Sega is considering if they should raise the price of AAA games to $70, but tempering expectations depending on “market conditions.”
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Sega Sammy Holdings held a Q&A with CEO Haruki Satomi and CFO Koichi Fukazawa, following their full-year earnings this April. Interestingly, Sega somewhat gave a stance on whether it would charge $70 for its games, as its competitors have (or rather, $69.99).
“In the global marketplace, AAA game titles for console have been sold at $59.99 for many years, but titles sold at $69.99 have appeared in the last year. We would like to review the prices of titles that we believe are commensurate with price increases, while also keeping an eye on market conditions,” Sega emphasized. While far from an outright yes or no, it sounds like Sega isn’t against the idea.
Sega’s most recent AAA titles, Persona 5 Royal (previously launched on PlayStation in 2020), Sonic Frontiers, and Like a Dragon: Ishin! all retailed for $59.99.
The $70 games trend began with Take-Two Interactive’s NBA 2k21 in 2020, and other games gradually followed suit, despite the cost-of-living crisis and economic downturn in recent years. Bloomberg’s Olga Kharif and Takashi Mochizuki reported there was an “industry-wide effort” to raise game price to $70, being years in the making by executives.
Some of these very executives spoke to Bloomberg anonymously, admitting they knew the move would be unpopular, and that inflation and rising AAA game development costs would be cited as the reason for raising prices. Companies would allegedly not address the increased price, insisting pricing would vary by title instead.
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Nintendo was asked by Game Informer if The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom being $70 would be an ongoing trend. A spokesperson replied “No. We determine the suggested retail price for any Nintendo product on a case-by-case basis.”
Meanwhile, TweakTown argued that PlayStation game sales had reduced due to $70 price tags — a 39 million units drop compared to the prior year. This was further justified by software revenue being at a record high for Sony, meaning gamers were buying less games but spending more on them.
Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two, pushed back in an earnings call this month. While one analyst reportedly highlighted that some $70 games had price cuts shortly after launch, Zelnick insisted, “We’re not seeing a pushback on frontline price.”
“What we’re seeing is consumers are seeking to limit their spending by going either to the stuff they really, really care about, blockbusters, or to value, and sometimes it could be both. And the good news is, we have a bunch of blockbusters and we have a wonderful catalogue,” Zelnick boasted.
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