Gran Turismo 4, the next game in the famous PS2 racing simulation series, has just been released in the UK (09/03/2004). Not long ago prices for PS2 and other consoles were set to a recommended retail of £40. This is steep for a computer game IMO. Recently, console game prices have come down. They now seem match the price of PC games, which is £30.
Highly anticipated console-first games usually break this trend as they're only available on consoles to begin with. Prices for these games are jacked up as they don't have to compete with the PC title. Also, because of the demand generated by the hype of anticipated games, retailers do no offer them much cheaper than the RRP.
In todays competitive market online retails rule. And this environment was where I began my research into how much the game is going to set me back. I checked out the "big-guns" first; Amazon UK, Play.com and Game UK. The prices, including postage, were £29.99, £32.99 and £31.49 respectively.
With Play.com and Amazon UK the price on the product is (pretty much) what you pay overall. Play.com has free delivery on all products and Amazon UK has free delivery on orders over £19. However, Game UK adds £1.50 for standard delivery.
There are other online retailers which specialise in certain products. However, knowing about and finding these retailers is pretty difficult, then you've got to trust them. Google have come up with a specific search solution called Froogle. You search for a product and it brings back information on price and user rating for online retailers selling the product.
The Froogle search returned a few interesting results, but there were no retailers selling Gran Turismo 4 cheaper than the giant Amazon UK. Some retailers had the same price, but Amazon is a tried and trusted site so they took precedence.
In the end I didn't bother ordering online, which is a change for me! On the Wednesday I headed down in to the town center. The first shop that you come across, which would sell Gran Turismo 4, is Virgin Megastore. On a themed stand just inside the store was the game. £29.99; the exact same price as Amazon UK.
Although the price is exactly the same, in Virgin Megastores (and other high-street retailiers), UK students get a discount with a NUS (National Union of Students) card. This meant a saving of approximately £3. This brought the total for the game down to £26.99. "Cheap-as-chips" as David Dickinson would say.
So, in the end I got the anticipated game, on the day of release for a cheaper price than found online. Not bad I say. The only problem is that you have to be a student for this to work.