A hot potato: Capcom President Haruhiro Tsujimoto is sure to catch flak from the gaming community after proclaiming that video game prices are too low. During the recent Tokyo Game Show, Tsujimoto said development costs are about 100 times higher now than they were compared to the Famicom [Nintendo Entertainment System] era, but software prices have not increased much.
“There is also a need to raise wages,” Tsujimoto said. “Considering the fact that wages are rising in the industry as a whole, I think raising unit prices is a healthy option for business,” the executive added.
As much as gamers probably do not want to hear it, Tsujimoto has some valid arguments. It was not uncommon for AAA games to sell for $50 or more in the era he speaks of. Factoring in inflation, that is closer to $120 in today’s money yet modern AAA games are just now flirting with the higher $70 price point.
Today’s games are also far more complex, and some of the top titles do indeed have massive production budgets. Studios need some way to recoup their investment and make some profit on the top. Without charging significantly more for games, publishers have had to come up with other ways to get more money out of gamers including microtransactions and DLC.
Either way, itis clear that something has to give as the current model feels unsustainable for much longer. What is likely to happen is that AAA game prices will continue to inch past the $70 mark… slowly, of course, as to not rock the boat too much at once. Unfortunately, microtransactions and paid DLC are likely here to stay as well.
Another area of concern is remakes and ports to other platforms years after an original release. Both are becoming increasingly more expensive to the point where substantial pushback feels imminent.
The industry is at a crossroads and it is unclear exactly what will happen next. That said, how would you like to see things proceed? Would you be alright paying slightly more up front to do away with microtransactions and DLC? How much is too much to ask for a AAA game?
Image credit: Thomas Despeyroux
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