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Publishers to raise gaming prices for next gen

2K announced last week that NBA 2K21 will cost $70 USD on next-gen, setting a precedent for other publishers to increase prices – but it should come with a reduction in microtransactions.

The regular pricing for video games could be seeing an increase as we move into the next generation of consoles, as 2K has announced it will be raising the price of NBA 2K21 by 10$ USD for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X when it drops later this year.

That may only seem like a very slight increase, especially as it’s just for one game, but it’s likely we’ll see other AAA publishers follow suit as we gear up towards the release of the next generation of consoles.

This change could have permanent effects on the way games are developed and distributed, and may also affect your personal finances. An increased standard price isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it’s understandable why it’s happening, but consumers should demand less microtransactions, loot boxes, and gambling mechanics.  Consumer-friendly titles that don’t milk fans for money will still be just as important.

Why will prices be going up?

Video games are an extremely complicated form of entertainment to produce.

They involve creative talents in nearly every field – animators, writers, designers, coders, developers, quality testers, and actors all have to come together to make a single product. That’s a lot of resources and a huge financial burden, especially for ground-breaking titles that take years to develop.

As Polygon pointed out this week, gaming on the whole is actually better value for money than, say, watching a film at the cinema or going to theatre. A $60 video game can last anywhere up to around 100 hours or so, with some multiplayer games having indefinite lifespans. An increase in pricing is probably overdue, especially given inflation rates and the ever more demanding processes to get them on shelves.

How could this affect the industry?

Publishers have historically used deluxe editions of games with extra merchandise and in-game rewards to make up for the steadily increasing costs of producing games. This model works exceptionally well in certain circumstances – Fortnite makes a killing, for example – but is used more heavily for single-player focused games that have shorter lifespans and less opportunity to generate tons of cash long term.

If we’re to raise prices moving into the next generation then we should also expect microtransactions and deluxe content to become less common. Consumers are tight on cash as it is, especially during the pandemic and looming recession, and the gaming industry has a habit of exploiting certain practices to get as much money from addicted gamers as possible. Making a fuss and ensuring that we don’t get burnt this time around is important if we want gaming to remain an economically viable hobby.

For now we’ll have to wait until the consoles release and more titles are available. We don’t yet know if every AAA publisher will be following 2K’s example, but it’s very probable. Either way, our wallets will feel the change, it’s just a question of whether or not companies will tone down other monetising tactics.


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