Take-Two preps industry for ESPN sports game price hike

Execs make it clear that time is running out on the $20 price tag for ESPN-branded titles.

Topping the list of revelations exposed at this week’s UBS Media Week Conference in New York City was word from Take-Two Interactive that left a door open for premium pricing to return to ESPN-branded sports titles. The timing of such a move was left open, but the company’s executive vice president Cindi Buckwalter made it clear that an increase would come no later than with the launch of the next-gen consoles.

"When next-gen hardware comes out, we would expect to introduce the sports products at premium prices," Buckwalter told conference attendees this week in New York City.

Laying the groundwork for such a price hike was Take-Two president Paul Eibeler, who said, just moments before Buckwalter dropped her bombshell announcement, “there is some visibility to new hardware and we know that people who purchase the new hardware, price is not their top two or three driving factors to purchase a game.”

The specter of higher prices preceding the launch of the new systems also seems a possibility. Responding to an analyst who asked if the industry should expect higher prices sooner, Eibeler said, “I think we have the opportunity to, I’m not sure. We’ll wait and decide that, but I think we have the opportunity given the response in the marketplace. We’ll have to make that decision as we get into the next year.”

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