Its been approximately 15 years since the software had a price increase, throughout the past generation studios have been saying the cost of development is increasing hence the plethora of DLCs and microtransactions or so they say. $70 is a price hike that consumers will have to accept even though its been speculated for years.
Development costs are something that we see increasing with titles that push details and new technology. Video game studios staff more than ever and actors are paid a higher price. It costs a lot of money to make a AAA blockbuster these days. DLCs have been pushed harder to make up for the costs but what is the cost.
However, speaking of costs, Activision and EA boasted their earnings while the CEO’s salaries were reported. In 2018, Activision CEO, Bobby Koteck earned $30.8 million during a record year of earnings. The employees were greeted the following year, 2019, with 800 layoffs.
While EA reported, microtransaction for Fifa 19 made 28% of profit for the company and made more money than the game itself. They followed that up by laying off 350 employees, while CEO Andrew Wilson earned a salary approximately $35,728,764.
The GaaS business model is the new online subscription that MMOs used years ago. Instead of relying on a monthly bill, the former now offers several microtransactions: season passes and/or battle passes on top of a game already purchased at full price. Rainbow Six: Siege is a prime proponent of utilizing all of these transactions, Ubisoft is trying to inject any form of payment for the game.
The biggest offense of milking money is 2K Games. As this is being written, NBA 2k21 is a full priced $70 game with unskippable ads in it. You don’t even get to the start a basketball game without watching a commercial. Paying directly for a service should supersede commercials so the video game studio won’t rely on a third party company for payment but instead they want more.
Basically when will the line be drawn if any in these cases? The landscape is entirely different from 15 years ago, additional online features were seldom and a separate expansion released was physical. Meanwhile, we have CEOs reaping the benefits of excess revenue coming to the studio and are quick to layoff the staff, while complaining that gaming budgets balloon to out of control. It seems we’re getting charged for mismanagement with little transparency. This price increase should curb microtransactions for publishers and full price games.
It’s crazy that an increase is happening during a global pandemic with unemployment rising. The industry needs to correct these situations; manage and budget games correctly not letting costs go out of control, no microtransactions for full price games or at least have 1-model of payment not 4 and don’t shove commercials in video games, ads on a billboard are one thing but commercials are ridiculous. What’s next paying hundreds of dollars for upcoming ships to a $300,000,000 project?