Bottom line: Gaming seems to be among the next affectees in the Trump's administration's escalating trade dispute with China. A tariff proposed by the Office of the United States Trade Representative lists thousands of products from China, including video game consoles and controllers, coin-operated arcade machines and tabletop games that could see a price hike of up to 25% in the near future.
It was only a matter of time for gaming to be affected by the current trade war between US and China. As Microsoft and Sony prep for their next console update cycle, the Trump administration has released a list of Chinese goods including "video game consoles and machines" to face up to a 25% tax increase.
The tariff hike not only targets consoles but gaming as a hobby in general. Tabletop and board games such as playing cards, chess, checkers and darts are also part of the list. Other gaming items in the published list include "Coin- or token-operated games for arcade, table or parlor" and "Game machines (o/than coin- or token-operated) and parts and accessories"
The Entertainment Software Agency (ESA), the organization which lobbies for the video game industry, weighed in on this development. "The video game industry boasts a trade surplus for the American economy," it wrote in an email to GameDaily. "Tariffs will hurt the American economy, its industries, and its consumers."
The tariff comes at a critical time for the game industry when both Microsoft and Sony are likely to release successors of their current-gen consoles by 2020. While both the Xbox and PlayStation are sold at a loss, both companies rely on software to lock gamers in their ecosystem of services, subscriptions and game exclusives that cover up for the cost of hardware.
Owing to technology advancements, the launch price for next-gen consoles will most likely be higher than current models. Rumored to be $499 for the upcoming PlayStation, this new tariff may further increase the "appealing" price promised by Sony.
The USTR will see the public response in regards to the proposed tariff and a deadline of June 17 has been set for consideration with the tariff going into effect soon afterwards.