GTA 6 Could Be The First Game To Push Past $120 AUD

GTA 6 Could Be The First Game To Push Past $120 AUD

It’s only been about two years or so since the video game industry began charging $US70 for big games instead of the usual $US60, due to game development costs increasing (and greed). This shift, understandably, didn’t go over well with players as the cost to stay up-to-date with modern gaming continues to rise, but that might not stop Take-Two Interactive (the parent company of Rockstar Games) from trying to push it further with Grand Theft Auto VI—one of the few upcoming games that could probably sell for $US80.

Editor’s note: This story uses a lot of American currency, so here’s a sidebar for our Aussie readers. Though $60 USD comes to around $89 as a direct conversion, we mustn’t forget about the old Australia Tax, which has always nudged us up to our familiar $99.95 AUD price point. Similarly, while $US70 comes to around $104 AUD as a direct conversion, the Australia Tax puts these standard edition games at $109.95 or even $119.95 AUD, depending on the title. Take Two fancies charging as much as $80 USD for GTA 6, which converts to $120 AUD — what would surely end up closer to $130 or $140 AUD — just to see if you’ll go for it. And if you do, a precedent is set. Other publishers will be emboldened to charge that much. But it’s a trap and a trick! It’s not just any game we’re talking about — it’s GTA! A game the entire world wants. Will a $140 price point be enough to stop the average punter? Probably not! And so, an incredibly grubby and self-fulfilling prophecy is born. — David.

In 2022, the era of $US70 video games began. Since then we’ve seen WB Games, Activision, Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, and other companies begin selling their biggest, fanciest games for $US10 more than the $US60 price tag that had been in place for years. The reaction to these increased prices wasn’t great, but games like Call of Duty and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom sold well even with the higher price tag. And in Take-Two’s latest earnings call, CEO Strauss Zelnick seemed to set the groundwork for prices going up.

As reported by Gamespot, when Zelnick was asked about how Take-Two decides what to charge for games like Grand Theft Auto VI and Borderlands, he didn’t provide any specific prices and instead shared the publisher’s pricing philosophy.

“Look, there’s more content constantly being made available, and we really aim to deliver great value at any given time,” said Zelnick. “We’re so focused on delivering more value than what we charge. And that’s sort of the rubric.”

He further added that whenever Take-Two establishes a game’s price, the company wants to make sure that it’s “good news” for players and that “the experience vastly over delivers” compared to the price point. “ That’s the goal,” added Zelnick.

If we look back at recent comments from Zelnick, I have some serious questions about what he considers good news and good value for consumers.

Zelnick’s thoughts on good value and $US70 games

In August 2023, when fans criticized Take-Two for charging $US50 for the nice, but bare-bones Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare PS4 and Switch ports, this was Zelnick’s response:

“That’s just what we believe is the commercially accurate price for it,” Zelnick told IGN after an earnings call.

“[Red Dead Redemption] was a great standalone game in its own right when it was originally released, so we feel like it’s a great bundle for the first time, and certainly a great value for consumers.” I’d argue that $US50 is not an “accurate price” for a basic port of a decade-plus old open-world Xbox 360 game that, at launch at least, didn’t support 60FPS and removed all the online multiplayer modes.

Rockstar Games

In May 2023, Zelnick also indicated that there wasn’t any consumer pushback on publishers charging $US70 instead of $US60 on some big games, like Gotham Knights.

“What we’re seeing is consumers are seeking to limit their spending by going either to the stuff they really, really care about, blockbusters, or to value, and sometimes it could be both,” said Zelnick.“And the good news is, we have a bunch of blockbusters and we have a wonderful catalog.”

All of this seems to suggest that Zelnick believes $US70 games work, consumers don’t mind them, ports are worth $US50, and people will buy your blockbuster games if they are really excited about them, even if they have to manage their money. That makes me wonder what Grand Theft Auto 6’s price will end up being when it launches in 2025.

If any game can charge $US80 (or more) it’s GTA 6

Looking back at all his comments and Take-Two’s recent history makes me wonder: Will Zelnick decide that GTA 6 is worth more than $US70?

Will he look at one of the most hyped games in human history, the sequel to one of the best-selling video games of all time, and a blockbuster open-world adventure that will likely be massive, and think “Oh players will pay $US80 or even $US90 for that!” I think that’s a real possibility and if it happens, I’d bet my next lunch that he’d explain on an earnings call that fans are getting a “great value” for that $US80.

Sure, it seems silly or even downright idiotic in 2024 or 2025 to charge more than $US70. We’ve seen countless examples over the last 18 months or so of big, expensive games failing to connect with players, critics, and fandoms, while smaller indie titles charging less are exploding in popularity. I mean, one of the biggest games in 2024 is Helldivers 2 and it sports a $US40 price tag. In just the last few months, Manor Lords, Gray Zone Warfare, and Content Warning have found big success on Steam and they all cost far less than $US70.

Rockstar Games

But Grand Theft Auto 6 is different. It’s the next entry in one of the biggest video game franchises on the planet, will likely have a massive marketing push, and is the follow-up to GTA V and GTA Online, some of the most lucrative pieces of entertainment in history.

It also has an almost impossible amount of hype surrounding it, with players and fans going feral over tiny updates to Rockstar’s back-end servers. These same people make theories based on birds in teaser images and track down every piece of cut GTA content they can find using all sorts of methods. These are fans who, if asked, would likely buy GTA 6 at $US80. And I think there are plenty of other people out there who would quickly toss $US80 to Rockstar and Take-Two if it meant they could play what will likely be the biggest video game release in 2025.

So really, at this point, the only thing stopping Take-Two from charging more than $US70 (and offering consumers so much great value) is Zelnick and other executives looking at all this and deciding to not be greedy. And folks, I’m not holding my breath, especially as games cost more and more to make and take longer and longer to create. I think if Zelnick and Take-Two believe GTA 6 can succeed at $US80 they’ll charge that and sell you a special edition for even more.

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