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Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo: China tariffs would 'harm' games industry

It's not all that often you'll get Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all agreeing about the same things. But when it comes to tariffs that could make game consoles more expensive, they're more than willing to partner up and oppose them.

According to VG247, all three platform holders signed onto a statement regarding President Trump's proposed 25% tariffs against Chinese goods. But it wasn't that the companies opposed every single tariff outright; rather, they were not big fans of the tariffs covering video game consoles.

"While we appreciate the Administration's efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property and preserve U.S. high-tech leadership," the statement said, "the disproportionate harm caused by these tariffs to U.S. consumers and businesses will undermine—not advance—these goals. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Administration remove HTSUS subheading 9504.50.00, covering video game consoles, from the final list of tariffs, and thus refrain from applying tariffs on these products."

It is the belief of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo that the 25% tariffs on game consoles would "Injure consumers, video game developers, retailers and console manufacturers." Not only that, the three companies warned that jobs in the games industry could be at risk should the tariffs be allowed to go through, and that innovation could be "stifled" should video game consoles become more expensive to purchase in the United States.

All three companies have very good reasons to be worried about the tariffs.

According to the data provided by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, "over 96% of video game consoles imported into the United States [in 2018] were made in China." The tariffs on game consoles would make importing them more expensive, leaving console manufacturers one of two options: either increase the cost of consoles, or eat the cost of importing them. And when you consider that consoles themselves are often sold at thin margins or act as loss leaders for software, it seems evident which direction the companies would likely have to go in.

Should the tariffs go into effect, we could see all sorts of electronics become more expensive; not just game consoles. But we'll keep an eye out and let you know if that ends up happening.