Grand Theft Auto V may be priced at the new premium $69.99 MSRP for next-gen console games when it releases in November.
While neither Rockstar Games nor Take-Two Interactive have officially confirmed pricing on GTA V's PS5 and Xbox Series X/S re-release, we have reason to believe the game will cost $69.99. The new console gen gives publishers an opportunity to re-price games and Take-Two was one of the first to jump on the cost hike with NBA 2K21. That trend should continue onwards. Given GTA V has sold-in 145 million copies worldwide, it's also likely the game won't get a free next-gen upgrade. This would dilute the sales potential of the next-gen launch.
Previous comments from Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick frames the company's motivations going forward.
"We're definitely announcing pricing on a title by title basis. There hasn't been a front line price increase for a very long time but costs have increased significantly," Zelnick said in late 2020.
"We think with the value we offer consumers...and the kind of experience you can really only have on these next-generation consoles, that the price is justified."
For reference, Take-Two spent a record $317 million on research and development in FY2021, which is rightly so because it plans to release 62 games in the next 3 years.
Then later in March 2021, Zelnick said the company thinks consumers are ready for a new $69.99 baseline price for games.
"In terms of pricing, we announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21. Our view was that we're offering an extraordinary array of experiences and lots of replayability. The last time there was a frontline price increase in the U.S. was in 2005-2006. So we think consumers were ready for it,"
Zelnick also says Take-Two has to be careful about overpricing games. There's a fine line that the publisher has to walk on. The idea is to deliver more extraordinary interactive experiences coupled with big value. This should manifest in Grand Theft Auto V's new enhanced features on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which should breathe new life into the 7-year old game, coupled with other enhancements to Grand Theft Auto Online.
"We haven't said anything about pricing other titles so far. We tend to make announcements on a title-by-title basis. Our view is to always deliver more value than what we charge, to make sure both the experience and paying for the experience are positive for the consumer.
"We all know anecdotally that even if you love a consumer experience, if you feel you were overcharged for it, it ruins the experience and you don't want to have it again. If you go to a nice restaurant and have a great experience and a great meal, but the check is double what you think it should be, you're never going back.
"We always want consumers to feel that we deliver much more than we ask in return. That's true for recurring consumer spending as well. We're here to activate and engage consumers, and if we do that, monetization follows."
Based on everything Zelnick has said, and what we know about Take-Two's internal royalties program with Rockstar Games, it would behoove both parties to push a $69.99 price tag. Not only would the game generate more per-sale revenues on a budding next-gen platform with a relatively small install base, but it would test the waters for future GTA iterations with similar pricing.
Grand Theft Auto is a potent franchise that makes over 20% of Take-Two's total net revenues for the entire year. Without a mainline entry since 2013, the series has managed to stay profitable thanks to GTA V and GTA Online. Both of these will get re-released in October and November; GTA Online is coming as a standalone game for $19.99 on Xbox and PlayStation hardware (free for PS5 owners for 3 months) and GTA V is launching on next-gen hardware in November.
These games are quite long in the tooth and a re-release will revitalize sales numbers and a new higher price tag will help per-sale earnings to surge higher.
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