The Cost of Gaming

Let’s talk about the pricing structure of video games. The mainstream price of a “AAA” game has been 60 USD since longer than most people out there can remember. I remember a PS1 game coming out at 50$ and then the N64 game was 60$. The fun thing was, with tax, a N64 game would cost 64.64 at the Toy’s R Us that we used to shop at.

With the jump to 60USD multiple console generations ago and taking into account inflation, the cost of buying a “AAA” game is cheaper than ever, and will only continue to get cheaper as long as inflation keeps going and the price stays the same.

If you listen to anything with Colin Moriarty in it, like his podcast Sacred Symbols (it’s a Playstation podcast) then you know his opinion. He thinks that the price will rise with “next-generation” consoles of the PS5 and XBox(2), that it’s only fair for game developers and all that jazz. I hold a different opinion.

I do believe prices will remain at 60USD for the foreseeable future. Part of my reasoning is that I don’t believe that 3rd party companies like UbiSoft want to disrupt the perceived value of their products. 60 is the base level to get into one of their games. Take the latest Assassins Creed game, you can buy it on launch day for 60$. That gets people into their micro ecosystem that is the game and its online market. You can also buy a deluxe edition or super deluxe. I spent 100$ on that game when it came out. Yet it’s still a 60$ product and it also hasn’t stirred up a pot of shit up on the internet about the value of video games, blah blah blah. Granted I did get AC3 with that purchase and the season pass.

I feel like game companies are already exploring the pricing scale for their games from free-to-play to 100$+ to get in. The main point is that the base price I feel should stay at 60. If it goes up, I’ll probably be waiting on sales more and more for me to jump in, which isn’t exactly what they want to happen. Developers want a large launch week that can drive their sales for an increased tail.

Also, with the move to digital increasing, the percent developers get go up over physical, putting more money into the hands of developers. Take that and combine it with the massive install base of the PS4, there’s a lot of customers out there to make your money back on in the gaming space. I mean, even trash games like Anthem can sell millions. It’d be a bit silly if prices go up, that’s my stance.

Have an opinion? Care to share?

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