• Fifteen years of pricing games at $60 is no longer sustainable for next-gen AAA games argues Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick
  • Increased production costs and more bang for your buck at $70 are reasons behind this necessary price hike, Zelnick says
  • If you adjust for inflation, a game priced at $60 in 2005 should actually be priced over $80 in 2020, making Zelnick's proposal a bargain

In a move sure to fire up gamers everywhere, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick is defending the idea of increasing the prices of video games for next-gen consoles.

With the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 mere months away from launching, both consoles are promising better graphics and more advanced technology as they bid for the attention and wallets of a hungry gaming audience. That, however, comes with a price.

Since 2005, video games have been priced at essentially $60 and consumers have been happy with that status quo. Take-Two’s Zelnick, though, says that is isn’t sustainable anymore to keep prices at that level, The Verge reports.

“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. But more to the point since no one really cares what your production costs are, what consumers are able to do with the product has completely changed,” said Zelnick.

“We deliver a much, much bigger game for $60 or $70 than we delivered for $60 10 years ago,” he added. “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.”

Back in July, Take-Two announced that “NBA 2K21” for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S would be priced at $70 while remaining at $60 on current-gen consoles in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

That news was immediately met with fan backlash from an audience that has gotten very comfortable with the $60 price point for the past 15 years.

Zelnick would later state that Take-Two Interactive would be “announcing pricing on a title by title basis,” but reiterated the point that games cost far more today than when the $60 price point became the standard in 2005.

For its part, Ubisoft is distancing itself from the issue, promising free upgrades and no price increase for cross-generation games released this fall — without committing to avoiding further increases down the line as it produces exclusively next-gen titles.

As controversial as his stand may be, however, Zelnick has valid points. Though every other facet of the economy has changed and has seen prices increase over the past decade and a half, the cost of games has remained strangely constant.

Adjusting for inflation, a $60 game in 2005 should supposedly cost over $80 in 2020, effectively making Zelnick’s $70 price jump seem like a bargain in comparison. With next-gen games promising to be even more expensive to produce than current AAA titles, a price jump across the board might be inevitable.

PlayStation & Xbox
Pictured at Logos for Xbox and PlayStation. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson