Up For Debate - How Much Would you be Willing to Pay for a New AAA Game?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Dec 31, 2017 10:12 AM

The topic of how much we’d all be willing to pay for a game is a thorny one, but you’ve got to be living in dreamland if you believe the $60 price point is going to be adopted in perpetuity. Gaming is pretty much unique in that it seems practically impervious to change. During my 29 years on this Earth, games have actually gotten cheaper, even more so in real terms.

Naturally, a large chunk of this price stasis has been offset by the ballooning popularity of games. Back in the 90’s, AAA publishers had a total addressable market of about 150-200 million, give or take a few million. Now there are two billion gamers worldwide. Back then, shifting 1 million copies of a game was a huge deal. Fast forward to 2017 and Capcom considers Resident Evil 7 a flop for just about falling short of 4 million units sold in its launch year.

The reason is that the cost of development and marketing these games worldwide has spiralled. Where once we were wowed by the $47 million development cost of Shenmue, this is just a drop in the ocean compared to the Star Citizens, Call of Dutys, and Grand Theft Autos of this world. In order to cover these costs, publishers need to sell more copies of their games than ever to break even. In the case of the big boys, like EA, just breaking even or getting a minor profit on a game is a waste of time. They need to extract huge profits in order to please shareholders, which is why EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc have turned to microtransactions in order to bolster their bottom line.

At some point or another though, the standard cost of games is, finally, going to have to rise. That’s just the way of the world. But, in the increasingly vocal and vociferous gaming community, is it even possible to get away with this? If AAA publishers were to suddenly bump their prices up to $70 for the base game, could they get away with it? I suspect they very much could, once the initial storm has blown over. Give it a year or so and suddenly the $70 price would feel like the norm.

Should game prices rice though, where would you be comfortable with them settling? What is the maximum price you would be willing to pay for a game that you intend to buy on launch day? Get voting in the poll and let us know why below!

How Much Would you be Willing to Pay for a New AAA Game?

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12:09 Jan-08-2018

I was glad to pay around 80 bucks for witcher 3 + all dlcs back then. I assume that's the only game im willing to spend that much money on.

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18:51 Jan-01-2018

Uncharted territory, less than 30 dollars
Nostalgia feels, 60 dollars and up
Microtransactions, 5 dollars
Incomplete game, what the heck,
Game with DLC, wait for game of year edition
Exciting new game that I know I will like, take my money
DRM up the What's who, I'd rather not
Titles from EA, if it's not Dragon Age, I'm not biting for a while
Ubisoft, respect my brotha, Vivendi be hatin
Multiplayer, what's that
Solo, Solo all the way

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13:30 Jan-01-2018

I would say as high as $80, if, and only if, it's the whole game. That also means more than 4 - 5 hours of gameplay and trying to call it a full game.

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22:12 Jan-06-2018

For me, i'm only willing to pay that much (80 bucks) if it's a giant game like The Witcher 3 or the upcoming God of War, but I still would consider it a lot. Heck, I payed that for Watch Dogs 2 and I still regret it to this day

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10:19 Jan-01-2018

30-40

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06:24 Jan-01-2018

$60 is what you would pay for a complete game, with all the DLC's included. $45 is a good price I would pay.

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18:36 Dec-31-2017

60 dollars is a lot of money for me. I don't think there is any game I would want so bad on launch that I would pay more then that. Especially since the quality or the completeness of new games are never complety certain.

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17:19 Dec-31-2017

I see lots of people only willing to be pay less than $60. Which means you want every game on sale price, nothing full price. Yet, games aren't $60 anymore. Well all know that. $60 buys the base shell of a game, not the full game. $90-$100 is where they sit now with season passes and DLC tacked on. Games are NEVER to going to go back to costing less than $60, be realistic.

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19:55 Dec-31-2017

well AAA games are never going back to costing less than 10 million dollars with marketing included either, now are they? Most cost at least 25 million and that is withOUT marketing taken into a count.


That's why I just want a 90-100$ price for a 100% complete game, instead of 60$ for as you said a "shell of a game" and the rest 40$ in DLCs, micro-transactions and RNG bs that only 10-20% of the player base buy anyway... it sucks and divides the player base too.

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15:26 Dec-31-2017

It hinges on one thing for me: if they're physical or digital copies.


If its a physical copy of the game I won't really bat an eye at £39.99 for a new game. Anything higher is too much.
If it's a digital copy I would if it was £39.99. If it's digital it should be cheaper as the creators don't need to pay for packaging, delivering or creating them. If anything the only thing they may need to pay for is for the use of the servers that hold the game in its archive. £29.99 is max price I want

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15:53 Dec-31-2017

Besides that, a packaged game is mostly outdated at launch anyway because of release patches/updates

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15:21 Dec-31-2017

i will never pay more than £60 for a game, any more than that then devs are dreaming, im not paying more when games are sloppy and need countless patches to fix bugs/glitches and crashes etc

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15:07 Dec-31-2017

Seems the survey could use more brackets. Especially to split the under $60 category.

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14:35 Dec-31-2017

The most expensive game I bought so far was divinity original sin 2 for 45e I don t usualy go above 40e but it was a game that I really wanted to play. I always wait for sales. I wouldn t buy any game for 60e unless it was something I really wanted.

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14:25 Dec-31-2017

60E max.

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13:58 Dec-31-2017

I was laying off of buying AC:O and Payback, but I recently saw both discounted. So I got Payback Deluxe for 50% off, so instead of 80€. I paid 40€, not too bad and for AC:O also 50% off so 30€. Overall happy that I saved some money.

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13:32 Dec-31-2017

As long as there are no micro transactions I would pay upwards of £75. DLC is okay to add for a small price as long as it justifies the content within it.

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12:32 Dec-31-2017

80€ was my most expensive and it was Nioh on release with season pass, regret it and dont at the same time its a great game but didnt find the will to finish

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12:00 Dec-31-2017

Make it 80$ but that's max..meaning no cutting content, no dlc's, no micros and no bs, and a full sp experience. One time higher fee I wouldn't mind paying if I'm getting the entire game, and if the game won't die when people go offline.

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12:03 Dec-31-2017

DLCs are okay, as long as they are free and really add something to the game :D

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12:15 Dec-31-2017

Personally I'd never pay that much.... I think the most expensive game I've ever bought, I paid around $90 for if I remember correctly, It was more of a simulator actually and came with its own controller.... it was Duratrax RealRace V2, an R/C car simulator, The only reason I paid so much was because I was really into racing R/C back in those days and used that game to stay in practice.... and it was the most accurate way of doing so at the time.

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12:40 Dec-31-2017

My most expensive game was Gran Turismo 4, 50 euro in the white case. The disk got scratched or something else happened (probably while moving the ps2), later on bought it for 20 euro and got it again in a ps2 bundle (so I own 2 ps2, one at my mother, one at my father). In total, 3x GT4 haha, great game. The other game I bought expensively was DTM3 for the psp, though it was a disappointing game and not like DTM3 on the ps2 (which I also own)

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17:22 Dec-31-2017

I agree. Right now though game cost more than that already. Destiny 2, Assassin's Creed Origins, and Shadow of War are all $100 games if you want the full experience. There's no getting around that, it's the TRUTH. All of those games also future loot boxes. Sure AC didn't get hit as hard as SoW or D2, but it's got them too.

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10:20 Jan-03-2018

I can't fathom how AC Origins isn't a complete game. It's huge, there's no lack of content. Most DLC is watered down rubbish anyway, so it's not like anyone's missing out.

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11:57 Dec-31-2017

Wat, even 50$ is a lot for the game to me, I buy 95% of my games on humble/other sales. I really don't see the point of buying games at release lately because if you wait like a month you can get 60$ games for half the price (wolfenstein2 and evil within on autumn/winter sale, etc.)

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12:04 Dec-31-2017

Besides that, bug fixes

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14:32 Dec-31-2017

Indeed, i feel the same way, shout out to r/patientgamers !

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11:53 Dec-31-2017

With the heads of my entire family and 5 liters of virgin blood (my own) ...would that be enough?

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12:01 Dec-31-2017

+tax.... "Ok sir, that'll be the heads of your entire family, 5 liters of virgin blood(your own) and 58 cents...... thank you for the purchase sir, please come again."

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10:37 Dec-31-2017

I'll just copy my commend here:
Just make the games free and put micro transaction where they don't effect any of the gameplay. See dota 2. The game is free to play. The only think if u want to pay is for cosmetics and tournament tickets. And the game is played by thousands.

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10:41 Dec-31-2017

yes and the only games where that would work would be MOBA and Esport games... -_-
And Dota 2 was infinitely cheaper to develop than a AAA game with a good story. I doubt dota 2 costed more than 5 million to develop and that might be a stretch to far too...

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10:45 Dec-31-2017

See, pokemon GO with its micro transaction. Free game, but the company won a lot from it. (Probably lose a lot). And hey ,see dota 1... the game was made for fun and it was more successful than most of the games this year...

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10:46 Dec-31-2017

pokemon GO was cheap to make too... -_-

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10:45 Dec-31-2017

Dota 2 is a very simple game with very little actual content, and very low development costs.... Free 2 play formulas tend to work well with games of this nature...... but a true AAA game has never to the best of my knowledge been released right out of the gate as F2P with cosmetic cashshop.... I think a game like PUBG could be successful with a formula like this, but something like Witcher 3 or Assassins Creed Origins...... I just couldn't see that working.

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10:48 Dec-31-2017

And you are right it will NOT work for games like AC or the Witcher. They cost way too much and the content in them is far to great nobody would buy stupid costumes for them and even if they did, they would NOT make nearly as much money and probably will NOT even break even.

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10:54 Dec-31-2017

I think a game like Witcher 3 or AC:O could eventually transition over to F2P after a couple years selling as retail..... Many very well made MMORPGs have found that to work for them...... the key being, charging retail at the beginning to recoup some of that development cost as quickly as possible, and then shifting over to F2P and coasting along....... it could work i think if implemented properly, but like I said we've never seen that happen yet.

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10:55 Dec-31-2017

And yeah it would be interesting to see how you're going to market new outfits and skins in a single player game where the only person seeing your character is you, lol

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11:04 Dec-31-2017

Well as it seems after 3-4 years games usually start getting given away anyway without even going to a free to play model.
Great examples would be both EA and Ubisoft giving away older games for free, for a limited amount of time, but still you get it, it's yours to keep.

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11:08 Dec-31-2017

OR Guild Wars 2, it is completely F2P since 2016 AFAIK.

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11:52 Dec-31-2017

GW2 was one of the games I was thinking of that eventually transitioned to F2P.... I actually bought the game probably about a month after it released and still have my physical copy, lol

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11:57 Dec-31-2017

Just make the cars free and put payments where they don't effect any car performance....see that metal trash can? It's free and the only thing if you want to pay is to watch bums hitting it with their penis....but it's used by billiooons.

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14:06 Dec-31-2017

So.. people down vote me cuz I want the games to be free and to put micro transactions as cosmetics only?? ROFL. I guess you dont want free games. For example you pay for your real life car, but the DLC is fuel. And cuz of this fuel people are unhappy that it needs to pay it up....

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14:38 Dec-31-2017

Such is Game Debate unfortunately..... I hate the voting system here entirely, would be much better if people actually discussed things instead of just clicking "thumbs up" or "thumbs down".... IMO that just dumbs it down and turns it into either a pissing contest or a popularity contest.... where's the "debate" part?

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14:47 Dec-31-2017

Same. I had to make a couple of accounts in order to can write commends cuz of this system.

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19:48 Dec-31-2017

Mm123456
welcome to Game debate, I did NOT down vote you, I do NOT downvote, unless it's a troll, you are clearly NOT trolling, you have a point, I disagree due to all the facts being against you, but still it's a good point. Up vote from me!

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19:52 Dec-31-2017

It may NOT look like it from my 430 reputation, but for every 3 people that upvoted my reputation, 2 people downvoted my reputation, many people know how often I too suffer from being downvoted to oblivion for having a different opinion than the masses, or usually for breaking people's pink worlds with facts that they do NOT like and I do NOT care about my reputation, but I hate when I can NOT comment due to it... already happened to me 4x times...

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19:57 Dec-31-2017

I'm one of the people who down voted you. But there was a reason I did downvoted u Psychoman. But due to the commend below mine, I might up vote u. However I made a couple of accounts cuz I can't write commends and I hate that. And I'm just expressing my thoughts about should video games have micro transactions and i'm getting down voted... Either people disagree with me.. or they like to downvote

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19:58 Dec-31-2017

Also I think I'm around 3-5 years in GD already. I don't remember when I started but it was somewhere there. If tzzsmk see the account name ThePhenomenom in his friend list he can tell me. :D

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20:05 Dec-31-2017

I remember you ThePhenomenom, it appears I've been in GD for almost 5 years now O_O
damn time flies so fast... :/

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21:01 Dec-31-2017

I think I have 3 accounts but this and ThePhenomenom were my most used

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10:35 Dec-31-2017

IF there are NO paid DLC, NO Micro-transactions, NO RNG bs, NO anything else, just 100% complete without being cut into peaces to separate the player base and the game is good, 90-100$ for sure.


For the current model of AAA games that release 20-50% of the game for 60$ and then chop the rest into future paid DLCs, micro-transactions and RNG bs, that splits the play base(regardless if it is single or multiplayer) then I'd say less than 60$ for sure.


I appreciate how much time and resources it takes to develop a good AAA title, but they should just straight come and sell it to us for 90-100$ 100% complete with all future DLC being free, instead of relying on dumb DLCs, micro-transactions and RNG machines that only 10-15% of the player base pay for...

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10:36 Dec-31-2017

TRUE Expansions are probably the only "DLC" I can stand behind, because a good expansion can add another game's worth to a current game.

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Core i5-11400H 6-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Mobile 8GB
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