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Dropping the Price is Right?

Sega and Take-Two may sell ESPN NFL 2K5 for $20, but should they?

By James Stevenson and Troy Roberts     June 11, 2004


A screenshot from ESPN NFL 2K5.
© Sega

Recently, many gamers have been surprised to see the rumors/facts of Sega's new football game, ESPN NFL 2K5, being available for pre-order on GameStop and EBGames' website for only $19.99. While Sega has yet to officially confirm this, the new price drop may have fairly lasting effects.


I'm really surprised to see such a low price point for Sega's newest football title, ESPN NFL 2K5. Sure, it is quite obvious that the game isn't selling as well as its chief competitor, MADDEN, but to drop the price down to $19.99 is almost outrageous. For me (and I'm sure a lot of other gamers are like this as well), anything below the 40 or 50 dollar price range reeks of cheapness. And sometimes, cheapness can backfire. Is Sega telling gamers "Hey, this game will be exactly like last year's so we're just going to charge less this year?" It would certainly be a first, and would in all likelihood hurt this series reputation. I know, that in the future, I'd probably be more apt to pick up the new MADDEN than the 2K series, as would a lot of other gamers. And while the new price point may attract some people and parents looking to pick up something new for their kids, I really think this may be a bad idea for the time being. Will the other sports titles from Sega be the same price? If not, then Sega needs to have a good explanation why. TR


When I heard the news that Take-Two would be publishing ESPN titles, alarm bells started going off in my head. Yet after recently seeing ESPN NFL 2K5, I have no reason to doubt the game's merits as a solid football game. Why the $19.99 price tag then? I imagine that supply/demand works in the favor of Sega at this point, as they believe they will take more business from MADDEN, or at least get more retailers to take a chance on the game. That said, I think this hurts the brand name. There is a perceived quality that is tied intrinsically to price. Dropping the price to $20 is bringing this perception. I personally thought, "Oh, so maybe it ISN'T that different than last year's version". This turnaround could seriously damage sales of the game and put Sega even farther back. Good reviews only hit a certain chunk of gamers, the rest will buy MADDEN cause it is MADDEN, and not the cheap 20 dollar knock-off game. You see this from Take-Two a lot - they have budget titles that really don't have much meat, but the price sells. But what do I know - parents might be apt to get their kids ESPN as it is cheaper, and kids might not go for the premium price of EA's biggest sports franchise. The biggest question for me, does this apply to the other games - such as NBA 2K5 (the best b-ball game on the market)? Time will tell, but at the moment, I don't think this was smart. JS


Let us know what you guys think. Shoot us an e-mail at GamersThumb@cinescape.com and give us your opinion on this matter.


TIDBITS



Valve, with help from the gaming community, has information that led to the arrest of those involved with the HALF-LIFE 2 source code leak... Nintendo will sell its wireless adapter with and without the new POKEMON titles, for those that can't stand Pikachu... The next Nintendo console is codenamed "REVOLUTION"...DRIV3R has gone gold...



ON SHELVES



Next

A screenshot from ESPN NFL 2K5.

week looks like a pretty good week for gamers, no matter what your system preference is. We have FRONT MISSION 4 and SPLINTER CELL: PANDORA TOMORROW for the Playstation 2. PSI-OPS will be available on the PS2 and Xbox as well. SHADOW OPS: RED MERCURY will be released this week for the Xbox, as will JOINT OPERATIONS for the PC.



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