Ever the trendsetter in the games industry, Activision's new $69.99 price hike for next-gen PS5, Xbox Series X games could convince other publishers to raise prices too.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War should be the biggest game of 2020, and it'll be sold at a $69.99 premium on next-gen consoles. This is just the beginning for Activision's future games and we should expect its new next-gen titles to also jump by $10.
Call of Duty is among the biggest franchises in gaming and typically sets the bar for imitation--whether it's gametypes like Warzone or its billion-dollar live service business models, publishers are always trying to mimic the company's success. This imitation should extend to next-gen game pricing.
Most publishers didn't want to go first in pricing next-gen games. It's a dicey proposition and a potential PR nightmare. Games-makers like Ubisoft, SEGA, and EA tip-toed around higher costs and instead confirmed free upgrade paths for their biggest games. 2K Games was the first to lay the $69.99 price out on the table and plans to charge that higher MSRP for PS5, Xbox Series X versions of NBA 2K21. Now Activision has followed suit.
The main difference is that Activision's $69.99 SKU comes with both current- and next-gen versions of Black Ops Cold War.
Some companies like Capcom and Square Enix have yet to reveal their next-gen pricing plans. Capcom is reticent in raising prices, but that doesn't mean it won't.
Now that Activision and 2K Games, some of the biggest forces in the games industry, have embraced the $69.99 price tag we should see other games get similarly priced on next-gen hardware.
Speaking of higher costs, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are expected to be expensive systems. Initial estimates peg the two systems at a MSRP of at least $499, but there's reports they could go as high as $599 given the premium high-cost 7nm SoCs, PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and 16GB of GDDR6 RAM.
Black Ops Cold War will release November 13, 2020, which may coincide with the PS5's release date.