Why Do Games Cost $60?

Game News: Why Do Games Cost $60?

Games cost $60 and have for a long time. Why? And how does paid DLC fit into all this? Let's take a look at how the revenue from buying games splits out so you know where your money goes when you buy a game.

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Comments (30)

  • Orrenman FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Don't Call it a Comeback

    8 months ago

    this was a pretty great video!

  • Gamer3427 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold taC terceS

    8 months ago

    Really enjoy these informative videos that focus on things that aren't necessarily "news" but that gamers in general should know. Most people tend to look at games as "over priced" and complain about a "dollar/hour" ratio that makes games worth it, only considering how that cost appears to them, without considering how expensive the game is to make. Just thinking about the fact that you have two to three years of development time for most games that aren't completely broken, (and more than a few that still are), really should indicate how expensive it is to make, since the companies are investing a significant amount of time and money into the production of something that might not even sell well due to either quality, or sometimes just circumstances such as releasing at the wrong time. Those games aren't making any money while being produced, so literally years of wages and production costs have to be made up for after they release. And particularly for technology, games are really cheap, considering how complex they are as software. Just compare the costs of more broad, but less complex software, such as Microsoft Word, or video editing software. A lot of that will cost hundreds of dollars, and can only be used on a limited number of machines before you have to pay for it again. Video games meanwhile can be used over and over again, have to generate and display complex visuals, have to account for numerous imputs and situational variables, and have other factors such as story and specific gameplay mechanics involved. Yet they're considerably cheaper than most of what would be considered "Triple A" software in other fields.....


    Speaking of costs, for those who complain about the cost of a game to the hours of gameplay, many seem to think it should be a relatively low amount of money per hour. But compare it to something like a new movie, where you pay an average of $12-15 per 1.5-2 hours of content. For comparison, that would mean an average 6-8 hour single player campaign you get out of an FPS like CoD would cost you around $40-50 or so if it was a movie, taking the lower end pricing. That's not counting all the time you spend in multiplayer. Also for the higher end, compare an RPG that you put at least 100 hours into, (and let's be honest, big RPGs like Skyrim or Final Fantasy XV will have closer to 300hours or well over that for some players), and that cost if it was a movie you were going to see skyrockets drastically, up to $1000 or more for the same amount of time spent entertained. As a form of entertainment, a $60 new game is actually really cheap compared to some other options.....

  • devilito666 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    Anybody else hear Spoole's voice in the background $1 an hour.

  • Shmittles FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    I'd be fine if they upped the base price of a game and simply promised "there will be no DLC, we're giving you the full game". I'm sick of business gimmicks influencing the gaming experience.

    • BillyRage FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      They still give us the full game, DLC is option additional content. You don't need to buy DLC so if you don't like it don't support it

    • DarkTempler7 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      What if DLC is kept as a way to keep supporting the game for longer like in the PC market?

  • MJB328 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Blue Team RULES!!!!!!!!!

    8 months ago

    27$-publisher

    15$-retailer

    7$-pays for unsold copies

    7$-to xbox(microsoft?)/PS4(sony?)

    4$-distribution

    =60$ 

    My question is where does for the 15$-retailer and 4$-distribution go to when you buy a game digital off a platforms store like xbox marketplace for example. There no distribution needed there since its digital. As for the 15$, does Microsoft/Xbox get that and assume the position of retailer, or does it go back to the publisher, or do they split it even? Regardless of 15$ owed to retailers shouldn't digital game be 4$ cheaper since theres no distribution?

    • DarkTempler7 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      I think they keep the extra $4 on the price because they would theoretically undercut their own sales from stores. It would make sense if only because if they don't sell physical games then they're technically losing money because they've already produced and distributed them?

    • BillyRage FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      I belive the retailer then becomes  Microsoft/sony and distribution is just added to that so that digital doesn't phase out physical.

    • ZacheryYoung FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      and if the retail position is taken over by sony/microsoft then it is safe to assume that a small charge is posted for the the people, time, and hard/software it takes to code the game into the online store. maybe it is the $4 maybe a little less. but even if the $4 is not charged to the publisher it makes sense to charge it anyways so debts can be paid off faster so the producers and developers are given instinctive to create more games.

    • Gamer3427 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold taC terceS

      8 months ago

      The distribution and retailer costs most likely go to whichever digital distribution platform you are buying from. These costs likely help to fund things like keeping the servers running that allow people to download the games in the first place, which isn't cheap by any means. Distribution also applies to "digital distribution". You also have to include storage space for the games themselves, and for who owns what games, which even if minuscule, does add up when you have millions of people owning different things. In actuality, the one thing that might help offset this digital distribution cost being higher to maintain is that the cost of "unsold copies" disappears because there aren't any unsold disks when it's digitally distributed. Even with that though, in the short term the distribution platform likely doesn't make as much money per sale as physical retailers, since the cost of maintaining the system only increases as time goes on, rather than the one off purchase that physical retailers make for things such as shelf space. There is likely more money to be made digitally in the long run, since the game can be sold a theoretically infinite number of times, but the prices vary more as time goes on due to sales and such. What doesn't make sense is that the actual price of a game doesn't slowly drop more over time when it has been on a digital distribution platform for an extended period of time, and has paid for it's share of costs. The permanent price decrease for games physically is far greater, depending on sales of that particular game, which makes sense because they need to clear shelf space, but the gap shouldn't be quite so large in most cases....

  • shinwazaku FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    i wish i was paying $60 per game :(

    • BillyRage FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      Australian? Then you still sort of are, just currency exchange rates

    • darkflame8 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      @BillyRage With the current exchange rates it would be around $80 not approximately $95, the reason Australians pay so much more is because of price gouging by the publishers and distribution networks, it has nothing to do with currency values. I remember when 1 Australian dollar was buying 1.25 American and we were still paying nearly $100 per game, If it were exchange rates we would have been buying them at $45

    • Gamer3427 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold taC terceS

      8 months ago

      @darkflame8 While I'm not Australian, if I'm not mistaken it's also due to the high taxes imposed on imported technology within your country, compared to others. Not as much just the publishers and distributors, as it is the government charging those people even more than other countries do, meaning that they have to increase the prices to offset the costs of the additional taxes, as well as the losses such taxes create when a copy doesn't sell. Still definitely not caused by the exchange rate, however.....

    • darkflame8 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      @Gamer3427 While it is true that we have what is commonly refereed to as the GST, it only adds an extra 10 - 11% to every item that is not food. That does not equate to a difference of well over $20 dollars in most cases. Unfortunately the real problem is that if you don't count steam or GOG there are only two major physical outlets that sell products in Australia, and since most people will pay for whatever the price is, there is never any real need for changes to the price of games.


      You are correct with the so-called Australia Tax and yes in order to be more competitive it would be better to remove it, but the tax is not the reason that publishers and suppliers charge exuberant fees for their products in the Australian Market, it is because most people will simply take what they can get and thus the system never changes.

  • AmiralPatate FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    You said a retailer selling games at a lower price would hurt a publisher's profit, but doesn't the publisher get paid regardless? The retailer buys the game in the first place, so it should only hurt their own profit margin, or am I missing something?


    Also, you could have thrown in some graphs to visualise the numbers. A pie chart or two would have been beneficial, instead of a bunch of nothing.

    • Gamer3427 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold taC terceS

      8 months ago

      Pie charts are less visually interesting, so it might drive some casual viewers away. A dumb reason for some to stop watching the video, but I'm sure it's present unfortunately.....


      As for the hurting the publisher's profit part, you are right in the per sale amount from that retailer as they are payed before hand. What would actually hurt it is likely that one retailer reducing prices would cause others to have to reduce their prices to keep from losing sales. If they lose sales, they buy less copies of games from the publishers, and the publishers lose money. The ability to freely lower profits also runs the risk of making it so that one company will reduce the prices to the point that they are losing money on sales, but other companies can't keep up because the loss in profit isn't acceptable, and as such will stop buying copies of games to sell because no one is buying from them. Before too long, the distributor who was losing profits will have a monopoly on the sales of the product, because no other company could afford to keep up, and no one would pay more for the product. Then, the one that was losing profits can begin setting whatever price they want on the product, making back the lost profits by overcharging drastically. All of this also does hurt the producer's profits, because it means less distributors buying product, and reaching less costumers in general because there are less places for said costumers to go to buy the games. It's lose/lose situation for everyone involved except the distributor who was lowering the prices, (and in the very short term, the customers who bought the games at the lower rate)......

  • Paolucci42 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    I personally pay $50 a year for Amazon Prime Student, however with that I get 20% off all new releases, for a price of $48 rather than $60. Buying just 4 games a year makes it pay for itself. This isn't an ad, just an FYI, or maybe a PSA for gamers alike. And you do get games on day one still.


    I also hope this video will help cut back on complaints from uneducated gamers.

    • RWBimbie Keeper of Poems

      8 months ago

      Not everyone is s student

  • MartyGras2 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    I'm also surprised that video games have held their retail price at $60 as well.  

    By now I would have imagined that the cost of games would go up with the cost of everything that is need to make games.

  • OniZonda FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Hokage

    8 months ago

    Great points and it pretty much falls into my understanding of the logistics to game production, but I kinda wish you had touched on how used sales have also played a role in keeping the price ~$60US. It's still a fairly significant portion of the market and it had to have a huge hand in keeping prices low. While discounted sales are beneficial to everyone involved, they only occur as often as they do because they want new consumers as opposed to new users. The distinction being that I can give my old game to my friend (whether or not it's free to them is irrelevant) and they become a new player/user, but they didn't pay into the market to become such. For developers/publishers, used sales have little to no effect on their revenue (unless there are microtransactions/season passes). However, that's not to say that used sales are bad, it's just that it's an important part of the process and I feel like it would've been useful information for this topic.

  • jessemcbeath FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    8 months ago

    Since I live in Canada a $60 (in the US) game actually costs $92 after tax ( $79.99 + 15% sales tax). Seems to me like the marketing is what is costing so much. I wonder what exactly  it is that publishers do that warrant about 50% of the game's revenue even after the initial debt from funding the game is paid off?

    • Gamer3427 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold taC terceS

      8 months ago

      Part of the cost of marketing is likely caused by the things such as the high cost/second of advertisement on television, as well as limited window/display space in stores making the cost higher for those advertisements. Online advertisements, payed sponsorships with Let's Players, ect all end up costing quite a bit as well. As for what the publishers specifically do, is determine which types of advertisements to put money into making, and what will get the most awareness for the games. The problem is that if they don't pay such advertisements, then unless the game becomes a viral success like the most popular indie games in recent years, the games risk not having enough customer awareness to make enough money off of sales to cover even the cost outside of advertisements. It's kind of cyclical, in that they have more sales for every advertisement they pay for, but if they don't have enough advertisements, then they won't have enough sales to begin with....


      All of this would theoretically be less of a problem for games in a series, where the series was already popular, since they already have brand awareness in their previous customers. At the same time though, they have to spend more to advertise in a way that both draws in new customers, and makes certain that the previous ones are aware that the new game is coming out......

  • peckpogydah Peckpogydah

    8 months ago

    Great video. I wish you all would have brought new info or different perspective to the table. I guess the video wasn't made for the person that watches most of your content.

  • RWBimbie Keeper of Poems

    8 months ago

    4000 hours of MINECRAFT so far,

    so I am pretty content with getting my moneys worth from buying that.


    WHY do folks pay $50-80 for a game they are done with in a couple weeks, with terrible RePlay redundancy. 

    • peckpogydah Peckpogydah

      8 months ago

      I was bored with Minecraft after 30 minutes. I enjoy a more liner type of game. 


      Plus, $50 for 2 weeks worth of entertainment is a great deal. You can easily blow that in one night out drinking with your friends or going to the movies with your SO.

    • OniZonda FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Hokage

      8 months ago

      Well, that's assuming that you're buying brand new. Personally there are very few games I get on the first day specifically because of this problem that you're presenting. I'll wait until a sale or until the used price is low enough. Granted it doesn't help much, but it's better than piracy and the overhead on digital is lower so the discounts tend to be more frequent/larger anyway.

    • DarkTempler7 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      8 months ago

      Why are you acting like you can't replay a story focused, linear game? By that logic why would someone buy a movie? It might be more epensive, but even if you remove stide stuff you're getting more content then a movie will give you.

    • Gamer3427 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold taC terceS

      8 months ago

      It's all a matter of perspective and how much each person personally feels they enjoyed their experience. If you do even look at it as compared to the costs of movie tickets, or tv shows, then the cost/hour of entertainment is significantly lower for even a linear game with no replay value, than it is for the majority of other forms of entertainment you can spend your money on.....