It has been a while since the conventional price tag of AAA games has remained unchanged at $60. So much so that the community takes it for granted although the publishers might not be as content with it as they would want to be. There are a number of things at play behind all this, but are these games rightly priced at $60?
Lets look at one thing at a time. Advocates of the idea that the price needs to increase claim that almost everything has changed its price due to inflation but these AAA titles are the only thing that have not been given that privilege. They say that in accordance with the laws of business and economics, it would be justified if the prices are increased.
Needless to say, this mostly consists of people belonging to the group that is looking to earn from the game making business.
On the flipside, there is a much larger chunk of the community that completely rejects this by pointing out that the videogame market has also ballooned in the past few years. The publishers are now selling millions more because the number of people playing games is much larger than it used to be and this cancels out the problem in terms of revenue earned.
Amount of content being provided in one AAA title is another point of concern here. Back in the days, it was a norm to spend on a copy of a game once and get a complete experience in return. That is mostly not the case now.
Now we come to the most important aspect of pricing strategies of AAA games: downloadable content packs. Expansions and DLCs, while a lot more value to a purchase, also allow the publishers to earn much more than what they would usually do. In fact, with games like Destiny, they could even allow them to earn more than that. Destiny: The Taken King might be considered as good as whole game but it is basically milking the original copy you bought for $60 at least in terms on moneymaking.
And we haven’t even started on how much money is being earned by microtransactions and Collector’s Editions.
This way, the publishers get to earn, on average, $100 or even more for each of their AAA games. If you look at the whole equation now (with DLCs, in-game transactions and Collector’s Editions in the mix), the situation might actually be reversed. We might even go on to claim that $60 is not even justified let alone being lower than what it should be.
Also, publishers are businessmen first and gamers second, or at least both at the same time; which is why they are definitely looking to increase the profitability as much as they can, and they have actually done so without making most of the gamers mad.
In the end, $60 for AAA games is a price that the community has settled with and by adding the extra layer of microtransactions, CEs and DLCs, the publishers get to earn much more than they used to – although it makes almost everyone hate it when the DLC doesn’t add much value for the money they charge.
So tell us, do you think the price is still justified? Or would you agree to pay a little extra if you were given the additional content etc. right from the start – or at least for free?