When Nintendo originally announced the GameCube's European launch details, it was meant to retail in the UK at £150, a couple of quid below the €249 RRP at current exchange rates. Retailers were soon up in arms about the slim margins this would leave them with though, and soon the street price had risen to around £165 at most stores.
Flash forward to a couple of days ago, and with less than two weeks to go before the Cube's long overdue arrival on our shores, Nintendo dropped a bombshell, slashing the price to €199 and adding that it "expected" the console to retail for £129 in the UK. Given that £129 is the equivalent of about €210 at the moment, that seemed a reasonable expectation. Indeed, just a few hours after the press release arrived from Nintendo, one online store told us that "the £129.99 price announced is the final retail price".
Sadly it now looks like they jumped the gun, with retailers reported to be hiking the price to £139.99. From a consumer viewpoint it looks like the Brits are being ripped off once again, expected to pay 15% more than their European neighbours for the same piece of kit.
Retailers obviously have a different story though. Nintendo announced the new £129 "expected" price point in a surprise press release at 8am on Monday(April 22), but it wasn't until yesterday morning that most retailers found out what Nintendo would be charging them for the Cube. Needless to say the trade price came as something of a shock, with one retailer telling us that there was "no way" they would be able to sell the console at £129.
"Yet again Nintendo's Press Department make the assumption that retailers can afford to sell their machines for them without making a profit", one anonymous retail source told us. "It's disappointing for the customers most of all - I am sure many were excited by the news... and will now blame us on the frontline for putting the price up by £10."
Whoever you choose to blame for the price hike, the sad fact is that British punters will probably be paying almost €30 more than their European counterparts for the GameCube come May 3rd.
© Eurogamer.net. All rights reserved.