Gaming News & Opinions

You Won’t Believe Take-Two CEO’s Reason for a $70 NBA 2K21

Take-Two CEO is adamant rising development costs and the value found in NBA 2K21 justifies a $70 price, but fans aren't buying it.

  • The next-gen version of the upcoming NBA 2K21 will retail for $70.
  • Take-Two Interactive CEO has justified the price increase, citing rising development costs and the sheer value on offer.
  • Fans aren’t convinced these arguments warrant a price hike.

With not everyone taking too kindly to the prospect of forking out an extra $10 for certain next-gen games, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has attempted to justify the NBA 2K21 price hike, but fans aren’t having any of it.

In an interview with Protocol, Strauss explained the rationale behind the price increase, which the company introduced via its publishing label 2K Games with the upcoming NBA 2K21. For the CEO, there are two reasons why the increase is justified.

In keeping with arguments we’ve heard from other publishers experimenting with a higher price tag, Strauss notes that the cost of games hasn’t increased in line with the steadily rising cost of development.

Strauss explains:

“The bottom line is that we haven’t seen a front-line price increase for nearly 15 years, and production costs have gone up 200 to 300%.”

The CEO candidly notes that this will be of little concern to the average player, adding that the sheer value of the content on offer warrants the hike in and of itself.

“But more to the point since no one really cares what your production costs are, what consumers are able to do with the product has completely changed. We deliver a much, much bigger game for $60 or $70 than we delivered for $60 10 years ago. “

Seemingly intent on addressing one of the core arguments that players raise when it comes to AAA titles packed to the rafters with micro-transactions jumping to $70, which posits that publishers make back substantially more through monetization than any losses incurred from the two-decade standing price point, Strauss notes;

“The opportunity to spend money online is completely optional, and it’s not a free-to-play title. It’s a complete, incredibly robust experience even if you never spend another penny after your initial purchase.”

NBA 2K21 Price Rise Isn’t Sitting Well With Players

Strauss’ comments haven’t gone done well with players, with many describing them as ‘insulting’ given that the game in question, NBA 2K21, is widely perceived as thinly-veiled reskin of the annual basketball franchise. For many, there’s little there in terms of value, as Strauss describes, to warrant a higher price.

As one notes, development costs have unquestionably increased across the gaming industry, but for the likes of Take-Two to use this as an argument feels disingenuous given the perception of NBA 2K21 as a ‘low-effort’ title.

A price hike for a perceived ‘lazy cash grab’ is hard to stomach for players. | Source: Reddit

Others add that while production costs have trended upwards, so has the number of players, and by extension, sales figures. The argument being that Take-Two has recouped those costs many times over thanks to the rise in popularity of video games.

Development costs have increased but so have players – and profits. | Source: Reddit

Others didn’t hold back in their assessment of Take-Two’s justification.

Some aren’t holding back with scathing assessments of Take-Two’s justification. | Source: Reddit

Another pointed out that a $70 game would be easier to stomach if its inherent value was not up for debate, noting several examples where the price would be unquestionably justified.

$70 would be easier to accept if the value of the games justified the hike. | Source: Reddit

Take-Two may want to go back to the drawing board as players are clearly not buying the justification in its current form.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:31 PM

Thomas Bardwell

UK-based writer covering the video game industry. Email me | Bug me on Twitter