This week, Nintendo announced that its upcoming game Tears of the Kingdom, part of the Legend of Zelda series, will retail for $70 — that’s $10 more than the standard $60 price tag that most new video games have stuck to for over a decade.
But Nintendo isn’t alone in raising prices. Xbox and Playstation titles are getting more expensive, too. $70 is becoming the new normal for major video game releases.
Ever since video game titles started retailing for $60 around 2006, the cost of video game production has risen, according to Neil Macker, an analyst at Morningstar.
“[It’s] not only just due to complexity, but increased salaries for programmers and creatives in general, as tech companies and Hollywood and video game companies are fighting for a lot of the same talent,” Macker said.
Those costs are also lingering far beyond the game’s initial release since a lot of newer games have a longer lifespan. That requires more maintenance and customer support, said Joost van Dreunen at NYU.
“And that, then, makes a lot of sense to say hey, you know what, if we’re going to be doing this, then we also need to be charging more for it,” van Dreunen said. But he also said companies have covered a lot of those costs through in-game transactions like downloadable content and custom cosmetics.
Upping price tags to $70, van Dreunen said, is “largely, I’d say, a move by platforms and publishers to capture more market value.”
In other words, companies can charge $70 now because they know people will pay it.
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