According to a post on Edge, Electronic Arts’ execs Rajat Taneja and Blake Jorgensen have stated that they expect games for the PS4 and the next-gen Microsoft console to cost about $69 each—a ten dollar increase from the current-gen’s industry standard of $59. The reason for the increase, it seems, is simply that the hardware and games will represent a technological leap forward, requiring a higher price.
The executives offered their insights at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, explaining that the new consoles higher power necessitate a price to reflect that. Said Taneja:
“I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of every component, but if you look at it in an aggregate basis, the new consoles are between 8 and 10 times the power of the current generation. The architecture of the consoles is based on standard PC components and technologies. So our own investments in our back end engine like Frostbite, our libraries, our tools will very smoothly run on this and make it easier for us to innovate to the new console technologies themselves. What used to take months in the past will now take days to do.”
“I think, typically, at the start of a cycle, you’ve seen the pricing raise, say, to $69 for a core piece of software. And then over the life of those, that’s drifted down to introduction price, typically now around $59. We haven’t yet set pricing on our gen 4s, but you probably see a similar trend to that during the start of the next cycle.”
It’s disappointing, but not terribly surprising, to hear about a potential price increase in video games. From the last generation to the current one, prices rose from $50 to $60. Even if the games don’t look terribly different from this generation to the next one being ushered in by PlayStation 4 and whatever Microsoft’s got planned, there’s supposedly a lot more that’s going to be happening under the hood.
But while no one wants to pay $70 for a new video game, don’t forget that the Nintendo 64’s new games cost that much for a long, long time since they were cartridge-based and cost more to manufacture. And with inflation, $70 cost a lot more back then than it does now. Even still…I bristle at the $70 price tag. I can barely stomach $60, but $70? Ugh.
Of course, just because EA’s execs predict higher game prices doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. Consider the statement of Jack Tretton, President of Sony America. He told CNBC last week about Sony’s plans for software pricing:
“We’re going to welcome free-to-play models, games from ninety nine cents up to those sixty dollar games.”
This, seemingly, put the thought of an increased price for games to bed. So who’s right? I suppose we’ll have to wait until the games actually start coming to stores to really know for sure. But even though inflation makes $70 cost less than it did a decade ago, the economy’s in much worse shape now than it has been in quite a while. The PS4 already seems like a pricey piece of hardware, and the Wii U’s games are all at $60. If nothing else, it would make consumers pretty upset to see a new gadget with even more expensive software come out when they’re still scrimping for every penny.
At the end of the day, though, there’s a cost of doing business, and the ultimate goal is profit. I’m sure Sony and the software-makers are hard at work figuring out the most acceptable ceiling for game pricing to still get some cash in their pockets. Let’s hope they come up with something that can make us buyers happy too…