I have a confession to make: I usually buy single player games at discounted prices. Single player games are enjoyed in isolation, and the quality doesn’t diminish over the course of the months it takes for the price to come down, so it makes a lot of sense to me to wait and pay what I feel is a fair price. However, once every hundred thousand years or so a single player game releases with so much hype around it that I can’t help but jump in at full price. Up until now, I think Bloodborne was the only single player game this gen to turn my head at full price, and I picked that up at £49.99.

Kratos has been successfully re-imagined… as the wool Sony are pulling over our eyes!

Now God of War is generating the sort of hype that a gamer can’t rightly ignore. £52.99. A sly £3 change to pricing in the wrong direction. The upcoming Detroit weighs in at £52.99 as well, so it looks like Sony are settling on a new RRP for the games they publish. The cheapest edition of Spider-man that is available on PSN is an Activision-territory £54.99. That could be an anomaly down to the complex ‘web’ of licensing around Spidey (Ba-dum-tsshhh), or it could be that Sony are looking to keep the upward trend going. With God of War selling over 3 million copies within a matter of days, you can be sure they are not feeling any pressure to climb back down.

neither God of War or Detroit have any kind of micro-transactions or anything you could accuse of being unsavoury or hidden.

Meanwhile on the other side of the gulf, Sea of Thieves carries a £49.99 price tag, which also represents an increase in RRP as Microsoft started this gen with a £44.99 price point for their “big” games. It is hard to speculate what they will do next with their pricing, since… you know… they haven’t actually got any games coming out that we can check.

A few quid here and there might seem fair and reasonable, and no big deal. I’d agree, except we’re living in a world where a rumour that Microsoft might be changing the price of Game Pass in Swedish Krona is apparently worth complaining about, it boggles the mind that nobody breathes a word about real increases in the RRP of first party games, so… I’m going to go right ahead and breathe it over the internet. 

Spider-man ramps up the price even further. Maybe J Jonah Jameson is right about him?

Spider-man ramps up the price even further. Maybe J Jonah Jameson is right about him?

Of course as with anything worth talking about, things aren’t quite so simple as someone might first think when seeing the prices charted out. The games industry is awash with changes to pricing and distribution models, and neither God of War or Detroit have any kind of micro-transactions or anything you could accuse of being unsavoury or hidden. Sea of Thieves, Game Pass, GaaS… I’m not even going to touch on that right now, as I have other things I need to get done this week.  Issues around rising costs of development, as well as normal inflation and the dreaded Brexit impact are all significant factors that determine pricing. The gradual shift towards digital marketplaces should really herald a seismic shift in pricing that we’re not really seeing (which is a topic I’ve covered fairly extensively before). There is quite a tapestry woven beneath the issue, but none of that diminishes what we see on the surface: 1st party prices are on the rise.

With God of War selling over 3 million copies within a matter of days, you can be sure they are not feeling any pressure to climb back down.

On the plus side, Sony and Microsoft do reduce prices over time....

On the plus side, Sony and Microsoft do reduce prices over time….

This article isn’t intended as a complaint or ‘open letter’ rant. I don’t want you to boycott Detroit or throw pebbles at execs at E3 (well… no maybe something softer?). The price of games is a broad and deep topic that I could talk about for hours, but in this case I’m certain that open discussion will be more interesting than my own voice.  So here are a few questions that I hope will kick off some interesting contributions.

-Do you buy games at full price (or there abouts) as soon as they release?

-If push came to shove, how much would you be willing to pay for the privilege of playing God of War?

-Should pricing be determined by amount of content in terms of play time? Development budget? Gigabytes of data?

-Are gentle increases to upfront prices more palatable than Micro-transactions and season passes?

Let me know in the comments below. No registration necessary.

 

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Asa W

I am just some British chap that is enthusiastic about games and related technology. I put my opinions into articles thinking other people might want to read them, so you could probably call me egotistical as well. Any publishers or platform holders reading this: My integrity can be bought for a low low price. Call me xx

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2 Responses

  1. -Do you buy games at full price (or there abouts) as soon as they release?

    Yes, price is never a factor for me

    -If push came to shove, how much would you be willing to pay for the privilege of playing God of War?

    Gaming, in particular console gaming, is a very cheap hobby, especially for those who only have one console. In most hobbies, costs escalate when you start having to take lessons, buy equipment etc – with a console, the machine is maybe $50/year over it’s lifespan plus maybe $250 on games…$300/year for a hobby is comparatively nothing.

    Returning to your question, I would pay $100 maybe for the experience potentially…will explore this further in your next question.

    -Should pricing be determined by amount of content in terms of play time? Development budget? Gigabytes of data?

    An interesting question. I think it has to be a factor of quality and duration. I would be happy to pay $60 for a 9/10 game that lasted around 20 hours or $60 for a 7/10 game that lasted 100. Budget and gigabytes are not really relevant, you could argue that a greater budget should quality a higher quality game so it would indirectly be included that way

    -Are gentle increases to upfront prices more palatable than Micro-transactions and season passes?

    I personally prefer upfront price increases, it makes the experience a lot more fulfilling initially, rather than feeling like you’ve got to continuously invest little bits over time to eventually get the full package.

  2. Antonio says:

    “Are gentle increases to upfront prices more palatable than Micro-transactions and season passes?”

    Yes, we would be ignorant as customer not to realize that increase in game production = increase in cost somewhere. I would rather they increase the price of the base game to get everything up front instead of using micro transactions

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