In gamers' eyes, price drops are always good. For investors, on the other hand, falling retail prices of recently released games usually signals a sinking ship. Megapublisher Electronic Arts today lowered the price tags on several of its games today, resulting in much rejoicing by cash-strapped consumers. However, investors aren't launching the lifeboats yet.
The shelf life for current-generation consoles effectively begins its slow descent with the November 22 release of Microsoft's Xbox 360. Historically, price drops with games for older consoles are expected when technologically superior systems come to market, so the move comes with little surprise.
According to sales trackers NPD Funworld, October's retail numbers were down 24 percent, and many believe the sluggish numbers are in part a result of consumers opting to save cash for the next generation.
"As we've said in our quarterly reports, this point in the console transition is historically marked by softness in pricing," Jeff Brown, EA's vice president of corporate communications, told Reuters.
The games in question aren't all titles that have collected dust over a few months, either. On the contrary, SSX On Tour for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, which saw its price fall from $39.99 to $29.99, was released little more than a month ago. Another recent release, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects for the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube, took the greatest cut in price by dropping from $49.99 to $29.99, a cut of almost 40 percent.
Other games that were reduced in price include NBA Live 06 (Xbox, PS2, GC), NASCAR 06: Total Team Control (Xbox, PS2), and Burnout Revenge (Xbox, PS2), all of which now sell for $39.99 instead of $49.99. NBA Live and Burnout Revenge will also be released on the Xbox 360 in the future. Like its Japanese counterpart, the US version of March's Need for Speed Underground Rivals for the PSP will also get a budget price of $29.99, down from $49.99.
According to Reuters, analyst Gary Cooper of Banc of America Securities expects EA to make further price cuts soon on current-gen versions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06, Madden NFL 06, and FIFA 06, all of which make their Xbox 360 debuts with the console's launch.