We've achieved pretty much all we can for
now. The FairPlay Campaign did more to bring the issue of rip-off videogame
pricing into the public eye than has ever been done before. Attracting
coverage in scores of publications (close to 100, in fact), from the smallest
website to the largest of national newspapers, games magazines and television
and radio broadcasting institutions, over 500,000 people heard our
message on this website alone, and millions more through other media, and a
massive 85% of poll respondents agreed with us that the current price of
games is far too high.
industry's paralysing fear of debating the issue with us (the link above
was the only time they dared go head-to-head with the campaign) says more than
we ever could about the truth of our claims, but the campaign, despite its
thorough vilification by the games industry, was comprehensively vindicated
in many other ways too.
1. Nintendo's conviction by the European Court
during the campaign, and huge £100m fine, for illegally fixing prices at
an artificially high level.
2. The massive waves of price-cutting in the UK
during the Christmas season - normally the most lucrative time for videogame
sales - which meant practically every game in the release schedules could be
bought on the High Street for £10-£15 below the RRP.
3. The big sales blip during the campaign week
which saw Game, Europe's biggest videogame retailer, lose a massive 80% of
its share value overnight in response to disappointing sales. When the
campaign was over, sales shot up again, just as we said they would.
4. A long line of disastrous financial results,
redundancies and studio closures among publishers and developers continued
to demonstrate the economic unsoundness of the industry's current business
5. Huge reductions in the pricing of,
particularly, the Xbox and Gamecube, leading to massive sales increases
of up to a staggering
6. Dixons Group and Game, two of Europe's biggest
game retailers, slashing the price of all Gamecube software to between £15
and £25, resulting in enormous sales boosts.
7. And most rewarding of all, the story, reported
by IGN, that Nintendo have quietly restructured
their licensing fee from a fixed rate to a sliding scale exactly in
accordance with the primary demand of the FairPlay Campaign, so that
publishers can now sell games at a variety of prices without being penalised for
setting lower prices by having to pay the same fixed licencing fee to Nintendo.
We look forward to the other hardware companies following suit.
We're very proud that the tiny handful of unresourced
activists at the FairPlay Campaign have achieved so much so soon against a
multi-billion dollar international industry, but there's
little else we can do. It's up to you, the videogame consumers, now. Keep
refusing to buy games at the rip-off standard prices. Most new titles appear in
second-hand sections within a couple of weeks of release - buy them there and
save money, instead of boosting sales figures and reinforcing high prices by
getting them on release day. Get together with friends and swap games, instead
of pointlessly all buying copies of the same big titles.
This one tiny application of consumer power has already
had dramatically impressive results. Buying a Gamecube, memory card and
five top games of your own choice to play on it before Christmas in the UK could
have cost you over £350. Just three months later, that same purchase in
the same High Street store
would cost you just £140. That's the power of consumer action. Keep
believing in it. Thanks for your support.