Europeans Pay Double for Test Drive on 360
Atari explains why Europeans will pay twice as much as their American counterparts for Test Drive Unlimited on Xbox 360.
American race fans smiled at the news that Atari was dropping the price of Test Drive Unlimited in the US. Instead of the usual $60 (£32) Xbox 360 owners have become accustomed to, Atari surprised everyone by revealing that the price for its new driving game would be just $40 (£22). Don't expect the same courtesy in Europe.
Atari confirmed to trade paper MCV this week that Test Drive Unlimited will sell at the normal UK retail price for Xbox 360 games - £50, or about $93 at current exchange rates.
Even excluding VAT, the UK price of £43 is double the US price. So why should you pay twice as much for the same game? It all comes down to the maturity of the Xbox 360 market, Atari's Bruno Bonnell told MCV.
"The US and Europe are very different markets in terms of the penetration of Xbox 360 and HDTV," said Bonnell. "The US is much more advanced than Europe so we believe the time is right to introduce a lower price point. This is why we have chosen to be aggressive. But we won't do that in Europe."
Gamers in the UK and across Europe will take umbrage with this audacious move, but Atari isn't bothered by the whole thing.
"I don't see it as a problem," Bonnell said. "In other markets, prices vary from territory to territory. We shouldn't expect to be any different in this industry."
The difference in price is at least partly down to the different attach rates for Xbox Live in the US and Europe, Atari's Lee Kirton told Kikizo.
Microsoft said recently that 60 per cent of Xbox 360 owners were on Xbox Live. The company has, however, refused to break that down by territory or by service. (Xbox Live Silver is a free service, while Xbox Live Gold, which allows online play, is based on subscriptions.)
Kirton says Test Drive Unlimited is being pushed through at a lower price in the US because of better uptake and support of the Xbox Live Marketplace, where gamers can spend extra money on cars and other add-ons.
Meanwhile, Atari is in the process of streamlining its business. The company recently sold off its popular Driver franchise and Reflections, the development team responsible for it, saying that it was choosing to focus instead on the Test Drive series.
Editor, Kikizo Games