The PlayStation 3's relatively high price in the UK is down to "the cost of living" as much as anything, according to Sony UK managing director Ray Maguire, who also suggested that negative coverage of the console had been "lazy". "The old adage of never let the truth get in the way of a good story is probably more prevalent than it has been before," he told our sister site GamesIndustry.biz.
Comparing the US and UK prices of the console (US$ 599 and GBP 425 respectively), Maguire told gi.biz that whereas the US was a "massive land with cheap people", the UK was "a little island where rent and rates are at an absolute premium, and the cost of people is a lot more".
"The cost of retail is vastly more in the UK than it is in the US and that's before you even stop to consider the US doesn't have VAT at RRP, they put a small amount on afterwards. Whereas, we get stung by 17.5 per cent. And pity the poor Irish and places like Sweden," he added.
"But we have to remember this is no different to selling a cup of Starbucks coffee or a McDonald's hamburger. This is the cost of living in the UK. It just becomes another barrier for us to get more product into the marketplace because the price needs to be set higher to get from our factory to the consumer."
Asked why Sony opted for the slightly peculiar price point of GBP 425 rather than rounding down past the psychological 400 barrier and going for GBP 399, Maguire said: "We did consider GBP 429, but we wanted to get the best for the consumer."
Moving swiftly on, Sony's UK MD admitted that it hasn't been "smooth sailing" for the company. "Nowadays, with how the media works, not only does information fly around at the speed of light, so does mis-information," he argued. "With blogs on the increase, people's thought processes are transferred from one place to another and picked up by people who might be lazy when it comes to finding out whether something is true or not. The old adage of never let the truth get in the way of a good story is probably more prevalent than it has been before.
"You also have to remember that we're one of the most cynical nations on the planet and even if you're telling people the absolute truth they doubt whether that information is real or not. This is the world that we sit in and we have to accept it and make the best of it."
And, as you might imagine, he had lots to say about how Sony's been doing that, all of which you can catch up with in the rest of the interview on GamesIndustry.biz, part two of which is due to be published on Monday.