The recent prices of games have not been very encouraging for gamers. With AAA titles now launching at $70, in addition to microtransactions and higher-priced versions like the Deluxe editions, many have begun to try fewer new games.
However, the $70 price should be the least of our worries. The reason I say this is because recent events are pointing to an unfortunate future with even more expensive games, and things can only end up in one direction.
Why it matters: A new generation of games is just a few years away. With Xbox seemingly planning to release its next console as early as 2026, another major shift in the industry’s pricing could be coming much sooner than expected.
Splitting AAA Games Into Mulitple Parts
Recent leaks from Insomniac indicate that the next installment in the Spider-Man series will be divided into two parts, each released a year apart for $49.99. The first part is scheduled for release in Holiday 2027, with the second following in Holiday 2028.
The first part will debut with a standalone multiplayer game, which will also be available for purchase at $49.99. When combining the two segments with the multiplayer feature, Spider-Man 3 would cost $150, more than twice the current price of typical AAA games.
Admittedly, this structure and price point alone are not enough to make any conclusions. For all we know, the two parts of Spider-Man 3 could offer content worth two AAA games, but the studio’s willingness to price each game at $50 might be cause for concern.
The gaming industry is no stranger to the concept of cut content. On many occasions, content is held back on purpose to be sold as DLC later, possibly leading to a similar practice becoming more common, thanks to this proposed model from Insomniac Games, driven by extended development periods and substantial costs.
Development Costs Increasing Exponentially
Given the rising industry standards and intense market competition, modern AAA games necessitate longer development times and increased funding, a trend expected to persist and intensify.
Following the leaks, we know that Spider-Man 3 cost at least $315 million. For a game that did not build everything from scratch and had its fair share of quality-control issues, this budget can be shocking.
A cutting-edge release like The Last of Us Part 2 cost significantly less to create, but this is just the future of gaming. With developers spending years to produce one AAA game and teams expanding to hundreds of employees, a AAA title’s budget can get out of hand in no time.
The Publisher’s Outlook on $70 Games
Even when sold for $70, games offer hundreds of hours of content. CEO Strauss Zelnick suggests that games are priced very low, leaving the possibility of a price hike when needed.
This shift could potentially lead to a substantial decline in video game sales. However, I believe it would also amplify the popularity of gaming subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.
Regarding game prices, many are still adjusting to the $70 norm for contemporary AAA games. While this price is justified, in my opinion, considering the current economic state and development costs, I can’t say the same about further price hikes.
Moreover, the gaming industry faces the challenge of incomplete games. While releases like Cyberpunk 2077 are celebrated in 2023, gamers were less than pleased after spending $60 on the title in 2020.
This trend has pushed back a lot of people from purchasing new games. A recent rumor has suggested GTA 6 might cost $100. Based on current information, this is likely false since the game is launching in 2025 but could become a reality in the next few years.
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Avinash is currently pursuing a Business degree in Australia. For more than three years, he has been working as a gaming journalist, utilizing his writing skills and love for gaming to report on the latest updates in the industry. Avinash loves to play action games like Devil May Cry and has also been mentioned on highly regarded websites, such as IGN, GamesRadar, GameRant, Dualshockers, CBR, and Gamespot.