With only months splitting us apart from the next generation consoles, an essential question comes in mind: how much will new games cost? Will developers and product makers strive to maintain the current gaming price or will better gear be automatically translated into more expensive titles?
While opinions are currently shared between analysts, leading personalities in the industry and regular believers, we tend to find a shred of truth inside every theory. Theoretically, innovation demands lowering prices, in a similar fashion to that of tablets and smartphones, but keeping a steady game price also makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, newer technologies will require more knowledge for developers and thus more effort, and more time spent to develop… and we all know that time means money.
Will Future Games be More Expensive?
In general, video game publishers are responsible for setting the starting price of a gaming title, one which is composed out of sheer developing tasks, paying related employees and most of all, marketing. After this, other fees such as country-specific taxes, operational costs, size of market and so on, are then added. Just before it reaches thousands of gamers, retailers have the last saying in the final price, one which can also weigh heavily on its value.
While most of the reasons stated above have no reason to change in the upcoming period, when probably the latest Xbox console will take its rightful place near Sony’s, the cost of developing games might see a small peak. Considering the fact that upcoming hardware will be several times powerful more than existing components, it will require better knowledge and greater talent for a game to take advantage of full performance. This, at far side, can be a first indicator.
Although a motive hasn’t been quoted yet, the well-known game financial analyst Michael Pachter also believes that games will cost more in the near future. To be more precise, the foreseen figure is $70, adding $10 to the current market price of a high-end game. As a small trip back to the past, this difference is exactly how much PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 added over games, when they were launched several years ago.
On the other hand, last month during an interview for CNBC, Sony’s own CEO stated that prices for new games will range from $0.99 up to the “traditional” $60, but also highlighting that “people are willing to pay if they see the value “. While this phrase left much to wonder, stability of price makes a lot of sense in a market filled with so many choices.
Pricier games could decrease sales
If we take for granted that a PlayStation 4 or a Xbox 720 game will cost $70, at least for the sake of the example, then this might enfuriate buyers. Sure, in the beginning, the first months when new game consoles will be released, sales will skyrocket, but what will happen after that? We’ve already talked about the rise of portable gaming consoles and how they could eat Sony and Microsoft’s market share. And we know that increasing game prices doesn’t solve at all the issue of gaming piracy.
All that we said above makes sense – building, crafting, marketing and selling games is not easy. But let’s not forget that for $100, you will be able to buy Ouya, for example. Of course, you won’t be playing games that will make use of the incredible power that PlayStation 4 or the next Xbox will house inside, but what will you do if you won’t have the money to buy games? You’ll look for alternatives. We can only hope that the big names in the gaming industry are aware of that.
Radu Tyrsina contributed to this post