Today first info about NBA 2K21 was released, but many fans have fixated on one detail, namely, the game’s $70 price tag on Xbox Series X and PS5. Was this our first hint that we’d be seeing a widespread price increase for next-gen games? It seems like it may be the case.
GamesIndustry.biz reached out to games research firm IDG Consulting, and according to their CEO Yoshio Osaki, multiple publishers are considering a similar price increase…
IDG works with all major game publishers, and our channel checks indicate that other publishers are also exploring moving their next-gen pricing up on certain franchises. Not every game should garner the $69.99 price point on next-gen, but flagship AAAs such as NBA 2K merit this pricing more than others.
So, why the price increase? Well, simple inflation for one – it’s been around 15 years since the standard price of a game saw an increase. In that time, the cost of developing games, particularly big AAA titles, has doubled or tripled.
The last time that next-gen launch software pricing went up was in 2005 and 2006, when it went from $49.99 to $59.99 at the start of the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation, and during that time, the costs and prices in other affiliated verticals have gone up. Even with the increase to $69.99 for next-gen, that price increase from 2005 to 2020 next-gen is only up 17%, far lower than the [other entertainment]. While the cost of development and publishing have gone up, and pricing in other entertainment verticals has also gone up substantially, next-gen software pricing has not reflected these increases.
The cost of video games going up was inevitable, but simply slapping an extra $10 onto the price of most PS5 and Xbox Series X games isn’t the most elegant solution. I’d love to see more flexibility – perhaps a really big game with lots of promised post-launch support, like a Red Dead Redemption 2 or Cyberpunk 2077 could cost even more than $70, while a polished, yet ultimately somewhat short, action game like Resident Evil 3 could be $50 or $60. Also, hey, if you’re going to charge us more for the base games, I think we need to have a talk about post-launch monetization.
What are your thoughts on a potential next-gen price hike? Are you upset or have you been bracing for this for a while?