Is it wrong to expect a downloadable game to be priced lower than its boxed retail equivalent? The cost of sending information through the intertubes seems much cheaper than packaging a plastic disc and shipping it halfway across the world. Yet somehow, WipEout Pulse costs $5 more on the PlayStation Store than on Amazon.com. This isn't an isolated case, though. Capcom Classics Collection Remixed is also $5 cheaper to buy at retail than as a download. Hot Shots Golf Open Tee 2 is $6 cheaper at Best Buy than via PSN.
While the PlayStation Store is simply offering games at normal retail price, many retailers engage in price wars to gain the loyalty (and dollars) of consumers. Unfortunately, owners of the digital-only PSP Go will never be able to benefit from actual retail pricing, as SCEA's Eric Lempel told Destructoid that "we have pricing parity right now, and it is part of our strategy."
In Japan, PSN downloads have been customarily slightly cheaper than retail equivalents. Unfortunately, Lempel isn't open to the idea. "We'd like to keep it that way, keep a level playing field, and again, there's not that much more to say on that topic." We'll see if Sony changes its tune should consumers end up not paying $250 for a system that only plays what they see as overpriced games.