In the post-earnings conference call following their Q1 results today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot was asked why prices on their games in stores drop faster than those sold through digital retailers.
Here’s what he had to say:
Digital is more reactive than what we put in stores, but at the same time, it doesn’t react as fast on consoles than it does on PC. What we can say is that when games are older than one year, digital is a lot more dynamic on console because there are less units in stores. It’s a new business, a new trend, and we think all this will get more in line with time, but for sure, at the moment you see all sorts of prices depending on who is doing a promotion for that specific week.
For an example of the physical/digital price differences, last year’s Far Cry 4 is still $59.99 on the PlayStation Store, but you can buy it for $39.99 regularly on Amazon, with a sale right now putting it at $24.00.
Hinting towards faster price drops on consoles in the near future, Guillemot added, “If you look at the PC [post-release discount] trend, I think you will see that on consoles, but you will have to wait a little bit of time for that to happen with the same speed.”
Guillemot later highlighted stock as another reason for keeping digital prices higher: “If we have stock in stores, we tend to make sure we decrease the quantity of units in stores before going digital with lower prices.”
Elsewhere on the call, Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez said, “On digital we will not sell [a game] for a lower price compared to physical.” While things do change with promotions in the weeks or months following launch, Ubisoft tends to be more conservative on consoles when it comes to digital pricing, but they are “more flexible on PC.”