I was caught off-guard by the fairplay website. It was suprisingly persuasive. Like most "whaaa, we want cheaper foo" arguments, it really doesn't seem to hold up. Let me deal with some of the main points here.
Look at Microsoft - earlier this year, they released the new Xbox console at £300, insisting that it was a fair price and couldn't be sold any cheaper. Consumers, though, refused to buy it, and Microsoft swiftly slashed the price, first to £200, and then to £160.
Microsoft is selling the XBox at a loss because they can make it up on licensing the games. If you look at this point it's actually *against* fairplay. When the XBox sells the console at below manufacturing costs, it has to make up the difference on the price of the games.
Albums can cost tens of millions of pounds to record, but you can still buy them for £11. Movies can cost hundreds of millions of pounds to make, but you can still see them for £5 or buy them for £15.
Albums and movies have on advantage that video games seem to lack. _The_Matrix_ is still selling copies. Hell, Jackson's _Thriller_ is still selling copies. But try and find a copy of a video game older than a year or two. I just recently got a playstation II, and after playing Silent Hill II, I want to play the first one. I can't find it. Not to rent, not to buy, not new, not used. Not anywhere - it's not on a shelf I can reach. A game has to make money fast or it won't at all - which jacks up the price. A movie might not break a profit for years (Consider _The_Last_Action_Hero_) and still make money - video games have about a month, maybe two, and if they haven't sold megacopies by then, then they get swept off the shelves for the next best thing.
Everything but the very best sellers get swept off the shelves in half a year, regardless. (Except for an odd little computer store in Hyde Park, Cincinnati, USA, where the game section is practically like a time warp with dust. It's like 5 years ago they decided to have a games section, then both they and the customers forgot about it.)
These are the only two issues that I really care to get into. I find the whole "video games are expensive" thing odd, however. I always thought they were quite cheap. If I pay 7 dollars to go see a movie, I get about 2 hours of entertainment, at about 3.50 an hour of entertainment. Compare Silent Hill II, which I think I paid 40 dollars for. My save game time lists 13:30 from start to finish, but there are some deaths and unsaved exploring (working on puzzles, mostly) that pushes my playtime towards 20 hours. 40 dollars... 20 hours... that's 2 dollars per hour of entertainment, a better per hour deal. Let's not even talk about games like Final Fantasy X, which I paid 50 dollars for but racked up over a hundred hours of playtime on. 50 cents an hour. You can't see a movie for 50 cents an hour without slipping in the back door.
Ultimately, I agree with
Gabe and Tycho on this one. Bread, circuses, and cheap video games.