The recent rise in video game prices is actually a self-fulfilling loop.
Hi, my name is Dentha and I’m and on/off writer; I only really write when I get that spark in me. Today I want to write about the recent rise in video game retail pricing. Video games used to be at their highest €49.99 for most games and then after their initial sale price they dropped to a standard €25.00 then it became (from 2013 onwards) that video games were mostly being sold at €59.99 and now with the introduction of the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 5 the people are beginning to ask whether game developers, publishers and console manufacturers are getting “greedy” with their prices. The answer is surprisingly: no. Oddly; this one actually isn’t their fault, it’s ours. What happened during 2014–2019 was that we decided prices were just getting too high during the dawn of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, so a majority of gamers opted to simply wait for the prices to drop to a new retail pricing or buy “keys” (the activation codes for PC games often found on the back of booklets included in their casings) which were sold at a lower cost because they weren’t exactly obtained in a legal manner. This meant that a majority of potential customers just didn’t exist or had played the game but didn’t buy it from official retailers or obtained key activations illegally.
This was hurting the gaming industry, so a new method needed to be thought of very quickly. Sony (Creators of the PlayStation) and Steam (One of the single highest grossing digital markets for PC gaming) opted to having weekly sales to encourage people to spend as much money as they could on different games that weren’t as expensive and even sometimes a game that had just recently released was being sold digitally, at 20% off its retail pricing for a physical copy. A kind gesture on their part since they didn’t actually owe you anything; that isn’t a joke, they’re selling their consoles at a loss as not to have them be as expensive as owning a personal computer, so to make up for it they expect you to buy at least 5 games on the systems they produced. Then the situation became worse; even when these games that had just released received a minor discount, on launch; it wasn’t enough to promote sales.
It seemed Sony could only get sales to garner if the game was controversial and that isn’t a long-term plan than any company could get away with as it would begin to develop a pattern; it only worked for Grand Theft Auto V and even then that was a multi-platform release, it benefited multiple parties. Sony wants it to exclusively benefit themselves, so trying to make the Last of Us II sound as controversial as possible was… well; overkill. It didn’t pan out as Sony wanted it to and the Last of Us II actively pissed off a lot of people.
So; what is Sony’s new plan? Well; video games are going to start costing €69.99 for standard editions of games and now the standard pricing for a Ultimate Edition of a game (a version that includes extra content) is going to be priced, well… see for yourself:
The highest this version ever should’ve been was €89.99 or at most €99.99 but look at it; skyrocketing at €119.99 — is this greed? In actuality; no.
It’s actually a form of compensation. In a literal economic sense; not in a legal sense. Companies (not just Sony) need to make up for a loss, they sold the software at higher prices because the hardware was being sold at a loss; but now the software isn’t being bought by enough people during its first three months of sale, so these companies need to rack up the price to compensate for that loss. Effectively; every game now needs to be sold as if it were two copies, even though only a single purchase was made. What does this mean for the future of gaming? Games will be more expensive. But — this can all be resolved in one year if games made their sales. The quicker the initial three months is a success for these companies, the quicker the game can go on sale to meet a holiday sales price. Gamers and game developers are meant to work in unison, the more sales these companies make, the quicker they can lower the price. You need to meet each other half way or else the companies need to start going into drastic measures like this and rack up the prices.
If you don’t want to buy a game; that’s fine, but you need to keep in mind that it will take longer for something to be on sale and you can’t ALL just take the approach of “I’ll wait until it’s cheaper.” that’s how we got to here — the self-fulfilling loop where we caused the games to go up in price in the first place.
They (Sony/Microsoft/Steam) don’t want this to be the long-term solution either, if we all want things to go back to normal we can’t all just wait until it’s cheaper, because then a 70% majority is waiting when sales need to be met.
Meet each other half way and when a company lowers a new release by 20% throw them a bone and at the very least by the standard edition or else don’t complain when this problem persists. The only other solution that nobody wants it to get to; is that the consoles won’t be sold at a loss anymore and the inevitable PlayStation 5 Pro will cost between €899.99 to €1,299.99 if this situation of price rising and lack of sales continues into the next few months.
You’re desperate to save, they’re desperate to sell; Triple-A (high quality standard of games with large budgets) games aren’t free. We started this.