The Unspeakable Outrage of Higher Game Prices

As parents and children alike try and track down the elusive PlayStation 5 (PS5), video game prices have finally changed from the norm of $60. Along with the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X, video game publishers such as Sony Interactive Entertainment, Apple, Microsoft Studios, and numerous others have announced the implementation of $70 video games.

However, is this increase unexpected? Aside from video games, a majority of the entertainment sector has seen price increases. The cost of Netflix premium subscriptions alone has doubled from the original $8 to $16 in five years, but video game prices have remained stagnant for over 15 years. For instance, Call of Duty 2 was released in 2005 for a commercial value of $60, and last year’s Call of Duty: Cold War was released for the same price.

Raph Koster, an expert in the field of game design known for being the lead creative director of Ultima Online, advises that consumers pay around half of what they used to in the 1980s in terms of raw purchasing power. Koster summarizes that the cost of developing video games has skyrocketed over the past 15 years. For example, the development cost of Madden in 2005 was between $25 million and $35 million. In 2020, the development cost of the same title Madden game would be between $75 million and $100 million. Yet, the stable price of $60 yields an increase in the overall quality of the game without an increase in price because of inflation, microtransactions, different editions of the game, and additional downloadable content.

Is the $70 price tag a stretch for gamers? Not really. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that $59.99 in 2005 is approximately equal to $81.95 in December 2020. Realistically, consumers paid more for video games 15 years ago. Also, Keilan Bonner, a math teacher at GN is an avid console gamer. He is not “bothered by the increase in price as it may be due to an increase in production cost.” Bonner has also invested in the Xbox Game Pass, a subscription-based service that gives players access to hundreds of games.

At the end of the day, the $70 game is inevitable, but gamers should not be deterred by this climb. After all, what is $70 in comparison to the hours of joyous memories made when playing the game?