Capcom's Devil May Cry 4 has made quite a splash, not least because it's a ruddy good hack and slash, but because of that age old bug bear - cost. A couple of weeks ago the Internet blew up when it was revealed that the game would be £10 more expensive on the PS3 than it would be on the Xbox 360. Soon after we brought you Capcom's official response, to the inevitable criticism expressed on forums across the web. It said: "We don't set the prices of our games, that's at the discretion of the retailer. In this specific instance, the process has resulted in a price difference, but the process itself is not something we completely control."
The comment effectively laid the blame squarely at the foot of the retailers. VideoGamer.com has asked a number of retailers, including Play and GAME, for comment, with no success so far. Silence can speak volumes in certain situations. Many gamers view a "decline to comment" as an admission of guilt. Whatever the truth, gamers shouldn't and don't care about the reason why. All they know is that it's not right. With a game like DMC4, which, irrespective of what you read, is nigh on identical across both platforms (check out our DMC4 video comparison to make your own mind up), why should it be more expensive on PS3? I can't think of one good reason.
The DMC4 pricing story received lots of interest, mainly because it involved a high profile game and because of the massive, £10 price difference. But is it a new phenomenon? Do PS3 owners regularly pay over the odds?
I thought I'd do a little research and check out the RRP (recommended retail price) of a number of games available for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 to see if the DMC4 case is a special one or just the latest case where PS3 owners have got a bum deal. Here's my findings (RRP gathered from GAME.co.uk):
Devil May Cry 4 - 360 £39.99 PS3 £49.99
Burnout Paradise - 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
The Club - 360 £44.99 PS3 £49.99
Turok - 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
The Orange Box - 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
Kane & Lynch Dead Men - 360 £44.99 PS3 £49.99
Need For Speed Pro Street - 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground - 360 £44.99 PS3 £49.99
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 - 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
Skate - 360 £44.99 PS3 £49.99
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 360 £44.99 PS3 £49.99
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 360 £49.99 PS3 £49.99
FIFA 08 360 - £49.99 PS3 £49.99
Conflict: Denied Ops - 360 £44.99 PS3 £49.99
I've highlighted in bold the games which are more expensive on the PS3. Seven out of what I consider to be the top 15 multiplatform games released in the last six months are more expensive on the PS3. There are no games here that are more expensive on the Xbox 360. This is not simply me being selective. I couldn't find any games that are more expensive on the Xbox 360 than they are on the PS3.
What conclusion should we derive from these (admittedly not comprehensive) findings? That PS3 owners have been and are routinely ripped off? Unfortunately I can't see any other conclusion.
Some will point towards the PS3 as a more powerful console - which, with the power of Blu-ray, provides bigger and better looking games. I'm not so sure PS3 owners get better versions of multiplatform games. While comparison videos are popular among gamers on the Internet, most only reveal how little difference there is between both versions. For all intents and purposes, games from the last six or so months are the same on PS3 and Xbox 360, with only the most picky and technically knowledgeable able to spot graphical differences - and these differences are usually in the Xbox 360's favour.
So why should PS3 owners be forced to fork out more? They shouldn't of course. I'm not going to get into the reasons why PS3 RRP can be higher than Xbox 360 RRP - that's a question I'll answer at a later date. For now, we have at least shown that PS3 owners sometimes do pay more for their games. And that is neither cool, nor right. So wherever the blame lies, here's my Monday Morning Rant: unless the PS3 version of a multiplatform offers significantly more content than the Xbox 360 version, keep the price the same.
Do you agree? Are PS3 owners being ripped-off? Let us know in the comments section below.