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NBA2K21 will retail for $10 more on PS5/Series X...


Romier S
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Oh and you have to buy the $99 version to get the next gen versions “free”....

 

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-07-02-nba-2k21-price-is-usd10-more-expensive-on-xbox-series-x-and-ps5

 



NBA 2K21 has multiple versions, including one that crosses the two console generations. The Kobe Bryant-fronted Mamba Forever Edition is available across all platforms for $99.99/£84.99, and will feature a host of extra digital content. In addition, anyone who purchases this version can get the standard version of the game on the other generation at no extra cost (within the same console family) -- so if you buy the PS4 Mama Forever Edition of the game, you can get the standard version on PS5 as part of the package.

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Was coming here to post it. :)

2K have done some interesting things with their basketball game this generation, but surprised they made the first move on nextgen pricing. And that 'buy the expensive version to get a "free" upgrade to the nextgen game' is an interesting approach too. 
 

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The crap 2K pulls with this franchise is just awful. Their micro transactions, via VC, is probably the most exploitative out there.  And it’s amazing to me that year after year, they barely get called out on it. 

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This doesn’t surprise me in the least. The start of this generation feels like it is going to probably be a mess of this and every release is going to need some sort of chart to differentiate the different versions. 
 

The fact that this is in a game so riddled with micro transactions makes it even worse. 
 

What would have made this a bit more palatable would have been if the $70 version came with both current-gen and next-gen versions. At least then you could buy a cross generational version without having to pay for all the microtransactional “bonuses”.

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Other publishers looking at increases as well...

 

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-07-02-idg-other-publishers-are-considering-raising-game-prices-for-ps5-and-xbox-series-x

 

Quote

 


Other game publishers are considering raising the price of games for PS5 and Xbox Series X, says games research firm IDG Consulting.

It follows the news that NBA 2K21 will be priced at $69.99 on the next consoles, $10 more expensive than it is on the current devices.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, IDG President and CEO Yoshio Osaki says that game pricing has remained flat since 2005, whereas TV and movie pricing has increased significantly. 

 

"The last time that next-gen launch software pricing went up was in 2005 and 2006, when it went from $49.99 to $59.99 at the start of the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation," he says.

 

"During that time, the costs and prices in other affiliated verticals have gone up."

Osaki says that next-gen console game production costs have increased by 200% to 300%, depending on the IP, studio and genre, but the prices have remained at $59.99. Meanwhile, cinema ticket prices have risen 39%, Netflix subscription costs have gone up 100%, and Cable TV packages have risen by 105%.

 

 

A particularly unpopular hot take...I don’t really mind? I mean, development costs have absolutely risen and $69.99 is not a barrier to entry that bothers me that much considering where we are. I have much to say about price increases going hand in hand with garbage microtransaction schemes and what not and the fact that while development cost has risen, so has profit soared for many of these large publishers but I’ll save that for later. My core view though is that we’ve been spared price increases for well close to two decades now. This doesn’t feel obscene to me. Much less in a world where:

 

1. Many publishers are offering upgrades to next gen versions at no charge on both new platforms.

2. Sales on new release titles happen pretty quick anymore anyways.

3. More focus on digital in the next generation will hopefully continue to drive prices down for sales even more.

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Purely from a personal perspective, it was honestly so rare that I purchased games at launch on the PS4 this gen that it's not really going to affect me. I've almost always left games for sales these past seven years and will likewise treat the PS5 and SeriesX similarly (while the X will also serve a high percentage of its purpose as a Gamepass Box for me, the value of which will only feel greater if game prices are to rise). The potential for higher prices is another reason I felt people should not be so quick to dismiss the optical drive model of the PS5, since the physical market is invariably one of greater competition than digital, paving the way for greater opportunities for discounts and of course giving people the option to re-sell/trade any purchases. If players don't take kindly to the higher prices and feel less compelled to purchase titles at launch, then physical retail will eventually react accordingly.

 

I weirdly don't possess a fear of missing out with games. Selling my PS4 over a year ago tested my resolve in that respect, but I haven't felt remotely sad about being left out of conversations surrounding RE2, Death Stranding, Last of Us II...etc. All I hope is that I can avoid spoilers. In a lot ways I feel as though I've greatly benefited from coming to such big games many months after hype and/or discourse has faded. I'll catch up when I can, and indeed, when I please. 

 

Stepping back from whether any of this affects me personally or not, I'll continue to cast a shady eye over talk of how necessary price increases are however, particularly when a company like Take Two is first out the gate in rushing to do it. I'll certainly continue to be angry with a high priced major release that still put emphasis on dlc/expansions to sell a "complete" experience, and the half dozen special editions the likes of Ubisoft love to vomit out. The price of certain games already exceeds $60 when you factor all that crap in, so to think of those practices continuing on top of a higher off the shelf price is rather gross, but we know it will. Likewise, these enormously (ENORMOUSLY) profitable developers/publishers continuing to allow unhealthy and unsafe work environments to fester makes me apoplectic with rage. If a rise in prices were to put money back into these companies addressing many of these failings in the workplace then I'd welcome it, but let's face it, it's not going to. Maybe this will finally be the generation that we'll see a lot of these shady practices collapse under their own weight of greed because none of it is going to be sustainable forever.

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He and I certainly seem to be ranting from the same hymn sheet, though for whatever reason I refrained from mentioning that these companies are also colossal tax dodgers. Worth remembering as they cry about games being so expensive to make whilst they boast about their record breaking profits.  

 

I really don't see any reasonable argument for software price increases. As sterling points out, IF the corporate behaviour of these publishers was vastly different, there might actually be good grounds to do it, but it isn't, so there's not. 

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Well, for my point, I wait for sales constantly. LoU2 was one of the few games I bought lately right away. Now I have Control to dig into, which I got for $20, and a plethora of other things I get on sale. So if they want to charge more they can, but I’m much better at holding out nowadays. 

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.....and conversations like this are happening around sales and value, etc. (there’s no TLOU2 spoilers despite the thumbnail but I recommend cutting at the 52 minute mark before they start talking about the games mocap experience just in case).

 


An element missing from this conversation: Expectation of value from gamers from a $60 (now possibly $70 game) and how much responsibility  *we* have for AAA games becoming as massive as they are.

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11 hours ago, Romier S said:

.....and conversations like this are happening around sales and value, etc. (there’s no TLOU2 spoilers despite the thumbnail but I recommend cutting at the 52 minute mark before they start talking about the games mocap experience just in case).

 

I had it running in the background so wasn't paying attention to the timestamp. Yes, nothing explicitly was said, but I read between the lines and...... Oops. 😆  Oh well. I had my suspicions. 

 

 

Quote

An element missing from this conversation: Expectation of value from gamers from a $60 (now possibly $70 game) and how much responsibility  *we* have for AAA games becoming as massive as they are.

 

It's a good question. I’m certainly interested to know when the perception of game’s value shifted from the quality of its gameplay and design to its length/number of levels. Equally I wonder whether that shift is, in part, a generational thing because thinking back to my childhood and teens I don’t honestly remember being disappointed by a game for any other reason than it not being a particularly satisfying experience to play. Indeed, there were games I didn’t even finish from the 8-bit and 16-bit era that I still got a sense of value out of, simply because I enjoyed playing them. The same is still true today (if The Impossible Lair gets the better of me, so be it. I still enjoyed the core levels of gameplay a great deal).

 

So length never really entered into the question of value for me, but as videogame commentary has evolved with the internet, and grown beyond the realms of professional journalism and into social media and streaming, this almost dismissive language with regards to a game’s length, and that length being a primary factor in defining its apparent value, now seems commonplace. 

 

I do get a sense from people of a certain age that they might struggle to define, even recognise, what true value is (with regard to a lot of things in life, not just games), and so they might be eager to quantify it in rather arbitrary terms. That’s most likely through no fault of their own however, but a knock on effect of how products are pitched and the manner in which things have been sold to them throughout their entire lives. I don’t want to point a finger and go off on blaming “those damn kids” though, because fans of all ages move in the same circles and we’re all equally exposed to the way products are pitched and sold today. I can guarantee that I’ve made, or responded favourably, to glib remarks like “that’s a Playstation Plus game” or “leave it for Gamepass” and, yes, I have surely remarked about a game’s length in relation to its price too (though I personally have always preferred shorter games, but that’s beside the point). 

 

I know we’re focusing on the value of big games here when it comes to the discussion of price increases, but bear with me as I feel it’s all related. Indie games have always been floating around, but I feel I'm right in saying that they didn’t really penetrate the console space until Xbox Live Arcade, and I think in many ways it's things like that which began to sew the seeds for how we’ve come to perceive the value of one game compared to another in recent years. Many indie devs, then and now, can tell stories about how making their game nearly ruined them, taking years of their life at great financial cost, but if the platform offering a place for their work was turning to them from the very beginning like “well, OBVIOUSLY we can’t charge $50-60 for your game,” then not only is the developer’s perception of value for their own work set (and potentially diminished in their own mind) by the powers that be, but so too is our perception as the consumer. I think there’s a great argument for raising the prices on indie games, but once that lower price precedent has been set, it’s hard to roll back on, and whatever precedent XBLA set has been perpetuated via PSN, Steam, Humble Bundles…etc. In effect, the gallery has placed the price on the artist and the value of their work, and the industry has defined two standards of quality and expectation as a result.  

 

Circling back to [JimSterling]”AAA”[/JimSterling] games though, and the question of how much responsibility we have for the dominance of these expensive productions in the marketplace, I’d say no more or less than we do for the dominance of big budget movies at the cinema. Which is to say… probably not that much? The problem isn’t really that lots of people like these things, it’s the presumption on the part of those making them thinking that it’s all we want, or at the very least the presumption that only mega budget releases can best guarantee a return on investment (there may even be truth in the case of the latter, but I'll get to that). 

 

With the movie industry, it wasn’t like demand for mid budget films disappeared, it’s more that it was eroded by the domination of blockbusters with ever expanding budgets. We're talking about productions so costly that it’s barely become feasible to produce and promote any other kind of movie anymore because studios decided that’s what the bulk of their spending is best put towards. If something’s not on the menu, what else are we going to choose? The exact same mentality has effectively seeped into the games industry over the past ten/fifteen years as it has become bigger and bigger, and Mike Bithell has an anecdote right there in that podcast that highlights this, telling a story of pitching a low-medium sized game and a publisher saying they’d only back it if it’s “five times the budget and four times the length.” It’s a twisted world, and all these entertainment industries try to do is second guess the consumer, but the reality is nobody really knows anything (by which I mean, nobody can really be sure what’s going to be a hit and why). EA spent an age harping on about how the single player experience was dying out while Last of Us, Horizon, God of War and Spider-man waved from high up on their hill… then EA made Jedi Fallen Order which has since sold 8million+ copies. How about that? Audiences like what they like, and often what they like is something they hadn't even anticipated themselves.

 

With moviegoing, the costs have also risen tremendously which has been turning a lot of customers away, and in turn leaves them being a lot more choosy about what they get a ticket for. Much like a typical studio decision to throw the majority of their spending at huge budget releases that have the highest potential for ROI, in a funny way cinemagoers are forced to make a similar decision on their own terms, so they're spending their hard earned money on expensive cinema tickets on something they can be almost certain they will enjoy. There's no doubt some spillover from that consumer behaviour to how and when we're choosing to buy games too. So maybe there's a case that, as far as consumer responsibility to where we are with big budget games is concerned, there's something of a chicken and egg scenario in how we respond t the market and the market responds to us. I don't really like having to be as thrifty as I am with my approach to game spending these days, but it's the only way I can afford to continue to enjoy the hobby at all unfortunately. 

 

Getting back to the big question though, it's really the fact publishers are reporting not just huge profits these days, but record breaking profits, that should give anyone serious pause for thought when they start talking about "having" to raise prices. I think Sterling is spot on in saying that these biggest names (EA, Activision, Take Two...etc) simply haven't earned the right to raise prices. Their greed over the past decade has made them so blind to how best their monstrous profits could have in fact been better distributed to improve the way in which they operate, and the quality of the products they ship, that nobody should feel that a price increase is suddenly going to have these companies waking up like Scrooge on Christmas morning. A need to cover the cost of cross-gen upgrade handouts doesn't hold as a particularly compelling argument. I'm a socialist when it comes to many things, but charging buyers of a next-gen game more to give current-gen owners a leg up to upgrading to the next-gen version for free.... isn't one of them. 😀 More importantly, cross-gen upgrades aren't going to be a thing forever, and that's the shady trick behind the (on the surface) reasonable sounding excuse isn't it? Because these publishers sure as shit aren't going to then reduce the prices again when they go next-gen only after having allowed $70 to become the norm.

 

I do have to ask though, where has this expectation that any of us should be given the next-gen upgrade for free even spawned from? Is it Microsoft and Smart Play that set this precedent? As consumer friendly a concept as it seems, I do wonder if it in fact plays to my thought that modern sales and marketing has a lot to do with why people's ability to recognise the true value of something has diminished. I think, on a base level, expectation should (naturally at this point) be for backwards compatibility, that our PS4/XB1 discs and digital downloads should run under the PS5/SeriesX/Lockhart exactly as they would on their native systems. The second tier of expectation would be running those games via backwards compatibility, but with the potential for frame rate and resolution enhancements that the superior hardware could unlock. PS4 Pro and XB1 X set a precedent for offering those kinds of improvements for free, so it'd be a challenge to suddenly start asking money for that now. When it comes to actual, full on next-gen edition upgrades though? I don't think it's unreasonable to charge for that, whether it's a nominal fee or leaving people to buy the game over again. Ray tracing and all that jazz is, as I understand it, not at all cheap for developers to implement, so if they want to charge for that level of extensive work then we should let them. I know they've said it's all going to be free, but with the knowledge that PS4 and XB1 copies of Cyberpunk will run better than they do on PS4 Pro and XB1 X when played on PS5 and SeriesX, if CDPR wanted to charge those owners a $15 fee or whatever to transfer over to the actual next-gen edition in 2021, then I don't think that would be unfair. 

 

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2 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

 

I had it running in the background so wasn't paying attention to the timestamp. Yes, nothing explicitly was said, but I read between the lines and...... Oops. 😆  Oh well. I had my suspicions. 

You legit did not come close to ruining the game even knowing what you think you know. Trust me.;)
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6 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

 I think Sterling is spot on in saying that these biggest names (EA, Activision, Take Two...etc) simply haven't earned the right to raise prices.


Agreed. If Sony came out and said that they were going to start charging $10 more because games like The Last of Us 2 or Spider-Man were costing so much more to produce, I would not even bat an eye. When EA, 2K and Activision start crying poor, they can just fuck right off until they show that they’ve changed. This has little to do with a generational leap though, and more just the hard reality of rising costs. 

 

6 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

I do have to ask though, where has this expectation that any of us should be given the next-gen upgrade for free even spawned from? Is it Microsoft and Smart Play that set this precedent?


I think it has a lot to do with the blurring of the lines of the generations, how people purchase software and media now (digitally), and their expectations surrounding that. I don’t view it as getting a “free” upgrade, but more that I have purchased the game and should not have to worry about which version I bought. 
 

I have an expectation that all my games that I bought on PS4 and XB1 should just work on the new consoles. I have that expectation because I know there is little technical reason this cannot be the case for the majority of games and that in a world of iPhones and digital purchases, this is now how things do work. There is no reason that I should be asked to re-purchase Cuphead to play it on a newer system. 
 

If that is the expectation, then the question of whether they should charge for the upgraded version of a game, and how they do that, starts to become a quagmire of marketing and communication.

 

When MS started talking about the Xbox family and “no gamer left behind”, my assumption was (hopefully) that if you bought the Xbox version of a game, you were simply buying the Xbox version. It didn’t matter if you had a One S or a Series X, the game would just work and you would get the best version of the game possible for the system you are playing it on. 
 

It is simple, consumer friendly, and means you just need 1 SKU for a game (not counting Deluxe and other editions). The only complication comes in when you inevitably start having system requirements on games and have to communicate that you need a certain system (IE Series S) to run it. But it is still only 1 SKU and only slightly different than it is at each generational change. 

 

I didn’t even want to start to think about the mess that would be introduced if they started having different versions of the same game some of the time, but not all of the time.... but here we are. 
 

Taking NBA2K21 as the example:

 

I am a PS4 owner. I buy the PS4 version of the game. Presumably this version will also work on a PS5 when I buy one. Will I have an option to upgrade? Will I have to pay? If so how much? If there is no upgrade option does that mean I have to shell out another $70 for what is essentially the same game? Will I just be satisfied with whatever is playing on the PS5 with the version I have? If I have to pay $70 and the difference is minimal, will I feel ripped off and unhappy about purchasing the game twice, and my purchase of the PS5? Will it even be communicated to me that there is a better version available, or will I blissfully keep playing the PS4 version on the PS5 and convince myself it looks much better? Maybe it will look better because my PS4 was a standard version and the PS5 is playing the game as the same level as a PS4 Pro (or even better than that) but not at the level of the PS5 version.

 

I am another PS4 owner. I buy the PS5 version of the game thinking it will let me play the PS4 version but I will be future proofed for when I buy a PS5 because that’s how other games work, and I know the $99 version includes both versions. I get home to find that the PS4 version is not included and now have to either spend another $60-$100 to play it on the PS4, or try and beg for a refund/exchange to get the right version. I also now discover to “future proof” my purchase, I have to buy the $99 version with all the shitty VC currency. 

 

I am a PS5 owner. I buy the PS4 version of the game not realizing there is a difference, or that it doesn’t work the same as other games that I’ve purchased which includes both the PS4 and PS5 versions. I get the game home, and it runs, but doesn’t look as good as I had expected. Maybe the game offered me an upgrade, maybe it didn’t. Maybe I think the game is just trying to get me to buy some microstransaction for it. Maybe I’m oblivious to the fact that I’m playing the old version. Maybe I go online to complain about how the game doesn’t look any better than a PS4 version and that the PS5 isn’t worth the money.


Now factor in that some games will have different versions, others won’t. Some may have a current gen only version and then a version that is next gen and current gen. Some may have a paid upgrade path, others may not.... 

 

I thank god that I don’t work in retail anymore. 

If they are going to blur the lines, it needs to be simple to understand what you are purchasing and needs to be consistent. When consumers don’t know what they are purchasing, or what they are getting for their money, or if they feel buckle and dimes, it turns them off of making that purchase in the first place. 

 

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Games no longer require manufacturing and physical distribution. Huge marketing in-store campaigns. At least, those expensive things have been trending downward for quite a while.  And the audience has grown so huge compared to when I was a kid. Games may have gotten more expensive to make. But that's in pursuit of the gobs of money these industries are raking in. If they think they can charge more, go for it. I'll just wait two years to play most of those games. When they're 39.99.

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On 7/4/2020 at 10:04 PM, Graeme said:

When MS started talking about the Xbox family and “no gamer left behind”, my assumption was (hopefully) that if you bought the Xbox version of a game, you were simply buying the Xbox version. It didn’t matter if you had a One S or a Series X, the game would just work and you would get the best version of the game possible for the system you are playing it on. 
 

It is simple, consumer friendly, and means you just need 1 SKU for a game (not counting Deluxe and other editions). The only complication comes in when you inevitably start having system requirements on games and have to communicate that you need a certain system (IE Series S) to run it. But it is still only 1 SKU and only slightly different than it is at each generational change. 

 

The bar definitely seems to have been set by Smart Delivery (I mistakenly keep wanting to refer to it as "Smart Play" as I did above), which Microsoft do indeed describe as always being able to "play the best version of the games you own for your console, across generations." Definitely a very consumer friendly gesture, there's no question there, but I could see a lot of third party developers and publishers wincing at the thought, because it might not be practical financially for a lot of them, but now Microsoft has set this standard it only stands to make other companies look bad if they do not follow suit.  

 

Again, it's a noble gesture on Microsoft's part, but it just strikes me as yet another example of the industry's own decisions creating expectations amongst consumers that, long term, may not benefit developers and publishers on account of the spiralling costs they are facing to produce and release new games.

 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:04 PM, Graeme said:

I didn’t even want to start to think about the mess that would be introduced if they started having different versions of the same game some of the time, but not all of the time.... but here we are. 

 

So far I think Take Two are the only ones who have gone off in a different direction in creating two distinct releases, and only putting the upgrade option behind the purchase of the ultra expensive current gen deluxe edition package. EA are on board, though their requirement will be that you purchase the current-gen edition of Fifa and Madden prior to December 31st 2020, and then redeem an upgrade before March 31st 2021, which I guess is still fair and a way to mitigate any long term damage to development costs through offering these kind of upgrade handouts. It does surely add to the confusion though when you start having all these different publishers applying their own rules however. I wonder if anyone adding their own rules still gets to actually use the Smart Delivery icon on packaging?

 

I don't think Ubisoft has put a redemption time window on Valhalla have they? 

 

 

On 7/4/2020 at 10:04 PM, Graeme said:

I am a PS4 owner. I buy the PS4 version of the game. Presumably this version will also work on a PS5 when I buy one. Will I have an option to upgrade? Will I have to pay? If so how much? If there is no upgrade option does that mean I have to shell out another $70 for what is essentially the same game? Will I just be satisfied with whatever is playing on the PS5 with the version I have? If I have to pay $70 and the difference is minimal, will I feel ripped off and unhappy about purchasing the game twice, and my purchase of the PS5? Will it even be communicated to me that there is a better version available, or will I blissfully keep playing the PS4 version on the PS5 and convince myself it looks much better? Maybe it will look better because my PS4 was a standard version and the PS5 is playing the game as the same level as a PS4 Pro (or even better than that) but not at the level of the PS5 version.

 

I am another PS4 owner. I buy the PS5 version of the game thinking it will let me play the PS4 version but I will be future proofed for when I buy a PS5 because that’s how other games work, and I know the $99 version includes both versions. I get home to find that the PS4 version is not included and now have to either spend another $60-$100 to play it on the PS4, or try and beg for a refund/exchange to get the right version. I also now discover to “future proof” my purchase, I have to buy the $99 version with all the shitty VC currency. 

 

I am a PS5 owner. I buy the PS4 version of the game not realizing there is a difference, or that it doesn’t work the same as other games that I’ve purchased which includes both the PS4 and PS5 versions. I get the game home, and it runs, but doesn’t look as good as I had expected. Maybe the game offered me an upgrade, maybe it didn’t. Maybe I think the game is just trying to get me to buy some microstransaction for it. Maybe I’m oblivious to the fact that I’m playing the old version. Maybe I go online to complain about how the game doesn’t look any better than a PS4 version and that the PS5 isn’t worth the money.


Now factor in that some games will have different versions, others won’t. Some may have a current gen only version and then a version that is next gen and current gen. Some may have a paid upgrade path, others may not.... 

 

I thank god that I don’t work in retail anymore. 

If they are going to blur the lines, it needs to be simple to understand what you are purchasing and needs to be consistent. When consumers don’t know what they are purchasing, or what they are getting for their money, or if they feel buckle and dimes, it turns them off of making that purchase in the first place. 

 

 

Sony stipulated to developers/publishers that all PS4 games submitted for testing and certification after July 13th MUST be compatible on PS5, so absolutely NBA2K1 will have to run via backwards compatibility as I can't imagine with a Nov 1st release date that it will have been submitted yet. How it will run, nobody knows. Again, a base level expectation would be that it will simply run precisely as it does on a PS4/XB1 (and ideally as it would run on a PS4 Pro/XB1X). Whether there's any further base level enhancements the current-gen version will benefit from via tapping into the new hardware is anyone's guess, and I suspect will vary from game to game.

 

Beyond that, Take Two are quite clearly saying if you want that pure next-gen version then you either buy the $100 PS4/XB1 edition to be eligible for an upgrade, or yeah, you pay full price for a next-gen copy. Certainly though, with them doing their own thing, EA twisting the Smart Delivery rules somewhat, and MS pledging "always get the best version" with Ubisoft and CD Project Red appearing to support that statement, the consumer could potentially get a little confused. 

 

The upside I guess is things like Smart Delivery may not be necessary for particularly long, at least as far as third parties are concerned. MS seem committed to a window of around 2-3 years, but that's perhaps bolstered by the fact they want even their next-gen first party titles to be playable of current-gen systems for a little while longer. I do wonder if this might encourage third parties to stop doing current-gen releases sooner than they might, but I doubt it due to the profitability from the install base. I could certainly see third parties abandoning the token gesture once we're actually passed the next-gen launch window.

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Another point occurs to me and it's that if Fifa, Madden, Assassins Creed...etc are coming to current and next-gen, you'd think it difficult for EA and Ubisoft to follow Take Two's $70 game lead here even if they wanted to, because then you'd have next-gen copies of AC on the shelves and digital stores for $70, and current-gen for $60, only if the $60 version upgrades for free then everyone should just buy that. 

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On 7/4/2020 at 5:04 PM, Graeme said:


Agreed. If Sony came out and said that they were going to start charging $10 more because games like The Last of Us 2 or Spider-Man were costing so much more to produce, I would not even bat an eye. When EA, 2K and Activision start crying poor, they can just fuck right off until they show that they’ve changed. This has little to do with a generational leap though, and more just the hard reality of rising costs.

 

 

Coming back to this late but frankly this is probably why none of this really bothers me or why the $69.99 barrier doesn't get me into fits. I don't buy games from EA, Ubisoft, Take Two, etc. for the most part. I don't buy yearly sports titles. I haven't bought or cared about playing an Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, Call of Duty, Battlefield or whatever big franchise titles for years now and if I did buy something (like the Handsome Collection for instance), it was used or heavily on sale. The last game I can legit remember buying from said publishers at full price is Jedi: Fallen Order and it was devoid of any microtransactions (which is why I bought it full price). That was actually part of the reason I bought it on release. I was interested in it but the fact that EA was putting out a single player game by Respawn with none of its usual trash fucking it up? Yeah that was worth supporting.

 

I still love and enjoy big games from the "AAA" studios. I bought Final Fantasy VII Remake. I bought Doom Eternal and loved it. I love Sony first party titles. Game Pass is god damned priceless for allowing me to pick and choose what I want to try before I buy and wait for price drops . So in the end, the industry can raise their price and I'll keep choosing to buy what I want to buy and support what I want to support regardless because the reality is that I won't buy Assassin's Creed /today/ for $59.99 so I have a hard time working up the outrage at it possibly being $69.99 tomorrow. I still ain't buying it.

 

In the end, for all of the Jim Sterling videos that (rightfully more often than not) piss and moan about the industries practices, people keep buying FIFA cards. They keep paying for loot boxes. The industry definitely holds plenty of blame for the shady shit it pulls on a regular basis but at some point - at some real legitimate point the gaming community needs to look in the mirror and stop pointing fingers at someone else. I alluded to it in another thread where we were discussing value proposition but I'll be less kind this time around. It was gamers that pissed and moaned about 5-10 hours games being too short. So now we have bloated ass 50 hours games with repetitive content some poor guy/gal has to crunch to produce to justify that price tag on the box. If not, we give that shit the side eye and move on. It was gamers that helped kill the "anything less than AAA games market" (until the advent of indies) by not actually buying those games. They weren't "worth" our $60. Only  Call of Duty and Battlefield were. Go look at the highest selling games every fucking year in and out for the last ten years and then laughably come tell me that all of the blame lies at the foot of the publishers. Some of it absolutely does. A good part of it, actually but I happen to believe that an equal part of it lies with the gaming community. Maybe not those of us here in the here and now with how our gaming habits have changed but back in the day? Yeah, I bought horse armor. I was part of the problem. We are in bubble here guys. We don't represent the core of the games market anymore. We just don't but the ones that do, they eat this shit up and its why we continue to be where we are.

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I think part of my personal perspective is skewed by the fact that in Europe we've often been left paying more for this stuff already compared to the US, and game prices have in fact increased regularly over the generations here, with the current-gen seeing an average of £54.99 and £59.99 at retail, which is £5-10 higher than PS3/360 (which itself was up on PS2/Dreamcast/XBox/Gamecube era pricing that, if memory serves, didn't deviate radically from PS1 pricing. N64 was out there in an obscene world of its own, but the cartridge systems always were). Worth noting too that I would regularly pay excessive prices for imports up to the close of the PS1 era, so it's not as if I'm historically averse to placing a £60-70 value on a game that I want. One could look further afield internationally too, to somewhere like Australia, where the average game prices are jaw droppingly insane. Certainly one has to partially account for ever fluctuating currencies, and rates of inflation over time, but those factors still haven’t exclusively accounted for increases. 

 

We all seem to agree that there is probably a salient argument to be made for increasing prices in response to ever-increasing game budgets. It’s really not so much the message that I think has got feathers ruffled in this specific instance, but the messenger (Take Two), because if a higher price for software is to become the norm, we have to be wary of which publishers will continue to abuse those norms. Take-Two’s defense of their next-gen pricing was to declare that "we believe our suggested retail price for NBA 2K21 on next-generation platforms fairly represents the value of what's being offered: power, speed, and technology that is only possible on new hardware," so from that I think we can safely assume that the content covered by microtransactions isn’t suddenly going to be restored via way of the new $10 surcharge.

 

My feeling is that, right now, UK game retail prices are in respectable place. Even putting aside the global economic disaster we’re probably all about to face on account of the pandemic’s disruption (and not to mention the entirely separate economic mess the UK has voluntarily opted to bring upon itself in separating ourselves from the EU), where I am wage growth was already down and the cost of living keeps on spiralling. Publishers I think could add another £3-5 on certain game prices here. That’d be OK, but that’s unlikely to be what they’ll do as my suspicion is they’ll all do a Take Two and say “well, we’re upping our price by 10 in this market, therefore we’ll up it by 10 in EVERY market,” which is not at all reflective of the economics of individual countries. When I first read the NBA2K1 news I assumed that would translate to £5 here, but no, they’ve gone right in with a bump up to £65. 

 

Gaming is unquestionably becoming more and more mainstream and accepted more as a legitimate form of recreation with each passing generation. One might be so inclined to point out that the increase in development budgets might in fact be relatively well sustained by the fact more and more people are buying games today compared to fifteen years ago. Perhaps that’s true, but I wonder… More and more people are buying consoles, yes, but I’d love to know what the typical attach rate is for software per customer over the lifetime of a console generation. We might lament the likes of COD, GTA and various EA/2K sports titles almost always taking up slots in the top five and top ten sales charts, but there’s enormous replay value to those games online (and offline in the case of sports titles). 

 

Those games fit a certain mould, and maybe they see the kind of annual success that they do, in part, because the majority of people buying them can get so much repeat play value and can’t afford to buy many other games each year. That’s where I think added caution is also required in increasing game prices, because it may well end up leaving more and more customers to be risk averse and sticking to what they know because, having already purchased expensive game systems, they might genuinely not be able to buy that many titles compared to the more dedicated hobbyists who like to talk about this stuff on internet forums. I think that’s only just now made me recognise the real genius of Game Pass, because it almost seems to exist purely in recognition of that reality. There's just SO many good games being released that we're being told to play now too (*insert old 'I can't handle all these games' meme*). I still don’t truly understand how the likes of PS+, EA Access and Game Pass are beneficial for devs and publishers, as many have anecdotally claimed them to be. The model may even be unsustainable in the long term. Without ever getting to see the hard data it’s very difficult for any of us to predict, but as someone who would very much like to be playing more games, but finding myself increasingly restricted financially in being able to do so, it’s a service that seems tailor made for me because games have never been the primary beneficiary of my disposable income.

 

On the subject of loot boxes and Fifa Ultimate Team cards…etc and the customers willingness to pay for that stuff rendering them part of the problem, I think that’s a whole other debate, but it is nevertheless one where my ire does in fact sit pretty much exclusively with devs/publishers. There is a truly grotesque degree of psychological manipulation behind those tactics that makes my skin crawl. It angers me in the same way betting shops deliberately set themselves up in poorer communities does here in the UK. Again, whole other conversation, but I wish games journalists, influencers and vloggers were as venomous in talking about that shit as Sterling is (it’s actually what warmed me to him some years back as I admired every ounce of genuine disdain he has with regard to this stuff). Thankfully governments in several countries are looking at these practices more seriously.

 

 

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We are skeptical of businesses saying "this is how it has to be for us to make a profit" when we all know that their goal isn't to just make a profit, it is to get every dime they can possibly get however they can get it. So we're not likely to accept anything they say as being without self-serving intent.

 

If Netflix could get away with charging what they charge AND putting commercials in there AND doing product placement in there AND  selling user data to google...they FUCKING WILL. And they will tell us "this is how it has to be for us to make a profit" no matter what they do.

 

If higher prices depress sales, then they hurt themselves and they hurt the consumers. BUT, in that case they have to decide whether to play the long game. Because if they stick to their guns, and $70 gets accepted within two years, they win. Even if the first year or two is painful for everyone.

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