Yesterday, Counterplay Games and Gearbox released pricing detailing on their upcoming PS5 exclusive Godfall. Normally, this wouldn’t have been major news, because the price of a new AAA game has been stable for years. But change is in the air, and Godfall will come in at $69.99 for its standard edition, following Sony and other publishers in what is likely to be a permanent move to $70 as a standard price for a next-gen AAA games.
This was bound to happen once Sony announced its pricing for next-gen exclusives, in essence giving publishers like Gearbox permission to tick their prices up as well. reason for publishers raising the price of these games is, on one level, simple: because they can. They believe that people will still buy and play these games in relatively equivalent numbers if they cost $10 more, and that any potential losses will be less than the money they’ll make up with the higher price. If enough publishers pull this off, the rest could follow.
It’s easy to imagine publishers looking at the number of people that wind up going with digital deluxe editions and the like for a small amount extra and then figuring there’s a little wiggle room in that launch price.
I’m inclined to believe that line of reasoning, frankly. The thing to remember is that new games don’t really cost $60: video game pricing is a wild, ungainly thing, where $60 games can become $20 games within the span of a year, where subscription services are growing, where some of the most popular games in the world cost literally nothing, and where the presence of collectors editions have been stealthily raising the price of games for years. The standard price of a new AAA game is just one marker, and it’s stayed pretty low even as development costs have skyrocketed.
Still, it’s a rough time to do this from a pure optics perspective: the world is still reeling from COVID-19, and the United States economy appears to be settling into a recession pending new efforts for economic relief from congress. As a knock-on effect, I could see this being an even better argument for Game Pass, which is going to continue giving people an absolute ton of games for 1 subscription price.