Last week, Sony for the first time failed to include the prices of games as part of the weekly PlayStation Store update on the European PlayStation Blog - much to the annoyance of regular readers.
Sony let PlayStation Blog readers know about the change via a paragraph slipped inside the Store update post. Note the lack of explanation:
PlayStation gamers use the PlayStation Store update post to discover what's new on their console that week. I often use it myself! And the pricing information alongside each game and piece of downloadable content provided a useful, at-a-glance picture of whether or not something was worth a download.
So it was a surprise to see Sony ditch pricing information on the blog and force people to click through to the PlayStation Store for each individual item in order to find out how much games and DLC cost in their region.
The reaction from the PlayStation community was, as you'd expect, entirely negative. Some even accused Sony of hiding its pricing, which has come under fire for being too expensive in comparison to the cost of games in North America.
This week, as part of the latest PlayStation Store update, Sony explained the move. Here's the statement:
Here at SCEE, we cater for a huge number of territories across Europe and beyond, many of which use different currencies. In fact, we cater for about 20 different currencies across more than 30 countries. We're both legally and ethically obliged not to be misleading in our communications, and by only listing prices in, say, £ and €, we are potentially giving gamers in territories who do not use those currencies a false impression of the cost of an item.
So we're left with two options: either publish every currency price for every item, or ask you to click through to PlayStation Store to see an accurate local price, which is generated automatically based on your ISP's location.
If you were to take a typical PlayStation Store promotion featuring around 100 discounted items, the blog post would have to feature around 2000 separate prices to be compliant. That would not only be impractical to create, but it would also make the blog post very difficult to read.
Duly, we've made the difficult decision to remove pricing information and ask you to click through to PlayStation Store.
So, I hope that gives you some background into why the change has been made. We're always looking for ways to improve how we communicate with our readers and customers, and the topic of PlayStation Store pricing is certainly something that will remain in our crosshairs. Thanks for your understanding, and your valuable feedback.
The reaction to the explanation has been, largely, positive (a detailed statement that sounds like it comes from a human being goes a long way!). There are a few complaints, though. One user has questioned why Sony struggles with pricing when competitors such as Microsoft and Steam do not.
There are a few reasonable suggestions, too, such as the PlayStation website pulling in local pricing based on users' ISP or PSN ID.
This idea, Sony said, is doable, but it sounds like a decent amount of work, so don't hold your breath.
Yes, this is a sensible suggestion, and a more sophisticated 'logged in' experience is certainly on our shopping list. That said, unfortunately it's not quite as straightforward as a click of the fingers - it's a significant undertaking with fairly wide ramifications. In short, it's not something we'll be able to facilitate in the short-term. But further out, maybe!
So there you have it. No more prices on the PlayStation Store update blog post. At least now we know why.