A hot potato: There's more talk about the era of $60 video games coming to an end, with $70 set to become the new standard. But don't worry: Take-Two's CEO insists we're "ready" for the price increase.
Talking during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference last week (transcribed by VGC), Strauss Zelnick, boss of Rockstar/2K parent Take-Two Interactive, was asked why NBA 2K21 was $10 more expensive than most new titles. His justification? It's a good game with plenty of replayability, and there hasn't been a price jump in fifteen years.
"We announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21, our view was that we're offering an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability, and the last time there was a frontline price increase in the US was 2005, 2006, so we think consumers were ready for it," Zelnick explained.
As noted by Eurogamer, it could be argued that few titles back then came with microtransactions, game passes, DLC, expansions, and other methods of squeezing more money from consumers.
Zelnick did hint that not all future games will cost $70, insisting that prices will be determined on a title-by-title basis. "But I think our view is [that we want to] always deliver more value than what we charge, make sure the consumer has the experience and […] the experience of paying for it, both are positive experiences," he said.
"We all know anecdotally that even if you love a consumer experience, if you feel you were overcharged for it, it ruins the experience, you don't want to have it again. [If you] go to a great restaurant, a really, really fine restaurant, have a great meal and great service, then you get a check that's double what you think it should be, you're never going back."
"So we always want to make sure that consumers feel like we deliver much more than we ask in return, and that's true for our current consumer spending as well," he added. "We're an entertainment company, we're here to captivate and engage consumers, and if we do that then monetization follows."
In August, Take-Two said charging $70 for NBA 2K21 was "justified" because of the higher development costs and improved user experience. The game faced more controversy last year when unskippable ads appeared on the loading screens, though the company later said they were not meant to run as part of the pre-game introduction and would be removed.