Take-Two says more expensive games on the PS5/XBSX reflect "the quality of the experience"

midian182

Posts: 6,005   +50
Staff member
A hot potato: We know that some publishers are planning to increase the price of games on next-gen consoles by $10, taking them to an average of $70. One company that's already confirmed the hike is Take-Two Interactive, parent of Rockstar and 2K. Now, it's called the increase "justified" because of the higher development costs and improved user experience.

Last month, research firm IDG reported that more developers were considering increasing the baseline price of AAA games for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. While $60 has been the standard for many years, developing games for the upcoming consoles brings higher costs. Take-Two believes these should be passed on to the consumer, and has already confirmed that NBA 2K21 will be $70 on the machines,

"There hasn't been a price increase for frontline titles for a really long time, despite the fact that it costs a great deal more to make those titles," said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz. "And we think with the value we offer consumers [...] and the kind of experience you can really only have on these next-generation consoles, that the price is justified. But it's easy to say that when you're delivering extraordinary quality, and that's what our company prides itself on doing."

"The pricing has to reflect the quality of the experience, and we aim to provide the best experiences in the business. And from our point of view, it's an extremely modest price change given that prices haven't changed for a very long time."

Strauss did add that not all Take-Two games would see a $10 price jump on the PS5/XBSX, and that pricing would be decided on a "title-by-title basis."

Not every publisher has announced that their next-gen games would be more expensive. Ubisoft says its holiday titles will be the same price on both the PS5/Xbox Series X and current-gen machines. Whether that stance changes in the future remains to be seen.

The last time games saw a price increase was 2005 when they jumped from $49.99 to $59.99. According to IDG, development costs for next-gen titles have risen by 200 to 300 percent. The research firm's president and CEO, Yoshio Osaki, said: "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."

Are you happy to pay more for next-gen games, or do you feel that prices are high enough already? Let us know in the comments below.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,392   +5,830
Sounds like a new marketing department is in order. It's one thing to raise prices in a "go go" economy, but quite another when so many families are out of work and have little to no disposable income ....
 

brucek

Posts: 497   +574
TechSpot Elite
Yes, development costs are up.

Yes, the base price has stayed at $60 a long time.

No, it is not true that total prices haven't increased. See DLC, loot boxes, cosmetic upgrades. etc.

Left out is that market size is way up, meaning many more consumers available to pay the $60 each.

Also I believe distribution costs are down at least for the biggest players (digital download vs. manufactured unit + full retailer cut)
 

candle_86

Posts: 514   +382
I think it makes sense

59.99 in 2005 is the equivalent of 79.19 today. They still arnt going to make the profit they did per game in 2005. In 1997 a new game was 49 which is the equivalent of 80 today. So if they adjusted it for inflation like everyone else in the market you'd be paying 80. But oddly enough everyone was fine spending that percentage of money back then but not today.
 
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fl21289

Posts: 111   +99
If it's a game that really is AAA sure why not. But coming from someone who makes the same game very year... get out of here. On top now everything has a season pass to DLC to pay extra. I'll just wait for the games top rop to $50-60 and buy them then.
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,947   +1,728
TechSpot Elite
There hasn't been a price increase in a "really long time" because the transitioning to digital adds a lot more money in the dev/pub's pocket for that $60....

But sure, be disingenuous about it Zelnick. And don't mention the nickel and diming some AAA games have in them on top of the premium buy price.

Also, graphical quality, and overall quality are 2 different things...
 
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fadingfool

Posts: 181   +180
Back in 2005 you didn't have to pay extra just to get the whole game. With DLC, loot boxes, damn multi year long series - that £59.99 soon turns into £100 or more just to get the full story line and that doesn't include all the paid for cosmetic stuff that you used to get in mods from fans for free. So will it be £69.99 for the full game or will this be the "base" game, extra £30 for "year one" edition, another £30 to actually get to the end of the game, plus £5 here and there for extra outfits, gunskins......
So like chocolate bars - the price may have not gone up in years but there is a lot less bar for your money.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 922   +544
These companies know better than us how to price their games to net the most amount of money. So, if they feel their profits will be better served by upping the price then good for them. Of course, I won’t pay these prices but just because I won’t doesn’t mean that millions of others won’t.

We aren’t entitled to cheap games. These are products developed by corporations to sell to users for enjoyment. They are luxury non essential items.
 

EClyde

Posts: 2,309   +906
It's like cereal. It isn't that the box of air costs so much it's how many meals you get out of that box of air
 
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bviktor

Posts: 216   +396
I think it makes sense

59.99 in 2005 is the equivalent of 79.19 today. They still arnt going to make the profit they did per game in 2005. In 1997 a new game was 49 which is the equivalent of 80 today. So if they adjusted it for inflation like everyone else in the market you'd be paying 80. But oddly enough everyone was fine spending that percentage of money back then but not today.
Pssh don't confuse these people with made-up terms like inflation and stuff!
 

Jaryn211

Posts: 22   +30
I think it makes sense

59.99 in 2005 is the equivalent of 79.19 today. They still arnt going to make the profit they did per game in 2005. In 1997 a new game was 49 which is the equivalent of 80 today. So if they adjusted it for inflation like everyone else in the market you'd be paying 80. But oddly enough everyone was fine spending that percentage of money back then but not today.
You would have a point if we didnt have things like microtransactions, a massively expanded market(more people to consume) and the fact that distribution costs are decreasing every year as high speed internet increases in availability and more people go digital. Yes we know inflation exists but lets not sit here and pretend that companies dont monetise the living hell out of their games today. Especially take two with the cash cows that are GTA V and its online component and RDR2 and its online component. Nevermind them releasing NBA games every year depite no massive jumps in qaulity between them and somehow justifying increasing the price because reasons I guess. Its very hypocritical coming from take two seeing as their hitting revenue of 3 billion dollars this year and performing incredibly well across all categories.
 
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BSim500

Posts: 693   +1,447
I think it makes sense. 59.99 in 2005 is the equivalent of 79.19 today. They still arnt going to make the profit they did per game in 2005. In 1997 a new game was 49 which is the equivalent of 80 today.
Pssh don't confuse these people with made-up terms like inflation and stuff!
It's a little more complicated that blindly comparing inflation figures though. Eg, back in 2005 Steam was in its infancy and most non-Valve PC games sold were still retail disc. Physical disc pressing, retail box design & manufacture, printed manuals, disc jewel case, putting it all together, warehouse storage, physical shipping, distributor + high-street retailer cut, etc, all added up to 50% "external costs". When they went digital that 50% cost fell to 30% costs (Steam cut) which instantly meant +20% more profit that was never passed onto consumers as a price-cut. So they were already pocketing the equivalent profit as if $60 games were price-hiked to $72. That many of the "big boy" publishers decided to blow those record profits on CEO bonuses, instead of "irritations" like actually paying their staff (link) speaks for itself as to where the industry's "fake poverty" profitability issues lie.

On top of that, whilst development costs have increased in some areas (eg, visual artists, mo-cap), they've also fallen in others. Eg, spending most of the first year of a game creating an in-house game engine then bug-testing it, then creating a level design toolkit, then bug-testing that before even starting work on the actual game content that was only used for a few games each before creating another one (eg, Bioware's Infinity -> Aurora -> Odyssey -> Eclipse), etc, quickly gave way to industry-wide reuse of Unreal / Unity, etc, where devs just jumped straight into using the same engine for the 12th game in a row and didn't bother to optimise for PC in a cross-platform world. Plus millions more gamers now vs then.

Likewise, churning out the same old sequels for the same old 90's franchises and releasing them in the same buggy manner means they're hardly blowing the bank on creative writing / QA either... Add onto that today's pre-made asset packs for reused engines in quantities never before seen, memes like this that exist for a reason, micro-transactions, lootboxes, all the achievement / update / cloud save infrastructure already in-place for them, AMD / nVidia having to recode their cr*ppy shaders for them (that's what "This GPU driver is optimised for x game" actually involves).

In short games may be more expensive than they used to, but modern games devs also really have never had it so good with what's handed to them on a plate by 3rd parties before they even start work on their game that 1990's games devs (who had to do literally everything in-house) never enjoyed, and how much more expensive in real terms is a whole lot more complicated than just drawing a straight line on an inflation chart. (See what Larian accomplished with Divinity Original Sin on €4.5m budget vs the $50-$100m that 'poverty stricken' EA / Ubisoft regularly blow on polished turds).
 
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Adi6293

Posts: 564   +667
I think it makes sense

59.99 in 2005 is the equivalent of 79.19 today. They still arnt going to make the profit they did per game in 2005. In 1997 a new game was 49 which is the equivalent of 80 today. So if they adjusted it for inflation like everyone else in the market you'd be paying 80. But oddly enough everyone was fine spending that percentage of money back then but not today.
That's because it's a lot of BS. Like the comment above already mentioned, these companies make millions upon millions on this big titles, yes the base price stayed at $59.99 but you have different versions of the game, more people buy these games, they work their developers to the ground, tons of DLC that has been cut out of the game, digital vs physical sales, you have loot boxes and other micro transactions, lay offs, tax heavens and the list goes on so when you factor all this the truth is price went up years ago now they're just trying to see what they can get away with, you telling me making a game run in full 4K at potentially 60fps vs 1080p at 30fps somehow now cost 2 to 3 times more when that's just PC level settings we had for years? Think about it
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,029   +2,554
I think it makes sense

59.99 in 2005 is the equivalent of 79.19 today. They still arnt going to make the profit they did per game in 2005. In 1997 a new game was 49 which is the equivalent of 80 today. So if they adjusted it for inflation like everyone else in the market you'd be paying 80. But oddly enough everyone was fine spending that percentage of money back then but not today.
It's not how pricing works. There's more to it than just "inflation".

First off, the number of gamers went up a lot since the 90's and early 00's. Second, distribution costs went down tremendously. Third, they don't sell you a full game anymore, but a base game with DLC, season passes and micro-transactions.

In 2005 total revenue from software and hardware sales was estimated at $10 bil. In 2019 the revenue was estimated at around $120 bil ($45 bil being PC+consoles game sales).
 

Srhnd

Posts: 7   +11
Just a load of bollocks. Technology has been evolving through all the console generations and games have been getting better and better. It is nothing new that experience is better with the next generation.
 

OortCloud

Posts: 415   +263
I already don't buy almost any games on release - just wait until they are cheap as chips in the sales, or buy them secondhand Pricing like this is a large part of the reason for this. I just can't justify spending $70 on almost any game - especially as so many of them have become such cooker-cutter rehashes of tried and tested formulas. Maybe Bloodborne 2 tho... :)
 
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Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,558   +1,556
TechSpot Elite
I already don't buy almost any games on release - just wait until they are cheap as chips in the sales, or buy them secondhand Pricing like this is a large part of the reason for this. I just can't justify spending $70 on almost any game - especially as so many of them have become such cooker-cutter rehashes of tried and tested formulas. Maybe Bloodborne 2 tho... :)
Same here. While reading the comments I was trying to remember if I'd paid full price for any game. Like, since the 1990s. I may have paid full price for SW Battlefront II for my kid, but it was after the loot box fiasco so I may not have. The last one I know I paid full price for was Final Fantasy VII for the original PlayStation.

Worth it.
 
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tacobravo

Posts: 108   +129
DLC is additional charges to make a game complete. That's already a price increase. I believe people will be more inclined to wait for a sale because of the price increase
 

candle_86

Posts: 514   +382
Let's see dlc=expansion pack of yesteryear for the most part, or for cosmetic items these are things you wouldn't have had anyway. If anything your getting more content in the base game than you used to, and you get dlc to add to it that before would have been sold as an expansion pack for the PC, and ignored entirely on console. Now distribution costs may be 20% less but wait they still sell new games on disks everywhere except PC, so they still have to factor that in, or I'm just totally not seeing right, when I walk in Walmart and see an entire row of PS4 and Xbox one games. The devolopment time and team sizes are also larger, so you have more people working at a set salary for longer to build the newer games.

All this strikes me as is whining, if you don't like it then don't buy new games. The devoloper absolutely has the right to charge whatever they want. If they want to charge 500 bucks for the next nba or cod game they can, it's their product.