For a while, video game prices have remained at $60 for a new release, but now most of the latest hits can be purchased for several hundred dollars cheaper. This is not surprising considering the increasing production costs of games. However, there are voices in the industry suggesting even more radical changes in the pricing system. Instead of a fixed price for all games, proponents of a new approach propose that games should be priced based on their individual value and the amount of entertainment they provide.
Recently, Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick sparked a discussion on this topic during an interview with shareholders. He suggested that the price of any entertainment product should be determined by an algorithm that takes into account the expected value of enjoyment. This means that the value per hour of gameplay multiplied by the predicted number of hours, plus the perceived value of ownership, should determine the price. In other words, Zelnick argues that all forms of entertainment can be compared not only in terms of overall quality but also in terms of the amount of enjoyment they deliver. And in this regard, video games stand out because they offer long hours of entertainment despite their higher purchase price.
It is worth noting that this discussion is particularly interesting considering that Take Two is the publisher of one of the most highly anticipated games of our time – Grand Theft Auto 6. The previous installment of this game had the best performance-to-price ratio, as it is still played even ten years after its release. Take Two was also the first publisher to raise prices for the new generation of hardware.
While it is uncertain whether Grand Theft Auto 6 will be even more expensive than the new norm, one thing is certain – if any game can justify a higher price, it is this one. Is the pricing system for video games evolving to consider individual value? Only time will tell, depending on the release date of the game and the market demand for it. However, the ongoing discussion reflects the industry’s recognition of the unique value that video games offer and the potential for a more dynamic approach to pricing in the future.