Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick spoke on the concept of a $70 / £70 / AU$92 price tag for video games at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, saying that customers are “ready” for it.
In context, Zelnick talked about the $70 price applied to NBA 2K21, saying: “our view was that we're offering an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability, and the last time there was a frontline price increase in the US was 2005, 2006, so we think consumers were ready for it.”
Whether or not Take-Two actually plans to roll out the $10 price hike on its other games remains to be seen, with Zelnick adding that RRPs were decided on “a title-by-title basis.” As such, it’s possible that the $70 price tag could only come into effect for the biggest releases in the publisher’s repertoire.
- Xbox Series X has netted another huge game, thanks to Xbox Game Pass
- Take-Two CEO says Stadia isn't the game-changer Google promised
- PS5 and Xbox Series X games pricing unclear as Take-Two hedges price jump
A price hike for the masses
Zelnick insisted during the same speech that Take-Two plans to “deliver more value than what we charge,” but will they really? NBA 2K21 proved to be a controversial release, with heaps of microtransactions and intrusive in-game ads - two features that are largely reserved for free-to-play mobile apps that have nonetheless seeped into the triple-A gaming space.
Take-Two is likely operating from a position of much confidence, as NBA 2K21 went on to sell over eight million copies. Given its success, it’s a safe bet that any future Rockstar Games (a Take-Two subsidiary) developed projects will sit pretty at $70 at launch. We’re looking at you, Grand Theft Auto 6.
Zelnick’s comments could be a signal for a growing trend in the gaming industry. If a big-budget triple-A release sells well at $70, then we could see publishers other than Take-Two looking to capitalize on making the $10 increase more of a standard rather than the exception.
It’s a controversial change, for sure, and we’re not entirely sure consumers are “ready” to pay $70 for their games so much as they might instead feel like they don’t have a choice in the matter.
On the other hand, the price hike might prove to be a boon for subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, where NBA 2K21 is available among a smorgasbord of other games, as an alternative for those who are happy to wait until a game becomes part of Microsoft's catalog of titles.
Here’s hoping there’s enough of a backlash to make Take-Two reconsider, but since when has that ever stopped it - or any big-name publisher for that matter - from squeezing as much money from its consumers as is humanly possible?