$70 Prices On Next-Gen Games Won't Hurt Sales, Analyst Says
Players may grumble about the price, but they'll buy it anyway.
The price of top-end AAA games is going up for the first time in over a decade, increasing by $10 from the $60 standard that has been in place since the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella says that gamers will pay $70, if not happily, due to the demand for next-gen games.
Piscatella broached the subject on the Virtual Economy podcast last weekend, as reported by Gamesindustry.biz. "Game prices have stayed the same since 2005, when Call of Duty 2 first went to $59.99 on Xbox 360 and we've basically stayed there ever since," he explained. "Now, a lot of people will say a rise in base prices for the higher tier, premium games is needed to offset development costs, inflation or whatever, and all those arguments seem to fall flat. But what doesn't fall flat is that for some of these premium games, if the $10 increase was implemented, people would happily pay it."
Various industry figures have spoken about the increased cost of next-gen production throughout the new consoles' release cycles. Back in June, Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan warned that more technologically demanding games would "become slightly more human intensive and capital intensive to produce," but the new norm in game pricing wasn't revealed until 2K Sports announced its next-gen edition of NBA 2K21 for $70.
Piscatella doesn't assume gamers are going to welcome the price increase, of course. "They might grumble about it," he predicted. "But they would certainly pay it. The price sensitivity, particularly on day-one, suggests that."
He also suggested that prices would go back down if players balked at the new prices enough to impact sales figures, echoing an earlier statement from Xbox head Phil Spencer on game pricing. "As an industry, we can price things whatever we want to price them, and the customer will decide what the right price is for them," Spencer said in a July interview.