NBA 2K21 may only be the first AAA game whose base price jumps to $70 on next-gen consoles.
This week, 2K Games revealed new details about the upcoming NBA 2K21. In the press release, the publisher confirmed that the game's standard edition will be priced $70 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, making it the first AAA game to commit to higher pricing on next-gen consoles.
This doesn't appear to be an isolated decision. According to research company IDG, other publishers are also considering raising the base price of their AAA games to $70, a $10 increase.
"The last time that next-gen launch software pricing went up was in 2005 and 2006, when it went from $49.99 to $59.99 at the start of the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation," IDG CEO Yoshio Osaki told Gamesindustry. "During that time, the costs and prices in other affiliated verticals have gone up."
Osaki explained that the price of admission across other competing industries has risen considerably over the years, but not in video games. The CEO cited cinema ticket prices, Netflix and cable subscriptions as examples, but neglected to mention that video games have a multitude of other ways to monetise users after the fact, such as DLC, microtransactions and several other forms of recurring revenue.
"Even with the increase to $69.99 for next-gen, that price increase from 2005 to 2020 next-gen is only up 17%, far lower than the other comparisons," Osaki went on.
"While the cost of development and publishing have gone up, and pricing in other entertainment verticals has also gone up substantially, next-gen software pricing has not reflected these increases. $59.99 to $69.99 does not even cover these other cost increases completely, but does move it more in the proper direction."
Osaki, however, doesn't think that $70 will become the new minimum price for every game, just the biggest and highest-profile. Indeed, the move is already being considered by other publishers, according to IDG's research.
"IDG works with all major game publishers, and our channel checks indicate that other publishers are also exploring moving their next-gen pricing up on certain franchises, for the same reasons outlined above," Osaki added.
"Not every game should garner the $69.99 price point on next-gen, but flagship AAAs such as NBA 2K merit this pricing more than others."