Take-Two CEO Says $70 PS5 And Xbox Series X Game Prices Justified By "Extraordinary Quality"

"There hasn't been a price increase for frontline titles for a really long time," says Take-Two CEO.

43 Comments

Take-Two Interactive was the first publisher to break the next-gen price seal with the announcement that NBA 2K21 will cost $70 on next-gen consoles, $10 more than the standard current-gen price. Just ahead of its earnings call, CEO Strauss Zelnick explained why he feels the price hike is justified.

"There hasn't been a price increase for frontline titles for a really long time, despite the fact that it costs a great deal more to make those titles," Zelnick told GamesIndustry.biz. "And we think with the value we offer consumers... and the kind of experience you can really only have on these next-generation consoles, that the price is justified. But it's easy to say that when you're delivering extraordinary quality, and that's what our company prides itself on doing."

Pressed further on the subject, in light of Ubisoft not following suit, he explained that he can only speak for Take-Two, and he doesn't expect the industry to all move to the same price point in a coordinated fashion.

"We just speak for ourselves," he said. "Obviously, we don't speak for the industry and the industry naturally does not coordinate on these matters, to say the very least. The pricing has to reflect the quality of the experience, and we aim to provide the best experiences in the business. And from our point of view, it's an extremely modest price change given that prices haven't changed for a very long time."

For the time being, Ubisoft games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will remain at $60. The company has not addressed whether that will change after 2020. Other publishers haven't announced next-gen pricing. The question of price increases could also impact upgrade offers like Microsoft's Smart Delivery and EA's Dual Entitlement. Microsoft has reportedly told developers not to charge for next-gen upgrades as DLC, though other upgrade models remain on the table--which could be partly why Take-Two is offering a two-pack for NBA 2K21.

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The_Darkwalker

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Halo Infinite="extraordinary quality."

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Daidochus

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Edited By Daidochus

'The world has enough for everyone's needs, but not for everyone's greed'

-Trump

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itchyflop

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No one remembers paying £60 for street fighter turbo on mega-drive, or £60 for eternal champions on the same system?

How about the 6 button controllers needed to play it as well?

This was back in the early 90s.

My point, gamers will want it so they're gonna pay it, me included.

No more half baked, dlc to follow games then please, wishful thinking there!!

Day one patch's are imo considered an aid to give you a polished better game.

Its the remasters that bother me, i understand the concept and new comers experiencing these older titles but will the companies still throw us fresh looking 20 year old games and charge us AAA prices, like resi series?

Expected and everyone will pay it or wait for a sale.

The play-station exclusives usually hold value for a long time too

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GNS

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@itchyflop: In the early 90s in Eastern Europe at least only tools bought legit games for that much. The rest 90 percent of gamers simply went to shady merchants and bought a butt-load of games for like 30 pieces of money; granted, it was a gamble, those games will either work or won't, they will be something else or as advertised on the front cover.

In any case, 70 dollars is a lot for one stupid game.

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@gns: i could argue cheap ass people ruining the experience by buying pirate software but i kinda see your point.

its the online passes or "subscription" service that annoys me.

Anything was better than the NEo Geo carts in the 90s, but i didn't mind paying £60 for the SF and other big AAA carts on the system i enjoyed so much as a kid.

Its the usual £40 crap you could buy!

it depends on the content i think which reflects the price, the Witcher 3 for example is well worth more !

Cyberpunk will be the same i think, but its the usual bore off COD's and the map pack equivalent annual release i dont understand.

I have been privy to the COD "bug" and online play but i still hated buying them at £50+

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GNS

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@itchyflop: Yeah, I mean, I once posted a question regarding video-game pricing. When it will be enough [because in that topic the person stated that he is willing to pay 100 dollars for a game or something], but conveniently never gotten an answer from him.

Regardless, I nine times out of ten wait for huge drops in price (I can wait that long; I have other things and hobbies besides gaming), so the game may as well cost 100 dollars (as a last resort I can always yarr-harr-harr it, if it never drops to the required price).

But I guarantee that that 70 dollars price for a game will not be full game. It will still have DLCs, Season Passes, Microtransactions...

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itchyflop

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@gns: yeah, i buy used and new depending on what im playing at the time, having a family and all consoles still, means i dont spend anywhere near what is used to playing.

So the games usually drop in price when i want them anyway lol!!!

However if its say the last of us 2, i payed £50 for the steel book ed to play now!!!

days gone i still payed £33 used !!!

But totally agree £60 is enough imo.

Plus other hobbies like cycling can cost thousands but are better for you !!

Games are so much bigger and better now im not surprised they arn't finished on release, the mirco transactions will slow down i think from now.

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BarcaAzul

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Edited By BarcaAzul

@itchyflop:

I remember my mate paying £120 for a Japanese import of SFII on the SNES.

I’ll pay it for day one purchase like GTA VI , but not for all. I’ll wait for sales.

Also it’s okay to charge more, but then don’t ask for micro transactions or season passes

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itchyflop

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@barcaazul: No these wern't imports, standard uk pal region 2, i think i paid more for gunstar hereos, like £70!!!

Yeah i totally agree the likes of cyberpunk and gta i always pay for.

Oh yeah i forgot about the season passes, complete rip!!

:)

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Xylymphydyte

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For a quick bit of pricing history, games didn't used to have a standardized price, you could pay anywhere from $5 to $200 for one title in the 70's and early 80's for a game that might be monochrome and built by one or two people in their bedroom in their sparetime on the weekends in two weeks. Nintendo standardized the $50 price tag with the NES in the USA and it pretty well spread worldwide from there. (One of the many more lurid innovations Nintendo was responsible for, along with console DRM and a lot of the publisher rights that screw developers these days.)

Since then a lot of platforms have done some weird stuff with pricing. The Switch, for example, has crazy pricing sometimes because Nintendo again has mandated cost in that digital editions of games must cost the same as physical editions. I guess they're free to do whatever they want with their pricing but the consumer is also free to do whatever they want with their purchases.

I almost exclusively buy games on sale these days, usually a bare minimum of 50% off, there's only a handful of niche franchises I buy at full price and usually I'm paying $20 or less for stuff.

I recommend everyone get familiar with sites like DekuDeals for Switch, PSPrices for most other console platforms, IsThereAnyDeal, CheapShark, and SteamPrices for PC etc. There's a huge array of resources to help you get games at far less than the ludicrous expectations of these execs. Just set up a wishlist and they'll let you know if anywhere has it for the price you want, set it and forget it, minimal effort.

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Atzenkiller

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Man, what a joker. The only ones who would need a price increase are developers who aren't selling dozens of millions of units. For companies like Take Two all higher game prices lead to is more profit. But yeah, quality. It's another way of saying "We are releasing AAA games that we put tons of money into, same as into their marketing, and so it's only fair that you pay us even more than you already do."

Quality decides over how many units a game sells. But if prices for all games go up then nothing will change. People will just be paying more for all games. While if Take Two was the only one who was charging more for their games then they'd be at a disadvantage. And then you'd see them backpedal on their idea of making the people pay more for their "superior quality" when it backfires.

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Tomba42

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He's not wrong, but the problem is joe average doesn't have as much money either because minimum wage needs to increase too.

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Freezezzy

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Edited By Freezezzy

The price of (AAA) games have been going up for years now. Back then, you paid $60 once, and got a completed product. Now, it's $60 for the game, +$10-40 for bonus editions (including content cut from the base game), +$10-50 for DLC (more cut content), +$10-50 for the inevitable season pass (for those that like to pre-pay for DLC of unknown quality and/or quantity), and then, if that all wasn't enough, microtransactions (which have no justifiable place in a full retail game.)

To do all that, and then still ask for more is just plain ridiculous, and is the absolute peak of avarice.

EDIT: The absolute worst example of the above is easily EA's game The Sims 4. If you tally up the total cost of all of the game's DLC, it's over $600. Granted, it's all optional, but the fact that it exists seperate from the base game, and costs as much as it does is apalling.

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Jinzo_111887

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Edited By Jinzo_111887

Unless the games include all content that would normally be a paid DLC or something bought through microtransactions in the game being either available when updated, earned in game without grinding, or available at launch, Zelnick can take his $70 price tag and set it on fire. This is an attempt to get more money out of people who just buy these games new even if they don't buy microtransactions and DLC.

Quite frankly, if they want more money, they should consider trying to take action against paid online eating into revenue that could have been going towards buying DLC and microtransactions for games to kill that trash off. Alternatively, the ones doing exclusivity deals could also consider demanding Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft match Epic's cut or wait for the Epic exclusivity period to end before their games launch on consoles.

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m4a5

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Edited By m4a5

There hasn't been a price increase in a "really long time" because the transitioning to digital adds a lot more money in the dev/pub's pocket for that $60....

But sure, be disingenuous about it Zelnick.

Also, graphical quality, and overall quality are 2 different things...

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Jinzo_111887

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@m4a5: Plus you have microtransactions, loot boxes, and DLC. Can't forget those.

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filthyn00b

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How much longer untill games are 100 dollars a pop? You can stick those games up your ass.

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Millionsedge

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Very few games are worth $70.

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MoogleStar

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I won't buy your games until they get discounted then. Damn the man.

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SbargoVox3

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Edited By SbargoVox3

When literally most of the money isn't enough.

There's an article right here on this very website published only a few hours apart about how the same company has made record sales off of MTXs due to COVID-19 and they just wantmore. Seriously, this bubble has to burst at some point; there just isn't enough money in the world to satisfy the want and expectation CEOs and shareholders have for infinite growth.

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uninspiredcup

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i.e. We are greedy and know we can get away with it....

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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Yes, prices have stayed the same for a long time, but the market has grown considerably.

Despite that, I think a price increase could be warranted, so long as publishers stop nickel & diming their customers, trying to sell customers overpriced skins & minor content packs in games they've already paid for. Maybe they could stop selling deluxe editions that increase the cost by 30-50% but only have a fraction of the content.

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Dragon_Nexus

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL: Yeah but they won't. It's a $10 increase on the *base* price. They'll still have the Silver and Gold editions. They'll still have microtransactions, season passes, loot boxes and everything else.

So it's pure greed in a year where the US has had record layoffs and everyone is *very* carefully watching their money due to the ongoing pandemic.

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Goldenageplayer

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Justifying the extra 10 bucks is hard.

Sure making a game CAN be a big expensive thing... But not always. Many games just sort of feel like reskins rather than full blown new games. Take resident evil threemake for example. Looks exactly like res evil 2make. Clearly it's running on the same engine and has far more in common with that game than it doesn't. It's also shorter and had less effort put into it. This makes the game feel like a expansion more than anything but what's the result? Full price game. WTH??? I refuse to buy it until I can get it for like 20-30 bucks. Especially because it has that tacked on micro transaction multiplayer that next to no one wants...

Anyways... With as much money as big names are making. Like Take two for example. Like they need the extra cash lololol. PULEASE!

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samurai1

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. He is right that we are overdue for a price increase, but if Take Two does this unilaterally and other companies don't follow suit, it will be disastrous for them.

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Dragon_Nexus

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@samurai1: Games went up in price ages ago. How often can you buy one of these triple A games for $60 and have the full experience? Regardless of whether or not you care about the stuff included in the silver and gold editions, that's still content you're not getting. See also the season passes and future DLC. The microtransactions. It's all content not included in the $60 base price.

Upping it by $10 is pure greed. They've just decided they're entitled to another $10 from you after years of wages not increasing and people like Straus Zelnick making absolute bank off of things like GTAV's microtansactions. They've made *billions upon billions*. But somehow we're still not paying enough?

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uninspiredcup

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@samurai1: Go check to see how much they make on microtransactions and how much the company earns in growth.


This isn't "necessity", it's just plain old "taking the piss".

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Jinzo_111887

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@uninspiredcup: I wonder how long before their greed gets them to turn on Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft over the cut they take compared to Epic or paid online eating into microtransactions.

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Mon_Dieu_Mel

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Yes, because when we think of the bannermen of gaming quality and innovation, the publisher of WWE2K20 would certainly be the first company that comes to mind.

Take-Two somehow seems to get a perennial bye when it comes to discussions about the worst companies in the industry, but this is some god-tier BS.

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Smarti_12

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If $70 means that we get a complete game, meaning NO season pass(es),add-ons, or lootboxes or expansions of any kind, then I am all for it. I fear next-generation games are going to average around $200 or so for the complete game with all content.

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sonofabevo

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No, Take-Two, we're not paying $70 to buy GTA 5 for the 4th time.

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Dragon_Nexus

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@sonofabevo: Hell, I regret paying £40 to buy it the first time...

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Strathmore

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Edited By Strathmore

I'd be okay paying $70 a game if it meant that the game included supporting it with DLC, or more specifically, getting rid of paid DLC. Something tells me that Strauss Zelnick won't agree...

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hardwenzen

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Take Two would say that. Wait for Activision, Bethesda and EA being next. EA will increase the prices because of "incredible games", and we get more Anthems and Andromeda's from them. Very incredible games indeed.

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Barighm

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He should stick to the higher development cost excuse. I can understand that one, but talking about quality in an age where most modern games lock their content behind paywalls and are usually buggy as hell is just silly.

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Carpetfluff

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Edited By Carpetfluff

The biggest problem here is which game we're talking about. Take Two's NBA games are just giant mtx machines now. Probably the closest thing to the set up you'd see in the mobile free to play game on consoles. Which would be fine if they WERE F2P, but they're not and now they want to charge even more for the privilege of installing their store on your machine.

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Alphazonex

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"Extraordinary Quality"

That's a bold ass claim right there. Why do I feel like its going to be untrue?

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hellhammer

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@alphazonex: Agreed. Very few games are of extraordinary quality. So he's full of shit.

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Spartan_418

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lmao the price isn't going to stop things like Mass Effect Andromeda from happening again

plus it's likely that in a lot of cases, the quality difference between a current-gen and next-gen game will boil down to just changing one setting and increasing the resolution, with little or no difference otherwise

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