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!