With next-gen games expected to bring so much more in terms of graphics and gaming dynamics, they are undoubtedly taking more time and money to develop. But, is there room for new games to climb in price? Well, developers are already starting to answer that question, with 2K Games being the first to raise prices by declaring that NBA 2K21 will cost $69.99 on next-gen platforms. Not long after that announcement, IDG Consulting CEO, Yoshio Osaki, revealed that a number of other publishers are considering doing the same thing. So what’s the deal here? Will next-gen games be more expensive or can we force developers and publishers to retain the current $59.99 price point?
Well, the answer to that question depends on who you ask. Cory Barlog, the director of God of War, admits that he’d be fine with increasing retail price, but only under the stipulation that it meant foregoing “cash-grab” microtransactions. That’s a fair point, and I honestly think that I could agree with that too. After all, don’t you miss the days when buying a new game was a one-time purchase? Now you have battle passes and extra microtransactions that can increase the cost of a game from between $59.99 and $99.99 depending on what edition you buy to as much as $200, $300, or more depending on how long you continue to play the game.
Then, you’ve got guys like Xbox’s Phil Spencer who told the Washington Post that initial price increases aren’t necessarily a negative thing because it’s up to the customer to decide whether or not game pricing is fair.
“As an industry, we can price things whatever we want to price them, and the customer will decide what the right price is for them. I’m not negative on people setting a new price point for games because I know everybody’s going to drive their own decisions based on their own business needs. But gamers have more choice today than they ever have. In the end, I know the customer is in control of the price that they pay, and I trust that system.”
So, in other words, if the bulk of gamers forgo buying a new game because the price is too high, it will force developers and publishers to lower their prices. However, the likelihood of that happening, especially for long-awaited, AAA games seems pretty slim. And, even at that, a $10 price increase isn’t all that big a deal, but I still stand on the concept that it really depends how the concept of microtransactions evolves into the future. It wouldn’t be hard for developers to push games to a point that they are simply too expensive. There’s obviously a fine line, and that’s where Spencer, for example, thinks that Xbox Game Pass can help alleviate part of the whole pricing problem.
“Because there’s such an initial friction for a new customer to get into a game, which includes the retail price point, games have to do things and work really hard to overcome that friction. Game Pass games are games that test the traditional tropes of games, and allows creators to get adventurous.”
With all of that said, I’m curious about what you think. Are you okay with paying $69.99 for the base version of a new, AAA game? How about $79.99? Remember, when the price of a base edition increases, so does the “ultimate” or “gold” edition, which means games that are $99.99 now with all the bells and whistles could end up approaching the $120 or $130 range. Is that something you’re willing to pay for games with better graphics? What about during the transition period when next-gen hardware isn’t being used to its full potential? Elt us know in the comments section below!