Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, believes that consumers are ready for video games to cost $70 from now onwards. So, the best start time to start saving for Grand Theft Auto 6 was months ago. The second best time is now.
The insinuation that titles developed for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X should see a price increase has been bandied about since the summer of last year. Demon's Souls, Destruction All Stars, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and, of course, NBA 2K21 have all cost the customer $70 upon launch. "There are so many options and entry points into gaming.... the really low cost options for people are there; free-to-play games, subscription spending... they're all there [and] there should also be more options that are more higher, or premium or even 'luxury' tier for certain types of games," said analyst Mat Piscatella.
In short, if you don't want to buy the $70 game, you don't have to buy the $70 game. But, if you are a huge fan of the series, then it will freeze you out if you don't have that sort of money to spare. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Zelnick explained that the rise is something we should have all seen coming. "We announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21, our view was that we're offering an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability, and the last time there was a frontline price increase in the US was 2005, 2006, so we think consumers were ready for it," said the CEO.
However, he seemed to suggest that not every next-gen game will be this expensive. "We haven't said anything about pricing other titles so far, and we tend to make announcements on a title-by-title basis, but I think our view is [that we want to] always deliver more value than what we charge, make sure the consumer has the experience and[...] the experience of paying for it, both are positive experiences," continued Zelnick. Ergo, it's possible that the heavy-hitters of Take-Two's portfolio like NBA 2K, WWE 2K, and Grand Theft Auto will cost $70, whereas The Outer Worlds 2 and the next Mafia title might be a little less.
"We all know anecdotally that even if you love a consumer experience, if you feel you were overcharged for it, it ruins the experience, you don't want to have it again. [If you] go to a great restaurant, a really really fine restaurant, have a great meal and great service, then you get a check that's double what you think it should be, you're never going back," concluded Zelnick. Ubisoft CFO Frédérick Duguet agreed with this sentiment in the company's third quarter earnings call last month, calling it a "fair" trade for the experience of entertainment. So, I suppose the takeaway here is that we'll see AAA titles boasting a $70 price tag for some time to come. No more avocado toast for us.
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