As the discussion about the seemingly imminent arrival of a next-gen game price hike rages on, God of War director Cory Barlog has jumped into the fray to share his take.
Games need to go up in price. I prefer an initial increase in price to the always-on cash grab micro-transaction filled hellscape that some games have become.
While the stance is a noble one and paints a scenario few would find fault with, it verges on the lofty. After all, this is the video game industry; consumer-friendly practices are the exception.
Bar a few notable outliers (CD Projekt being one of them), substituting micro-transactions for a higher initial retail cost is incongruous with what we’ve come to expect. Such a trade-off from the likes EA, Ubisoft, and Activision seems unlikely.
With all the reliability of the tides, publishers seek out profit at every turn. More expensive games don’t automatically signal a lightening of the micro-transaction load.
On the contrary, saddling next-gen titles with both a $70 price tag and micro-transactions seems inevitable, thanks to publishers’ greed. Rest assured, some publishers won’t shy away from double-dipping into this lucrative honey pot.
We still know very little about NBA 2K21, the game that kick-started the next-gen price hike debate. In the latest example of the industry’s obsessive culture of deprivation and drip-feeding information, the shape and form of NBA 2K21 micro-transactional spread remain a mystery.
Whether this is intentional is unclear; I’d wager it is. After all, franchise-fans and the gaming community at large need time to digest the $70 bombshell. And, 2K Sports surely doesn’t want to soil the initial interest by mentioning micro-transactions. Naturally, 2K Sports spun some PR-vetted justification for the $70 price .
We believe our suggested retail price for NBA 2K21 on next-generation platforms fairly represents the value of what’s being offered: power, speed, and technology that is only possible on new hardware. While we are confident that NBA 2K21 will be a monumental leap forward for the franchise and a standout visual showcase on next-generation consoles, we recognize that it’s our responsibility to prove this value to our fans and NBA 2K players.
Reading between the lines, 2K ushered in a price rise because it can and rather disingenuously feels that, by self-delineated standards, the game merits it.
And, that notion of self-granted permission is crucial. The 2K Sports’ silence on the subject of micro-transactions tells me it’s only a matter of time before news of a fully-integrated NBA 2K20-style slot machine-strewn gambling component drops.
In all fairness to Barlog, none of Santa Monica Studio’s recent output features micro-transactions in any capacity .
Additionally, the God of War director has had no qualms about sharing his stance on micro-transactions in the past ; something reiterated in the most recent tweet as an ‘always-on cash grab micro-transaction filled hellscape.’ Barlog strikes me as someone camped on the right side of the debate rather than a willing participant in the proliferation of micro-transactions.
The next-gen will be expensive – consoles, games, and, assuredly, micro-transactions.