A Sony Computer Entertainment spokesperson has confirmed to Level Up that sometime later this month, retailers will begin selling a $39.99 SKU of Warhawk that does not include the Bluetooth headset. When the game went on sale in August, two versions were available: a download-only version sold through the Playstation Network for $39.99, and Blu-Ray disc version with a Jabra Bluetooth headset packed in, for $59.99. With this price reduction, the retail and digitally distributed versions of Warhawk now sell for the same price.
We first got wind of a possible stripped down retail SKU for Warhawk on Friday, when, in the course of reporting a separate story, we came across a listing for "Warhawk--Game Only" on GameStop's Web site. The listing says that the $39.99 version will be available on October 10th, but the Sony rep had not been able to confirm that with SCEA's sales department by press time. When asked whether this was indicative of Sony's strategy for future AAA games that are jointly released on PSN and Blu-Ray--i.e. an initial run with a pack-in for $59.99, followed by a standalone Blu-Ray version for $39.99--the rep only said that Sony had no new announcements to make at this time.
We predict that games like SOCOM: Confrontation, where communication is essential, will ship with and without headsets. Similarly, a game like Gran Turismo 5 Prologue might have a limited number of bundles with a Logitech racing wheel optimized for Polyphony Digital's latest opus. Still, this is merely speculation, and we'll keep an eye out for any future announcements that Sony makes in this area.