critics articles

Console Games Are Too Expensive

69 Euro for a game? Are you kidding?

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I recently wanted to buy a PS4 from Sony. There are many reasons to do so, I thought.
First of all I do not yet have a Blu-Ray player nor do I have a gaming system of any kind (I sold my gaming PC a couple of months ago). While the price for the system starting at 399,- Euro is pretty fair, one thing stopped me from purchasing it: The price of 69,- Euro for almost every single game (even titles that are just single player campaigns with about 6-12 hours of gameplay).
This means that a game almost costs as much per hour as I earn (for some people who earn less it is even worse, making these things more expensive per hour than what they get working at their jobs). So let us say you were to have fun for 10 hours with a normal single player game, yet you only make 5 Euro per hour (after taxes etc.), this already means you have to work more hours to purchase a single game than you could actually enjoy it. Then again you did not yet pay your rent, the electricity, internet and food.
So for a normal person that earns as little as 5 Euro per hour this means you actually had to spent 80+ hours of work to purchase a single gaming title that you can enjoy for just 10 hours. Does this seem fair to anyone?

Especially after considering the biggest fact about software: The price of a copy is almost none existent. With digital purchases being available the cost for a single person downloading a game would be probably less than 1% of the actual price. This means the more people that purchase a game the better it becomes for the developers, the publishers and the distributors. So why did the gaming prices rise while any other entertainment product over the past decades became cheaper (in relation to salaries and inflation)?
The publishers always argument with exponentially growing developing costs. There is no doubt about that being true. If you look at a game from the early 90s that was possibly developed by a handful of programmers today you need a whole bunch of cgi artists, actors, expensive 3D calculations and about 10-50 times the programmers you needed back then.

But we are missing something: The number of purchases increased exponentially over the years, too. Where in the early 90s the biggest games only had a small amount of possible buyers (NES, Amiga and PC systems were only available in 10% of the households at best), today almost any household has an entertainment system of this generation (many households even have more than one).

So in my mind the general raise in prices for entertainment products is a mismanagement. I say that because I do not think that it is only me who thinks that purchasing a PS4 will result in two different scenarios. Either I am buying a lot of games for 69,- Euro a piece or I will just buy super premium titles that I enjoy for at least 50 hours or more (GTA V, Battlefield 4Â…). But the second scenario is not what I want to buy a PS4 for, because think about the 399,- Euro spread between these titles. If I only find five games to be enjoyable for more than 50 hours this will spread 80 Euro of the original console price to any of these games raising their real cost to 150 Euro a piece!

Though you could maybe subtract 50 Euro for a Blu-Ray player this just is a bad deal. Especially if you consider PC gaming prices to be as much as half of what a PS4 or Xbox One title costs.

After the upcoming of CD key shops where you can find prices well lower than in any digital distribution system (Steam, Origin, uPlayÂ…) this fault became even worse.

An example of pricing comes to my mind: On the release date of BF4 I bought the PC version from such a shop for just about 35 Euro, half of what it still costs almost a year later on both the PS4 and Xbox One!

What is even worse is that I have about 100 top PC titles, that I could not play on a PS4 or any console. So I would need to purchase a lot of games for 69,- Euro while I have a lot of PC games lying around useless.

All of the above led me to the fact that I currently do not want to buy any console, but rather wait for the Steam Machine from Valve hoping that it fixes these flaws in entertainment distribution once and for all.


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Saturday 21st of June 2014 at 19:18

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