripherals not included.

RS50.000 is around $830, a normal price for a decent gaming PC in the west. It's also the rent for roughly half a a year, as it seems. This leaves two possibilities: apartments in India are dirt cheap (which would be adequate, given the living conditions in even the more developed parts of India) or video games simply ARE a luxury for those who can afford it.

I've seen quite a few computers, average price is between RS25.000 and RS80.000. The "significantly cheaper computers" some mentioned here are being delivered with DOS. If you're too young to know what DOS is: it's what people used before operation systems with graphical user interface were invented.

Therefore, all I see is spoiled kids complaining that they have to spend more of their generous allowance to play with their overly expensive toys now.

Kenjitsuka:

balfore:
I don't quite see the big deal. I'm for the idea that games are a luxury and it seemed like they were getting very low prices. Rs999 translates to roughly $16, the prices are literally just more in line with the rest of the world now.

Trollolololo!!!

Games are a luxury?
I hope you get bankrupt and can't afford to play a game for the next five years!
Surely not having this luxury won't affect your mood at all?!

Cars are a luxury there as well, just saying.

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