While it hasn’t been officially announced, announcements like NBA 2K21’s new price tag have rumors swirling that game prices will be going up once the PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X hit the market. If the rumors are to be believed, the price of a new game will increase from $60 to $70. I don’t think it should. I think games are expensive enough as is, and makers already have plenty of ways to make a profit off of them.
Let’s first address the biggest argument for increasing prices. Yes, it’s true that the base price for a new video game has been set at $60 since 2006 or so.It’s also true that, over the past 14 years, games have become more expensive to make. With these two ideas in mind, many argue that games should cost more. I might be willing to consider this argument if developers/publishers didn’t have other ways to monetize their games. I’d also consider it if these companies didn’t have control over their own budgets and production costs. However, this is not the case.
We no longer live in the era of gaming where the only time companies make money is when someone buys the game. We’ve been out of that era for years now. Now, companies have plenty of ways to make money on their games. They’ve got DLC; they’ve got cosmetics; they’ve got card packs, season passes and battle passes. If a developer/publisher really isn’t satisfied with only getting $60 for their game, they have plenty of ways to get more money. They don’t need to charge another $10 for access in order to make money on their products.
As for production costs, who is it exactly who’s in charge of setting a developer’s or publisher’s budget? Who is it that decides how high-end their game’s graphics have to be? Last I checked, it was the businesses themselves rather than the customers. Sure you could argue that the demand is there and therefore the developers have no choice but to meet it. You could argue that, but you’d have to ignore the indie and AA game sectors of the market. These games sell just fine without being supported by bank-breaking budgets. They’re games of modest scope with modest budgets, and they sell well enough to make money. Seriously, if AAA games are too darn expensive to make, then why not scale back? I’d be willing to see more games that do more with less rather than pay another $10 for the latest AAA release that I’ve already seen a dozen times over. Seriously, they have all the ability to manage their budgets, so why should we have to be the ones to foot the bill?
Prices don’t need to go up just because major developers want them to. If they want to make more money on their games, then it should be on them to get their budgets and resources in order. Maybe I’m just an old-time gamer who doesn’t want to pay more than he has to, but there is something to be said for companies managing their own excess.
What do you think about the price increases? Do you support them or feel that they’re pricey enough as is?
Lede image from a PS5 promo trailer