When “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” hit shelves for the PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2009, it was a game-changer for the gaming industry in more ways than one. For all its achievements with in-game storytelling and online gaming, perhaps its biggest contribution was its price tag. After “MW2” hit shelves for $59.99 and quickly became the best-selling video game of all-time, developers took notice, and soon all big title games were $60.
This hefty price tag lasted for two generations of consoles as the industry standard price has remained $60 for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games. With the launch of the Xbox Series X | S and the PS5, gamers will now be asked to spend $69.99 for most titles.
While $70 for a video game may sound jarring, when you consider the average experience you get from any given game, it’s a bit more understandable. What is going to make this price such an interesting litmus test is the rise of streaming and digital downloads in gaming. Xbox has already made waves with Game Pass, giving subscribers access to 100s of Xbox titles including major titles like “Halo: Infinite” on the day of their release. With games now costing $70 for physical copies, gamers might turn to digital downloads and specifically, streaming services. On their end, Sony hasn’t gone into too much detail about any digital plans for the PS5, outside of the typical PS Plus free games each month.
The two extreme ends of the spectrum have the gaming industry facing a fascinating crossroads concerning just where they may go in the future. If the Xbox Series X | S and Game Pass is a huge success (and all early signs point to it being a smash hit), it won’t be long before the other companies begin work on their streaming and subscription-based services. A rise in free-to-play Battle Royale games like “Fortnite”, “Call of Duty: Warzone”, and “PUBG” have also muddied the waters a bit more for the gaming industry.
These games allow players to download and play for free but offer in-game purchases and microtransactions to customize characters and to boost stats or unlock better items for in-game use. With millions of users playing these games every day, the industry has worked quickly to maximize their profits and capitalize on their popularity.
If you’re planning on buying a PS5 or an Xbox Series X | S, be ready to spend $70 when you want to add a new game to your library… for now.