On CNBC last night, Sony CEO Jack Tretton implied that games for the company's newly-announced PlayStation 4 won't retail for more than $US60.
"We're gonna welcome free-to-play models, games from 99 cents up to those 60 dollar games," he said. Later, he added: "We'll justify that $US60 price point."
That might come as welcome news to gamers who expected another $US10 price jump like the one we saw last generation, when $US50 PS2 games led way to $US60 PS3 games. But is a $US60 price point really sustainable?
When in doubt, ask the federal government. Check this out: according to the US Department of Labor's inflation calculator, $US60 in 2006 would have the spending power of $US68.54 in 2013. And if the PS4 is around for the next 5 or 6 years, that number could just keep growing and growing. A $US60 price point in 2013 really means that games are now cheaper.
So yes, $US60 PlayStation 4 games are actually cheaper than $US60 PlayStation 3 games. Which means we shouldn't be too excited just yet. Big video game publishers will inevitably find other ways to make up the bottom line, which may mean more downloadable content packs, more subscription fees, and more sneaky ways to get you to pay more for video games.
Not to be bleak. But hey, Chrono Trigger, which ran for $US80 back in 1995 (according to an old buyer's guide I just found on Nexis), might cost $US120.88 in 2013. At least we're not there yet.