I hate to say it, but we live in a different world than we did 10, 20 years ago. Inflation has caused the once almighty dollar to plummet in value, and in turn, has triggered a chain reaction across multiple industries. One massive industry that is being constantly affected is the videogame industry. According to a report from theesa.com, U.S video game sales reached a record-breaking $43.4 Billion in revenue. To say the videogame industry is booming would be an understatement; yet even with so many games riddled with microtransactions, DLC, and other extra ways of monetization, games still sell like mad. I don’t like these methods as much as the next guy, but realistically, we don’t have much of a choice.
Videogames’ prices have surprisingly stayed stagnant throughout the years, running us around $60 for a new game. Back then, on consoles like Atari and NES, this was a great price tag that could circumvent the cost of developing those games. It was more than enough to make profits for companies, as these games weren’t as freakishly expensive to make as they are nowadays. Today, videogames can cost upwards of $100 Million just to develop. We are actually quite lucky that we still only pay not only $60 for new videogames but only $300-500 for a new console. Inflation has not been kind to us, and the fact we aren’t paying the statistically higher price of almost 200-300% more in value for new consoles is a blessing. So, what is the sacrifice we make to have this luxury? Well for huge blockbuster AAA titles they almost always have some form of DLC, Season Pass or Loot Boxes.
It seems like today finding a massive successful full AAA title with no additional monetization attached is rare. We do get diamonds in the rough like titles such as God of War, Uncharted 4, and The Last of Us. These games all have a plethora of accolades and are hailed as some of the greatest of this generation. But for every God of War, we have an Assassin’s Creed Unity or Mass Effect Andromeda. Games riddled with bugs, animation issues, FPS issues, and so much more. The thing is though, these amazing successful games are so rare because of how difficult it is to develop games today. There are so many problems that can occur using these massive complicated engines, or budget mismanagement losing their time, and more importantly, their money.
The fact of the matter is videogames are more complicated than ever before, and we the consumer must understand the economics of the industry. This isn’t to say we should tolerate unfinished games or soulless cash grabs with an ungodly amount of loot crates, microtransactions and Season Passes. EA is still very much at fault for their greed and business models. That entire company is for another day, another article to really dive into what exactly went wrong with them. This is just to remind the consumer that next time we go out and buy a new game for $60, cherish what we have and accept the fact it may have DLC or Season passes to compensate for the massive budget; but if they’re optional and don’t detract from the game experience, don’t fault the developers, fault the ever-increasing costs of development.