Gamers can breathe a sigh of relief – retail games will not increase in price in the next-gen. This according to both Sony and Microsoft, who were out in full force at E3 2013.
Up until this point, there was some speculation that Xbox One and PS4 games might retail for $70 or more, but that never panned out. The belief wasn’t unfounded, though, as most figured these next-gen games would cost more to develop.
Nevertheless, Sony and Microsoft wanted to assure gamers that they won’t have to fork over an extra “Hamilton” in order to experience the next-gen. That doesn’t mean third party publishers won’t increase the price of games, but for the main console manufacturers $60 is still the sweet spot.
Of course, with Microsoft and Sony setting the precedent for game pricing, we wouldn’t expect a publisher like Electronic Arts or Activision to draw any more ire from consumers than they need to. Rather, they will probably increase their focus on microtransactions, which in turn would inflate the value of a game.
As far as the basic single (and potentially multi) player experience goes, we could see the average decrease rather than increase as Sony and Microsoft head into a digital distribution-focused future. Many digital PC games, for example, go on sale at substantial discounts either on release day or shortly thereafter. Neither Microsoft nor Sony has outlined a digital distribution plan — aside from background downloading and mandatory installs — but we could see a few launch titles coming in at $55 or $50.
However, the bigger question is whether this transitional period where $60 stays the norm will eventually give way to a time when $70, or even $80 games, are commonplace. As Sony has shown with the PS4, consumers are even more concerned about price than ever, but what happens once the console manufacturer gets their foot in the door? Not only that, what happens when third party developers start taking a substantial loss on high profile failures?
We’d like to believe $60 will be the pricing sweet spot from here on out, but there’s no way to know for sure. At the very least, hopefully digital distribution will help preserve the status quo.
Are you happy to learn that first party games will stay $60 at retail? Do you expect we will see a price increase during the next-gen?