With the release of NBA 2K21, games on next gen consoles might see a price increase. In a press release this morning, Take-Two Interactive announced NBA 2K21 on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, as well as their current-gen counterparts. Noticeably, the next-gen standard versions of the game came with a suggested retail price of $69.99 USD ($101) — a $US10 ($14) jump from the standard $US59.99 ($87) for most AAA games.
Even though a handful of games have already been confirmed as next gen launch or near launch titles, they aren’t yet available for pre-order, leaving their price just as nebulous as the prices of the consoles that will run them. When you try to pre-order 2K21 from the game’s website, it lists the game as the standard $US60 ($87) price. Still with the next-gen consoles pushing the limits of technology with “3D audio” and support for 8K graphics, it makes sense that game prices might increase to offset the rising cost of development on such hardware.
Gaming is quickly becoming a prohibitively expensive hobby. A $US10 ($14) increase might not sound like much, but with the overwhelming cost of new consoles themselves and the price of online subscriptions for multiplayer capabilities, working-class families might already be priced out of the fun. And, with record unemployment numbers due to the coronavirus, less people than ever might have the money to afford a new console or a $US70 ($101) dollar game anyway.
A Take-Two’s PR spokesperson told Kotaku, “We believe our suggested retail price for NBA 2K21 on next-generation platforms fairly represents the value of what’s being offered: power, speed and technology that is only possible on new hardware.” It’s worth noting the nice $US69 ($100) dollar number is the “suggested” price, meaning retailers like Gamestop and Wal-Mart could sell them for more or for the standard $US60 ($87) bucks.
There’s really no reason we pay $US59.99 ($87) for new releases of standard games, it’s just what consumers have come to expect. And, as with the rising of video game prices to the current $US60 ($87) standard 15 years previously, that expectation can be changed. Take-Two’s new pricing strategy might be the bellwether signifying a new era of consumer price expectations.