Author’s Note: This article was written three months ago when the PS4 was first announced. However, with the current situation with the Xbox One, the points in this article are even more relevant.
The next generation of gaming consoles is nearly here, and people are preparing to pay big bucks on new hardware. However, what is more concerning than the price of the hardware itself is the new standard price of retail games. Nintendo has finally raised their game prices to $60 (along with $300+ for the console itself), but how much will Sony and Microsoft raise their game prices (if there’s going to be a price hike at all). A few weeks ago, Sony gave us some comforting news that PlayStation 4 games will have a wide variety of game prices, from $0.99 to $60. It seems like Sony doesn’t plan to raise game prices for PS4 games, however, EA has other plans. During their next-generation press conference this week, EA announced they expect game prices rising to $70 on the PS4 and the next Xbox. If that’s not bad enough, EA also announced that they’ll be implementing their controversial micro-transaction system in every game they release in the future…
This image will never get old
Gaming has always been criticized for being an expensive hobby and practices like those above aren’t helping matters much. Many find it ludicrous to pay hundreds of dollars for a game console and then have to pay $50 or more for each new game. Some were able to get around this via game rentals and borrowing games from friends but the expensive stigma remains. Despite this, things are looking bright for gaming in the digital space, with smartphone and social gaming bringing new people to experience and appreciate gaming as well as digital stores such as Steam and premium services such as PlayStation Plus providing “hardcore” games at cheap and reasonable prices.
But for the traditional gaming industry, things don’t look so bright. Game sales at retailers have been decreasing year after year, with some game developers failing because their games haven’t sold as much as they needed to break even, much less make a profit. Due to the poor economy, people are spending less on games, and if game publishers are expecting customers to pay $60 for a game and even more on downloadable content on top of that, it’s no surprise that people are switching to cheaper alternatives with mobile gaming, or at the very least, sticking to game franchises that they are familiar with. In order for such a market to keep its relevancy, the industry needs to change in the following ways: