UPDATE:Games industry analytics firm IDG Consulting says other publishers are likely to raise next-gen game prices to $69.99 to offset game development costs, which have risen by as much as 300%.
Next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X titles will retail for $69.99, representing a sizable $10 or 17% price increase from current-gen.
NBA 2K21 is the first next-gen game to raise its price tag from $59.99 to $69.99, and other publishers are expected to follow suit. The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game are currently available for pre-order on the 2K Store for $69.99 which would bring the total cost to roughly $74.88 for states with 7% tax. Conversely, games cost roughly $64.18 with the same tax.
2K Games announced the price change in a press release but was also careful to say this is the suggested retail price and actual store prices could vary.
The next-gen versions will have more optimizations, tricks, and performance increases not found in the current-gen SKUs. But it's still an alarming move for gamers who buy the current-gen version to play on their next-gen consoles, indicating we'll see a distinct performance disparity between the two SKUs. After all, gamers could just buy the PS4 version, pop it into their PS5, and expect the same kind of experience as the next-gen SKU.
This price hike clearly delineates the two SKUs in a meaningful and clear-cut way, proving that some publishers simply aren't interested in endeavors like Microsoft's Smart Delivery, which has one purchasable version of a game that's playable and scalable across all Xbox platforms. EA is another publisher who is moving away from the Smart Delivery program.
This move is interesting to say the least, and comes after a warning from ex-Sony Interactive Entertainment president Shawn Layden about next-gen game price hikes. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Layden said the current $59.99 price point is unsustainable.
"It's been $59.99 since I started in this business, but the cost of games have gone up ten times. If you don't have elasticity on the price-point, but you have huge volatility on the cost line, the model becomes more difficult. I think this generation is going to see those two imperatives collide."
The NBA 2K series is one of the best-monetized games in the industry and makes many millions more from in-game purchases and microtransactions than it does full game sales. In fact, NBA 2K20 was the main contributor to Take-Two Interactive's recurrent consumer spending earnings last fiscal year
If this price hike affects live games that make most of their money after a game is sold, then it's much more likely to also affect singleplayer-driven games like, say, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla.
NBA 2K21 is releasing September 4, 2020 on current-gen systems, and will be a launch game on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
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