The United Kingdom based retail outlet, GAME, has verified that the price of next-gen titles from Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 4 (and presumably the Xbox One) will be raised from £39.99 to £54.99. Development costs and all that jazz.
The news comes courtesy of GAME themselves in a Q&A about the next generation of home console gaming. Tech Radar caught wind of the Q&A, where GAME rolls out the pricing of next-gen titles, stating...
At present, the only publisher to confirm costs of their next generation games are EA, attaching a price of £54.99. No other game prices have been confirmed. We will of course update our listings as and when this happens. And if the price changes before release day, you will always pay the lowest price.
Oh bother me bad and color me blind; that's a blimey high price.
In American speak we're looking at games from Electronic Arts costing $80 a pop. Can you believe that? Actually, it's not hard to believe at all.
Keep in mind that EA is always scheming for ways to raise the cost of the initial purchase. Remember how proud EA was of getting people to lay down $80 a pop for Mass Effect 3 last year? Remember how excited they were to cancel the Online Pass when Microsoft unveiled their unbelievably daft digital rights management system for the Xbox One? Now remember how coy EA became at E3 when Sony dropped the pro-consumer hammer of righteous justice and put all the top dog publishers in their place when they said the PS4 wasn't going to be carrying the venereal disease of interactive entertainment known as disc-based DRM?
Well, there's a reason Peter Moore didn't have an answer for the Dorito Pope at this year's E3 when he was asked about how they would approach the DRM situation following Sony's DRM ban-hammer. It's because they had to find a way to double-dip in the honey pot, especially following Microsoft's Xbox 180 maneuver.
At this junction, however, it's become rather obvious how one of the biggest players on the field will try to re-adjust for the costs and expenses: They're simply going to hike up the price of entry, development costs be damned.
Now it's easy to say “Inflation this” and “Inflation that”, but realistically Sony had already outlined that prices on their end weren't changing for the PS4, with games either being free or priced between $0.99 and $60 as a cap. It's not like wages have gone up to match the living expenses and Sony seems to understand that.
I imagine EA's excuse will be their Ignite Engine and Frostbite 3... even though, technically, we've been seeing this kind of technology on high-end PC games for the last couple of years. But, bringing it to consoles obviously raises prices, right?
What's more is that the AAA methodology of blow-out-our-budget-on-a-Hollywood-wannabe-game needs to go away. The Cliffy B mindset needs to go extinct right now. We're just not in a climate where publishers need to be throwing money around at silly ideas and expecting consumers to pick up the tab in poorly produced products. THQ learned that the hard way.
Even more than that, budgets need to be curtailed to the experience. No one is necessarily asking for “bigger” games with lesser gameplay, people just want want fun games. And last I checked, you don't need $100 million to make a fun game -cough-Minecraft-cough-.
More than anything, I suspect smart core gamers will rally their funds and only spend it where it deserves to go, as opposed to forking over cash they don't have just so a company can keep spending money into bankruptcy like Enron, Worldcom and the auto industry before the bailout.