Eurogamer: We need to talk about the cost of next-gen video games aka The new normal

Some tidbits:

"Sony, with the in-demand PlayStation 5 near launch, has decided Demon’s Souls, Destruction AllStars, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition all cost £69.99 each. On ShopTo, Gran Turismo 7 costs £69.85 - 14 pence cheaper than RRP. So does PS5 game Returnal. Clearly, if you want to get into PS5 gaming, the true cost of next-gen is £70 games.

PS5 games list: All confirmed launch, exclusive and first-party PS5 games explained

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But Sony is not alone in selling £70 next-gen games. I’ve had a look around, and I can’t help but feel we’re being shafted. PS5 launch title Godfall, published by Borderlands developer Gearbox, costs £70 on Sony’s console. The PC version, exclusive to the Epic Games Store for now, costs £50. I know PC games, which are downloads not discs, tend to be cheaper than their console counterparts. But why is Godfall £20 more expensive on PS5 than it is on PC? That doesn’t seem right. I asked Gearbox for an explanation for the cost of Godfall, but it has yet to comment."

"Microsoft has made Xbox Series X and S available via its All Access program, which has so far been a bit of a mess but in principle is a fantastic way of making next-gen gaming more accessible at launch. And then there’s Game Pass, which, in the context of £70 next-gen games, is more than a great deal to me: it is essential."

Shows you how Game Pass is critical! Game Pass is the real deal!

Thanks to @Cyrus_ATX for bringing this to our attention! Feel free to discuss

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Said it before, will say it again. Games like Control that are happy to sell a million copies or so: I get them pushing for a higher pricepoint, to make so that they need less copies to break even. Indies pushing higher? I can get that, the studio’s survival often depends on a single game, so make or break it is. Games that sell gangbusters, breaking records left and right? They have no damn business costing 80 Euros, that’s for sure, especially when more often than not there’s special editions, DLCs, booster packs, MTXs involved somewhere. It’s really an insult to fans because there is no plausible explanation. The discs have not changed, the printing method has not changed, the game does not have anything extra, just the price.

Such an arbitrary price increase makes services like Game Pass look even better. For a low monthly sum you get an incredible variety and quality of games. 80 Euros is what I could pay for Godfall. Alternatively, I could get 8 months of a service that has little niche IPs like Halo, Gears, Forza, Minecraft, Final Fantasy, Doom, Elder Scrolls, FIFA, Battlefield, Star Wars, Need for Speed, Yakuza, The Lord of the Rings, Tomb Raider, Wolfenstein. Hmmm, wonder what’s a better deal?

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Yeah Game Pass is still unprecedented in the industry, and I’ve always argued it’s value; now with Bethesda, EA Play, and the high quality/quantity output of XGS (even without acknowledging the other indies and third-party titles) it’s inarguably the best value for gamers in the entire industry. I love owning my games, but Game Pass has essentially rewired my brain in the same way Apple Music, and similar services have. I haven’t calculated how much money I’ve saved from games I’ve played but I bet if I did, as a Day One GP subscriber, it would be in the thousands of dollars.

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In other places, I’ve seen people defend the price hike, or even call it a blessing in disguise so they can focus on their backlog. You gotta be kidding me, a price hike is not a good thing. All it does is make it even more difficult for price conscious gamers, which is a lot of people these days, to continue to engage in their hobby without feeling like a second class citizen. Game Pass is an excellent way for these same gamers to still enjoy the games at the same time as others, at an affordable price.

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Games pushing 75 euro here in Ireland is just nuts. Just like in music, tv, movies etc good subscription services will really benefit here.

For years I have been buying my new games on the US Xbox store and looks like I will continue into next gen. Right now Cyberpunk is 70 euro on Irish store and $60 on US. Thats a 19 euro saving already.

Mark it right now, Sony will do what Sony always does: they’ll trash Game Pass (as they have been) for years until they see how massive it is for the user base and social popularity, then they’ll do some half-assed version of it years too late and with lesser value. In a way, they’ve already done so with their PS+ Collection crap, but they did the same for EA Access for years until it was finally brought to Playstation last year (I believe). I’ve been gaming for almost three decades and Sony’s behavior hasn’t changed, they’ve simply gotten better at tricking the masses with clever marketing.

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You’re not wrong. There will be the usual fans who defend their behaviors, but their attitude doesn’t speak to me. I much prefer Xbox’s consumer focused attitude to the elitism that Sony pushes. Gaming should be for everyone, not just those who are well off.

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The higher price does not make sense when the game is being sold at 50% off a month later. I mean, if they really have to sell the game for a higher price to have any profits, why the hell does it go on sale so soon after launch?

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This is dangerous because we know how publishers react to studios underperforming in sales. I fear this can result in people losing jobs since developers might not reach publishers sales expectations. Also microtransactions will remain the same, so it seems like it’s going to be unattractive to buy many games at launch.

Here in Canada games are currently $90 taxes in and that made me barely buy at launch, so I definitely won’t buy a next gen game at $100 taxes in unless I can split with gameshare partner.

This really makes gamepass look great, but like Netflix Microsoft will raise price by a dollar or 2, but still worth it imo

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Another popular argument is that they like to “own” their game rather than access it through a subscription. You don’t “own” any modern game these days, it’s all just a license to the content, whether it’s disc, digital, or through a subscription. And maybe it’s just me, but there are very few games that are worth $70+ for a license to play.

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I have no interest in buying games at €80-90. I will continue what I do now; use Xbox Game Pass and buy the odd games on sale to add to my backlog. Games don’t get worse just because you don’t play them at launch, well not the ones I’m mostly interested in anyway. And there are plenty of games launching into Game Pass.

Take a game like Greedfall. I was very interested when it launched, but waited to see if it would come to Game Pass, when it didn’t (so far) I picked it up on a sale at €12. That’s the story for most games, the games are just as good but a hell of a lot cheaper further down the line. I bought God of War at €12 so it has nothing to do with percieved ‘quality’ either.

And like @Mesiac says, we don’t own them anyway so why not rent them as cheap as possible?

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The new higher price tags will be making me more look for sales/pre launch discounts if they are available anywhere. I’m waiting to see how badly prices are going to hike on the PC as well because that is where I primarily play games at the moment.

Though seeing a £70 price tag on every single PS5 exclusive makes me think I’ll be buying either a fair few less games each year or I’ll be waiting for a discount of some kind before buying them. Only exceptions being the sequels to game series that I’ll want to buy day one like FF XVI and ratchet at the moment.

For the last few years I’ve bought very few games. I have GPU and plenty to play there, and a few games I buy are all on sale and well discounted.

Regarding owning games... as others have pointed out, for a long we have only "owned" the packaging and the disk. The game and SW in general is only ever licensed to use with very limited rights. Licenses are either tied to your account (if they are codes) or are tied to the disc, or in some case I have paid $20-30K for a dongle which you have to have plugged into your USB port.

The price hike has cemented my decision even further: I’ll get the PS5 way down the line, with console and games deeply discounted.

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Dr. Fenix, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Not Owning Games:

It was Gears 5. I love the Gears series. If you asked me in like 2010 if someday I would ‘rent’ Gears of War 5 through a subscription service instead of buying it, I would have said no way. I was going to want that steelbook on my shelf, and know that I owned the game. But when it was about to come out, I decided to do an experiment. I cancelled my preorder and played it on Game Pass. And it felt great!

And you know what, if I had woken up in a cold sweat one night because it was just killing me not to own Gears 5… I could still buy it. Game Pass doesn’t take that option away.

Because I totally get wanting to own stuff. I bought Mass Effect 1 not long ago even though it’s on Game Pass because I felt like, hey, the remaster’s rumored to be coming soon, sometimes old games get delisted when new versions come out, and since I really love this game I want to have the peace of mind that I will always have access to it no matter what, and that’s worth $16 to me. So it’s not like the reasons for wanting to own something can’t coexist with all the great reasons to live that Game Pass life. :slight_smile:

Depends on the scope of the game and how flexible publishers were on price depending on the scale of the game.

I’d happily pay £70 for say the witcher 4 (assuming same scale as 3) and it would still be an incredible value proposition.

£70 for a remaster and DLC (spiderman MM) no way.

I never spare money to buy games…For me, this is entertainment, so I don’t see any point in saving on my entertainment. In addition, since I earn money doing trade rust items, I do not mind spending this money to buy a new game. Also, because all video games have simple instructions, I never have any problems with installation. And after buying the game I need, I install it in just a few minutes and start playing it. And after I pass some game, I usually give it to some friend of mine. And it’s enjoyable to share tips on how to pass a certain level of the game.

First party games on PS5 are $89.99 in Canada.

Crazy. It really highlights the value of Game Pass and is one of the reasons I do all of my gaming in the Xbox ecosystem with the exception of exclusives.

There is 100% nothing wrong with $70 price tag. Using inflation alone, games should cost $76 iirc, which ignores the genuinely huge cost of actual production. Publishers are being generous with the upfront $70 price tag. That should not be confused with being ‘problematic’.

That said, the real issue imho is the way pubs work to keep gamers playing their games. That is the present state we are dealing with now and it is an extension from a desperate time and genuine effort to avoid the pubs being screwed over by retailers reselling games instead of ordering new copies from the publisher, cutting the pubs out of the sales entirely. To avoid the reselling, data showed pubs that keeping gamers playing for 6-8 weeks post purchase meant they had very tiny odds of trading the game in anytime soon, so pubs found ways to try getting ppl to keep playing for longer (DLC, superfluous MP modes, etc). That has evolved over time into MTX’s, lootboxes, pay to win items, a focus on cosmetics and cross promotional content, season passes and now even NFT’s. Some of these solns are fine, others are straight up nefarious and manipulative and hurt game design itself.

Game Pass is an especially great alternative since its entirely digital as a marketplace for subscribers, sidestepping the resale problem for pubs, and it offers huge help to pubs wrt risk management. MS pays for every single game on the service to be there. So pubs get the option of upfront cash to undercut their own required investment in the title, on top of very strong marketing from Xbox and data shows that pubs get notably better engagement via Game Pass and even more sales, sometimes even in other ecosystems! They can add in DLC/MTX’s and for the most part be good to go on their monetization approach that way.

I do expect the cost of making games to come down a lot in the coming decade though. Asset generation is the big cost today but with ML technologies being slowly integrated into asset design/generation at the photo real level a lot of the costs will be reduced.

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Imagine Xbox exclusives like Starfield remain $59.99. Would they be considered heroes or brush aside or act like they’re killing developers like Game Pass?