By Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) -Sony Group Corp said on Thursday it was hiking the price of its PlayStation 5 games console in markets including Europe, Japan and Britain following economic pressures including rising interest rates.
Sony said it is raising the price of the disk drive equipped version of the console to 549.99 euros ($550.81) from 499.99 euros previously in Europe with a similar hike in Japan.
The Japanese entertainment conglomerate said there would be no price increase in the United States, where it is locked in battle with Microsoft Corp’s Xbox, which is aggressively expanding its games subscription service.
“We’re seeing high global inflation rates, as well as adverse currency trends, impacting consumers and creating pressure on many industries,” Sony Interactive Entertainment Chief Executive Jim Ryan wrote in a blog post.
The price hike comes as Sony’s games business has been squeezed by supply chain snarls feeding into hardware shortages, with the conglomerate aiming to boost PS5 production for the year-end shopping season.
While the price hike “is a necessity given the current global economic environment and its impact on SIE’s business, our top priority continues to be improving the PS5 supply situation,” gaming chief Ryan wrote.
Sony aims to sell 18 million units of the hit device in the current financial year after selling 11.5 million units in the year ended March.
“Although wide ranging, the PS5 price increases are relatively nuanced and are taking place in markets where the impact is being felt the most with an added layer of squeeze coming from the strength of the U.S. dollar,” Ampere Analysis analyst Piers Harding-Rolls wrote in a blog post.
“Microsoft will take advantage of Sony’s increase to push its ‘value’ message,” Harding-Rolls added.
($1 = 0.9985 euros)
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edmund Blair, Jason Neely and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)