Here in the UK GAME stores want to be cheaper than Tesco stores, Tesco stores want to be cheaper than Asda, Asda stores want to be cheaper than Currys — and so it goes on. But what happens when you sell your games digitally, as Sony are with the PSP Go?
Should they be cheaper because there's no box or real distribution? And how does that nature of retail competition play into the equation? Basically - it doesn't.
SCEA's Eric Lempel has told Destructoid that "we have pricing parity right now, and it is part of our strategy." I.e. if a PSP title retails at £24.99 in the stores; it's going to retail at £24.99 online — regardless of whether Tesco or GAME are doing special offers on the title.
Japan has seen its PSN titles retail at a lower cost, but it's unlikely we'll see that happen in the West. It seems Lempel isn't keen on the idea, "We'd like to keep it that way, keep a level playing field, and again, there's not that much more to say on that topic."
It's tricky ground really. Undercutting the retailers that still provide the core of the Playstation business could put Sony's nose out of joint when it comes to retail positioning in various outlets. We're really starting to see the politics of the switch to Digital Distribution right now, and it is starting to look ugly. The PSP Go looks like a big risk for Sony whichever angle you look at it from. However, whether it fails or not, it'll probably go down in history — PSP Go marks the first step towards DD-only video games systems. And no matter how far away they are, they're certainly coming.