Spore: A Monetary Mystery

So reader SchizoSlayer drops us a line, and he says “Did you know that EA store is selling Spore for £40?” We didn’t, but it is. The same site is selling this same digital download for $50 in the US. And Amazon UK are selling it in a box, delivered through your door for £27.

Just sayin’.


  1. schizoslayer says:

    Furthermore Gamestation are selling it in shops for £27.

  2. terry says:

    If you find a bribable one >:(

  3. Joe says:

    Did you know Valve is selling Half-Life 2 for £30ish on Steam, but I can pick it up for £15-£20 in GameStation?

    All publishers will charge the full RRP on their own enclosed distro platforms.

  4. Alex says:

    Does the British/EU version of their DD service also charge extra for the privilege of being able to re-download your game in a year or two?

  5. Andrew says:

    Actually HL2 on Steam is selling for $19.99.

    So that’s your argument blown out of the water.

  6. nakke says:

    Don’t you realise that 40 is less than 50? Geez.

  7. Nick says:

    £40 is about $80.

  8. Aubrey says:

    You also have to pay extra to be allowed to download it 6 months after you purchased it.



    This alone = down with capitalism.

  9. Nick says:

    No, just down with EA tbh. Capitalism isn’t all evil =)

  10. Watcher95 says:

    Nothing new.

    Steam is still selling COD4 for 70 USD in some areas, i can get it hard copy for well less that half of that.

    The much promised savings of digital distribution have sadly fallen under the jackboots of the corporate squeeze.

    I love you Valve but that one sure leaves a bad taste…

  11. Butler` says:

    erm, WAR was the same on ea store, i payed 40, then they emailed me saying

    As you may have noticed, EA Store UK are now offering Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning at £34.99 instead of £39.99. We are aware that you have currently pre-ordered at a higher price – but don’t worry you will be charged at £34.99


  12. rocketman71 says:

    Fuck EA. I’m not getting it until they wipe the DRM BS or it is in Steam.

  13. piphil says:

    GTR Evolution is sold for $30 in the US on Steam; it’s $20 in the shops over there.

  14. Dr Snofeld says:

    To be fair to Valve regarding CoD4, I don’t think it’s up to them what they sell it at, but rather the game’s publisher.

  15. Cigol says:

    Watcher; STEAM/Valve have very little say on what other publishers (particularly big ones) set their prices at.

    Technically all you are really buying off the EA Store is a CD-Key. If you want to download the game again in 6 months time – get it illegally and use the CD key and forgo the crack.

  16. mno says:

    I also noticed Direct2Drive dropped the price for the Warhammer Online Pre-Order from 32,95 pounds to 29,95 pounds, out pricing the “always cheaper” play.com.

  17. A-Scale says:

    Steal it. They won’t charge exorbitant prices if you won’t pay it.

  18. mandrill says:

    This is nothing new, us brits have been taking it up the wazoo when it comes to buying anything for decades. The Xbox 360 is now $199 in the states, that equates to roughly £100. so why can I not find it for any less that £179?

    The yanks complain about prices being high on alot of things when compared to the rest of the world the cost of living in the US is not up there with the likes of Norway and Iceland. For a highly developed nation thats pretty good going.

    We (the UK that is) will always get screwed on prices, live with it or move to the states.

  19. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ Aubrey: Not only that, but the extended download service (a steal at £2.99 folks!) only adds 2 years on top of the original 6 months.

  20. Nick says:

    Yeah but they also get paid less in the US mandrill.

  21. Theory says:

    Did you know Valve is selling Half-Life 2 for £30ish on Steam, but I can pick it up for £15-£20 in GameStation?

    £10, actually.

  22. Turin Turambar says:

    And most games are cheaper in play.com than in Steam.
    Also the sky is blue and the sun shines and nights are dark.


  23. Harry says:

    Rock Band.

  24. This Is News? says:

    If it’s £39.99 on EA’s website then that’s because it’s their official “suggested retail price”. Like any games publisher, EA can’t run the risk of annoying the retail chains that sell their games by undercutting them, online or not. This is common practice in our industry. However the retailer can charge what the heck they like.

  25. Lars BR says:

    I don’t get the time limit on downloads on EA store. It’s just… cheap!

    Games are getting larger and larger. Hence old games get smaller and smaller and smaller. I have 5 GB downloaded from EA (3 bf2 expansions, 2142 + expansion), and that’s hardly ONE modern game.

    Additionally, one must assume that people stop downloading old stuff pretty much completely after a while. Valve is doing THIS right.

    But Valve… Please don’t let Actizzard, UBIsoft and their ilk fuck us over in Europe. Make them play fair. More equal pricing, and let us buy their damn products. “Offer only valid in Northern America”, indeed.

    And while I’m ranting, id, Rage, not on Steam, Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

  26. Shadowmancer says:

    You can get spore for free on the pirate bay

  27. Cooper says:

    “Games are getting larger and larger. Hence old games get smaller and smaller and smaller.”
    How exceedingly poststructurally relativistic of you. Well done.

    I’m still a hardcopy whore. The only games don’t have in hard form are those I can’t get (at a reasonable price) in hard form (excessively high pricing on second hand copies of VTM:BL – I’m looking at you). Also, retail outloets, online or elsewhere have consistently been able to undercut DD services.

    However, I much admire the way a hardcopy purchase of a Valve game counts as a purchase through steam. Allowing me to have a professional quality backup of the Orange Box, at a lower price. But not having to worry if I ever loose the disks. Yummy.

    Edit: In regards to the torrent, surely the lack of online functionality for accessing other creations dampens the glory of having cracked it so soon? (That being said, ner ner ne ner ner EA and your DRM heaviness – fat lot of good, eh?)

  28. Nick says:


    What I don’t get is why they are so careful about upsetting retailers when barely any retailers sell PC games.. let alone to the extent they used to, because they make much more money reselling the same console game over and over for about £5 less when it’s preowned.

  29. Dolphan says:

    Just to make a totally irrelevant comment – why nothing from RPS on FM2009? There’s a release date (November 14th IIRC) and the Match Engine is going 3D, plus some other stuff. Big news!

  30. Ging says:

    I despise selling PC games, I’m sick of getting looks from people like I just kicked their puppy to death when I ask if they’ve checked if it’ll run on their machine – or worse, I get “Oh, I’ve got XP!” as if that’s some sort of bloody miracle cure that will guarantee the thing will work…

    Spore is going to make me kill someone, as it’s just the sort of game that every fucker wants to play, so parents will pick it up for kids or kids will buy it for themselves all without realising that it’s going to probably run like a dog on their 6 year old machine that’s full of spyware…

    Blah… (It’s £34.99 in GAME, £39.99 for the Galactic Edition – that might well change tomorrow morning though… yay for 25% discounts!)

  31. jigglybean says:

    Either way, the reviews are very generous. The camera control is terrible, the early stages are simply annoying.

  32. The_Mhor says:

    “@ Aubrey: Not only that, but the extended download service (a steal at £2.99 folks!) only adds 2 years on top of the original 6 months.”

    That hardly seems unusual when you realise that the Boxed Copy features the same DRM as they used in Mass Effect – you can only install the game three times…

  33. Aubrey says:

    @ Man Raised By Puffins

    Yeah man, I know! I was too angry and drunk to use my words! I have been trying not to mutter swear words under my breath while coding at work because it’s annoying for other people I imagine, and I just don’t want to be “that guy”, but it takes almost all my concentration, and the innocent bystander I’ve killed in the crossfire is my ability to explain to the RPS comments krewnistas the full extent to which EA’s downloadable service is sh^H^H irksome.

  34. Mark says:

    “through” my door?! That’ll cost me a lot more than £27!

  35. Calabi says:

    Whom are these people who buy from the EA store, I want their emails. I have this top quality dog poo, only extruded once, at 3.99 I’m sure they’d love to buy.

  36. Riotpoll says:

    Pretty silly really, but then again it is EA!

    Also Spore has no autosave *very angry face* I just lost my progress from creature stage to about 2 hours into space stage, as Spore decided to crash to desktop.

  37. kadayi says:


    Steam is a distribution platform, any publisher who uses it sets the price themselves, notValve. Blame Activision for the over inflated price of CoD4 in Europe Vs America. Also blame Ubisoft for the fact that they don’t sell any of their games through Steam except in the North America (bizarre given their French origins tbh).

    EA store has always been bollocks, pretty much everything they sell through is a few quid cheaper through other vendors (consider the Sims stuff packs..they are about £8 – 10 at retail, but £12 via EA store). I’m really not sure who is insane enough to buy games through it tbh, or whether perhaps the DD store is a necessary evil that EA feel they need to have in order to look progressive in the eyes of developers (even if they make vary little sales) ‘yes we have a DD system in place’. The whole nature of it seems to be like an effort to discourage anyone from considering it. I mean anyone whose clued up enough to consider a DD purchase, is surely going to be clued up enough to know that the prices are a rip off and they can do better else where? That EA haven’t just given up and rolled in with Steam is a complete mystery. With the Sims catalog alone on Steam, Valve would probably cut EA a nice concession on costing. Perhaps an interview investigation Jim to find out that EA are upto?

    Also I agree with the comment about PC games disappearing off the retail shelves. Tesco’s used to be quite good for new PC releases, but nowadays your lucky if they even have a top 10 shoved in between the huge Wii, 360 and PS3 displays.

  38. Cunningbeef says:

    Aussie whining corner: I was satisfied buying Spore off the EA UK store for 40 quid (minus 5 for the CC discount). It came out about $AU75, where EA AU is selling it for $AU100 (46 pounds, $US80).

    I’d have bought it somewhere else, but most games download sites have ridiculous area restrictions to stop us dirty southerners undercutting their ridiculous markups, and, as far as I can tell, apart from the publishers, there’s NO Australian digital download sites (somebody please correct me).

  39. Ginger Yellow says:

    I’m a bit worried about the lack of autosave. It drives me nuts playing Company of Heroes as it crashes about once an hour on average. I’m just going to have to get into the habit of saving every ten minutes. Is there a quicksave key?

  40. MeestaNob! says:

    I’ve got a cunning way of avoiding regional gouging and absurd re-download restrictions: I dont buy it (and I dont play it either).

    Publishers take note.

  41. jigglybean says:

    One of the reasons why the prices are higher is simply due to the fact it will piss retail off. So EA have to set their prices higher.

    PC games are struggling to find spaces in the so called specalist gaming store shelves but if you pay a visit to HMV, they traditionally have the best range of new and old PC games bar none. HMV Oxford Street has an incredible range.

  42. affront says:

    It’s not just you brits who the EAxtortionists try to fleece. They charge 54.99€ from us Germans (and, I presume, the rest of Europe) for Spore – when it’s $49.95 in the US, which is 15€ less (or FORTY PERCENT more, WTF!). Quite a bad joke, in all.

    And yeah, it’s past time that the retail mafia goes belly up. Sadly that will probably take years and years more…

    Also lol, I just noticed it’s actually 5€ cheaper to pay in £ than it is €.

  43. malkav11 says:

    When did anyone ever promise digital distribution would be cheaper than retail? It *should* be, as you’re getting less and it’s less expensive to produce. And people have hoped it would be, certainly. But I can’t remember anyone actually involved in the business ever claiming it would be. And of course it very rarely is. Mostly if the DD source is having a sale that retail distributors aren’t. (And until Gamersgate and Steam started doing these bargain weekends, I’d pretty nearly never seen that.) Or the occasional massive bundle, I suppose.

    I paid $25 for my brand new Orange Box, which was still $50 on Steam at the time. At least Valve lets you buy retail and attach to Steam, for their games. That’s always appreciated.

  44. Stitched says:

    Seriously guys? Really? Instead of being outraged, buy the damn game from the cheapest place you can find. If it’s not the EA store, then don’t buy it.

    I remember this happened with Bioshock – 50 bucks on Steam, 20 dollars at retail.

    The retail box is part of my collection, although it was a Pyrrhic victory. With the money, I saved, I bought Company of Heroes and the expansion for an extra 20 dollars.

  45. Gap Gen says:

    Don’t you people realise that EA is selling Spore for $49.99 but with the import duty included and the stamp tax applied retroactively since 1894 you have to include a factor of 7.84% on every quarter since 1895 coupled with the rising cost of electricity and DVDium, plus Amazon actually *makes* money from postage, and is part-funded by vampires?!?!

  46. Theory says:

    The vampire bit is new to me.

  47. Leelad says:


    Stick to talking in one currency?

  48. Bobsy says:

    Before we get all Daily Mail about the injustice of paying extra online, sigh, do remember that in general by doing so you’re getting extra and better* service. For instance, getting a full game without having to go out and into town and into a shop and all the way back, or dealing with long postage times from online retailers.

    This isn’t necessarily better, of course. But it irks me that people seem to think that higher prices are just digi-distributer greed. You’re paying extra money for extra service.

    *in theory. I know the EA download manager’s a bit of a shitbag.

  49. Skree says:

    Bobsy, paying extra money for better service such as not being able, in this case, to download the game more than six months later? If EA genuinely believe they’re giving better service than Amazon or Gamestation they’re just wrong :P

  50. Commando says:

    Digital distribution is only delivering higher average prices to gamers. I think it’s about time someone wrote an article about this although it’s simly going to come down to “publishers won’t undercut retail”.

    At retail there is usually price parity between digital and stores but I have never seen digital to be cheaper yet. Any game older than six months will usually be easily findable for cheaper, new, from a lot of stores. Games sold by retail outlets rapidly drop off after six months, Quake 4 and Prey dropped all the way to a fiver. Prey is £18 on steam.

    I saw they just added age of conan. It’s £35… or £25 from Play.