Why Publishers Excuses for Increasing Game Prices are Weak AF
Peter Donnell / 6 months ago
There’s been plenty of talk about increasing the prices of next-generation games to meet the growing cost of development and inflation in general. Of course, I myself and many others think this is a huge pile of bull. The usual suspects are coming forward, such as 2K Games, Activision, and EA, who would like to charge you all $69.99 for next-gen games. No doubt that’ll be around £59.99 in the UK. Overall, it’s about $10/£10 more than they are now.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as CD Projekt RED’s VP of Business Development Michal Nowakowski has said without a doubt, Cyberpunk 2077’s next gen version will remain priced at $59.99. Then again, they’re a developer that realises that all it takes to be the best is not to follow the lead of 2K, Activision, and EA, to name but a few.
But… but… the rising cost of development!?!
Ah yes, if only there were some other revenue stream the publishers could milk for MASSIVE profit that didn’t exist ten years ago, or even twenty years ago.
EA just had to apologise for putting a full-screen in-game advertisement in UFC 4. They’ve now removed it, but I bet they still cashed a big cheque for it too. I also bet they will do it again, and I bet we even see them try to do something in the same damn game. I’m OK with it being on in-game screens and billboards, but this isn’t acceptable.
Sticking with EA for a bit, and their rising costs of development woes. Madden NFL 21 was getting panned for launching utterly broken. That game was effectively a patch on the previous years game and they still cocked that up. I know, it must have cost them a fortune to make. Not forgetting in-game advertisement deals they cashed in on too. There are other examples of game recycling out there, you should know, you’ve likely bought a few.
2K has been putting out sports games of such poor quality in recent years that they’re literally a laughing stock upon their release, yet they just keep doing it again and again (well, except this one). Better increase those prices I guess.
Now, I can almost understand the logic of increasing a games price, things get more expensive over time to some degree, I get that. However, does anyone remember most big publishing house games only costing £49.99? Because I don’t. Most games cost £100+ these days, and that is no secret.
You buy the game, that’s MSRP, neat. Oh, you want the pre-order bonus? That’ll be another £10 or £20 so you can get all the content, well, some of it, maybe. Oh the game is out a week and you didn’t buy the season pass. Well, season 1 season pass. That’ll be another £30, or you can buy the absolutely essential to play online DLC for £15 each, and there are a lot of them. The examples just keep on coming.
So you got your pre-order bonus and fully equipped DLC game now, lucky there are no in-game purchases or loot boxes… oh wait, there are those too.
I can’t figure out how these publishers stay in business, there’s clearly no profit beyond the retail price, so they’re just going to have to charge us all more. Maybe if one person spends the £500-ish needed for all the Sims 4 DLC, they’ll leave the rest of us alone.
EA made $5.54 billion in 2020, and they’re not on track to make less for 2021. All the other big publishing houses aren’t exactly running into financial trouble either. With both EA and Activision Blizzard making the list of most overpaid CEOs, at $35m+ and $28m+ respectively for 2019. Thanks for passing the profits and savings onto your customer’s folks!
Let’s Play the Waiting Game
I’m a bit of a grump when it comes to the cost of modern games anyway. I haven’t pre-ordered a game since Borderlands 2 for the Xbox, and that was back in 2012. I wait a few months for a game to drop in price, patches to get released and allow time for the modders to do their dark magic before I buy a game. If prices do go up, I suspect I’ll be waiting longer before I buy rather than putting more money into the hobby. I bet I won’t be alone.
Long story short. Publishers who think they need to charge us more for games are kidding themselves, especially when the ones pushing this are the one’s recycling games and putting out increasingly lower-quality content. That, and they’ve already been charging us significantly more than MSRP for years. I suspect we’ll see more push from consumers moving over to subscriptions like Games Pass as a result too.