Why Do Games Cost More Than Ever?

Most forms of entertainment have seen a decrease in pricing due to technological advancements and the popularity of eBooks. However, game developers and publishers have gone another route.

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kaveti66162786d ago

Because EA, Activision, Ubisoft, and other publishers are publicly traded corporations that need to find new ways to raise their revenues. They raise the price of games and then blame piracy and the rising cost of game development due to new tech. Both of these are BS statements. The price of tech stays relatively the same after slight peaks during the release of new tech.

It's the reason why a mid-level laptop today costs the same as a mid-level laptop did two years ago, and yet the mid-level laptop of today is several times more powerful.

It works the same way in just about every sector of technological development, aside from a few exceptions where natural disasters such as the Thailand floods play a role in increasing manufacturing costs.

It doesn't cost any more money to make a graphically awesome game today than it did 20 years ago during the Doom era.

The price of games could have dropped two or three years into the console generation, but the publishers wanted to make a little more profit so they kept the prices the same.

Example: Shenmue 2 on the Xbox cost 70 million USD. Gears of War 2 cost 12 million USD.

Rising cost of development is a moot point this far into the gen. The cost of development has dropped considerably, but what incentive do the publishers have to drop their game prices?

Outside_ofthe_Box2786d ago

Everything you said is on point. I've been saying this for a while.

Army_of_Darkness2785d ago

well, as long as you wait a few months for a sale or price drop that is:D
I find games go down in price way faster than any other generation so far, so I'm not complaining to much.

SilentNegotiator2784d ago (Edited 2784d ago )

It's time for publishers to learn that if as many people as they claim are so willing to spend $5 less for a used, scratched up copy of a game, they might not be pricing games at equilibrium.

Developers have become overzealous about graphics and flair....something that mega-sellers don't even have, usually. Not every game has to look amazing. If only some more developers recognized that and spent less on over-advertised engines and time/money on the art side of the game.

decrypt2784d ago

Its only console gaming that has gotten expensive, PC gaming has never been cheaper.

I think Console makers have gotten very greedy. Specially because they see console gamers as easy prey to charge for silly things ie Maps, skins, DLC on disk. They know PC gamers wont pay for such crap.

Hence the result is console games dont drop in price fast and they cost too much to begin with. In a way console gamers are paying a tax to keep Sony and MS alive. Because these middle men need to fed in order for the console gamer to get their fix. Its obvious MS and Sony have alot of employees and they have alot of advertisement budgets. They need to get that money from somewhere. Its console gamers that need to pay that price.

There is no such thing for the PC, hence new games launch at much cheaper prices and also go on discount much quicker. Imo personally i am a PC gamer only i havent seen gaming this cheap in a long time. Specially with Steam and D2D discounts i am always in a backlog with tons of cheap games on my list.

DragonKnight2784d ago

@decrypt: Your example has one massive flaw though. PC gaming will forever be a niche area of the industry because, quite frankly, no one but PC gamers knows anything about that side of the industry. In the one sense, that's good because things won't change in a bad way (i.e. no motion control gimmick crap) but it also means that the PC gaming industry will remain in a stagnant area, where the only thing to be looking forward to is further graphical improvements and that's about it.

Console gaming has some massive flaws, but one thing you can say about it is that it's constantly pushing gaming forward in various new directions. Because it's a closed platform, console gaming has to have different ways to stay relevant and fresh.

As to this article, apparently the writer forgot about the SNES era. Games were definitely more expensive back then.

Gaming1012784d ago

Actually games today cost wayyyy more than back in the day. Mortal Kombat 1 was made by 4 people in a garage for pennies. The only reason games cost more than usual for the small scope of the game is a very rocky development cycle like in the case of Shenmue 2.

The whole purpose of a company is to make money, and if gamers are used to paying 60 bucks for a new game, what reason would there be to lower the price? None, exactly.

reynod2784d ago


You do have a point there, I wouldnt exactly call PC gaming a niche there are ton of people playing on that platform. Steam alone has about 4 million people online most of the time. Which is a darn good number. So its not exactly a niche, but yea it does have a cult following.

The good thing about PC gaming, is that since most of us are so intune with what happens in the industry we tend to stick together. Ever heard of a console gamers sticking it to the Devs etc? that just doest happen, PC gamers on the other hand tend to unite and get what they want.

I wouldnt agree about PC gaming staying stagnant. Infact thats what you can say about console gaming. Because all devs tend to do on console is recycle the same stuff. COD is a big example here, and since Console gamers tend to buy the same stuff again and again the recycling doesnt end. Sure you get gimmicks like Move and Kinect, but like you said those are just gimmicks.

Note one thing, some of this gens best games came from modders from the PC industry Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, Dota, Left 4 dead. Let us know when such innovation makes it to console? It wont happen because of the locked down nature. There is alot of talent out there that cant create anything on console, however on PC they are allowed to throw fresh ideas. The devs on console dont like to do this because its a financial risk for them to try something new, which is why they keep throwing the same recycled stuff.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2784d ago
SPAM-FRITTER-1232785d ago (Edited 2785d ago )

i don't know why PC has been labled on this.

sniper elite 2 on console is £40 new

sniper elite 2 on steam is £27 new ( £10 more than a 2 hour BluRay movie)

moral of the story is. they rip off console gamers because its mainstream.

they charge £40 because they know you have been paying it and will carry on.

TekoIie2784d ago (Edited 2784d ago )

That extra £10 goes to MS/SONY which i believe covers the publishers cost to license the game for a console (im sure thats true, sorry if im wrong).

Its understandable but what happened to PS2 games costing £20-30 brand new? why did the price of games spike up this gen? If they had a cheaper price tag i can guarantee i would buy more games so if they want to charge high they're potentially missing out.

Hell i bet some people would be willing to buy COD if it was released for £30 on consoles like the PC version.

Bladesfist2784d ago

Steam take a 33% cut as well pekolie

reynod2784d ago


So does the retailer, whats your point?

joab7772785d ago (Edited 2785d ago )

One thing that isn't being factored in is the falling value of the dollar. I can only speak for the US, though it is the reserve currency. That and the real issue which is simple supply and demand. Why do basketball players make so much more than they used to, or football players. It is because of popularity. Video games are getting more and more popular and widespread. A price is determined by how high it can be raised before sales are affected negatively...a price point. High demand equals high prices. If demand falls, prices will fall.

Mid level laptops from 3 years ago were popular 3 years ago and the price was high. It was replaced and demand went down. A new game with high demand will be expensive. The same game when demand falls will be much cheaper.

eyeDEVOUR2785d ago

i agree with you for the most part but, i really dont think they can drop the price on software sales...why i say that is because (for example) the value of the usd is only worth around 60cents on the dollar at this point and it will only get worse if we dont get away from central-banks like the "federal reserve"...every time they just print fiat paper money and put it into the economy it makes the value of the existing currency go down...we need a sound money system again like the "gold standard" we are very lucky that game companies havent adjusted the price to adjust for the true inflation/devaluing of our money....

joab7772784d ago (Edited 2784d ago )

You are very smart and in touch with reality as most people are not (i am not talking about most people on here as many gamers are very intelligent and aware). Our money is fiat money and recently has been printed at will to account for out of control spending. It will catch up to us. The real problem is simple. The government(s) are spending way too much money. If the richest people in the US were taxed 100% of their income, it wouldn't cover the US budget for a year. The buffet rule would tax everyone making over a million 30%. Sounds great right? Especially if u r struggling or jealous. That's 5 billion more a year going to an out of control governmemt. If we did that for 250 years, it wouldn't cover the government deficit spending in 2011 alone. It would though hurt capital gains and investment alot. Taxing the rich isn't the problem, it's government control and insane spending. It's like if i had a brother and we both got an allowance. I went and put an entertainment system on layaway for $1000. This week my brother did lots of chores and got $5 to my $1. I thought it was unfair because i needed it. So i steal it from him to buy my entertainment system. Problem solved, right? And no future consequences, right?

As far as video games, console games are more expensive because of supply and demand. There is a much greater demand for console games. They are fortunate that we have become comforatble with the price point over many years, as well as the increase. They have also locked themselves in this way too. They cannot raise the price because of our comfort level, thus the alternate ways to make up the difference and justify the high demand in regards to inflation. This is dlc etc. They will not decrease. EVERYTHING is getting more expensive and it has alot to do with aspects outside the gaming industry.

DwightOwen2784d ago

@kaveti6616 said...
"It doesn't cost any more money to make a graphically awesome game today than it did 20 years ago during the Doom era."

It's only 7:52 in the morning where I'm at right now, but I already know this is the most stupid thing I'm going to read today.

TekoIie2784d ago (Edited 2784d ago )

lol yeh some of his points were valid but some were ignorant.

"They raise the price of games and then blame piracy and the rising cost of game development due to new tech"

Yes but when all these Devs are competing to put this new tech into a game first it becomes costly but can pay off. Like with all the publicity BF3 got for its graphics.

Awesome_Gamer2784d ago

Greedy publishers. Thats why

ziggurcat2784d ago (Edited 2784d ago )

there's a huge difference between cost of hardware and the cost of software/putting a game together. they're two different things and you can't exactly lump them both into the same category.

"It doesn't cost any more money to make a graphically awesome game today than it did 20 years ago during the Doom era."

what rock are you living under? wages have gone up, production costs have gone up, therefore the cost of games have invariably gone up.

there probably won't be a huge difference in price (if any at all) once the next gen hits the market, but to argue that games cost the same amount of money to make as they did 20 years ago is pretty LOL.

edit: here are some production costs of a few games this gen:

i doubt very much that games 20 years ago cost the same amount to make. you can make the greedy publisher argument all you want - and in some cases you're probably right *cough*capcom*cough* - but i don't think that's really why games are more expensive.

kaveti66162784d ago (Edited 2784d ago )

Account for inflation.

Games made prior to the onset of consoles didn't require teams of 100 or more, didn't have multiple game engine designers, didn't go through beta testing, etc.

But game development costs drop off after the initial investment into the new gen.

The reason why Activision doesn't use a new engine for every COD they make is because it saves them a ton of money. The cost of developing each COD following MW1 has been cheap. But the cost of each COD game for the consumer following MW1 has remained the same, and in some ways has gone up (Elite passes, map packs).

Independent development studios now have to rely on corporations to distribute and market their games, and the overhead cost associated with dealing with a company like Microsoft is they want to make back their initial investment and then some, so they get to set the prices.

I didn't make a mistake when I said that the cost of developing a game was the same now as it was for the Doom era. I should have clarified that some mega titles cost more to develop because of marketing and large staff (a la Ubisoft Montreal).

These are controllable factors. Most games on the market don't cost 40 million dollars to make. If they did, that article you linked to wouldn't be very special at all.

Why are almost all games given a 65 USD price tag when only a handful of them cost a lot to make? Answer: the publishers are hoping you can't tell the difference, that you won't do your research. The truth is that multiplatform third-party engines like UE3 have made game development so easy and so cheap that even small studios can make graphically impressive games using this engine for a very small cost. And because it's getting harder for us to tell the difference between a 3 million dollar game and a 30 million dollar game, publishers can continue to price even their cheap games at high prices.

How impressed were you guys with Gears of War 2'a production values? It's one of the best-looking titles on the 360 and cost 12 million dollars to make.

Uncharted 2 costs south of 20 million if I'm not mistaken.

The prices of developing the game have gone down, but the price for buying them remain the same because the publisher wouldn't have it any other way. They're not running a charity. They only drop prices when they want to clear stock to make space for new items.

Edit: The Witcher 2 and Metro 2033 are two other great examples. They're both made by very small studios. The cost to make these games were relatively small compared to the likes of Halo 3 (most of Halo 3's budget was for marketing).

Ashunderfire862784d ago

I was hoping a article like this will eventually be posted. You sir are spot on, and I agree with you 100 percent. past articles I been saying that during the era of Sega Genesis, Saturn, and N64, I saw games for $70 to $100 dollars when gaming went from 2D to 3D. Yet after a couple of months the standard price was $50 dollars for a long time until now. When NFL 2K5 came out it went down to $20 dollars beating Madden in sells!!! Which lead to EA buying off the NFL for a long time so they have no competition(cheap bastards lol). Games can be less expensive, its just that publishers like you said is too greedy!!! Can't they see that lowering prices would lead them to more profit?

What we need to do is sign petitions to lower game prices, because they have no real reason to jack up the prices. If we can donate $20,000 dollars for charity to change a game ending, we can petition and donate to lower the game prices. This is where Kickstarter comes in. Since money is donated to funding these projects, I don't see why they can't lower the prices by the help of Kickstarter. Heck even stop companies like CAPCON!!!! FROM PRICING GAME CONTENT ON THE DISC FOR DLC!!! Gamers untie!!!! we need to change the Game Industry in a big way. Maybe when the prices rise up to $70 to $80 dollars more people will complain. Well send that complaint to a petiton. Enough is enough!!!! DLC is becoming fatigue it is not what it use to be. Twisted Metal has no DLC, because its a full game and the developers actually care!!! We want more developers to do the same for us!!!

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 2784d ago
scottypops2786d ago

My view is that too many gamers have been burned way too many times by buying awful games that either weren't finished or never should have been put out, or just seem like a game that we've played before. Now I am hearing they are trying to do away with used games somehow with the new systems?

Crap_Turtle2786d ago

This article makes no points

MariaHelFutura2785d ago

They don't. I bought Mario 3 for $99.99 (plus tax) the day it came out. When discs came out they got cheaper, but then raise up again this gen.

ian722785d ago

I agree with you.
I remember Sega Megadrive games been £40 or more, some even as high as £70. That was early 1990's.

specialguest2785d ago

People today are complaining about the average cost of games being $60. Back in the SNES days, many games cost $60-70 on average. Some even as much as $80 - Final Fantasy 6(3 in the US).

Dasteru2785d ago (Edited 2785d ago )

The average cost of a AAA game in 1991 when the SNES came out was $80. In todays money that works out to around $126. New games now cost $60. Since last gen games have gone up about $10 but long term the cost of gaming has gone way down.

Voxelman2785d ago

actually they just kept pace with inflation this gen. 60$ today is equal to $46.30 in 2001 for example. Considering that the average game budget is several times higher you can tell why developers need a little extra from DLC to make up the difference.

wolokowoh2784d ago

People seem to forget how much NES and SNES games cost back in the 80s. I remember some SNES games were around 70-80 back then so actually if anything games are much cheaper without inflation. Games have always been really expensive. However, I would argue however that the price of games is too high and always has been far too high. I know they cost tens of millions to make but games could easily make profit at a $40 price point especially digitally release games.

xflo3602784d ago

Exactly! Finally someone with some grasp of reality.
I remember when the n64 came out the games were £60+ for it, i specifically remember a friend of mine telling me he paid £80 for turok!

AceofStaves2784d ago

Exactly. I paid over $100 for 'Secret of Evermore' when it first released on the SNES. Game prices dropped significantly once the disc became standard, and have been relatively stable since the 90's.

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MasterChief36242785d ago

Games cost about the same now that they did three generations ago....