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EB Games Australia to Boycott PSPgo Too?

| 23 Sep 2009 17:37
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Adding to the recent hubbub over retailers' frustration with Sony's PSPgo, the Australian branch of EB Games will reportedly be refusing to stock the digital-download-only handheld when it launches next week.

Another week closer to the October 1st launch of Sony's PSPgo, and some more bad news for the hardware giant. Following the announcement last week that major Dutch specialty retailer Nedgame would be refusing to stock the handheld device and UK retailer ShopTo following suit, another store has thrown its hat in the pile: Some investigation by Kotaku Australia indicates that EB Games' branch Down Under will not be stocking the PSPgo at all:

We've heard that EB Games is refusing to stock the PSPgo in Australia.

If you go the EB website you won't find any mention of the handheld, despite its launch date being next week. If you call your local EB store-and we have spoken to several Sydney stores in the last 24 hours-you'll find the PSPgo is not in their system. We even spoke to one rival retailer who urged us to preorder the PSPgo from his store because "EB aren't stocking it."

Yesterday we contacted EB's head office to verify the rumours. We were told EB would not be commenting on the PSPgo.

As before, it's not hard to see why retailers are frustrated with the PSPgo. Retail margins on hardware are often very slim - in the neighborhood of a few dollars - and most stores make the vast majority of their profits on game sales, whether new or used. The PSPgo does not use physical media, instead selling games solely via digital download through Sony's own store. In essence, retailers would be taking up valuable shelf space for a few dollars' profit on hardware that would literally never bring the user back into the store to buy games.

On the other hand, the secondhand game market has been a growing thorn in the side of publishers for some time now, because they see used sales as essentially lost sales - they get none of the profit. Since the PSPgo's digital distribution service effectively eliminates any secondhand market (short of selling the handheld itself), it wouldn't be surprising to see publishers looking to board the gravy train even at the risk of vexing brick-and-mortar retailers.

EB Games may be the biggest name on the list to shun the PSPgo so far (and this is Australia, so I guess we're learning it's not just a European thing) but Escapists on the bottom of the world who are looking to snag the PSPgo still have some options. EB Games' biggest Australian competitors - GAME and JB Hi-Fi - will both be stocking the handheld when it hits stores at the end of next week.

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