Next-Gen Console AAA Titles to Sell for $69.99

Posted on July 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Games, PC gaming, PlayStation, Xbox, Xbox Series X with 33 Comments

It looks like AAA games for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will finally make a pricing leap upwards, by $10 to $69.99 when compared to current- and previous-generation AAA titles.

The price hike was first reported by GameIndustry.biz, though rumors have been circulating for months. AAA titles for the Xbox 360, which launched in 2005, and Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which launched in 2013, sold for $59.99, an unusual amount of time without a price increase.

“The shift to $69.99 should have taken place in 2013,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella tweeted. “But folks thought mobile was a threat to the console business. Instead we got collector’s, silver and gold editions that elevate above $59.99 anyway.” Not to mention “season pass” type offers.

“[AAA game pricing has] been $59.99 since I started in this business, but the cost of games have gone up ten times [during that period],” former PlayStation exec Shawn Layden said at an industry event last month. “If you don’t have elasticity on the price-point, but you have huge volatility on the cost line, the model becomes more difficult. I think this generation is going to see those two imperatives collide.”

Another solution, of course, is to create shorter games with less replayability. And I suspect we’ll see some of that as well, though that type of game is already quite common, especially with independent game developers.

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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Next-Gen Console AAA Titles to Sell for $69.99”

  1. Avatar

    lvthunder

    They need to start reigning in the cost to create these games. People aren't going to be able to afford many games if they are $70 a piece and since most of them are digital now you can't even sell the game when you are done to recoup some of the cost.

  2. Avatar

    innitrichie

    Given the huge amounts of money people are willing to blow buying gems, coins, and stars on a single crappy mobile game, a modest price increase for real games is not unreasonable.

  3. Avatar

    ghostrider

    Steam it is then. Outrageous pricing, considering DLC will also likely be chargeable, along with in game purchases.

  4. Avatar

    Truffles

    Surely Apple must be looking at the console market as a new form factor for their Apple Silicon lineup?? They've already rolled out game subscriptions, they've already got a set-top box that's due an update and even the iPad supports controllers. It's just a matter of combining all that together.


    The key selling point they could bring to console gaming is cutting software prices by an order of magnitude the same way they did when they introduced the app store.

  5. Avatar

    Rycott

    Games may still start at $60 these days but that's mostly only the starter price. Most AAA games sell multiple versions of the same game and cut things out of the base game to add into the 'Deluxe Editions', 'Ultimate Editions' etc.


    They also like to fill their games full of micro-transactions, with the excuse being that they need these to keep making these games. When the price goes up they won't be cutting these down. The new NBA 2k game that seems to be the testbed for it all. That thing is a walking slot machine and I can't see a scummy publisher like 2K cutting the microtransactions down with the price hike.


    Also, gaming is huge now. Games used to be $60 when gaming was a niche market. Games are no longer a niche market so the audience they can now sell too is massive. Gaming is now bigger than the movie and music industry combined. Selling a $60 game to 100,000 people is a lot different from selling a $60 game to 10 million people.


    If you do it right then you can keep making money even when the game is frequently discounted. Look at CD Projekt Red. The last major game they released outside of Gwent stuff was in 2015. They just surpassed UbiSoft as the biggest publisher in Europe.


    And let's be real. The AAA publishers aren't hurting for cash. Electronic Arts annual gross profit for 2020 was $4.168B, a 14.88% increase from 2019. Activision Blizzard gross profit for the twelve months ending March 31, 2020 was $4.416B, a 10.64% decline year-over-year. Take-Two Interactive Software gross profit for the twelve months ending March 31, 2020 was $1.547B, a 35.1% increase year-over-year. UbiSoft Entertainment annual gross profit for 2020 was $1.492B, a 15.06% decline from 2019.


    They also dodge taxes, most of these big guys pay almost no tax and some of them even manage to scam government grants so taxpayers are actually paying them to make games.


    These guys are making cash hand over fist. The one and only reason they want to bump up the price is because they are only making lots of money... not all the money.

  6. Avatar

    orbsitron

    This isn't the full story in the short term. XBOX Series X "Smart Delivery" feature lets publishers opt into offering free upgrades from the current gen version of a game to the next gen version of a game. Not only do the Microsoft 1st party titles take advantage of this capability but CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 and EA's Madden 21 have both announced support as 3rd parties as well.


    Of course not all publishers will take advantage of this capability and one day, games will be made exclusively for next gen (in fact PS5 is launching with some next-gen only titles), so this is only a short term benefit for some titles, but it's significant and we have XBOX's consumer friendly policies to thank for it (even on PlayStation).


    This price increase further solidifies the incredible value that is XBOX Game Pass and XBOX Game Pass Ultimate.

  7. Avatar

    olditpro2000

    Game prices haven't gone up much at all since the early 8-bit days, so a jump from $60 to $70 isn't unreasonable. However, I have limited time to play and I'm not willing to pay $70 to potentially play something only once, regardless of quality.


    For example, take Sony's The Last Of Us. I didn't have a PS3 when it was released and I didn't want to pay full price when the remastered PS4 version was released. Not because I thought it would be a poor game, but because the cutscenes, training sections, and other non-skippable parts in many modern games make me shy away from replaying them once finished. I generally don't feel the need to collect every item and do every side quest, especially when a game's main campaign can be 40+ hours long. However, I have PS Plus so I was able to pick it up "for free" when it came to the service late last year.


    A similar story occurred with Gears of War 5. I wanted to check it out on release but didn't want to pay full price when I knew I was travelling in a few days and would only have the time to put a few hours into it. However, I have Game Pass, so I was able to check it out immediately on release "for free."


    Yes, TLOU will stop working if I cancel PS Plus and yes, Gears 5 may eventually leave the Game Pass catalog. In the later case, if I were really in love with the game, I could just buy it outright at a discount or pick up a disc-based copy.


    Back in the early days when physical game rentals were a thing, I could drop a few bucks to try something questionable and purchase it outright if I enjoyed it. With some games I'd finish it in a weekend, return it, and never go back to it. Others I would return and them immediately purchase a copy of. As far as I know, rentals don't exist at all today outside of a service like GameFly, which lacks the immediately gratification of going down to the local rental store.


    As long as they continue to add quality titles to the catalog day-and-date with the full price release, Microsoft is on the right path with Game Pass for sure. Sony should do the same with PS Now.

  8. Avatar

    zorb56

    Why is there a set price for games? Who sets it? Is this practice legal? Why can't a studio charge $90 if they feel their game is worth it, and then why can't another charge $60 if they see fit? I am not trying to make a point; I am actually asking if anyone here knows.

  9. Avatar

    red77star

    Too much, Steam sales for < $20.00 is what is acceptable to me.

  10. Avatar

    Elindalyne

    Gaming is like the only industry that I know of where costs have gone up and prices have stayed the same.


    Gamers also conveniently forget that we had more expensive games in the past too.


    Of course this won't stop the complaining.

  11. Avatar

    tripleplayed

    That's a big Nope from me. $60 is already too expensive imo, no way I'd buy a game at $70. Thankfully though, I'm patient. I can wait till the prices are reasonable and play the game years down the line.

  12. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    I don't recall the prices for my Atari games but I think my NES games were in the $40-$50 range back in the 1980's, so accounting for inflation these new game prices don't seem that far off the mark.

  13. Avatar

    brothernod

    I guess it's back to buying physical games since they can usually be had for around $40 near launch. What a shame for the environment that the digital stores don't have the same sales policy.

  14. Avatar

    ser barristan

    I have plenty of games that I paid full price on release and then never start playing them until they are discounted. My goal now is to wait until I am ready to begin playing the game and catch it on sale. Some of the bigger releases I will still get on their release date but that will not be as often.


    Game prices going up should have happened a few years ago, so I have no big issue with this.

  15. Avatar

    rtodd_us

    This makes 15 dollars a month subscription for game pass look much more palatable.

  16. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    Making "Next Gen" consoles is a joke at this point. In the old days, there was nothing you could do to a Super Nintendo game (program) to make that code execute on a "regular" Nintendo. But now, it's all the same x86 architecture, just updated and upgraded. Yes, I know there will be improvements/optimizations with the SSD's and other things, but I'm still guessing that something like 80% of the upcoming titles WOULD be able to run on the previous generation hardware with only "simple" adjustments and reductions to the title like lowering the resolution and simplifying/eliminating lighting/shadow/smoke effects. I've said it for years that because of this, many, many "PS5" games are going to be "Fake exclusives", and that kind of sucks TBH.

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