Video Game pricing corporate dirtbuggery!

With most darn digital deluxe editions coming out priced at €109 - $120 ish I feel it is becoming bloody ridiculous. Heck I am not even trying that darn Suicide Squad game (which is another discussion about corporate greed and how it erodes and ultimately kills artistic integrity).

The norm is €80 which is around $86. I feel a bit pissed and it is becoming a bit annoying.

In the EU most people make around €1200-$1300 or less in a month.

What can we gamers do about this “grand dirtbuggery” or is this more of “when you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”.

Gentlemen, your thoughts.

My thoughts are yeah videogames are expensive but so is everything else. I'm more concerned with the crazy price of groceries, utility bills, rent etc. Videogames can wait.


@“MovingCastles”#p149312 I’m more concerned with the crazy price of groceries, utility bills, rent etc.

I'm feeling that one here - we've seen our weekly shop go up by 20 euros, energy bills through the roof (granted the cold spell explains that) and little increases across living as a whole.

Everything costs everyone more, and when you're the buyer it seems to be felt the most here. I don't expect game prices to drop any time soon - but I vote with my wallet when buying anything so if it's too much I don't.

There's enough great deals on older and non triple A games to still enjoy gaming. That said I feel the frustration when something new is released and I can't either afford or justify buying it like I could!

@“Tom of the Fog”#p149314 it‘s pretty wild at the moment. My partner and I have been doing fine, but recently we just find ourselves running out of money at the end of each fortnight. Feels like all of the sudden we are spending over $150 AUD on groceries just out of the blue. No real change in buying habits either. The worst thing about it is the quality of the food isn’t even that great either when it comes to your meat (especially meat), fruit and vege.

Game pricing overall is a weird subject. I've heard arguments that games have been reasonably priced for a very very long time. I'd be curious to hear some of the IC game Devs talk about the subject - although I suspect they don't have much say on the pricing? No clue.

I mean you're right. It is a bit of a shock to see a new game release for around $120 - but I've just made a personal decision to be more selective. Like I'm really looking forward to getting Persona 3 Remake, FF7, and that Unicorn Strategy game this year. Apart from that I've got a backlog that can probably last years.


@“MovingCastles”#p149319 No real change in buying habits either.

That's the issue I'm seeing and games fall under that problem - everything gets more expensive but doesn't get better for it!

I appreciate the cost of making a game has gone up over the years, same as many things and the challenge is with everything else expensive people have to keep their options smaller for it.

I'm with you on the backlog - if I never bought another game I'd never run out of stuff to play. But if everyone thought that way there's be no backlogs in 10 years time as nothing would have been released in that time period!

Looks like I'm going to be paying £60 for Like A Dragon Infinite Wealth. Buddy, I wish I had infinite wealth!

I do think that is a lot for a game but I know that there is at least 100 hours of excellent game in that so I don't feel too bad since I am fortunate enough to be able to afford it.

Games are more expensive to make and need to make more money if we want to see big huge amazing looking games. HOWEVER, since we know that CEOs are paid far too much and companies wealth hoard, my statement that games need to make more money due to dev costs is true BUT the amount of profit companies are looking for is way beyond making games and earning some profit.

In general, I think western AAA games are overpriced because they look incredible but are deathly boring and do not represent value for money despite the dev costs being hundreds of millions. Conversely, I would pay more than £60 for a Like A Dragon game because I know it is full of hotness for Chopemon.

But check this; in January, February and March this year, LAD8, Tekken 8, Persona 3load, FF7 Rebirth and Dragons Dogma 2 are all coming out. They all broadly appeal to the same player except maybe Tekken. That's £300 of games that are all 50 to 100 hours long. I doubt many people can buy all of them and even then, they can't play them all at the same time. This cadence of £60 100 hour games doesn't seem sustainable to me so something will possibly have to give.

Another in general point; high quality indie games are too cheap. We're about to announce our new game. It is a 20 hour open world [redacted] and we're struggling to decide how to price it. I believe it is high quality and great value for money and once upon a time would have been a £40 PS2 disc type game. But if we set the price at current day £40, people won't pay it. They'll pay £60 for AAA boredom inducers but if an indie game starts creeping up there, you have to get lucky and hope people see why.

So to sum up my ramble: good indie games are too cheap, western AAA is overpriced and Japanese AAA is at an okay price for me but there are too many for me to afford to buy or have time to play.

And if you want to talk about dirtbuggery, that LAD8 new game plus deluxe thing is total nonsense.

I‘d actually be really interested in hearing from somebody on the AAA business side regarding how stuff gets priced. Just from an outside perspective, as expensive as AAA games are, they also seem way more desperate for money than they used to be. Games (the big ones) have been 50 - 70 dollars for at least twenty years (Gameboy ran from like 20-40 I think); that doesn’t seem like it should be the case. A two liter bottle of Coke, in the same twenty years, went from around 99 cents to around $2.50.

Adjusting for inflation, and ignoring a bunch of other relevant factors like material cost, a game in '93 could cost you the equivalent of today's collector's editions.

The whole thing seems extremely unsustainable except for the fact that it has somehow sustained itself. Economics, huh?

When I worked in AAA (or at least, attempting to be AAA) games just got priced at the same price as was the norm at the time, regardless of quality.

In the UK, games on the PS1 and PS2 were £40. At the start of the 360 era, some publishers said the price needs to go to £50 and there was an outrage. So instead of a sweeping price hike, the RRP was £50 and then retailers put each game somewhere between 40 and 50, getting closer to 50 at the end of the generation.

The reason AAA publishers are more desperate for money is because at the start of the 360 era, a AAA game cost sub $100m (most were around $30m I think) but now Spiderman 2 costs $300m to make and market. The price of a standard boxed game has not kept up with this dev cost inflation because people freak out when luxury items jump in price. A coke can go up in cost because it's a small cost that people often don't think about. An extra £10 suddenly on a game makes people go bananas even if there is a marked difference in quality from the generation before it. So publishers have always worried about this and tanking part of the industry.

The special editions are a great way to increase the revenue of a game without affecting the base game price. The boxed special editions are full of cheap to produce junk which allows them to slap an extra £40 on a game and make a decent profit. Digital special editions are even better. There is a £35 difference between the standard and top tier LAD editions and if he base game is £60, there is no way that the top tier has a proportional amount of value in it. You get some skins, some job classes and new game plus. That content will either be comparatively cheap to make or will have been cut out of the base game and the margins will be excellent.

I think if AAA games were priced in a vacuum, when you take into account dev costs and value for money, the base edition should be closer to £100 instead of £60. That is clearly unsustainable and so the special editions make up the difference.

And to be clear, I'm not dogging on publishers doing this. I won't link it but we're about to put out a special edition that is $90 with our game and some stuff in it. The actual margins for us aren't amazing because the publisher took all the cost on up front but it will be some extra money for the studio. And we're discussing a digital premium edition for our new game with extra stuff in (full disclosure, the digital extras have not been cut out of the game and have been paid for outside of the budget).

Do you guys think individual digital game sales will go down, inevitably pushing Sony to lower their pricing?

Will it push people to the subscription model (only GamePass for Microsoft for first party games or day one GamePass releases) and the occasional purchase? Will the rise of AI make development cheaper? Will the Switch 2 be backwards compatible, or will they go “we are remastering everything and you have to pay for it again”?

Persona 5 Royal for PS5 is down to €29 on the PSN now that P3P reload is closing in!

Not sure. I bought two £60 AAA games last year, both sequels to games I love and I really didn‘t like them. Since I can’t sell them, £120 got flushed down the toilet. So I won't be buying £60 digital games except in much more certain situations.

The subscription model is becoming shaky. Sony have proven it doesn't work for their big releases on day one so they won't be doing it. Microsoft are making worse offers across the board to get games on game pass. I've heard a lot of stories about low ball offers and for our new game, the offer was so insultingly low, we considered cancelling the Xbox port. We haven't cancelled it but MS made it clear to us that they don't value non-monetised single player indie games. Or maybe they just don't like our game. Whatevs.

The Switch 2 will almost certainly be backwards compatible. They'd be insane to not do that and they have a pretty good history of backwards compatibility.

@“TheBunk”#p149332 I think digital prices will only drop if it‘s the single revenue point for a company to sell their product. While there’s a physical market they have to consider the difference in the price it‘s sold at compared to their profit. With digital the profit margin is higher so even a small reduction in price to encourage digital sales will ultimately give them a higher margin. If they only have digital and sales are low they’re stuck and have to lower the price. I'm curious to see how Alan Wake 2 does based on to my knowledge no physical release coming.


@“Chopemon”#p149335 Since I can’t sell them, £120 got flushed down the toilet.

That's exactly why I won't buy a digital game at release anymore. Even when it's a title I think I'm going to love, if I don't I'm stuck with it and that's it! And then I almost feel compelled to play it as I spent that much on it and I end up resenting the purchase and in turn the game.

I'm sure there's a sweet spot for digital prices, but not sure which company will start the ball rolling. If one starts and the money comes rolling in then others will follow. I also think that this may happen sooner than we think with the amount of games coming out and the lack of money people have to spend on them.

I am in the camp of “games are really low on the priority of pricings to complain about right now”; they’re a luxury and the entire digital ecosystem is extremely generous with sales, for products that generally do not depreciate with time (actually it is the opposite: waiting usually gets you a better experience with more contents and more bugs fixed). The only exception is online gaming which relies on communities but even then, we have seen that most of the good online video games manage to keep an audience for a surprisingly long time.

Games used to be priced according to manufacturing costs (i.e. the price of the silicon chips holding them), not development costs. By the time we had reached the mid90s, games were way more expensive than they are now, when adjusted for inflation. Sonic 3 (1994) was already $69.99 new → that’s the equivalent of $143.90 in early 2024.

CD-based technology, and especially Sony’s access to its own factories for manufacturing, completely disrupted the pricing of video games. I don’t know the prices in the US but Final Fantasy VI was priced at ¥11.400 in Japan and Final Fantasy VII, despite three CD-ROMs and way higher development costs, was only priced at ¥6.800 less than three years later. That’s because ❶ Sony wanted to disrupt Sega and Nintendo’s business ❷ Sony wanted to bring game prices down and much closer to video tapes and audio CDs (which were more expensive in Japan than in most countries) ❸ the margin on CDs (and later DVDs) remained amazing even at these lower prices.

From that point on, the pricing of video games became basically dictated by a more artificial and arbitrary guideline, hence the lack of major shifts in pricing for nearly two decades. Production costs correlate even less now that the medium is going digital. But the reality of growing dev costs is finally catching up with that arbitrary pricing.