The $60 video game dates back to at least the 1990s. Rarely has a game exceeded that price threshold in the three decades since, even as inflation drove the dollar’s value to nearly half of what it was in the days of the Super Nintendo.
This week, video game publishers will press ahead with an industry-wide effort to raise the standard price to $70. The move coincides with the debut of two new game consoles from Microsoft and Sony, a generational change that comes every seven years or so. There’s one complicating factor: an economic crisis that had doubled unemployment in the US from levels before the pandemic.
Inside publishing houses, a price hike has been plotted and dissected by executives for years. They point to inflation, as well as the ballooning cost to develop triple-A games, as justification. At one point, Sony discussed going even higher before settling on $70. Many of the game executives requested anonymity, apparently because they recognise the move is unpopular. In many cases, companies won’t acknowledge the fee increase, saying only that prices will vary by title.
The fact is unavoidable, though, when browsing inventory on digital store shelves. The new Call of Duty, Demon’s Souls, Godfall, NBA 2K21: Each one will cost $70.