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UK Supermarkets Undercut Game Retailers, Retailers Cry Foul

UK-based supermarket chains are stocking EA's new FIFA 10 with discounts of as much as half the suggested retail price -- and some local retail chains have responded with vocal frustration.
When Electronic Arts launched EA Canada's FIFA 10 in the UK this week, various supermarket chains stocked the game at prices that drastically undercut game retailers -- in some cases by as much as half the suggested retail price -- and some retailers have responded with vocal frustration. According to numerous reports out of the UK, the Tesco chain is offering FIFA 10 for GBP 24.97, less than half of the standard sticker price of GBP 49.99, while other supermarket chains are carrying the game for anywhere from the Tesco price point to GBP 36.99. Meanwhile, the websites for UK game retailers Play, Simply Games, and Chips have the current-generation versions of FIFA 10 priced between GBP 37.99 and GBP 39.99. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Don McCabe of retailer Chips said the price war is damaging to the video game market in the long term. "It's decreased choice," said McCabe. "You just have to look at the amount of suppliers that are screaming holy blue murder over Tesco whose businesses just get driven into the ground by the demands that some of the supermarkets make on them. At the end of the day, the only people who actually benefit from it are Tesco shareholders." Simply Games' Neil Muspratt told the site that such "price slaughtering" is likely to continue -- indeed, FIFA price wars are not new phenomena. Somewhat surprisingly, Muspratt said part of his chain's response is simply to purchase product directly from the supermarket. "We protect ourselves by keeping stocks to a minimum and, of course, by dispatching small teams of people into supermarkets to buy our next round of stock," he admitted.

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