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The average Brazilian will have to spend over two month’s salary just to buy Sony’s new PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4
Reuters/David McNew
Introducing the new Playstation 4, which almost no one in Brazil can afford.
By Roberto A. Ferdman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

When Sony rolls out its newest video game console, PlayStation 4, in Brazil next month, Brazilian gamers are going to have to break the bank to bring one home.

Sony’s new PS4 may be set to retail for $400 in the US, but in Brazil the system will sell for a whopping 3,999 Brazilian Real, or $1850 at launch, reports Brazilian news outlet Globo. (link in Portuguese)

According to Sony Brazil, the vast majority of the costs have nothing to do with the actual product and everything to do with Brazil’s absurdly steep import fees and taxes. “60 to 70% of the retail price of the PS4 corresponds to the country’s import tax,” Sony Brazil told Globo. Restrictive import taxes are compounded by poor infrastructure, which raises delivery and transportation costs.

Brazil has gained something of a reputation as one of the world’s worst markets for electronics. Restrictive import taxes, intended to protect local manufacturers, are compounded by poor infrastructure, which raises delivery and transportation costs. Couple that with the fact that Brazil actively restricts the number of imports from abroad, and electronics prices soar through the roof. Smartphones in the country sell for upwards of $1000 and iPads are among the world’s most expensive.

What makes the inflated PlayStation prices even worse is Brazilians don’t make anywhere near as much money as, say, Americans do. While the current average monthly wage in the US is over $4000, in Brazil it’s barely even $800. Meaning that the average Brazilian will have to fork over more than two months-worth of income just to buy Sony’s new console. That’s nearly 20% of their annual income! And it doesn’t even take into account the extra controller—which will cost over $100—or games—which will cost nearly $100 a piece. For those making Brazil’s minimum wage of $312.33 a month, thoughts of buying the new PS4 will likely amount to little more than wishful thinking. For them, it will cost a whopping 50% of their annual income.

Sony’s new system isn’t the only gaming platform being released next month. Microsoft’s new Xbox One will also be hitting shelves shortly. The estimated retail price in Brazil? 2,200 Brazilian Real, or $1,016.

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