Video Game prices might increase from a standard $59.99 price point to a $69.99 price tag during the next generation as “NBA 2k21” will cost $70 for the PS5, and the Xbox Series X as opposed to the standard $60 price tag that will accompany the game for the current consoles.
Visual Concepts President Greg Thomas justified the new price tag by saying the company is combining all of its, “Experience and expertise to craft the best game possible and for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, we are building the game from the ground up to take full advantage of next-gen power and technology.”
On Twitter, NPD analyst Mat Piscatella noted that when you take inflation into account, game pricing was due an upgrade for years now, .
“$59.99 in 2005 equates to somewhere around $79 today, so it is the time where a price bump is not unreasonable. Price sensitivity in the launch window of big games is low and focus on digital distribution allows for great flexibility in pricing, both promotional and otherwise.” – Mat Piscatella
Rising costs have been expected for a while now, as former Sony executive stated last week in what seemed like a partially opinionated rant at the time (on why games should be shorter in length, as opposed to the 20 plus hour epics that we have become accustomed to playing on this generation).
“I don’t think that, in the next generation, you can take those numbers and multiply them by two and think that you can grow, I think the industry as a whole needs to sit back and go, ‘Alright, what are we building? What’s the audience expectation? What is the best way to get our story across, and say what we need to say?’It’s hard for every adventure game to shoot for the 50 to 60 hour gameplay milestone, because that’s gonna be so much more expensive to achieve. And in the end you may close some interesting creators and their stories out of the market if that’s the kind of threshold they have to meet… We have to reevaluate that.”- Shawn Layden
His words on the issue of pricing, however, now seem prophetic as the Visual Concepts NBA 2K21’s price reveal would suggest. Obviously, Layden is not a sage, he simply is privy to information on industry trends because of his position. So perhaps it is true that the $70 price point will be the new standard for most big studio games going forwards in the next generation of consoles.
“It’s been $59.99 since I started in this business, but the cost of games have gone up ten times. If you don’t have elasticity on the price-point, but you have huge volatility on the cost line, the model becomes more difficult. I think this generation is going to see those two imperatives collide.” -Shawn Layden
To be fair, game companies have been ‘milking’ consumers out of their hard-earned money with post game release DLC content, and various ‘Special Editions’ of such games. Some games, have offer massive amounts of content for a justifiable ‘DLC’ price. Horizon Zero Dawn’s The Frozen Wilds, and the The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine expansions have introduced new lands and dozens of hours of new content (some would say The Witcher 3’s expansion could have sold as a stand alone game).
Other game companies like Nintendo have abused the system with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, being a prime example of the practice. The DLC expansions offered minimal content (that should have been included in the original game, or at least should have carried a fairer price tag) for a hefty 19.99-dollar price point. The less said about the Amiibo money racking scheme (for extra costumes), the better. So, in our defense, we have been paying for the rising of developmental costs for games in other clever ways for years now.
It will be interesting to see if the standard prices for DLC content also receive a similar price increase during the next generation of consoles, but for now it is safe to expect that $70 is the new $60.