I finally managed to reach someone at Ster Kinekor – Nadine Pillay, Ster Kinekor Games’ Marketing and PR Co-ordinator - regarding this last week, and this was her response:
Thank you for you enquiry.
Unfortunately, we are aware of retailers stocking and selling non-European PSP units. However, Ster-Kinekor is not responsible for these units. All units brought in by us are directly supplied by SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment
All retailers are supplied by us, however due to the huge demand of PSP; certain retailers could not get stock from us so took it upon themselves to import their own stock. Obviously, seeing that we are the official distributors, they got their stock from just anywhere they could get it.
This was out of our control and by all means not condoned. We cannot be held responsible for the sale of these units and regret that we were not allowed to warn the end consumer.
I trust the above is in order and should you require any further information, please do not hesitate in contacting me, I would gladly assist.
Have a good day !
Marketing and PR Co-ordinater
Ster Kinekor Games – PlayStation”
Now I understand that they can hardly be expected to take responsibility for retailers bypassing them as official distributors, but I would think it is both in their interest and in the interest of consumers that they make this practice (and it’s consequences) publicly known. I would at very least expect notices on public gaming forums and in NAG, and ideally general notices in newspapers and some kind of ‘keep it official’ campaign (yes, I know this has cost implications-but surely it’s worth it to increase legitimate sales from which they profit?). I have responded with a letter to that effect and am still awaiting a response. Watch this space. In case anyone else wants to add their two cents, contact me and I’ll give you her contact details.