Content of the article: "The inclusion of microtransactions as standard fare in most blockbuster games completely dismantles the arguments made by game publishers to increase the prices of next-gen titles"
In the Eurogamer article "We need to talk about the cost of next-gen video games" Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick is quoted from an interview with Protocol.
The bottom line is that we haven't seen a front-line price increase for nearly 15 years, and production costs have gone up 200 to 300 per cent.
But more to the point since no one really cares what your production costs are, what consumers are able to do with the product has completely changed.
We deliver a much, much bigger game for $60 or $70 than we delivered for $60 10 years ago. The opportunity to spend money online is completely optional, and it's not a free-to-play title. It's a complete, incredibly robust experience even if you never spend another penny after your initial purchase.
Now the "opportunity to spend money online is completely optional" is of course, correct. You don't have to buy microtransactions, but remember this is the CEO who said:
We are convinced that we are probably from an industry view undermonetizing on a per-user basis. There is wood to chop because I think we can do more, and we can do more without interfering with our strategy of being the most creative and our ethical approach, which is delighting consumers. Source – The Escapist
They are completely aware that microtransactions are the future of their business, and while the singleplayer campaigns of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series are always cinematic masterpieces when they are released. In recent years this falls apart when it comes to their online components. We've all seen the articles about 'Shark Cards' and 'Gold Bars' in relation to their respective games.
Take-Two is not the only one to blame in this regard either, Activision is on the same boat as they are.
From the Eurogamer article:
Here's another game that seems outrageously priced: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. On GAME's website, the next-gen versions (PS5 and Xbox Series X) both cost £70 each. The current-gen versions cost £65, which seems ridiculous (they're £60 elsewhere – nice one GAME). Activision is pushing the digital-only cross-gen bundle version of the game, which costs £65 on the PlayStation Store as well as the Microsoft Store.
Now moving past the fact that it's in pounds and not US dollars. Microtransactions are the standard fare here too. You do not have to buy the season pass if you don't want to. This is the same with any other game that offers a purchasable season pass for its multiplayer component.
But if all your friends have it the peer pressure is there to buy it too, and the rewards you get for buying it are pressure too. It helps ease the grind, it helps save time. Before you say something like 'You can just say no to (peer) pressure.' We've all been there and we all know that's not how it works. It is a hard thing to say no to, especially if you feel like you are missing out or being left out.
These are just two of the most glaring examples. Other major publishers such as EA and Ubisoft have both committed to free cross-gen upgrades for some current gen titles, without the price increase, or cost of a next-gen patch (EA is announcing it on a game-by-game basis, here is FIFA 21 as an example). But we still wait to see what completely next-gen titles will cost.
I do not see a future where any company at all, that heavily uses and benefits from monetisation can justify increasing the prices of next-gen titles.
- Got more angry as I went on
- Is AAA gaming getting worse? Is it going through a crisis?
- It feels like buying AAA games is becoming increasingly difficult from a financial and moral standpoint
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