Along with the release of the Xbox series XS and PlayStation 5 in 2020 came the revelation that the price of video games was going to increase to 70$. The trend began with 2K games. Now it has spread to become a new industry standard for triple-A titles moving forward. Video games publishers gave the main reason, and news outlets for this price hike is inflation.
Video Games Price in Early Age
Video games haven’t risen from 60 in 15 years. At that time, they’ve got bigger, better, and most importantly, more costly.
But the inflation argument doesn’t hold water. At the same time, video games are indeed getting much more expensive to make in general. Particularly the triple-A blockbusters that now boast this higher price tag. Something else has been growing, too, the number of players.
In early 2021 there were an estimated 2.8 billion gamers in the world. That is more than a third of the planet’s entire population. It’s true that when adjusted for inflation. A brand-new game today for a PS5 will cost far less than a brand new game for the NES in the 1980s. But the market was far smaller back then. Remember when n64 games were going for 80 to 100 dollars.
Billion Dollar Industry is…
Only 62 million NES consoles have ever sold. While this is a lot, it’s a long way off of 2.8 billion. Video games are now a billion-dollar industry with games at the 60-price point, making their entire budget several times over. In 2020, the entire COD franchise broke three billion dollars in total revenue following the release of the cold war.
How much COD earn per a year.
Call of duty is one of the most lucrative video game franchises and one of the first to adopt the 70$ price tag. If call of duty was already making hundreds of millions of dollars each year, generating vast profits, why has Activision decided to bump up the price? Do those profits not already cover the cost of growing development, or is the money going somewhere else.
Stealing Money form Video Games
Well, the money is not going to the developers themselves. They are hard at work making a new call of duty each year. Despite this being the implication when publishers talk about ballooning development costs.
In particular, the developers at Activision blizzard made headlines in 2020 for being so underpaid they had to skip meals to afford rent. They anonymously shared their salary information to work out just how much they were being undervalued. All while the company’s CEO, bobby coddick, found his name on numerous lists of the most overpaid CEOs in the world and took home a 200 million dollar bonus in 2021.
Red dead redemption 2 had a development budget of between 170 million and 240 million, which means that Katic took home roughly the entire development budget of one of the most expensive games ever made in one year. While Activision also laid off employees yet again despite record growth.
Cost for Video Games
So yes!!! Video games are getting more expensive to make. But because of a push toward photorealism and big open worlds from triple-A publishers and developers. But the developers at the most significant, most lucrative companies aren’t seeing a share of the profits nor the development budget itself. But it’s fair enough to say lots of the most expensive triple-A video games. Like Rockstar EA and Activision Blizzard are worth those 70 dollars price and more.
Red dead redemption 2, for instance, is outstanding in a lot of ways. But what about all those triple-A games that decidedly are not worth 70 dollars and weren’t even worth 60 dollars on last-generation hardware.
Rockstar’s parent company takes 2 interactive claims the public is ready for 70 games. But we should be asking the publishers if they are ready for 70 games. Over the last several years, the industry has seen a glut of costly flops, like marvel’s avengers from square Enix, an anthem from EA, and fallout 76 from Bethesda.
Popularity vs Disaster of Video games
Triple-A was once a term that assured a level of quality from the companies producing these games. Many early triple-A games like final fantasy 7 have gone on to be some of the most popular and critically acclaimed titles ever made.
But today, the term is almost meaningless. Many of these so-called triple A games are disasters. It seems like it’s a lot rarer today for a Triple-A game to leave a big impression compared to an indie one. Well, it is assuming that the game isn’t from a first-party developer. However, like hades or disco Elysium are enjoying a surge of popularity and acclaim.
While the likes of the assassin’s creed and call of duty will repackage the same video games year on year. Then sell it to you again for a higher and higher price. Triple-A has even been described by the people who work in it like Ubisoft’s Alex Hutchinson. He has described it as an unsustainable and toxic business model that only enforces crunch. This problem was even acknowledged by former PlayStation executive Sean laden, who suggested the industry re-examine its budgets and development after leaving Sony.
How Triple A Video games companies steal your money.
All triple-A means now is that a game costs a ludicrous amount of money to make and will be expensive as soon as it hits shelves. Until it comes out, you won’t have a clue if it will be worth your hard-earned cash, and of course. The attempts of triple-A companies to convince you to spend your money don’t end when you buy the game from a store digitally. Instead, many of these very same blockbuster games are full to bursting with post-launch monetization.
Microtransactions are inescapable in this video games price range and completely unjustifiable. Again these profits don’t go to the developers. They go to the pockets of games industry executives, and they don’t provide you with anything of real value either. A new cosmetic might look cool, but it’s almost certainly not worth paying for.
Seriously do character skins have to cost 20, and yet after all of that. It’s still not true that every aspect of game development has been increasing in the last few decades. Many parts of game development have gotten significantly cheaper. Namely, the manufacturing costs of physical games is so much. So that you might find yourself getting charged more for a digital version that has zero manufacturing costs versus buying a physical copy. Remember, they got rid of instruction manuals. Remember how cool those where they don’t have to worry about those costs anymore.
Price of the games at that time
In contrast, physical games in the 80’s and 90’s were significantly more expensive to make. That was because of necessitating high costs and no alternative distribution chain. But the growing digital market has no real competition if you’re locked into buying digitally. Suppose you own a PS5 and want to buy a digital game. You have to accept that game from the PlayStation store through Sony. Which leaves Sony free to charge however much it wants.
The push towards all digital consoles. This problem is only going to get worse. People won’t be able to buy a physical game at all for a given Sony exclusive. Sony might own not only the console you use the game and the development studio but also the digital storefront itself. Vertical integration like this has been a big problem in the past. Hollywood studios once owned not only the movies and the stars. But also, the theaters themselves and the pain were so severe that the system had to be broken up by the united states supreme court.
As a conclusion…
Sufficient to say Sony is increasing its prices to 70$ simply. Because it can, and people don’t have any other choice than to pay up. When they want to play the next blockbuster Sony exclusive. And no matter how good Sony exclusives generally are, this practice is still bad for consumers. Ultimately video games price are so expensive right now. Because video game publishers decide that’s how much they should cost. Regardless of how much evidence there is that the developers themselves aren’t being paid fairly. The games aren’t anywhere near as expensive to make as they seem compared with their profits. That many triple-A games are only worth a fraction of their retail price.
Before buy video games don’t consider price only
Notice how so many triple-A games these days go on sale less than a week after the launch. I’m looking at you immortal’s phoenix rising, assassin’s creed Valhalla, cyberpunk even, and folks, that is why video games are too expensive. As we head into the new generation of gaming, please be smarter with your money, research games before you buy. Don’t just watch the trailer and support the studios that take care of their employees.