As video games become more expensive to make, naturally the bill was going to have to rise with it. From the looks of it, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games might end up costing an extra $10 when those systems launch later this year.
News of this began to spread due to NB 2K21 having a suggested retail price of $69.99/£64.99, compared to the $59.99/£59.99 pricing of the same game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
$59.99 has been the standard price for most retail games since the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era, which was a $10 raise in price from the $49.99 PlayStation 2 and Xbox generation. Ex-PlayStation boss Shawn Layden recently spoke out about how the standardization of retail games’ prices was hurting profits across the board, especially because they haven’t been accounting for the significant jump in costs in developing AAA games in the past two generations.
“It’s been $59.99 since I started in this business, but the cost of games have gone up ten times,” says Layden. “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.”
Given that the cost has gone up “ten times” as much, don’t expect the extra $10 to counteract costs completely. Microtransactions will still likely be just as prevalent in games coming out from the biggest companies as they attempt to recoup those costs.
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While there’s probably no stopping this particular train at this point, it’s worth remembering that CEOs of big companies like Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson rake in millions of their companies’ profits, which could be directed toward anything else. Like, for instance, developer salaries? That would be a pretty cool way to help studios manage costs without having to raise prices in order to make anything back. Just spitballing here, though. Heck, even if prices on the games don’t go down, maybe all that extra money could be funneled to people in development instead of adding to a CEO’s overstuffed pockets?
NBA 2K21’s pricing is the first mention we’ve seen of how much PS5 games and Xbox Series X games will cost, but it’s one of many blind spots we still have with the systems as we head into their holiday launches. Sony only just showed the thing off last month, but Microsoft has plans to showcase some of its first-party games later in July. But even with these presentations, we still know nothing about a release date or how much either box is going to ultimately cost. From the sound of it, Sony specifically might be holding off on revealing the PlayStation 5’s price to the public because it only has bad news to give. Maybe we’ll hear more about the Xbox’s price tag in this July showcase?