With the arrival of this new generation of games consoles comes a renewed debate on the cost of games. Most AAA games cost $60 at retail, and it’s been that way for some time. Of the publishers who are eyeing a jump to $70 retail games, Take Two has been one of the most aggressive and visible, wasting little time in pricing NBA 2K21 at $70 and making cross-generation upgrades for the game only available in a more expensive edition.
It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn, then, that Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick is a fan of the idea of bringing game prices up to $70. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week – as reported and transcribed by the folks over at VGC – Zelnick said that he believes gamers are “ready” for this price hike.
“We announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21, our view was that we’re offering an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability, and the last time there was a frontline price increase in the US was 2005, 2006, so we think consumers were ready for it,” Zelnick said, though he did go on to note that game pricing will be decided on a case-by-case basis, meaning that not necessarily all of Take Two’s upcoming games will be priced at $70.
READ MORE: Don’t believe the claim that games need to cost $70Zelnick also pointed out that consumers feeling that they were overcharged for a game – even one they love – will ruin the experience for them, so Take Two should put the experience first and let the monetization follow. That’s a pretty self-aware admission from a CEO who seems a little too eager to push forward with a new $70 price point while ignoring the fact that many of the games his company publishes are often packed with microtransactions and even sometimes loot boxes.
Indeed, to only compare the upfront cost of games to the rising cost of development is a little disingenuous when Take Two is also a big proponent of in-game purchases. Big publishers are raking in a ton of money from those in-game purchases as well, so the claim that games need to cost more upfront is one that rings hollow for a lot of people who have played Take Two’s games. Still, Take Two indicating that it will decide game pricing on a case-by-case basis and actually listen to consumers is encouraging, so we’ll see if that actually happens – because we sincerely doubt that any player out there is truly ready to pay $70 per game.