Prices for games last went up at the beginning of the Xbox 360/PS3 generation, going from the then-standard $50 to $60. The latter, in the years since then, has become the new standard, but it seems like the time for video game prices to go up might be coming again. 2K Games recently confirmed that NBA 2K21 would be $10 costlier on the PS5 and Xbox Series X than on any other console. As per Yoshio Osaki, president and CEO of games research firm IDG Consulting, that’s something that we may very well see more of.
Speaking with GamesIndustry, Osaki pointed out that though prices for games have remained static since 2005-06, in the time since then, prices in other entertainment media have gone up significantly.
“The last time that next-gen launch software pricing went up was in 2005 and 2006, when it went from $49.99 to $59.99 at the start of the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation,” Osaki said. “During that time, the costs and prices in other affiliated verticals have gone up.”
In fact, Osaki pointed out that even a bump to $70 would be just 17 per cent higher than the current standard price, which would be a significantly smaller increase than the aforementioned price increases in other media.
“Even with the increase to $69.99 for next-gen, that price increase from 2005 to 2020 next-gen is only up 17%, far lower than the other comparisons,” he said. “While the cost of development and publishing have gone up, and pricing in other entertainment verticals has also gone up substantially, next-gen software pricing has not reflected these increases. $59.99 to $69.99 does not even cover these other cost increases completely, but does move it more in the proper direction.”
Osaki then added that IDG’s “channel checks” with all major publishers suggest that many other companies are also considering increases their prices. He added that though not every game would be $70, most of the flagship AAA releases likely will be.
“IDG works with all major game publishers, and our channel checks indicate that other publishers are also exploring moving their next-gen pricing up on certain franchises, for the same reasons outlined above,” he said. “Not every game should garner the $69.99 price point on next-gen, but flagship AAAs such as NBA 2K merit this pricing more than others.”
2K Games recently responded to concerns regarding NBA 2K21’s costlier next-gen version, saying they believed the price “fairly represents the value” of the game.