What do you think about $70 games?

With 2K announcing that NBA 2K21 going to be $69.99, I’ve been wondering what folks have thought about this? Personally it seems inevitable, but I’d like to see a closer examination of what this price change does for developers?

Maybe it’s because I was just a much younger kid, but when the jump from $40 to $60 for disc based games happened, I think we sorta just accepted that games cost more to make. But the jump to $70 has me wondering if this makes things better for developers or just improve margins for publishers? Will this help improve wages for the people that make the game?

I guess ultimately I hope the journalists for video game news outlets do ask questions about this price change. Especially for games like NBA 2K franchise which heavily advertises virtual currency.

Anyways, those were some of the things rumbling in my head about this. I curious what other folks think.

I have long, long thought that more transparency in how the money in games gets distributed would be good for everybody involved. That way we don’t have to guess at price increases.

But, to your question, the extra money is 100000000% going to shareholders (and maybe a percentage to whoever puts up the initial capital). The place all money winds up.


In theory I’m fine with games maybe getting more expensive, but when the example is a series that has been “2K Presents: Microtransaction The Game” I have a harder time accepting it.


NBA 2K21 is perhaps the single worst game to be the first game to get a price hike.


I guess I wanna add that I’m not against a price change. It will however make me reconsider my purchasing habits and examine which games I want to buy at release and which I can hold off on playing right away.

This time around, when I consider the work journalists have put in exposing poor working conditions, workers getting screwed out of bonuses. When something like this comes up, I can’t just not wonder about it.

@ricotta, for sure. Of all the franchises, it’s hard to imagine this is the one that needs it. I’m going to laugh when FIFA announces their price change.


Yeah, I’m more or less with all y’all too. 2K might be one of the worst options for a trailblazer on this, but there was no way AAA games would stay at $60 forever, if for no other reason than inflation is a thing that exists.

But also, it’d be really nice if that increase meant that studios could end crunch, hire more developers, and generally just treat their employees like human beings. But in practice it probably just means more $$$ for shareholders. Which, bleh.

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The reason I’m very cynical about where this money will end up going, is that if publishers cared about industry sustainability, they could maybe just downsize their games? I don’t remember anyone ever saying that the eighth generation had to be defined by games turning into gigantic bloated CONTENT distributors.


i remember seeing call of duty modern warfare 2 for sale here in nz at roughly $80 usd ($120 nzd, iirc) and I still don’t know what the hell they were thinking. games are uh, already pretty damn expensive so I cannot imagine $70 going over well at all lol.

my gut feeling is that they’re just trying to see if people are willing to swallow a price hike in exchange for removing loot boxes so the shareholders still get their infinite growth or whatever it is they want


I’m going to be honest I started trying to think of the last game I bought for $60 and I am having a hard time coming up with something. There’s so much saturation now that I never feel the need to buy something at full value.There are of course exceptions to this but even then most are indie or mid tier development games which end up coming out anywhere from $15-30 on average

Buying games in general has changed so much in the past 10 years. Now a days you can reliably hold off on buying a game for 4 months and the price will drop by 30% as part of a sale. Wait a year and you can probably get 50%+. Throw in things like game pass and it gets even muddier. Crusader Kings 3 is coming out on release on game pass as an example. I was going to buy Phoenix Point on release at $40 but then found out it was coming to game pass so I didn’t bother and I am so glad I did because I ended up hating that game.

Maybe it has to do with me realizing I do not particularly like long forms of entertainment and prefer a series over a movie but I hope it means we start to see studios scaling back on games. I would rather see large studios doing more original stuff that isn’t expected to take 60+ hours to finish and have the best graphics to ever be displayed on a screen. I was semi interested in checking out Red Dead Redemption 2 then I saw it takes anywhere from 47 to 77 hours to finish (and knowing me I want to do the side quests) and I realized I just do not have it in me to dedicate that kind of time to a story focused game.

Give me something like Titanfall 2’s campaign. 8 hours of good focused story and gameplay that leaves me wanting more so you can sell me the next in the series. If Titanfall 2 would have had even twice as long of a campaign I do not think it would have been as good.


The trick is getting them down small enough such that you don’t lose a bunch of sales to used games as people blow through them and return them while also making sure you make your money back so you can stay in business.

Also, don’t let Troy Baker hear you say that.

Re: @Snerkus I’m going to call that a …maybe? There’s actually a kind of interesting possibility for variable pricing here like there was in the PS2 generation: EA games might be $70 with no MTX and Ubisoft games might be $60 because they are powered by MTX. But, as you say, it comes back to the shareholders: they want their pounds of flesh from somewhere.

Re: @Wazanator I keep hoping more companies jump on the Uncharted: Lost Legacy/Dishonored: Death of the Outsider model for that exact reason, but outside of the Miles Morales game, I don’t know of anyone going that route.

I think micrtransactions will be a part of all games of a sufficient scale, unless it was developed to sell hardware. I don’t think price hikes will have any impact on their implementation, shareholders will just be happy that more of the costs of development will be recouped upfront.

There’s a reason the most lucrative mobile games don’t have any option to pay a flat fee to remove any MTX-based speedbumps to progression, in spite of the demand for such features. There’s no financial reason to create an optional ceiling to revenue, but there are plenty of reasons to lower the floor and I’m sure those are the motivating factors.


Part of me thinks it’s funny in a sort of sad way that this game is priced so high, but knowing what I know about people infatuated with sports video games, it doesn’t surprise me and I know for a fact that people will buy it. I watched my brother buy essentially the same football game every year for nearly 7 years in a row so… Yeah.

That said, I don’t know enough about finances on the wide scale to accurately say where the price hike is coming from. The most generous I can read it would be that it’s to pay for development costs, but I doubt that’s true. One of the consistencies in video games is that There Is Always A New Sports Games. It’s probably just going right into the pockets of investors and shareholders and so on, and I doubt it will matter at all. Sports being cancelled has done some strange things to people that I don’t quite understand, since I don’t really understand Sports As A Culture Thing, and I’m sure plenty of folks miss them enough to drop $70+ USD on this game.

I’ve been hearing “Games should be $70” since 2014ish, so it was really only a matter of time. I’m sure having the half-generation probably didn’t help matters for development costs, either. I imagine all that money winds up going into the hands of shareholders and the investors who fronted the expanded bill in the first place.

2K owns GTA Online, which was counted as the most profitable entertainment product in existence as of 2018, with no indication of slowing down in the past two years.

The price hike is not a compulsory cost benefit business decision, it’s a calculated observation that games are now making enough money that they can justify the risk of increasing the box price.

Publishers have been very, very good at feeding their developers the idea that they’re under a strained budget, so that those devs will unknowingly launder it out into the industry. All while those publishers have billions stored in offshore tax shelters.

By holiday of 2021, $70 will be the norm.


$60 USD in 2006 is about $75 now, so this makes sense from a standpoint of inflation for me.

My concern, as always, is more about where the money is going. Because the profits rarely go to the workers.

Games 'aint $70 over on Itch :sunglasses:


my taste for spending $70 for a videogame is tied directly to our trajectory of the ‘inevitable’ digital-only future. i might spend $70 on a new physical game that i can play and give to my sibling/friends when i’m done with it. $70 for a game that is a one shot pop, digital only, can’t be transferred in any way? i can firmly say right now that i will never pay that price. ever. fortunately for me there’s a whole games economy that would exist below that price point, and that’s where i spend 95% of my gaming time anyway. AAA games going to $70 would knock me out of AAA gaming. i guess i’m okay with that.

i simply can’t stand the idea of paying that much for a digital product that can be infinitely replicated. even at $59.99, you’re never going to catch me buying a NEW game, with the rate at which prices drop. i was looking forward to playing mobile suit gundam: vs: ex: MAXI BOOST: ON etc, but at $59.99 digital only american dollars, i’m not gonna fuck with it. i really want to play it, but i’m simply not going to at that price, and my life will go on.

at the end of the day i’d rather spend my money on books and records. i’m not about investing in digital ephemera that will literally die in 5-6 years.


So: the last time I bought a game for more than about $30 was many years ago, and within the last 2 years I don’t think I’ve spent more than $20 on any game.

That’s not necessarily because I don’t think that a game can contain (in this case) $70 worth of value - but for a few related reasons:

firstly: the general trend for “expensive games” has been to “justify” the cost by filling them full of a million and one things. I find (especially narrative) games that don’t actually get to the point wearing to the extent that I will intentionally avoid such products. As cost is often a signal for this, I don’t buy expensive games.

secondly: as @Wazinator mentioned already, even when there’s a AAA game with AAA pricing I’m vaguely interested in, I can usually wait 6 months to a year and see it’s price drop to a lower price point, either in a time-limited sale, or just because they drop the price [or an expansion comes out, and the game+DLC costs the same as the game did originally].
Given my first point, I actually want to wait to see what a game actually does before buying it, so I’m perfectly happy to wait a year and pay much less if it turns out that this is really a game I’ll enjoy.

thirdly: frankly, most of the games that have been interesting to me in the last few years are at the more indie end of the market, and they tend to be cheaper anyway. [And the rest have been FTP/“freemium”, which obviously involves no expense at all; or have been releases of map packs for game engines that were open-sourced decades ago.]

[fourthly: The most frequent cause for me to spend > $30 on a game previously has been on kickstarters - but I’ve actually been horribly disappointed by the majority of the games I’ve donated to KS for, and it’s not something I’m going to do in future.]


He’s a Pirate by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt intensifies


i guess this is where i diverge from games.

if ANTI- records told me the next japandroids double LP would cost $70, i’d buy it.

if SUB-POP told me there’d be a new murder city devils vinyl priced at $70 i’d buy it.

if Electronic Arts Entertainment tells me their next star wars game is gonna run $70 straight digital, i’m gonna say no thank you.

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