Is the Cost of Online Video Games Becoming Too Expensive?

Since ancient times people have been inventing various games to lessen their everyday boredom. Beginning with games of dice and cards, games have evolved over the centuries to what they are today: a plethora of online and offline games, each wittier than the next.

While we still have board games that deal with actual physical pieces, the popularity of video games has skyrocketed over the last 30 years. The success of the gaming industry has also impacted prices, with the rise of more interactive and entertaining games than ever before.

Video games have slowly but surely influenced multiple facets of our lives. Gamification is everywhere and big companies are raking in insane amounts of money every year.

In recent years, the video game industry has surpassed the movie and music industries in profits. But lately, people involved in the gaming industry have started addressing the incremental rises in price for the video game industry.

Starting with consoles/games and even accessories, everything is slowly but surely rising in price. Read on to find out why this is happening and how it might impact the gaming industry overall.

What Is Going on with Video Game Prices?

Throughout its infancy, the video game industry didn’t have any fixed pricing for consoles or games. There was no overseeing regulatory board to dictate price ranges.

This meant that developers could price their products any way they wanted and continued to increase those prices over time. While this mostly meant that gamers had to pay attention to what exactly they bought, there were also some advantages.

For example, the increased prices for games introduced the idea of borrowing games from stores. You could even trade older games for newer ones in some cases.

Nowadays, with the advent of digital purchases, these concepts sound foreign. Not too long ago, troubling increases in pricing have started popping up in the gaming industry. The next generation of consoles is more expensive than ever before, especially when you add accessories to the equation.

So, game makers found a way of monetizing on every add-on a customer was looking to complete their purchase with. While this can be excused by the fact that new technology will always come at a higher price when it is fresh out of the gate, some game aficionados are skeptical.

The overall increase in graphical fidelity that this latest generation of games and consoles has brought is clearly lesser than the impact that older generations had. Put simply, the jump from a PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4 when it came to graphics was pretty unbelievable.

The jump from a PlayStation 4 to a PlayStation 5 on the other hand is kind of lackluster. Sure, we got faster loading times due to the introduction of a Solid State Drive (SSD). But this technology has been around for roughly 10 years in the PC world, so it does not really justify such a jump in price.

The only reason it has been introduced so late to consoles is purely due to the fact that prices have dropped immensely for SSD’s in the last three years. This increase in pricing has also affected games.

The best example is the Demon’s Souls remake that came out for PS5 as a launch title. While most people agree that it is an excellent remake, the fact that the price tag was hiked up to 70$ left many wondering if this is the real future of video game pricing.

When it comes to AAA titles (considered the best in the industry) the standard pricing has been set at 60$ for the past 20 years. So, while a price increase of 10$ is not the end of the world, it might set a tough precedent.

Any developer who thinks their games are worth more can just say they want more money for their games. Most people will pay because they’re huge fans of that studio and their games.

It is true that the development price for games has also increased immensely in the past 20 years. For example, GTA 5 had a total development cost (including marketing) of around $500 million. 

On the other hand, the total profit of GTA 5 is nearing $8 billion! This begs the question: when is enough, enough?

Is Freemium the Way?

But fear not, while the industry was figuring out new ways to nickel and dime their customers more and more (DLC’s and other paid bonuses), another part of the industry embraced another concept. And thus, freemium games were born. 

Basically, these games are completely free to enjoy. Most also give you the opportunity to spend money but on things like cosmetics that will not affect your gameplay. 

Casinos have also caught wind of this trend, so they have all started offering players free variants of their games. Through the usage of play money, you can experience any game you want before you consider actually putting money into it. This has brought in more and more gamers to online casinos throughout the world. And with graphics evolving faster than ever before it is no wonder that console gamers are switching to online platforms fast.

The gambling sector is pulling in new players at an accelerated pace. Most online casinos offer free versions of their games and this allows players to try the games and find their favorite ones before purchasing. For example, various online slot providers may offer their players the option to have free spins of the slot reel before depositing their own money, some even give players the chance to earn real money!

All in all, freemium games could end up generating more revenue than ever before and might even surpass the likes of Sony, PlayStation, and Microsoft. Together, Clash of Clans, Game of War: Fire Age, and Monster strike have brought in over $25 billion in revenue in the last couple of years and are some of the most popular free online games.

Conclusion

Although the costs of game development have gone up, this does not seem to be a valid reason for steadily increasing game pricing year after year. Loyal fans might still be rooting for their favorite game studios, but a lot of people are crossing over into free online gaming platforms and even free casino games for the delight of worry-free playing.