Bloomberg have released a report of an “industry-wide effort” by publishers to raise the standard price of a AAA game to $70.
The first next-gen game to reveal its price was NBA 2K21, with an RRP of the standard edition being $69.99 USD. As debates continued over the price of AAA games in the next-generation, at least one industry analyst proposed gamers would be “happily pay“ the $10 higher price.
Other games with the new $70 USD price tag on digital stores include Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, Demon’s Souls (2020), and Godfall. All of these titles are coming to next-generation consoles.
Now, Bloomberg reports there is an “industry-wide effort to raise the standard price to $70” and that “Inside publishing houses, a price hike has been plotted and dissected by executives for years.”
Their source were anonymous executives, “apparently because they recognize the move is unpopular.” Specifically; Bloomberg claim that Sony discussed going even higher before settling on $70. A spokeswoman for Sony told Bloomberg that while some launch titles are as little as $50, the “biggest games” would be $70.
Their reported citation is inflation, and the increasing costs of AAA development. For example, a $60 for a game in 1990 would be $100 today according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This is ignoring how PlayStation games and disc games since 1994 saw games fall to $50 until 2005 with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a year later raising it to $60.
One gamer, former U.S. Navy sailor and now IT worker Dan Armstrong discussed the rising prices with Bloomberg, and how the coronavirus pandemic and less hours at work made buying games at $70 unpalatable.
“When I started earning my own income, left my parents’ house, the standard so far was $50 when I was younger, then it went to $60, and I am hearing it’s going to go to $70. It’s getting kind of ridiculous.”
[After his work hours were halved due to the pandemic] “We don’t know how long it’s going last. I would rather keep my money in a safe place rather than giving my money to Activision. I do understand they need more programmers, graphic designers. But some of that just seems a bit greedy.”
Even so, IDG Consulting Inc.’s head Yoshio Osaki told Bloomberg that “Not all publishers will launch next-gen games at $70. However, we do anticipate that a growing percentage of games will launch at $70, but not all at once and not uniformly across every publisher or every game franchise.”
Despite the gloomy outlook, Capcom’s chief financial officer Kekichi Nomura stated “We believe game software’s price should be determined by how much money consumers are willing to pay for the quality, not by how much money we spend to make that game.”
Likewise, both Sony and Microsoft may be prepared to undercut one another to help drive their sales of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X respectively. DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole explained this had been done with Halo Infinite and Spider-Man: Miles Morales for $60 each.
However, Cole relented that $70 would likely be the future. “Consumers will definitely pay in the short term.”
Bloomberg had previously reported numerous claims from anonymous sources familiar with the matter or were employees; stating that Sony were struggling to find parts for the PlayStation 5, and meeting fluctuating production goals [1, 2, 3, 4]. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) would later deny these claims.
The latest of these were was anonymous PlayStation employees and developers telling Bloomberg that the company was losing faith in Japan as a market, while Microsoft is seeking to seize it with acquisitions. While Bloomberg’s sources seem primarily focused on Sony, the phrasing of their statement would imply this is more than just Sony’s goal.