Rockstar Games’ parent company believes that consumers are ready to pay more than $59.99 for a video game. The controversial theory was shared by Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick this week, who spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, & Telecom Conference and defended the $70 price point that 2K Games’ latest basketball title, NBA 2K21, launched at for next-gen consoles. Zelnick argued that the higher pricing was fair not only because Take-Two’s games offer “extraordinary experiences” and a higher level of replayability than other titles, but that there hasn’t been a standard pricing increase for video games for over a decade.
“We announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21, 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,” Zelnick explained in a transcript provided by Video Games Chronicle.
The Take-Two CEO went on to suggest that not all of his company’s games would be sold at the $70 price point, however. Zelnick stressed that the pricing of a title would ultimately be determined not only by its level of quality and value, but how consumers might react to it.
“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,” he explained.
“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.”
“So we always want to make sure that consumers feel like we deliver much more than we ask in return, and that’s true for our current consumer spending as well. We’re an entertainment company, we’re here to captivate and engage consumers, and if we do that then monetisation follows.”
Sony Interactive Entertainment has followed on the heels of Take-Two Interactive by selling their biggest first-party games (e.g., Demon’s Souls, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition) at the $70 price point. Other publishers, such as Ubisoft and Microsoft, appear to be undecided.