More publishers are reportedly considering a price hike on next-gen console games

Humza

Posts: 686   +159
Staff member
The big picture: Gamers can expect a price hike for next-gen console titles as research firm IDG reports that more publishers are exploring the idea owing to development costs increasing two to threefolds over the past several years, with the $60 baseline for AAA games remaining pretty much unaltered. There are reasonable arguments to be made from both sides of the fence, but if the plan goes ahead, it'll be a tough pill to swallow for gamers who already have to keep up with existing industry practices of releasing multiple editions of the same game, microtransactions, pay to win scenarios, and loot boxes.

Microsoft and Sony are yet to reveal the prices of their upcoming consoles, but they're widely (and understandably) expected to be more expensive than their current-gen models. Now it seems the software side of things could also see a bump in costs, ultimately raising the price of admission to next-gen console gaming even further.

AAA titles have remained steady at $60 for quite some time now, that is if you don't count nickel and diming consumers through microtransactions, loot boxes, cosmetic upgrades, and 'deluxe' or 'ultimate' editions that are guaranteed to have more features ticked under their column than the 'standard' version. There's also the odd 'Collector's Edition' that can cost several hundreds of dollars, but remains somewhat of a rarity and is usually pursued by wealthy hobbyists.

Video games, however, have also gotten way more complex and ambitious too, with delays now a usual occurrence for highly-anticipated titles on which devs have crunched and toiled for months, or sometimes, years. Combine this with the increasing costs of research, tech, marketing, and post-release support, and it's a bit surprising that the baseline $60 price tag for the modern AAA title has stuck around for so long.

Former Sony Chairman, Shawn Layden, recently commented on this 'unsustainable' production model and now it looks like publishers, who share the same sentiment, are considering raising prices for their next-gen console games.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, game research firm IDG noted that development costs for next-gen titles have risen by 200% to 300%, which could lead to a $10 price hike over current-gen titles. IDG President and CEO, Yoshio Osaki, explained that game pricing had remained flat since 2005 when it jumped from $49.99 to $59.99 during the PS3/Xbox360 era, while TV and movie costs rose significantly during this time.

"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 comparisons," he said, adding that although a $10 bump for next-gen software won't cover the cost increases completely, it does "move it more in the proper direction."

We recently saw the first signs of this (soon to be common) trend with 2K Games' NBA 2K21, whose standard edition of the game on next-gen consoles will cost $70. "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," said Osaki, observing that while not every next-gen game should launch at the new price point, "flagship AAAs such as NBA 2K merit this pricing more than others."

It remains to be seen how this bump in costs will affect gaming subscriptions down the line. Services like Xbox Game Pass, PS Now, Uplay+, and EA/Origin Access might also revise their fees once more expensive $70 titles begin populating their libraries.

There's also Microsoft's Smart Delivery, which is a boon for players looking to get a free game upgrade to next-gen systems, but even that could lose its appeal down the road as publishers and console gamers increasingly invest their time and money exclusively on the PS5/XBSX.

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poohbear

Posts: 457   +334
If the average age of gamers is indeed 33 as they always like to quote, this $10 price increase is not unfathomable. My brother regularly spends ~$100-$150 on Call of Duty every time a new one is released (he buys the highest tier edition). I have friends that do the same. They're not worried about $10. The video game companies are aware of this.

For me personally, I always buy games on sale 1-2 years later (and by the then all the bugs are fixed anyways). Never paid full price for a game in forever.
 

BSim500

Posts: 684   +1,405
There have been very few games I've been willing to pay more than $60 for. Far Cry 3: Annual Retexture Pack 5, Call of Duty 712, Generic Battle Royale Clone #71 or Tom Clancy (2020) : The Game Made 7 Years After The Guy Died That Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With His Work is so mind-numbingly stale that it just doesn't cut it for me anymore even at $50. "AAA's don't really compete with Indie's" is also a myth and Larian gets my RPG money because they now are what EA/Bioware now aren't. There's been many occasions where I've bought 2-6x $10-$30 Indie's over 1x $60 over-hyped "must have" AAA simply because I'm totally burned out on the same old stale as hell generic "gameplay" of the latter. Games like Cuphead, Dusk, Frostpunk & Supraland have been an absolute breath of fresh air in a hyper-mediocre industry.

Gaming also doesn't exist in a vacuum regarding entertainment over-saturation in general (ie, people have a finite amount of free time split between games, music, movies, TV, Internet, other hobbies, etc, that if one started to become too expensive, people reduce time on that but spend more time on another). Some Cyberpunk scale titles may well end up being worth $70, but I also think a certain "reality check" is needed that just because "next-gen consoles = more sparkly bits", AAA's still need to be about more than just sticking another layer of lipstick on the same 12-30 year old flogged to death "safe" IP "because risk (new ideas) is bad for investors"...
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,160   +1,923
I can see these consoles having a long lifespan and extended generation. X360 ended up 8 years old before replacement.

The way prices for both hardware and software will rise in this economic climate all but ensures a slow transition to next gen. Much slower than the current one. Slower reduction in hardware prices as well.
 
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Adi6293

Posts: 493   +552
Hmm all this big publishers do is cry about rising development cost all the while they make billions each year. This is a classic example of having a cake and wanting to eat it at the same time. I'm fine with higher base price as long as there is no micro transactions in the games and loot boxes
 

mbk34

Posts: 68   +24
"IDG President and CEO, Yoshio Osaki, explained that game pricing had remained flat since 2005"
My wages have actually gone down in real terms over the same period. It would be interesting to see how game developer wages have changed over the same period - my bet is they're paid less. Personally I'd just prefer more interesting games rather than what's being churned out currently.
 

Alex1105

Posts: 17   +14
Not sure but for me paying like 60 $ or euro for a game with a 10-12 hour campaign doesn't seem resonable no matter the graphics/gameplay; and they want to increase the price ?! I can finish that game in under 5 days, hell....it's possible even in 1 day.
For comparison you can buy like 4 months of gametime in world of warcraft for that amount of money and have much more fun, and WoW isn't even a good example.
No wonder piracy is still a thing.
 
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mrvco

Posts: 83   +71
People will still buy the must-have titles, but I expect more oft than not they'll wait for the inevitable sales for the rest.
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 402   +329
This will mean $120-140 in Australia, we already have $100+ for many console games and with no equivalent of STEAM for sales (or is there?), you have to buy second hand.
 
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scavengerspc

Posts: 449   +308
TechSpot Elite
I really feel for kids and young adults nowadays. Everything they like (and we liked) is going up in price so much all those "spoiled" young people still have trouble paying for even the simplest of entertainment. How is a young teen getting 3 or 4 times the allowance we did sad when so many things kids and young adults have loved for years have gone up by twice that or more?

I mean when I was 10 my allowance was $5. But a movie (All hail Godzilla) was $2 with free popcorn and small soda. I had (still do) a huge HO car collection and they were around $4-5.

All you young people, kids and young adults should try your best to avoid any game over at most $60 and white knuckle it until it starts showing up used or is discounted. It won't take long to get the message across.
 

pcnthuziast

Posts: 820   +426
I find it hilarious and delusional that some people think prices will go down on literally anything. Gaming as a hobby, as a whole, is going to keep getting more expensive. The consoles are going to be more expensive, the pc hardware and everything in between.
 

MaxSmarties

Posts: 269   +136
There are games I would pay $70, for sure. But a price raise would be applied to every game, and there are many games that doesn’t even worth $60 in the Stores.
 
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Ben1978

Posts: 54   +55
Not sure but for me paying like 60 $ or euro for a game with a 10-12 hour campaign doesn't seem resonable no matter the graphics/gameplay; and they want to increase the price ?! I can finish that game in under 5 days, hell....it's possible even in 1 day.
For comparison you can buy like 4 months of gametime in world of warcraft for that amount of money and have much more fun, and WoW isn't even a good example.
No wonder piracy is still a thing.
I live in China where steam games, even most latest releases, are usually not much more than 35 pounds, but when I bought Metro Exodus on release from the Epic store it was fifty pounds. I do however feel it was worth it as it took me around twenty five hours if not more to complete the main game and I loved every minute. Have since bought both dlcs as well so I guess I've spent 70 to 80 pounds on this one game. I'm fine with that when the game is great and you get your money's worth. The problem is that there are many games that I've completed much quicker and/or haven't loved every minute of and would really not have been happy spending 50 to 80 pounds on them. Or games that are just annual updates like this NBA game.
 
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fadingfool

Posts: 165   +165
If they think the market will bare it they can charge what they like - our options are to refuse to purchase the games until they are at a more reasonable price point (I tend to wait for GOTY editions anyway). Problem I can see is the initial $70 (or £70 over here) is quite a big initial hit to the wallet (a weeks groceries over here) so families may well not be buying the latest games for little Susie no matter if all the chores are done.
I still remember when full price was £9.99 (tape version - disk was always £5 more) and there was an outcry against Driller being released at a massive £14.99 (on tape) - my paper round filled my pockets with a princely sum of £7 a week at the time (yes I'm that old). Big box PC games used to be £50 a pop but you did get some pretty good manuals/posters/etc included so the distribution costs were much higher back in the past - I never understand why Digital downloads are not always cheaper than the physical copies.
 
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CBTex

Posts: 78   +128
So short sighted...

There is no need to increase the price of games. The price of game has gone down in real dollars due to inflation, but that has been more than offset by the massive expansion of the number of people gaming. They need to focus on moving more copies. Video games do not cost anything to produce additional copies digitally and almost nothing for physical copies. More and more free-to-play games are making money hand over fist.

But as long as people pay the yearly $70 COD tax, companies like Activision and EA will be there to collect.
 
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