“I think what we’re seeing is publishers trying to figure out what they will do with regards to pricing,” says the industry analyst.
Several major publishers have taken the big step of increasing the prices of some of their upcoming games on next-gen consoles. Take-Two were the first to take the plunge with NBA 2K21, then Activision followed with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, with Sony confirming not long afterward that their next-gen prices for first party published games could go up to $70, depending on the release (like Demon’s Souls and Destruction AllStars in the launch lineup itself).
Many are of the belief that this will be the console generation that eventually sees the industry-wide standard for game prices to increase to $70, years after the standard prices last rose. According to industry analyst Michael Pachter, however, that isn’t a sure deal.
Speaking with GamingBolt in a recent interview, Pachter suggested that individual instances of price increases by publishers don’t necessary have to point to the onset of an industry trend, and that price increases will instead be dependent on console MSRP for games and platform holders- citing the example of Microsoft, who, thanks to Smart Delivery, likely won’t be moving to the $70 model anytime soon (lest they increase Xbox One game prices as well).
“It really comes down to what the console MSRP is for games,” Pachter said. “Microsoft has been pretty clear with Smart Delivery, which they have said is free for current to next gen upgrades. So if Smart Delivery is free, unless Microsoft raises the price of current gen games from $60 to $70, they can’t price their games at $70. And next gen games from them will be $60.
“I think 2K pricing their game at $70 is going to upset customers. And I get that it’s worth it, I get that inflation is a thing, and that game prices haven’t increased in years. But the fact is, if the platform holders don’t suggest a $70 price point, then third party publishers will look greedy by asking for $10 more.”
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen,” he added. “I think what we’re seeing is publishers trying to figure out what they will do with regards to pricing, and I have to imagine Sony didn’t help anybody announcing Miles Morales at $50 and Demon’s Souls at $70.”
Later, he added, “I don’t think everyone will charge $70.”
Of course, several major publishers haven’t yet committed to the $70 pricing model for next-gen games. Ubisoft have said that their games releasing for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S in 2020 will all be priced at $60 (though they have remained tightlipped on what happens after that. Capcom, meanwhile, have said that they remain undecided on the matter– but a recent Asian listing suggested a $70 price for Resident Evil Village on PS5.
Our full interview with Michael Pachter will be going live soon, so stay tuned for that.