Gone are the days of affordable games. Expect to see the industry push prices to new limits as they argue it’s overdue.
The game industry is arguing that video game prices haven’t increased inline with the growing economy, and that a price hike is long overdue. In case the industry has forgotten, there used to be a time where a kid could go out to the local store and buy a game for their console using their weekly allowance. Where have those days gone? Sure, times change. However, games are made to be enjoyed and accessible. Kids should be able to still go out and get them on their own without having to take out a loan or borrow a credit card.
Games for next-gen systems are anticipated to be $70.00 for AAA titles. Collector’s editions and other types of releases will soar even higher.
Soon the industry that relies on those same kids for their prosperity are set to spike video game prices higher than they’ve ever been before. Playing video games is becoming a very expensive proposition for today’s gamers. It’s ultimately becoming less accessible and more privileged.
Up to this point, Triple-A titles have cost around $60USD at their launch. But the industry is now betting that people are willing to fork out much more for essentially the same product. The equipment used to play the games on have evolved. They’ve become more powerful with SSD drives, insane RAM, and GPU pushing the limits of the graphics envelopment. However, compiling and producing a game has essentially remained unchanged for the past 20 years.
In fact, it could be argued that the process has now become more economical for producers to publish. The equipment that they used 20 years ago was far more expensive than equipment, software, and computers used today. Equipment today is more efficient. This efficiency not only turns-out a better product, but it also reduces the amount of man hours necessary to do the same task compared to 20 years ago. Production has become more agile, and marketing has become leaner. However, these increases in efficiency and production are not being passed on to the consumer. The industry is positioning titles and production as being more expensive.
Games for the forthcoming PS5 are expected to be $70USD – or in the world of marketing: $69.99. Very few, if any, of the major franchise titles will be lower than $60USD.
The industry is in essence making a huge gamble. Here’s why: the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve yet to understand the full impact that this virus is going to have across all industries, let alone the gaming industry. Up to this point, it has been positive and producers have seen some record revenue. How long will this last? What happens if the virus causes people to become even further cash strapped? What if more and more people loose their jobs? There is a greater than average possibility that higher prices are going to put consumers in a choice of buying a game or paying for groceries.
According to a recent survey, nine in ten gamers think that video games should cost less than $60USD. The study surveyed 1,031 Americans in August, and concluded that all of the respondents thought that $60USD for a single game was too much. In addition, 59% of them said that gaming has overall become too expensive.
Consumers will have to hold their breath to see how many titles latch on to this price hike. Hopefully, some producers may find that keeping their prices the same, or actually lowering them, may win them an increase of loyalty. Keeping prices at around $60 could result in additional purchases and an increase of players. It would be nice to show some empathy towards gamers during a difficult time.