Earlier this month, video game fans were unhappy to discover that the next-gen version of NBA 2K21 will retail for $70, as opposed to the $60 price on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In an interview with The Washington Post, Xbox boss Phil Spencer weighed in on the controversy, revealing his thoughts on next-gen software prices. Microsoft has not yet revealed whether or not its first-party games will also retail for $70, but Spencer seems confident that the market will dictate where prices will eventually settle. In the end, the consumer will decide what is fair.
"As an industry, we can price things whatever we want to price them, and the customer will decide what the right price is for them," Spencer told The Washington Post. "I'm not negative on people setting a new price point for games because I know everybody's going to drive their own decisions based on their own business needs. But gamers have more choice today than they ever have. In the end, I know the customer is in control of the price that they pay, and I trust that system."
Spencer is definitely correct that gamers have more choices now than at any point in the industry's history. The explosion of indie gaming has provided gamers with a wealth of options at varying price points. It's incredibly easy to search any of the digital storefronts to find great games for just a few dollars; that concept would have been unthinkable even just a decade ago. Now, gamers will even have the choice of buying the previous gen versions of games like NBA 2K21 and still playing them on next-gen systems like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
It will be interesting to see whether or not gamers are willing to pay $70 for next-gen games. While some may balk at the price, the reality is that the cost of video game development continues to grow, yet the average retail price of video games has remained steady over the last two decades. In fact, over the last 30 years, the price of the average game has actually decreased, and that's not even accounting for inflation. Some analysts have argued that modern video games are too long, and shorter games might offer a fairer compromise. Whatever the answer might be, only time will tell whether or not gamers will accept that figure, or if the $60 standard will remain in place.
What do you think of a potential next-gen price increase? Are you willing to pay $70? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!