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New PS2, Xbox super-budget ranges

Cheap as chips.

Publisher Phoenix Games is set to launch a range of super-budget titles for PS2 and Xbox, according to MCV this morning.

The firm has signed an unnamed UK developer to work on the first two announced titles, Drug Wars and Crime Control. The first eight of the 30 planned £9.99 titles will be exhibited at this year's ECTS, although the publisher has yet to discuss release dates for any of them.

In the same announcement, Phoenix stated that it will be working with more UK talent to build a new range of 36 £8.99 PS2 titles. However, the first four titles - due for release on September 19th - are the Japanese-developed Road Rage 3, European Tennis Pro, Homerun and Coolshot.

Pheonix CEO Paul Share is optimistic about the firm's chances in the packed budget market. "We're looking to do for PS2 and Xbox what we have done for the PSone... There is more than enough talent in the UK development scene and it is not necessary any longer to licence and convert games from Japan."

Of course, the quality of these developed-for-budget titles (which we tend to liken to "straight to video" movies) remains in question. Recent reviews of Play-It's £9.99 PS2 range, for example, suggest that the price point often reflects the quality of the games, particularly when compared to existing official budget ranges on both platforms.

The Xbox Classics range for example features some of the platform's best-selling titles at a slightly higher price point than developed-for-budget ranges, as does the long-standing PS2 Platinum range, and whether small budget publishers such as Phoenix can compete against the big guns themselves remains to be seen.

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