After months of anticipation, Final Fantasy IX, the latest in Square's multi-million selling franchise, is scheduled to go on sale in Europe next Friday, February 16th. However, despite the extremely high sales potential of the game, some video game retailers won't have a single copy in stock on the big day.
A number of retailers are apparently quite upset over the game's retail price of £39.99 (about $60). Stating that the price is "excessively high," they have established a total boycott of Final Fantasy IX in their stores. Concerned over the possibility of a potential price war, one source commented that "The days of expecting consumers to pay £39.99 for a [PlayStation] game are well and truly over - it will flop at that price. We'd end up all selling it for £29.99 thanks to the others discounting it, and make £2 profit."
Graham Struthers, part of the team behind the Square's European marketing plans, argued that the price was more than justified. "FF9 stands out," he stated. "It's a four disk product, it's the last Final Fantasy on PSone, and shows Square putting its money where its mouth is; not just in terms of the huge production values of the game, but the marketing campaign as well." As a final comment to the retailers, he added, "Does the retail community, with its usual short-sightedness, discount and then complain about margin? If it's not going to stock FF9, I don't know what else it's going to put on the shelf instead. This is just UK-centric retail navel gazing."
Although the retailers will have a difficult time winning against Square, they seem determined to try. There has yet to be a true consensus among fans in regards to the game's price, and they are truly the one's who will determine how the launch day goes. RPGamer will keep you updated on the situation in Europe as Final Fantasy IX nears its release.