During Take-Two Interactive’s recent earnings call with investors, CEO Strauss Zelnick was asked about other publishers selling AAA games at a discounted price shortly after launch. His company has been one of the many to start charging $70 for games, and at least according to him, he hasn’t seen any “pushback” on the new price point.
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On May 17, Take-Two Interactive—the publisher behind games like NBA 2K, GTA V, Borderlands, and BioShock—released its 2022 earnings report alongside a press release that seemed to hint at GTA VI-levels of success coming in the next year. As part of this process, the company also conducted a call with investors, who asked questions about Take-Two’s plans and past performance. It was here that one person brought up AAA game prices.
As spotted by VGC, during the call an analyst pointed out that some other, unnamed, publishers had started providing discounts on new AAA games “within days and weeks” of launch. The conversation around game prices has been bubbling for a while now as more publishers (including Take-Two Interactive) join the $70 game club, including Nintendo with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. But Zelnick claimed that consumers don’t really mind.
“We’re not seeing a pushback on frontline price,” Zelnick said. “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 catalog.”
The rise of $70 games
Basically, Zelnick believes that gamers are just buying fewer games and focusing on getting a couple of big, expensive $70 blockbuster titles or are willing to pick up older or smaller games that cost less. As the video game industry continues to struggle with layoffs and big games failing to sell well, it seems odd that Zelnick is fine with people being unable to afford more games and instead having to “limit their spending.” But I’m not a big rich CEO, so what do I know?
The reality is that while gamers are definitely vocally pushing back on $70 games—Zelnick should check out the comments on literally any story about these pricey titles—the reality is that publishers are going to move forward anyway. There’s too much money to be made, and as Tears of the Kingdom’s massive sale numbers have shown, a $70 game can sell like hotcakes if it’s good enough.
And as Microsoft, Sega, and other companies confirm future releases will cost $10 more than the old $60 price point, it seems clear that, pushback or not, we are truly in the era of $70 games.