Today, Sony revealed that next-gen games produced by their Worldwide Studios will have a price range of $49.99 to $69.99. For the longest time, game prices have mostly been capped at $59.99. Back in January, Shawn Layden, former head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, called AAA game development “unsustainable” due to stagnating prices and volatile production costs. NBA 2K21 was one of the first games to be announced for a next-gen launch at $69.99, $10 more than the usual $59.99. Strauss Zelnick, CEO of NBA 2K‘s publisher Take-Two Interactive, defended the price hike in a new interview with Protocol.
There was a lot of pushback from the NBA 2K community regarding the $10 increase, to which he echoes a similar sentiment as Layden, saying “The bottom line is that we haven’t seen a front-line price increase for nearly 15 years, and production costs have gone up 200 to 300 percent…” He’s also confident that consumers will get the most out of their purchase when buying NBA 2K21 on next-gen, claiming it to be a bigger game that features a lot of changes from previous installments. The current-gen version of the game is available at the usual $59.99 rate and features all the micro-transactions the NBA 2K series is known for at this point. Players often find themselves spending loads on these in-game purchases just to get the most out of their experience, another layer that adds to the price hike backlash. Zelnick addresses this criticism, saying “The opportunity to spend money online is completely optional, and it’s not a free-to-play title. It’s a complete, incredibly robust experience even if you never spend another penny after your initial purchase.”
Take-Two Interactive will announce future prices on a title to title basis as they release more next-gen games. It’s safe to say consumers will see more $69.99 pricetags, with Zelnick reiterating that these prices take into account the ballooning production costs. To read the full interview, click here.