Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
08 April 2007
Nintendo DS vs. Sony PSP: Game pricing update
With the basic PSP dropping to $169.99, I felt it was time to see what had changed since I did some rudimentary number crunching on Nintendo DS and Sony PSP game prices five months ago. Not only has the system price dropped, but publishers have abandoned $50 PSP games. Average PSP game prices have shifted down $2.16, although it still has more high priced games than the Nintendo DS. During the same period, average DS game prices have come down about $1.68.

Here's the key result:

Average Game PriceMid-Nov 2006Mid-Apr 2007

Some of the drop in the average PSP game price can be attributed to the disappearance of $49.99 games. In November 2006, the PSP had one such game. Removing just that one game from the November data would have dropped the average price of a PSP game by $0.16.

The only PSP game that currently lists for $49.99 is the PSP version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, an unreleased game slated for a December 2007 launch. (As it is unreleased, it isn't figured in the numbers shown in this article.)

Other points of interest:
  • EB Games lists 102 new games for the Nintendo DS and 94 new games for the PSP. This doesn't count out-of-stock and unreleased games, so the numbers could shift 2-3 games either way in a day's time.
  • The median game price for each system is $29.99.
  • About 33% of all PSP games retail for under $25. Around 41% of Nintendo DS games are below the $25 level.
  • About 1/3 of all PSP games retail for $39.99. Only one Nintendo DS game sells for that price (Final Fantasy III DS), while about 23% of Nintendo DS games retail for over $30.
  • 18 out of 22 Nintendo DS games priced at $34.99 are Nintendo-published games.
Finally, here is a graph of the distribution of games across the various prices. Click the image for the full-sized version.
The disappearance of the $50 game makes things a bit harder for publishers on the PSP. Being able to charge $50 for a PSP game was one advantage that system had over the DS. It would be interesting to know if publishers have made a pricing decision based on market conditions or whether Sony has set a $40 ceiling on PSP game prices. I suspect that Nintendo generally won't let publishers charge $40 on the Nintendo DS, although an exception has clearly been made for Final Fantasy III DS.

Now that the $50 option is missing, the big name PSP titles launch at $40. Moreover, I suspect that some publishers are less likely to stay at $40 as long when there are no games in the higher $50 bracket. Notably, even Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories can command only a $30 price tag six months after it was released; by comparison, Liberty City Stories stayed at $50 for almost the entire first year after its release.

I look forward to examining sales data over the coming months to see if the hardware and software price adjustments affect PSP sales.

Feel free to download the data for yourself: OpenOffice ODS, plaintext CSV.

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--Matt Matthews at 01:36
Comment [ 7 ]

Comments on this post:

It has been said that Final Fantasy III DS has load times because to meet its large size required slower memory. Perhaps that also figured into its price, raising what otherwise would have been possibly a $35 game to $40?

If so, it might mean more $35-$40 games will appear in the future. At least if more games decide to push the ROM size barrier before memory prices drop.

Mind, that is all speculation, and it might just have been $40 because Square thought a more major FF remake deserved a $40 price tag.

By Anonymous Baines, at 08 April, 2007 03:03  

I would list FF3-us as my favorite console rpg ever, but even I won't pay $40 for a remake on DS. Really disappointed in the price point.


By Blogger Michael, at 09 April, 2007 14:24  

Comparing the low-end shovelware for each system in order to say "PSP games are only $2 on-average more expensive!" seems really pointless.

By Anonymous Ghaleon, at 09 April, 2007 16:34  

FF3 is absolutely worth it, though. It's a great game and you shouldn't let the slightly higher price tag stop you on that one.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 April, 2007 16:43  

There is enough compelling software on the PSP that I would get one just to play while on the can if nothing else. But, I think about how ridiculous it is to wait for a portable game to load from a disc based media system and my desire to have one disappears.

Try again, Sony. I'll be busy enjoying Puzzle Quest on my DS, since I don't have to wait for the game to load on your competitor's system.

By Anonymous fnc, at 09 April, 2007 18:38  

Nintendo DS always had been my favorite, but console prices are climbing, so I am looking for a cheaper option:


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 April, 2007 03:11  

Sure, waiting a couple minutes for a game to load is a pain. But you only have to do that once when you change game. Otherwise you play for ten minutes and flick it into power save mode. Flick it off power save a day or a week later and you are instantly right where you left it, no delay, no restarting, no loading.

By Blogger Brian, at 17 April, 2007 06:56  

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