Some next-generation games, including NBA 2K21 and the Demon’s Souls remake, carry a price tag of $10 USD above current-gen pricing. $70 USD could become the norm for next-gen, and now one of gaming’s biggest publishers has weighed in on the possibility of higher prices.
EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said during an earnings call that it’s premature to discuss price increases, but he noted that games are becoming richer experiences that cost more money to make.
“We’ve always said games are getting more expensive. The experience is getting deeper. The time that people are playing games is getting longer. One might argue that that might require a higher price point over time, but we’ll address that as we get closer to more games coming into the next-gen console transition,” Jorgensen said.
“What I default back to is, let’s stay focused on the excitement of what we can do with new games and price will follow that. We’ll figure that out. I don’t want people to read into that—’we’re going to raise prices or not.’ We don’t know that yet. What we do know is we’re going to be able to do a lot more things with the new consoles,” he added.
Jorgensen is not the first gaming executive to point out that the cost of game development has increased, and thus a price increase for the consumer might be in order. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick defended NBA 2K21’s $70 price point by saying, “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%.”
Before that, former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden remarked that the cost of developing games has increased by 10 times, and all the while, the price of new games has stayed steady at $60 USD. “If you don’t have elasticity on the price-point, but you have huge volatility on the cost line, the model becomes more difficult. I think this generation is going to see those two imperatives collide,” Layden said of the new generation of consoles.
EA is presumably working on multiple next-gen games, one of which we know is a new Battlefield game for 2021. These games don’t have prices yet, but it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.