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Nintendo Fined $143m for Price-Fixing

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the fine-to-be-paid-in-gold-coins dept.

Games 447

kyz writes "The BBC is reporting that the anti-trust branch of the European Commission has fined Nintendo 146 million euros (roughly $143m) for preventing its distributors from selling games as cheaply as they are sold in other European Union countries. For example, "prices of Nintendo products were up to 65% higher in Germany or the Netherlands than in Britain". Now if only the EU could do this with Microsoft, Levi Strauss and the MPAA members..."

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447 comments

$143 million dollars? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565097)



All they have to do is make a Pokemon game, and then paint it 4 different colors.

Re:$143 million dollars? (5, Insightful)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565353)

Lets see, they just lost $143 million dollars? So now, is this going to make them drop the prices in the other countries or raise the prices in the countries that were getting the games at good rates. I wonder.

What? (-1, Offtopic)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565101)

So now I'm supposed to hate Microsoft and Nintendo??? I'm confused.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565153)

and you'll get modded up as funny to
for the no brainer lame ass comment

Some help for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565163)

You're supposed to hate any company that engages in price-fixing cartels, as this is anti-competitive and illegal.

Re:What? (1)

EinarH (583836) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565177)

Of course, this is slashdot.

Serious. You havent you seen many "love- stories" about Microsoft and Nintendo here latly have you?

Just hate all of them... (1)

sterno (16320) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565253)

Just remember, if it's a big corporation, default to hating it. Just makes life much easier. For example:

your friend: Did you hear that big corporation X is polluting the environment, killing babies, supporting Al Qaeda, and paying third world labor in lint balls?

your reaction: Eh, I already hated them

Then you can go about your day unphased by their crimes. Much easier that way.

Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (5, Funny)

nooboob (553955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565109)

....the president of Nintendo flew up into the air and coins exploded from his body?

Re:Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565207)

Surely you mean "laughed like a bastard"? Surely he'd have made much, much than he was forced to pay? Hardly punitive damages!

Re:Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (2, Funny)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565272)

Only if King Bowser Koopa was presiding over the court and threw a turtle shell at him...

Re:Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (3, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565323)

actually, I heard that the bricks of the Nintendo Complex in Japan are engineered pretty cleverly.
If you take one and smack your head into it, a coin pops out of the other end.
They'll have the cash in no time.

Re:Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (1)

nogoodmonkey (614350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565326)

Coins exploding from his body Sonic the Hedgehog style? I thought that was a Sega game. :-)

Of course, even Sega is developing for the Gamecube now. It's kind of sad what poor marketing and lack of developers can do to a company.

Re:Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (1, Flamebait)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565339)

thats sonic, numbnuts - owned by sega.

much more accurate if he jumped in the air, ate a mushroom and some flowers and started throwing fireballs at them through his nose.

Re:Do you think upon hearing the verdict.... (1)

HorrorIsland (620928) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565380)

thats sonic, numbnuts - owned by sega.

I thought Sonic use rings, not coins....

Now whose nuts are numb, hmmm?

Nintendo never changes (5, Informative)

pheph (234655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565115)

Does anyone else remember getting a check from Nintendo (in the late 80s) for like $5 or $10? Apparently they were price fixing the NES Unit for $99, and were order to pay a fixed amount to every registered NES owner.

Re:Nintendo never changes (5, Funny)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565265)

Is that what happens when you register stuff? If I had known that I wouldn't have made a 'frrpbpb' noise and tossed all those cards away!

Re:Nintendo never changes (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565360)

Funny. As a matter of fact, I owned two NES decks, and I never received either of these, nor did I hear word from it.

I wonder if you got your mod points simply because people believed you, or if you're really telling the truth. Provide some links, please.

Deja Vu? (-1, Redundant)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565119)

Didn't this already happen to Nintendo several years ago? I remember back in the NES days, Nintendo got burned for almost the exact same thing here in the US. I think Nintendo had to send $20 off coupons to anybody who owned an NES as reparation.

and CARS!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565120)

in the uk cars are way overpriced compared ot the continent

Saddam's poopchute (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565379)

I'd love to shoot my jism up Saddam's poopchute!

hmmm who's going to pay the fine. (3, Interesting)

torboth (179564) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565125)

Wouldnt it be great if the money fined went to all the people across europe who had bought all these high priced games!! Though I think thats unlikely to happen as it will no doubt go into the bottomless pit of the EU.

In the end the end user ends up paying this fine as although prices might come down in europe they will no doubt go up in the UK.

The internet is all fucked up... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565126)


What gives?

Slashdot, my messageboards, Instant Messenger...all slow! Slow!

I'm going to cry if its still fucked after lunch.

Weird Slashdot Happenings (0, Offtopic)

joyoflinux (522023) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565128)

Slashdot linking to kuro5hin!?!? I thought giving people 30 mod points was bad :)

Good for them (5, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565134)

Disclaimer: I am not one of those people you see protesting around every IMF meetings

With that said, I swear to god, multinational cooperations have no conscience. Turn on the news, and all you see is the Enrons, Microsofts, and all these other coopertions who do everything they can to screw the consumer and their employees to make an extra penny. Good for the Europeans, bout damn time someone smacked those companies down, even if it is one with good Karma like nintendo.

Re:Good for them (2, Funny)

kingpin2k (523489) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565191)

Wow. That's quite an impassioned response to overpriced video games.

My take (3, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565232)

It's just a symptom of a much bigger problem. The global economy has reduced the importance of national laws. If you don't like the laws in the country where you operate, moving has never been easier. Child labor laws? Move to Cambodia. So it makes my day just a bit brigher when I see them getting smacked down for it. But, I would much prefer to see a $143 billion instead of million. That would get their attention

Re:Good for them (5, Interesting)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565262)

Disclaimer: I am not one of those people you see protesting around every IMF meetings. With that said, I swear to god, multinational cooperations have no conscience.

If the protesters around IMF had their way, there would be much more trade barriers between countries, making it much easier for corporations such as Nintendo to set different prices in different regions.

Good for the Europeans, bout damn time someone smacked those companies down, even if it is one with good Karma like nintendo.

Hum... so if the market is not very competitive you propose knocking down the companies. I think the opposite - what is needed is more companies. And, this is exactly what has happened in the video game market. With three competing systems it is probably very difficult for Nintendo to rig prices, not because EU bureaucrats tell them not to, but because they would lose their business.

Tor

Re:Good for them (2)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565292)

It's not an anti-competitive market in this case, as you point out. The video game market is about as cut-throat as it gets.

With that said, every one of these scandals where companies are found out to be breaking the law in order to increase the bottom dollar makes me want to start levying incredibly excessive penalties, as a way of "encouraging" the other companies not to even think about this crap.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565281)

Turn on the news

There's your first problem... you watch the news.

and all you see is the Enrons, Microsofts, and all these other coopertions who do everything they can to screw the consumer and their employees to make an extra penny.

Bad news sells.

Of course you don't hear about the plethora of companies that do good things, act humanely, have scruples, etc... they do exist, and I'd wager they outnumber the enrons of the world.

Bad news sells.

Re:Good for them (2)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565314)

Maybe at the smaller level, yes. But I swear, the bigger a company gets, the more evil it gets. Seriously, once they get big enough, they don't feel compelled to obey national laws anymore, and I think it's high time someone let them know that that isn't the case. I am sure there are big companies that do good things, but the only reason they are doing it is so people will give them positive brand-name recognition.

Re:Good for them (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565306)

"Turn on the news, and all you see is the Enrons, Microsofts, and all these other coopertions who do everything they can to screw the consumer and their employees to make an extra penny."

Yeah, cos you know how stories about businesses who operate legally keep people glued to their sets.

This post was brought to you by Ford. Thick like a rock!

Ok (2)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565358)

Fair enough, the stories don't have much shelf life (why don't we go kill some pre-teen beauty pagent winner and give them something to talk about)

But nowadays, it seems there are so many that they just keep coming out of the woodwork.

Re:Good for them (4, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565318)

With that said, I swear to god, multinational cooperations have no conscience. Turn on the news, and all you see is the Enrons, Microsofts, and all these other coopertions who do everything they can to screw the consumer and their employees to make an extra penny. Good for the Europeans, bout damn time someone smacked those companies down, even if it is one with good Karma like nintendo.

On the contrary, multinationals are only operating within the framework provided by national governments. When governments dismantle their trade barriers, such as import tarriffs and quotas, then price differences will simply be arbitraged away by brokers (i.e. you see something selling for $10 in country A and $5 in country B, export/import it and sell it in country A for $6 - eventually the margin will tend to zero). But that can only happen if there are no obstacles to freely moving goods and capital around.

The biggest barrier to this is ironically the EU itself who protect manufacturers like Levi Strauss from UK retailers who source overseas and want to sell at less than Levi's MRRP. Not to mention the distortions the EU create in the market with their subsidies of inefficient industries.

Frankly, I don't know who's worse, corrupt corporations (as distinct from well-run corporations) or corrupt politicians - and the EU isn't even democratically elected! A shareholder has far more influence on a company than a voter has on the European Commission (that's a fact).

It has also been reported... (5, Funny)

cornjchob (514035) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565135)

...that as part of the ruling, the head executives of the branches of Nintendo International concerned with this case will have large barrels hurled at them by a giant ape while trying to get up several stories of floors. In a press release, one of the executives said simply, "BEEP."

Ahem (1)

Isbiten (597220) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565137)

Nintendo has always tried to make as mcuh money as they can from their conoles. You got to remeber some countrys have higher bnp than others, plus nintendo makes money from the games sold not the consoles.

Re:Ahem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565231)

I think it's spelled cannoli, not conole. They are tasty though.

Conspiracy (2, Funny)

cyberise (621539) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565141)

Sounds like they are just trying to get some extra coin out of Nintendo. Bill Gates probably put them up to this!

This is a Good Thing (-1, Troll)

MondoMor (262881) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565145)

Finally, someone has taken a legal stand against the unethical console gaming industry. This industry is a leading contributor [campaignco...rwatch.org] several major political campaigns, and has been allowing the fight against violence in video games because it gives them plausible denial [bobcrane.com] .

This is finally coming to light, and this is the first step.

Lets talk about the real crime. (-1, Flamebait)

Voyager Sucks Ass (570844) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565149)

The real crime is that shitfest Star Trek: Voyager. Holy shit does that show fucking suck. Sure, I thought it was my lucky fucking day when they ended the series, but now it's even worse. Now it's on every day instead of once a week. Holy shit!

Endless re-runs of that whiny bitch Harry Kim, whining about some wuss-crap while that shitfucker Chakotay talks about some spiritual native indian bullshit. Why doesn't that fucker just admit that he likes drinking whisky and gambling, like every other fucking indian? Jesus Christ.

And don't even get me started on that dyke Janeway. I bet she'd love to assimilate Seven of Nine's pussy with her tongue.

Re:Lets talk about the real crime. (0)

MaxVolume (597522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565321)

That has to be the funniest shit I've read in hours. Bravo!!! No matter what you think of the series, that Elite force video game is pretty rockin....

So... (5, Insightful)

elphkotm (574063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565155)

If Nintendo sells units for more money in a country with less demand, it's illegal? Price-fixing? Nintendo competes in one of the fiercest markets around. *BOGGLE*

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

airrage (514164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565213)

It makes perfect sense if you understand the context. First, the EU commission has realized that there is a huge market for investigation. They've set penalities for food, steel, clothes, they feel have not been priced accordingly. To me, it looks like the international version of a class-action lawsuit: sign up some clients, shake some trees, get a settlement or fine. I agree with your point, a game is not food, air, or water, you have the right NOT to buy if the price is too high; apparently it wasn't since they sold well.

Re:So... (1)

KevinGale (537574) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565224)

I agree why should they be fined? It's their product and they should be able to charge whatever they want for it. There is also no reason why everyone should pay the same price. Basic economics different people are willing to pay different amounts for the same product. If they were asking too much people wouldn't have bought the games.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565230)

No, what they were doing is telling their *distributors* what they could sell 'em for. The thing is, at least with real merchandise (as opposed to say, software), when you buy something, you own it, and can sell it for whatever you'd like to sell it for.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

ites (600337) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565245)

The EU (rightly) seeks to punish vendors that (a) charge different prices in different markets, and (b) restrict imports from other EU countries. (a) is legal, but (b) is very much illegal. Free trade means if your console is cheaper elsewhere, you can buy it there.
Imagine if consoles were cheaper in Utah, but any Utah resellers were forbidden to ship them out of state.
The EU suffers from too much of this kind of stuff.

Re:So... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565246)

Economics 101:

Less demand ==> Lower prices
High demand ==> Higher prices

Nintendonomics:
Less demand ==> Higher prices
High demand ==> Higher prices

Nintenonomics == Price fixing

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565256)

If Nintendo sells units for more money in a country with less demand, it's illegal?

Not what the ruling's about. The ruling isn't about price per se, it's about controlling the distribution.

What Nintendo were doing was selling a game for x in the UK, and the same game for x+5 in, say, France. Perfectly legal.

The trouble is that they were then trying to prevent French consumers from buying in Britain and importing directly into France. Now, the EU is an internal free-trade area, so controlling imports between member states is a big no-no.

That's the case. Not the price as such, but the control of distribution across member state boundaries.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565258)

Talk about missing the point.

They were fined for stopping cross border imports inside the EU. The US equivalent would be forbidding shipment between individual states inside the US.

That's not competing, that's avoiding competition.

Re:So... (3, Informative)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565351)

Nintendo competes in one of the fiercest markets around.

That was not the case in the mid 90s Europe, the market which the allegation is about.

Tor

Nothing new for Nintendo (4, Insightful)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565161)

Nintendo has only loved the pocketbooks of their users, nothing more.

People have already mentioned their price fixing the NES, but how about their security chips and their rabid hate of Tengen? And then there's the Game Genie and how Nintendo did their best to put Camerica out of business.

Nintendo just ain't cool when it comes to anything that lowers their share of pocketbook abuse. Always has been, always will be.

Re:Nothing new for Nintendo (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565238)

"Nintendo has only loved the pocketbooks of their users, nothing more."

Are you sure you`ve not mis-typed "Nintendo is the only company in the world to consistantly produce excellent hardware and software"? Even if you ignore the hardware and just look at the software, it's always been loads better than that of any other developer in the world. Only Sega got close (and possibly Atari 20 years ago) but they both produced loads of worthless shite too.

Re:Nothing new for Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565311)

Sega had the problem of being bleeding edge. Nintendo was eternally playing catch-up to them.

The problem for Sega (Aside from idiots in the marketing department) was that by the time Nintendo got their latest consoles out, the bleeding edge was no longer bleeding, but refined.

Re:Nothing new for Nintendo (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565371)

Tell it to the Marines, mate.

"the only company in the world to consistantly produce excellent hardware and software"?
This is the same company that continued to foist off the Gameboy with its puke yellow screen on the gullible public while all their competitiers were selling color handheld systems. And they used their market clout to kill off the better alternatives.

Re:Nothing new for Nintendo (3, Insightful)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565342)

"Nintendo has only loved the pocketbooks of their users, nothing more."

Yeah, you can tell that by their strategy of making kick ass games.

Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Levi a (0, Troll)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565165)

nd MPAA, they won't fine them.


Secretly, most Europeans are proud of what America has become, they can point with pride to the Pax Americana and rightfully say that American traits of capitalism and rights of the individual were all started in Europe. They can point with pride to American holidays and cultural artifacts which all have European roots. It may rankle some Europeans that America strides the globe, but this is the same rankling that a loving father has for a more successful son, there's also a great sense of pride, of knowing that America would be nothing but a bunch of hut living cornplanting savages without European intervention.


Nintendo, on the other hand, is Japanese, an inscrutable culture that was successful at taking European innovations, applying them, and then shutting out Europeans. Can you imagine a bigger affront, a greater finger in the face? Being as most Europeans are more educated on history than Americans (there are still grudges in England between native Celts and Norman descended lords), they have a longer memory of how Japan escaped European colonial imperatives, and they still seek punitive revenge.


So, yes, expect punitive shares against Japanese companies like Nintendo, Fuji, Toyota and Nokia, any student of history would tell you that. Just don't wait for the EU to try to the same thing against American companies.

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565220)

Nokia is not Japanese, they are Europeans from Finnland.

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565260)

Nokia is a european company, fool

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (1)

Ost99 (101831) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565263)

So, yes, expect punitive shares against Japanese companies like Nintendo, Fuji, Toyota and Nokia, any student of history would tell you that. Just don't wait for the EU to try to the same thing against American companies.
Are you on drugs man?
Nokia is Finnish, not Japanese.

And for the rest of your troll: blah

-Ost

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565305)

Nokia is Finnish:
http://www.nokia.com/aboutnokia/compinfo /history.h tml
There is little pride in Europe for the 'achievements' of America.

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565315)

>Just don't wait for the EU to try to the same thing against American companies.

The EU is waiting for US courts to finish with M$ before starting action in Europe. On the assumption that the US courts *might* do the right thing, when they finish screwing up Europe starts its case.

Of course the navel focussed US media probably didn't report on that...

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565332)


No you Troll, we don't look at the US with pride (maybe sometimes...but don't hold you're breath.

The US can't even elect the correct president, though on the other hand it can make a nancy version of rugby and to confuse everyone call it 'football'.

Furthermore, the only reason we ever bother going to North America was to find a quicker route to the West-Indies (Indonesia, India, ect.)

Re:Nah, the EU shares a cultural base with MS, Lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565378)

So, yes, expect punitive shares against Japanese companies like Nintendo, Fuji, Toyota and Nokia

Nokia japanese? since when? It's Finnish.

About time... (3, Insightful)

Cpt_Corelli (307594) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565166)


Seems like the EU is coming down on other [bbc.co.uk] business [utopiasprings.com] sectors [eurunion.org] as well. It is about time someone cleaned up the imperfect markets that still prevail in europe.

The construction and music industries would be a good followup.

and we should be surprised because....? (1)

Eneff (96967) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565184)

Seriously, this is just an extention of status quo for nintendo. I remember when they lost a class-action suit for price fixing back in the 8-bit days.

It's recently been status quo for the entertainment industry as well. consider that the Labels just got hit for price fixing in the last few years too...

rubbish (1, Insightful)

ovit (246181) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565185)

A company should be allowed to charge whatever it want's for it's products. No one is forced to buy.
Tony

I AGREE WITH THIS POST (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565236)

if you don't fucking like it, don't fucking buy it! the govt can fuck off.

MOD PARENT UP

Re:rubbish (1)

tubs (143128) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565310)

I agree too.

Of course, thats not what this story is about, but hey, why bother reading the links.

Portable monopoly (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565337)

A company should be allowed to charge whatever it want's for it's products. No one is forced to buy.

Nintendo has an effective monopoly on sub-$100 handheld video game systems (a Pocket PC currently doesn't count because it's at least three times as expensive [osdn.com] as a GBA) in the United States, and this monopoly drove the development of the Afterburner light kit from Triton Labs [tritonlabs.com] .

The following doesn't exactly apply to Nintendo Co Ltd and its worldwide subsidiaries, but try owning a home in an industrialized country for three months without paying a local utility monopoly such as the electric power company. Pretty much the most prominent people to pull this off are the Amish.

Makes a change. (4, Informative)

GothChip (123005) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565188)

Normally it's the UK that has the highest prices in Europe.

But the period they were fined for was only 1991-1998. That still leaves the past 4 years to be accounted for.

But then again Gamecube games are still a lot cheaper than X-box and PS2 games if you know where to shop so maybe they have learnt their lesson.

Is Nintendo in trouble? (0)

h0mer (181006) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565198)

Nintendo seems to be having problems as of late. The Xbox is outselling the GameCube in the US, even with Super Mario Sunshine out now (That being said, I don't think SMS is a very good Mario game). This lawsuit is surely not going to help. Hopefully Metroid and Zelda will increase sales. Where's Mario Kart GCN?!

I wonder when... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565202)

They will fine the DVD consortium for region coding. I'm sure that it's cheaper to buy american DVDs than the the euro ones that are likely released much later.

Re:I wonder when... (2)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565344)

They will fine the DVD consortium for region coding. I'm sure that it's cheaper to buy american DVDs than the the euro ones that are likely released much later.

Yes, for years I have been buying Region 1 disks from the US/Canada at half the price, months before local release (often before cinema). Often the special features are better as well, due to licensing restrictions etc.

That is price fixing, and is a major factor in why they wanted region coding in the first place.

Re:I wonder when... (1)

tubs (143128) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565348)

They won't at all.

Basically this boils down to a recent "Levis" case where importing "Levis" from the US or anywhere else is "Piracy". Doesn't matter that they are real levis. All to do with trademarks and stuff.

Basic rights (3, Interesting)

tellezj (612044) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565221)

Doesn't Nintendo, or any business entity for that matter, have the right to sell their product to whomever they choose. If they don't want to sell it to a guy who will turn around and sell it for a higher price, they should be able to do that. Their (Nintendo's) motivation is obvious (to make money).

It seems like it has more to do with the open trade policies within the EU than it does with Nintendo.

Re:Basic rights (5, Insightful)

lamz (60321) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565349)

It seems like it has more to do with the open trade policies within the EU than it does with Nintendo.

You're absolutely right. Unfortunately, it has lately become fashionable to hate corporations. Personally, I find it mind-boggling that someone can hate a corporation but NOT hate government for the same reasons. My government takes 55% of my income EVERY year. Compared to that, Nintendo isn't even a minor concern.

Re:Basic rights (2)

digidave (259925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565370)

The problem is that Nintendo also controls the price of 3rd party games, so Capcom can't undercut Nintendo's own games. This creates a very monopoly-like situation because you have your game system and one company controls all the software you can use on it.

If it were cheap to switch to another system I'm sure game prices would be down accross the board, but once you're locked in with a big system investment, you either pay high prices for games or have your investment sit there doing nothing.

Trickle-down effect (5, Funny)

ohboy-sleep (601567) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565223)

Because of this Nintendo will have to cut prices across the board. The red potion in the original Zelda will only cost 20, and you only need 80 coins in Super Mario Bros. to get an extra life.

Why does the government get to benefit? (3, Insightful)

hanenkamp (459447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565237)

I don't see why the EU get's to benefit from screwing consumers. Why not let the consumers screw the company by not buying the product, or ordering it from somewhere else, or otherwise avoiding the price gouging? Is the EU going to give the money back to Germany and the Netherlands to the consumers who got ripped off? I don't see how the EU is doing the right thing.

Rights (3, Interesting)

lamz (60321) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565252)

When is a market unfair? When is it unfair for a company to set a price for their products? If I offer to sell you a video game for $50 or for $100, then isn't it just a private transaction between the two of us?

Now, if I want to sell that game to someone in Britain for $50, and someone in Germany for $100, is there something wrong with that? After all, can't the German customer just call up someone in Britain and have them buy it for him and ship it to Germany, and pay him the $50 plus a bit for his troubles?

Perhaps the problem here isn't Nintendo. Perhaps the problem is government laws that prevent the free exchange of goods across borders, or government fees and taxes that discourage cross-border trade, and enable companies like Nintendo to pull stunts like this.

Re:Rights (4, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565278)

After all, can't the German customer just call up someone in Britain and have them buy it for him and ship it to Germany, and pay him the $50 plus a bit for his troubles?

No - not if no-one's willing to sell it to them. And Nintendo were using their clout with retailers to ensure that no-one was.

That's the entire point of the case.

Cheers,
Ian

Nintendo's reaction: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565266)

The lead attorney for Nintendo, upon hearing the verdict, angrily tried shutting off the power to the courtroom while screaming "FUCK THAT SHIT MAN, THE FUCKING SYSTEM CHEATS! I HAD THIS SUIT WON".

Other attorneys on the case were quoted as saying that the lead attorney had a copy of the trial saved on a memory card, and would try his closing arguments over and over again until he won.

hifi industry as evil as Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565267)

This is what the audio/video industry needs ...

- certain DVD players also sold in Europe have been priced 4 times the US price (Technics DVD-A10, 399$ vs 1500 EUR !)

- typical US gear costs twice the price here

- some Belgian speaker designer asks 7500$ for a speaker based on a German DIY kit which only costs only 500 EUR

- the Belgian and Dutch importers add 30% to the recommended German retail price for a lot of equipment

So What? (5, Funny)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565273)


This is an important less, corporate boys and girls.

If you're fixing prices, then you'd better make sure that you charge the same high price in every single country in the EU.

Got that?

You can still catch flak for uniformly high pricing [theinquirer.net] , though, but it beats this kind of bad press and fine crap.

Sounds like DVD region encoding to me... (5, Interesting)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565275)

DVD's have a built-in way to enforce trade restrictions: region encoding. Of course, film distributors will claim it's about release dates or other such crap; but in reality, region encoding was always intended as an anti-free trade measure.

The distributors want to extract as much money as they can from each market: while they can easily get $18 for a DVD in the US, that would be way too high in China.

The way to scuttle this is to reform copyright to be free trade- and fair use-friendly: demand that, as a condition of receiving copyright protection, distributors not cripple the product in any way---no "copy protection," no region encoding, etc.---and allow users to buy and sell and resell them as they please, and to make copies for archival purposes or for limited distribution to friends. (Note: Your 10,000 closest friends on Gnutella don't count.)

OTOH, if the distributors want to put in anti-free trade or anti-fair use measures, they obviously don't need copyright protection. (LOL)

The point of this proposal is simply to shift the balance back to the center, away from the veritable power orgy for content owners that exists today. Reasonable people realize that copyright, patent, and trademark protections exist for a reason; reasonable people do not believe that these protections should come at the expense of all liberty for users.

Cheers,
Kyle

Doesnt make sense (4, Insightful)

ramzak2k (596734) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565283)

not that i am a big fan of nintendo, how could the EU enforce a rule that the price of anything sold has to be the same across the EU states. In that article they compare the price of cubes sold in Britain & Germany. Does this essentially mean that the services (shipping, handling etc)would invariably cost me the same in germany & Britan ?

More over, there could always be the additional language barrier & translation costs for the cubes or any other product. Wouldnt it be a valid argument for price hike from nintendos side ? (although 65% is a little too much)

Why cant they.... (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565291)

charge what they want? If its overpriced, tehres one simple answer: dont buy it. Its not as tho these products mentioned (anything by nintendo, Levi, Microsoft etc) have anything to do with practical and normal living needs?!?! Now, if this was against a supermarket or a foodgoods seller, then fine, but in this case i dont agree.

Firstly, its their product, why cant they decide how much they want to charge? The value is only that of what people are willing to pay, people stop paying and the product obviously isnt worth what they are asking.

Secondly, as i said before, its not a vital product. All of these things are luxuries, and definatly things we can live without.

Priorities people, want to go after a price fixer? Then go after the Pharmacuetical Industry who definatly fixes prices! That sort of battle would benifit more people than this.

Game Over, by David Sheff (2)

ctid (449118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565303)

Coincidentally, I've just finished reading this book [amazon.com] , which gets into the original court case in the US. It's a very interesting read (although it's not so good at the very end). Unfortunately, I think it may be out of print.

Nintendo a victim? (2)

digidave (259925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565317)

Nintendo says that they were "more victim than villain" of price fixing.

Exactly how did they arrive at that conclusion? Is not making more money an overall goal of the company that they'd be happy about? Sell your stock now!

Errrrr ... Why ? (3, Interesting)

Tensor (102132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565325)

No matter how much the EU tries to, its countries are not the same.

You have avg income differences, and most important consumer diffences and market penetration differences.

Prices should not be the same in each country, as these conditions are not the same.

If i live in Germany and i see prices are cheaper in the uk i simply buy in the uk, that is what online stores are for. Granted, this would also make the price difference pointless but i bet that online sales for nintendo games (bought mostly by parents) is less than 5%

Super Mario Bros 3 Commercial (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4565329)

I would like to know where I can download that Super Mario Bros. 3 commercial where it shows the whole world from outerspace chanting, "Mario, Mario, Mario!" It was on TV when SMB3 was released I believe.

No surprise (4, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 11 years ago | (#4565336)

As someone who lives in the UK, the fact Nintendo were price fixing doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The fact they were fined does though - given that despite the fact that it's glaringly obvious that UK Brits are systematically ripped off on everything from Cars to Computers compared to our European counterparts - very little action is taken.

Some facts:

Average Family car in UK- £12,000
Average Family car in Holland - £9,000

To fill an Average family car with petrol in the UK costs £50 or $80
To fill the same car with petrol in the USA costs £15.07 or $24.11

Pack of 20 cigarettes in the UK - £4.20
Pack of 20 cigarettes in Spain - £1.60

Pint of beer in pub in UK- £1.90
Pint of beer in pub in spain - £0.80p

Six pack of beer in UK - £4.20
Six pack of beer in Germany - £2.40

And so on and so on. You can find more facts about it at the rather appallingly designed Rip-off Britain [rip-off.co.uk] website.

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