Can consumers continue to pay the high price?
The rising price of AAA video games at Canadian retail locations is making me wonder something: how long can consumers continue to pay the high price of games? Best Buy Canada and Amazon Canada have been offering a bunch of pre-order incentives for games announced at E3 2015. With a 5-10$ discount, these retailers are charging 64.99 – 69.99; that means the regular price on these titles is 74.99 – 79.99. With a 13% sales tax in Ontario, that means a brand new AAA tilte at full cost could set back consumers 90.00, or roughly 1/5 the price of an Xbox One or PS4.
While games in the United States remain mostly unchanged, the price of games in Canada is continually climbing as a result of a weak dollar. 1 US dollar is currently trading around 1.21 Canadian, so even buying games in the states for those living near buy is out of the question. The affect that the dollar is having on entertainment in Canada is a topic for another day; what i really want to know is how much longer can consumers play all the great games developers are pushing to their favorite console.
I have the luxury of reviewing games for this website, and most are provided via publishers. Within the last month and a bit I’ve been playing 4 games on my Xbox One alone: The Witcher 3, LEGO Jurassic World, Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition, and Batman Arkham Knight. The totals cost of all these titles in Canada would have been over 300.00. If not for this job, most of those games would be out of reach for myself and my family.
What I see happening is games will get spread further apart, and that we might get less AAA titles than ever before in any given year. This is not because they are not good, but their is not a marketplace for all these big titles to exist at once. As profits for developers and publishers fall, their are only two options: to stagger and slow down the release of big titles, or to charge more. Which do you see happening?