Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Gaming in Latin America

2:00 PM on 10.26.2013 // jorgeill
  @jillingraf

Promoted from our Community Blogs!

[Dtoid community blogger jorgeill shares his experience as a gamer in Latin America. Want to see your own blog appear on our front page? Go write something! --Mr Andy Dixon]

In the light of the recent pricing of the PS4 in Brazil, many gaming news sites have been writing about how expensive the overall package is. This probably would have been a small ripple on water if it wasn't because of Sony -- who is efficiently pushing its brand and the PS4 on its own in Latin America -- took upon themselves to explain thoroughly how the suggested retail price of $3,999.00 came to be.

Sony is the first of the big three console manufacturers to promote and sell their products on their own in Latin America, while Microsoft and Nintendo generally leave that up to retailers to do the work while promoting themselves with occasional TV commercials. So now I'm sharing my gaming experience in my 25 years living in South America and how much it has changed over the years (mainly in Ecuador and Peru).


Sony retail store actively promoting PS3 together with public adds and TV commercials

Tax rates wildly vary from country to country, but import taxes around every area always increase the price of the final product significantly. These price increases depend a lot on what type of government these countries have. Governments who have a strong disdain for consumerism and 1st world countries view "imported games/imported tech" as an expression of being monopolized/colonized by other countries (see Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia, among others) and tend to tax way more for imported technology than those who are more open to a free market trade (see Colombia, Peru, and Chile, among others). For example, Ecuador is closer to the United States than Peru (its neighboring southern country), but the Ecuadorian government have various strong restrictions for tech imports so I've seen the Wii U basic model being sold at retail launch for $1,200.00 in Ecuador, but in Peru it was sold at $700.

When I was young, videogames where expensive due to reasonable import taxes, but not a rich man's luxury. I still was able to buy games at a moderate phase and temporarily trade games with my friends without having my country's government (the Ecuadorian government) call people who buy videogames a "pelucon" (slang for bourgeoisie/entitled rich people). Some Latino countries benefit from smart up businessmen and women that have tactics resembling a bazaar style place where various small booths sell the same items and benefit from a centralized area where to buy games, so they all have the same and fair prices, and a larger variety. But these places are mostly non-existent, and if you want to buy new or even used games you have to resort to retail stores.


The chart presented by Sony not only shows how much Brazil taxes imports, but shows a similar tax structure for other countries of the region

Unfortunately, retail stores really don't seem to care or understand games, rather, they just sell "luxury items". I remember around the PS3 launch cycle hearing the owner of GameMart (a local retail store) saying how Uncharted is a game that clearly won't sell, and that it looked boring. While it's perfectly fine to not like a game, it was a little strange that a retailer wouldn't see how much buzz was being built over this game months after being released and didn't take advantage of possible substantial revenues. Most of the times the variety in these retail stores is minimal due to completely out of touch owners and a small gaming culture. Your Call of Duty, Fifa, and the main Super Mario games are the only games to arrive closer over their release dates; for other games you just hope they eventually get where you live because the chances of getting a larger variety of games tend to be largely delayed, and sometimes they don't even get there. I remember years ago asking retailers if they would get Sin and Punishment: Star Successor but unfortunately it never got here.


Retail stores look pretty normal, but prices are incredibly high and variety is minimal

With the focus on selling technology and not offering a blend of tech and entertainment, retail stores take advantage from the fact that gaming culture in Latin America (while bigger than before) it is still a very small minority. Parents that buy games for their kids don't know how games depreciate over time (last month I saw a copy of Super Mario Galaxy 1 at $70.00) or how some games don't cost $60.00 and that developers sell it at a lower price in order to sell more. For example, this week I saw Game & Wario and Pikmin 3 both being sold at $90.00 when Game & Wario was clearly retailed way cheaper by Nintendo due to its smaller amount of content. So retail stores just try to sell old merchandise at higher prices and benefit even more from games that are really not that expensive. And because gamers are still a vocal minority, retailers try to cope with all the import taxes and technology taxes by not caring about market fairness.

Videogames are now so incredibly expensive in Latin America, most people resort to the easy access of hacking their consoles and also buying pirated games from easily-accessed stores that seem to never suffer any form of penalty or fines for publicly selling pirated material. During the GameCube and PS2 years, my brothers and I got a GameCube and bought games with moderation, but eventually we caved in and got a used PS2 for $100.00 with a chip that allowed us to play pirated PS2 games. We got pirated games down at the DVD store, where absolutely everything sold is pirated, for $5.00. It was definitively not my finest moment as a gaming aficionado, but it was all so tempting and easy to get.


These stores are very common. They sell pirated movies and games incredibly cheap ($3.00-$5.00) and operate like a regular retail store with no legal implications

Most people I know (including myself) now import from Amazon, eBay, and whatnot, so they can avoid some of the import taxes, tech taxes, and extra costs retailers put outside their regular revenue. But this is only a temporary solution; other companies should do what Sony does and actively participate in the branding process in Latin America because it is honestly non-existent. We don't have events like E3, GDC, TGS: just small local and individual-made efforts to latch onto some tech or hobby-convention in the hopes of finding people interested in games.

Even with all these problems, Latinos who play videogames are a very happy and passionate crowd. I've been to the collector's Valhalla, a five-story mall named "Arenales" in the capital city of Peru (Lima), where stores upon stores of collectible action figures, comics, anime, and videogames new and old are being sold to people who would just swarm and be happy just to be there, buying and looking at the whole spectacle. Mario Castañeda (the man who dubbed Goku's voice for the original Dragon Ball Z airings) is considered a well know celebrity, and people still get excited for any new gig he may have in the works (consider him a Latino David Hayter).

I still gather with old friends now and then for some beers and to play some Donkey Kong Country 2, Mortal Kombat, Mario Kart, and whatever one of us just recently got. We are many, and awesome people, we are just a little dispersed around the continent, that's all.


The mentioned collector's Valhalla, "Arenales"



jorgeill,
 Follow Blog + disclosure jillingraf

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Voodoome avatarVoodoome
Just got home from Deadpool and ... it's not good. I liked the jabs at Green Lantern and the previous movie Deadpool, but that was about it. The rest was just painfully forced dick jokes. Wife fell asleep.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Larxinostic rule34
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Looks like I'm not gonna be able to 100% Tearaway Unfolded until Monday at the least. I'm definitely writing about it this weekend and am trying my hardest to get my screenshots off of my PS4 (especially hard as I don't do social media anymore)
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
I've never done a blog before, so I may as well try one with a review of Stranger of Sword City....well, when I get entered into that contest of course
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Shakedown Hawaii is giving me good GTA vibes. I missed the topdown GTA games when they were a thing. I have to decide what platform to get it for since it's coming to 3DS/Vita/PS4/PC (probably the Vita version for moi).
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
You think your art sucks? Here's the rule34 I made of Larx yesterday. Look at it and despair.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Hey Dreamweaver? If you think your art sucks, you should have a look at my magnum opus. It's of Cloud from the popular game, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I never thought this would happen, but here I am. all of my 700+ pokemon gone in one day. My cart stopped working and there's nothing I can do. I quit, you can't just rebuild all that. Time to find something else.
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Tom Collins is a pretty great drink, and well suited for poutine. consumption
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
It may be because I've been drinking but... We need some dung beetles from ark for the front page. Move that dung on out.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Does anyone know how to get PS4 screenshots onto a PC without needing a flash drive? I don't have a spare.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
This is an example of how bad my drawings are. I honestly think drawing stick figures would've been easier on the eyes. :( The worst thing about this image is that this was made after I got BETTER. Trust me, you don't want to see my earlier stuff. T^T
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
So I received a mysterious box in the mail today. When I opened it I was blown away...The friends I've made here on Destructoid are amazing (More pics in the comments).
Parismio avatarParismio
FRISK PACIFIES YOUR FACE!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Woe is me. This month's Cblog theme is basically an excuse to draw pretty girls, and here I am with no time.
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe one day I'll reach bronze rank in Rocket League...
Nathan D avatarNathan D
A very Bloodborne-y moment.
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Back in tip-top shape guys, feel waaaaay better than I have done these past few weeks. Plus my voice sounds slightly raspy now, meaning my Batman impression has been upgraded. Apologies to Gaj and Solar the most, my male-up kisses go to you: Xxxxxx
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wait... Is that...? Could it be...? It IS! Gravity Rush's Kat has taken a break from rushing and graviting to sacrifice some souls in Soul Sacrifice Delta! Which isn't even going for $8 on the PS Store right now! What a steal!
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Finally got my in game time down to under an hour in Super Metroid. I'm pretty happy about that.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -