No doubt spurred on by the constant noise of grumbling gamers marching past his office, The Guardian's Steve Boxer decides to shed some light on the European PS3 launch in an article entitled, "PS3 Launch Price is No Fun for UK Gamers." Speaking to Sony Computer Entertainment's UK managing director, Ray Maguire, he enquires about the region's comparatively high price (£425) and the absence of the cheaper, 20GB PS3.
Maguire points out that merely converting the PS3's US retail price to British currency results in a misleading figure, as it fails to take VAT into account. "There's a compulsion within the media to look at everything as a snapshot, and do a calculation, normally based on just the RRP in somewhere like the US and just the RRP in the UK," he says. "What you should do with the RRP from the US is add sales tax." However, adding a VAT of 17.5% to the US price still leaves you with £352. Maguire blames the £73 difference on potential exchange rate fluctuations, along with the higher cost of living and running a business in the UK.
Apparently, if anyone's to blame for the 20GB model's failure to arrive in Europe, it's those darn consumers. "They want to put their own media on it from day one. So a big preference has been shown towards the 60GB model. And when we look at the sales figures from both Japan and the US, that's reflected at retail." Of course, despite lacking the multiple media slots, the 20GB version can store media with USB transfer, but Maguire insists that Sony would rather have enough 60GB units available as opposed to fewer quantities of both SKUs. Our UK readers will undoubtedly let us know whether they agree or not.