The Cost of Gaming

Let’s talk about the pricing structure of video games. The mainstream price of a “AAA” game has been 60 USD since longer than most people out there can remember. I remember a PS1 game coming out at 50$ and then the N64 game was 60$. The fun thing was, with tax, a N64 game would cost 64.64 at the Toy’s R Us that we used to shop at.

With the jump to 60USD multiple console generations ago and taking into account inflation, the cost of buying a “AAA” game is cheaper than ever, and will only continue to get cheaper as long as inflation keeps going and the price stays the same.

If you listen to anything with Colin Moriarty in it, like his podcast Sacred Symbols (it’s a Playstation podcast) then you know his opinion. He thinks that the price will rise with “next-generation” consoles of the PS5 and XBox(2), that it’s only fair for game developers and all that jazz. I hold a different opinion.

I do believe prices will remain at 60USD for the foreseeable future. Part of my reasoning is that I don’t believe that 3rd party companies like UbiSoft want to disrupt the perceived value of their products. 60 is the base level to get into one of their games. Take the latest Assassins Creed game, you can buy it on launch day for 60$. That gets people into their micro ecosystem that is the game and its online market. You can also buy a deluxe edition or super deluxe. I spent 100$ on that game when it came out. Yet it’s still a 60$ product and it also hasn’t stirred up a pot of shit up on the internet about the value of video games, blah blah blah. Granted I did get AC3 with that purchase and the season pass.

I feel like game companies are already exploring the pricing scale for their games from free-to-play to 100$+ to get in. The main point is that the base price I feel should stay at 60. If it goes up, I’ll probably be waiting on sales more and more for me to jump in, which isn’t exactly what they want to happen. Developers want a large launch week that can drive their sales for an increased tail.

Also, with the move to digital increasing, the percent developers get go up over physical, putting more money into the hands of developers. Take that and combine it with the massive install base of the PS4, there’s a lot of customers out there to make your money back on in the gaming space. I mean, even trash games like Anthem can sell millions. It’d be a bit silly if prices go up, that’s my stance.

Have an opinion? Care to share?

Apex Legends Update

Anyone else just having a hard time getting motivated to jump back into Apex? I got back in the other day when I was testing out my new Astro C40 TR controller. I just wanted to see how it felt with the controller, how the sticks felt and the extra buttons on the bottom. I’ll leave that to another day though.

The game itself is still really good. It’s a great little shooter that I paid absolutely nothing for and in return it gave me a lot of hours of enjoyment. I stopped playing just after I hit level 49; I had all the trophies except for the hit level 50 one, which is a little silly. I think subconsciously I felt that if I hit the cap and had nothing else to aspire to then I wouldn’t feel a need to pick it instead of one of the other games in my backlog.

I made a hard pass on the battle pass. Leading up to it’s announcement I was ready to throw money at the game. But then it was put out and all the skins just looked like shit, nothing was fun about it, there were no challenges or things to look forward to except playing more Apex and leveling up the battle pass and opening up loot crates. It was just a disappointment.

It was a little hard to get back in, mostly because I forgot some of the controls. That coupled with using a new controller and mapping buttons to the back really messed me up. I do love the game, just wish it was pulling me back in a bit more.

I feel bad for the developer, Respawn, they seem to be in a tight spot. They don’t want to crunch their team to get a product out, yet, if they don’t do that their game feels stale. Especially with reports just coming out of the Epic team is under heavy crunch keeping Fortnight going. That game, however, is still really popular and is dominating Twitch, while Apex continues to go down little by little.

I doubt Respawn wants to get bloated with new personal to cover the demands and assets needed to keep this game on top. Compared to the rest of EA’s developers, they are one of the most respected of the bunch, and they don’t cave to all the demands EA seems to put on it’s other developers.

It would have been nice if they came up with a 50 person strike team to work on weekly updates. They need more artists, concept, 3D modelers and the like. This team would work to come up with new skins for weapons and characters. They could also come up with little things like jump trails and little special effects here and there. These are changes that don’t affect the core gameplay, it’s not a new character or weapon that needs lots of testing to make sure it’s balanced.

Once the battle pass came out and got all the negative feedback and attention, someone should have came up with a strategy to pump the pass with new content and make it give out an extra reward (skin, etc.) at every level and add goals to boost XP gain. Instead, it seems like Respawn is simply taking the hit on the chin and are waiting for their next battle pass to implement all the good shit their dwindling audience desires. Will this be too little too late? It’s hard to say. They are a free-to-play game so it’s easy for people to jump in and see what’s happening. I get the sense that Apex is for an older audience compared to Fortnight, so perhaps these players with more of a disposable income are just going to move on to a different game, that’s exactly what I did. And no, that game was not Anthem.