Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick believes consumers are “ready” to pay $69.99 for next-gen games like NBA 2K21. At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week, Zelnick said the price point offers “an array of extraordinary experiences, lots of replayability.”
Zelnick also noted that prices have barely increased since 2005, though he refrained from saying that all future games would be priced at $70. Instead, he suggested that games need to include a level of content that warrants the price hike.
“We haven’t said anything about pricing other titles so far, and we tend to make announcements on a title-by-title basis, but I think our view is [that we want to] always deliver more value than what we charge, make sure the consumer has the experience and[…] the experience of paying for it, both are positive experiences.
“We all know anecdotally that even if you love a consumer experience, if you feel you were overcharged for it, it ruins the experience, you don’t want to have it again. [If you] go to a great restaurant, a really really fine restaurant, have a great meal and great service, then you get a check that’s double what you think it should be, you’re never going back,” he said.
Last August, NBA 2K21, developed by Visual Concepts and published by Take-Two subsidiary 2K Sports, became the first next-gen game to be listed at $70. Four months later, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan defended the company’s decision to increase the price of first-party PS5 games, such as Demon’s Souls and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, to $70.
Interestingly, critics have complained that NBA 2K21 offers little in terms of innovation. Ben Vollmer from IGN gave the game a score of 6 out of 10, stating “More of the same isn’t good enough anymore, especially when it includes such obtrusive microtransactions. Maybe the new set of consoles on the horizon will bring a fresh start for the NBA 2K franchise, but right now I feel more pessimistic about the series’ future than ever.”
Meanwhile, Ubisoft confirmed that its first next-gen games would be priced the same as current-gen versions, though forthcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X releases may be more expensive. Xbox head Phil Spencer, on the other hand, has remained cautious, saying, “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.
“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.”
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