Brace yourself, gamers. The video games industry could see a price hike on games and dedicated gaming platforms with U.S. president Donald J. Trump officially now sitting in the Oval Office. According to a report by Polygon, The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is readying itself should Trump impose trade tariffs.
Basically, if the trade tariffs got approval, goods and services not manufactured in the U.S. would be subjected to additional taxes. Thus, items made in the country would be cheaper. Last checked current-gen consoles are manufactured in China. Because what else isn’t made in China these days?
According to Polygon, up to 5-10 percent of tariff could be imposed on goods coming from outside U.S. soil. The website reached out to ESA on their plans should Trump succeed in imposing the trade tariff and whether they are angling to oppose it.
“We are looking into the issue and can provide more information shortly,” a spokesperson told Polygon.
If the trade tariff gets approved swiftly and applies to everything not manufactured in the U.S., the Nintendo Switch would be the first victim in the consoles department. The successor to both the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS is scheduled to arrive this March 3. It would be a big blow for Nintendo; they have a lot of ground to make up after the Wii U plunged them into a deep hole.
The last thing they would want is for consumers in the U.S. to hesitate on buying the Switch because of the price hike. Currently, the console has a $299 price tag without taxes. The price tag gets bigger when you also add a launch game or two, and the Switch Pro controller. Both of which also need to be imported from overseas.
So this totally sucks, right?
Well, not entirely. Many games are also released digitally these days, either exclusively or alongside their physical copies. Unlike boxed copies, games that are digitally downloaded aren’t normally subjected to taxes because they are intangible items.
But it still depends on the territory and the nature of the digital product or service. So it’s possible that physical and digital copies of games could have different prices despite having the exact same game content. If publishers still want boxed copies to fly off the shelf, they need to offer consumers something they can’t refuse.
Those who mainly game on smartphones and tablets, however, don’t really have to worry much. All apps are digital products and can be downloaded via Google Play and iTunes. So this trade tariff dilemma would primarily affect those who play games on PCs and consoles.
The Entertainment Software Association represents the video game industry in the U.S. Formerly known as the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), the ESA was founded back in 1994.