Why console games cost more than PC games

If you’re a gamer in India or someone looking to get into gaming, you’ve probably wondered why PC games are priced at only a fraction of the price of the same games on consoles. While most Xbox 360 and PS3 games retail for Rs 2,499, their PC counterparts sell for anywhere between Rs 499 to Rs 999; it’s a massive price difference! This is something unique to India, and it’s not because India is predominantly a PC gaming market or because publishers choose to promote PC gaming India. It has more to do with India’s import norms and duty structure.

PC games that are sold in India are either manufactured or packaged in India, which means that either the discs are pressed and then packaged here, or the discs alone are imported on spindles and then packaged in India. By contrast, console games are neither manufactured nor packaged in India, but are imported in packaged form, and in India, packaged software attracts high import duties. So although publishers sell the games to their Indian distributors at subsidised rates, the prices get inflated due to the heavy import duties levied on them.

This is not about PC and consoles, but it has more to do with whether games are imported or locally packaged. If in the future Xbox 360 and PS3 games are manufactured and/or packaged in India, the price will drop drastically, which is already being seen with PS2 games, which are now manufactured here and are therefore priced as low as Rs 499 or Rs 699.

Published by Sameer Desai

Sameer is the co-founder, owner and editor of IVG. He has been a writer and journalist for over a decade, most of it focussed on gaming. Having initially worked in news media (TV and online), he switched to tech and video games journalism in 2006. He was editor for the Indian edition of UK-based games trade publication, MCV. He has also written India-focussed columns for Gamespot, and been featured as a games expert by MTV, Mumbai Mirror and The Guardian (UK), among others.

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  1. When will packaging come to india? 🙁 When the next PS/Xbox launches? Packaging will come for PS360. :

  2. But then it is said that prices of console games in India are comparable to the high costs in US (60$) or UK (40£). I’m sure the games are packaged in these countries, why then are the prices high over there?

  3. Subsidized prices for our market. Hence the need for distributors (I guess?). They are also only for sale in India, selling these outside is illegal.

  4. Brilliant article Sam, please write one for why some publishers don’t release their games here

  5. Well, $60 isn’t exactly considered high in the US because the standard of living there is higher.

    Even in those countries, PC games are about $10 cheaper but the reason for that is that console games carry additional royalties that go to the platform owner (Sony, Microsoft).

    But the price difference is not even close to as massive as it is here. Some PC games cost literally one-fifth of their console counterparts.

  6. Don’t know about packaging, but Sony DADC (manufacturing plant in India) is pushing to start manufacturing Blu-ray in India, which will hopefully mean that PS3 games are manufactured here. They also manufacture movie DVDs and PC games, but I doubt they’d manufacture Xbox 360 games at a Sony plant.

  7. Good read. You didnt give complete insight though. The price of the console games translate to same price as the US,Europe. The major reason is just not that they are manufactured outside the country. Console games primarily cost a lot for the publishers to develop as it goes through a whole sophisticated process. With all the line up of modern titles, PC is always one of those platforms and never the lead SKU. Lead SKU are always the consoles. Console game development go through rigorous standards like TRC,lot check etc which is not required for PC development. More over, publishers also needs to shell out money on the development kits for PS3,Xbox 360 and other applicable consoles while all this is not required for PC. A good example for price difference was GTA 4. The console titles were sold for 2499 while the PC was sold at a slashed price of 499. The reason simply being the Lead SKU vs secondary SKU. And by the way, PC DVDs are cheaper to manufacture than the PS3 Blurays.

  8. That’s not really the case. Prices aren’t determined by which platform is lead. If that were the case, Battlefield 3 should cost more on PC and less on consoles, but that won’t happen. The reason console games are more expensive than PC games in the West is because the platform owners (Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo) earn royalties on console games. There’s no platform owner on PC, so prices can be lowered.

    Further evidence of this can be found in the pricing of Xbox 360 exclusive games in India. There was a time when they used to be priced below Rs 2,000, while PS3 games were always around Rs 2,499. That was because Microsoft waived off royalties so the game could be cheaper in India.

    As for GTAIV being priced lower in India, that was a combination of 1) lowering the price for a game that was already out on consoles, 2) the fact that GTA is huge in India and Express doing massive numbers on it (at least by Indian standards), and 3) being part of Express attempt to bring down prices of PC games in general.

    Saints Row 2, Mafia II, Duke Nukem Forever were all Rs 499, and that wasn’t determined by which platform was lead.

  9. Right! And thats something what I partly stated mentioning that they go through a sophisticated process where high pricing is due to the process involved and not due to the shipment costs. Btw,BF3 is showcased on the PCs to showcase what their next generation of FPS experience should look like and PC will not be the lead SKU for them and if thats the case,they will not make money. As I said,all modern titles must rely on consoles as their lead SKUs to make money and in the process they have to shell out money. Also remember that first party titles are also priced the same even when Sony,MS is investing money to make games with their own studio.

    Never the less, a good topic of discussion.


  10. XBox 360 uses the same format as PC and PS2 which is standared DVD; PS3 might have the problem with BLU-Ray discs as they are not manufactured in India then why the Xbox 360 games are priced at per with PS3 games? Microsoft could have boost up their console sales by competitive pricing.

  11. guys so waht will be the cost for buying PS3 games online,its for personal use so will I still have to pay the extra taxes for it???

  12. sounds like a console fanboy lol thinng is pc games r cheaper better graphics by far all knows better controls mouse and keyboard in most games better supports like patches and mods ofc and free multiplayer for ex u hav to pay on xboxlive to play gta 4 online future proof and i dont need to say anything ppls can search on google and can find their answer pc rocks no doubt

  13. lets talk about battlefeild 3

    It’s about time that developers such as DICE shined a light on the PC. After all this is where all the FPS games started. It’s a well known fact that PC games are far superior to the mostly outdated consoles, as they get the added benefit of being constantly upgraded when the technology changes. Consoles on the other hand are stuck with whatever hardware they have for 5-7 years. As time progresses we will notice a shift of game quality coming over the PC (as with Battlefield 3) until the next generation of consoles come out. But even then, their superiority will only last a short while, as it’s all the part of the same cycle. While looking at the console industry you can see a pattern of the units becoming PC’s them self. PlayStation keyboard? Xbox Hard drive? Mouse support? Browsers? File managers? Running chopped down versions of Linux and WinXP? Looking from a side line the consoles are sure starting to look like PC’s.

    I am expecting the following troll comments:

    “Oh but I don’t have 1000′s of dollars to upgrade my PC every month mister BF3Nation editor, so go jump off a bridge, lol”

    Really? Let’s do a little comparison…………………..

    xBox 360 – 399.99

    Extra controller – 59.99 (you always get the extra one, don’t lie)

    xBox Live? – If you play a lot it can cost you quite a bit.

    How about that HDMI cable? Got to get that Monster Cable – 50 additional dollars.

    Uh oh, how about those head phones? So you can talk to your buddies.

    With a couple of games to start with you are getting close to the 1000 dollar mark.

    Now lets talk PC………………

    You can take many routes. Yes, there are 3-5 hell even 10k rigs out there. However, as with anything there will be a variety of choices. In all honesty, you can have a respectable gaming rig for less than 800 dollars. TigerDirect.com brand name “Symantex” offers great quality PC’s for less. You can have a powerful CPU with 8 gigs of ram for 399.99 if you shop around and wait for a deal. Now the only thing needed is that dreaded GFX card. Top of the line cards will cost you 300-500 dollars, which will still put you under the 1000 dollar mark. So tell me gamers, where is the comparison that console gaming is cheaper? And don’t listen to the hype. You DO NOT have to upgrade your PC every 6 months. A good gaming rig can lest 2-3 years and run games on high setting without any problems.

    There are two ways to build a gaming rig. You can build a lesser quality PC that STILL can preform for a budget, or you can go for the latest CPU’s and GFX cards that can cost thousands. This is why the PC platform developed a bad rep, as people see prices of the latest accessories and they believe you have to be rich to play PC. Nevertheless, it’s far from the truth. Smart shoppers can play the same way, for way less.

    So how is the Battlefield 3 superior to consoles?

    Graphics, graphics, graphics…

    All the major consoles have out-dated hardware, and this is where the PC will shine. The superiority and crispness of the screen shots will make any console boy drool.

    64 players for PC.

    Some might argue that is too much but in reality it’s just the “haters gun hate” talk. First person shooters are all about the battle. You cannot convince me that its more fun to play with less players. That is just a ridiculous claim. Nothing beats a full blown battle where there is a shit storm behind every corner.


    The modding community has done wonders for Battlefield 2. It extended the life the game by years and even improved it to the point where the MOD became better than the original. While no modding tools are confirmed for Battlefield 3 (yet), that little detail does not matter. Why? Because in the world of PC’s is US gamers who make the rules. We can chop that game up any way we want while console boys will be dependent on DLC. (uh oh, more money to spend console boys)

    The superiority of PC gamers.

    I believe it’s a well known fact that:

    PC gamers > Console gamers.

    The skills of PC gamers are unparalleled and do not even compare. Don’t believe me? Even giants like Microsoft think so. Do you know why companies never attempt to combine gaming platforms in online matches? (Such as PC vs PS3 vs XBOX) That is because the PC gamers destroyed the console boys every time they matched up (yes, this already happened). A year ago, Microsoft preformed a study and determined that even that the technology is there, they can’t allow cross platform multiplayer games as the console players do not stand a chance.

    This rant is for all you console fanboys constantly attacking the PC. While we are all gamers, and I am happy that you will get to enjoy this title, I strongly recommend for you to try the PC version. Step up to the big leagues. If you enjoy using your Prius version of a gaming rig then it’s fine, but if you ever wondered what’s it like to drive a Ferrari then buy a PC.

    No hard feelings, I am just busting some balls here and it’s what gamers do, right?

  14. Instead of blabbering craps, why don’t ya’ll talk about what can be done to fix this issue?

  15. I can call you a PC fanboy aswell. PS users don’t need to pay for live content. I have a good (IMO) pc rig and a ps3 but I mostly prefer PS3 gaming because it’s more fun. It’s all about opinions and if somebody likes consoles, it doesn’t make him a fanboy. Stop being so ignorant mate.

  16. So why PC games are much cheaper?
    -Publishing houses(EA,Ubisoft,Rockstar,etc) want to promote PC gaming(hence the huge discounts almost upto 50%) also these games are manufactured in India(hence the low price tags)
    -Using DVD’s over Bd for consoles.
    -Games released on PC don’t have to be accountable to their methods of retail to Sony,Microsoft or Nintendo
    -Many publishers just provide basic setup and the rest of the game has to be downloaded over STEAM.

    -There are many more reasons but these are just cost cutting done by publishers.

    This all was put forward by Sameer already,but it still doesn’t answer –

    So why not manufacture console cd in india?
    -Manufacturing is an expensive industry when demands on the commodity is low(Please continue reading before jumping on your horses).


    Because India is still a very niche market when it comes to PC & console gaming
    -USA,Japan,UK sell about 100-750k copies each of AAA titles in the first week of its release
    -India sells roughly 5-10k for the same title
    -The number of consoles Gamers are small(relative to rest of the world).
    -Indian Gamers consists of mostly mobile and online gamers.
    -Then comes indian government with their rules and taxes on ENTERTAINMENT and LUXURY(they might just make a new CONSOLE tax) and whatever they can shove down the publishers throat.

    How can you fix it?

    -This is a difficult question,Publishers will fell the need to manufacture in India when Gaming becomes as mainstream entertainment as musc(leave alone Bollywood).
    -Gradual increase in disposable income will slowly lead to higher console gamers
    -So it can only be fixed over time.

    From Publishers Point:
    In India,they know CD’s are given on rent,They know the shareability of one single disc, and they are OK with it because they don’t have to bear the losses from their manufacturing units in India.They (Publishers)are still fine with it, its just Console manufactures who bear these losses.
    Publishers rather get their inventory in Singapore,Hong Kong,etc empty than manufacture in India.

    P.S. PS4 and Xbox One might boast of new Next Generation technologies that they try to achieve,but as a matter of fact PC already achieved this long long ago.
    If you are a true gamer and love the aesthetics of games(not just FPS) for how they are made(and of course have the time,and money to spend)get into PC gaming,feel the game the way it was made to be experienced.

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