A few days ago NBA 2K21 showed its covers and announced the different versions that will be available for both the current and the next generation. Beyond the consecration of Zion Williamson as a star of the basketball league, the news in this case was in the price of the version that will arrive on Xbox Series X and PS5: it will cost $ 69.99. New times, new prices.
In reality, the most probable thing – unfortunately – is that this price will be rounded up and taking us one or two figures in the case of the European market, where we have long been around the 70 euro barrier . Thus, it would not be surprising if you get us used to passing this ten on the big launches. And that’s just basic; any special edition will also be for your pocket.
The case of 2K21 is also paradigmatic for what it will mean for the generational leap. Although versions for Xbox One and PS4 are coming and for their still embryonic older sisters, the only option to buy the game once and get copies for both will be the Mamba Forever edition .
These $ 100 tribute to Kobe Bryant ignore the Smart Delivery System announced by Microsoft (Sony, at the moment, has not presented anything similar, although it is expected to do so) that will allow you to buy a game in the current generation and then take it with us the next without paying for it again. Other developers such as EA, or CD Projekt Red (creators of the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077) have joined Microsoft’s proposal. At least for the moment.
ARE THE GAMES MORE EXPENSIVE?
22 years ago, in November 1998, releases like Medievil or Tekken III cost between 7,490 and 7,990 pesetas, while others like Tomb Raider III could reach 8,490 pesetas . That is, between 45 and 51 euros. The discounted Platinum versions that came later were around 3,000 pesetas (18 euros). The PlayStation itself came out for between 22,990 and 26,990 pesetas, depending on the peripherals (about 211 or 248 euros). Pulled, right?
Actually, if we adjust the prices for inflation we find that the Tekken would cost approximately 69 euros, the third installment of Lara Croft’s adventures would go up to around 78, the price of a Platinum title would be around the 27 euros and the console would almost reach 300 .
It is not an exact science: the 60 euros that GTA V cost when it came out on Xbox 360 (2013) becomes 61 euros today, but the same price of Modern Warfare 2 in 2009 would be almost 70 euros today. Although the nominal price rises, we are not so far from the starting point. Another thing, yes, is that it is a significant psychological barrier.
GOODBYE TO THE PHYSICAL
Another problem that, although it is not imminent, is close, is that of the disappearance of the second-hand market. Both Sony and Xbox are betting on their virtual stores and other alternative markets appear every time in the computer environment. This, together with the intrinsic problems of physical distribution (contamination, additional costs, delays …) will make it less and less profitable and practical to go to a store to buy a game … and then sell it.
This move to digital will almost certainly end up imposing itself on the generation that is about to arrive (we are talking about consoles, of course; on PC it has been the norm for a long time) and will lead to something that is already being implemented successfully: subscriptions.
Services such as Game Pass or PS Now allow you to pay each month to access a moderate catalog of games in which quality and relatively new titles are gradually entering. It does not seem very likely that the launches of other developers will arrive soon, but it would be logical that the games created by Sony and Microsoft began to appear there as a way to attract users to both their console and their platform.
WHERE IS THE MONEY?
The industry is at a difficult time where creating a high-quality degree takes years of work and development that is not so easy to convert into income. There is more competition, more demand and less room for error. And, in addition, there are other options.
In recent years, micropayments have become an additional source of income that in some cases could be considered the main one. EA, for example, brought in nearly $ 1 billion in the third quarter of its fiscal 2020 year; huge profits from devastating criticism.
Precisely in NBA 2K20 almost all the reviews agreed in praising the game and reproaching the micropayments, a common trend in a saga that made its players pay to change their hairstyle. In this last edition there were more options, but the purchases are linked to surprise packs and casinos. And you know: the bank wins.