Can someone explain XBox 360 Pricing to me?

No - not the ‘razor and blade’ concept, but more directly the game price differential to ‘current gen’ consoles.

Burnout Revenge, for example, I understand - the next gen version costs $10 more than the current gen. OK, whether or not it merits that differential, that is the way it is.

But College Hoops 2K6? $30 for PS2 & XBox but $60 for X360? What is the justification there?


The “justification” is that development costs are going up.

The reason is that publishers are trying to bump the prices on us.

So are costs not going up then? I mean, I’m not saying I like paying more for games, but I never expected them to stay the same price forever. New games have been $50 for as long as I’ve been buying new games. I’m actually a bit surprised it took them this long to get to $60. The College Hoops thing is pretty shitty, though. Next-gen graphics or not, I don’t think charging twice as much is quite right.

I have no doubt that costs are going up (c’mon, fixed overhead has to be increasing at least 4% a year, right?) but anyone who has played any of ‘Tycoon City New York’ for example knows that there are many ways to defray exploding costs …

You can almost hear the meeting “this is great … we can put as much advertising as we want and no one can complain, because it is NYC, the most commercial city in the world, right … like printing money …”


Well, as a disclaimer, this is watercooler analysis - I don’t have any kind of in-depth knowledge or anything.

Sure, costs are going up. But the market is growing, too, so there are greater sales to offset those production costs. I seriously question whether the actual cost-per-unit has jumped so much as to justify a sudden $10 increase.

Take the example Mike gave - Why should the same game cost so much more for one platform than another? The total development cost for the game doesn’t magically increase just for the 360 port.

Like I said, this is armchair quarterbacking. I’d love to know if any one has some more substantial analysis.

I couldn’t tell you if a $10 increase is completely justified. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that in most cases it’s not. I’m just saying that production costs are higher for the next-gen stuff and it’s not surprising that prices finally went up. The 360 pricing in the case of games like College Hoops is most certainly a “Well, people with Xbox 360s are already used to paying $60 a title, so we’re good” type of deal.

It will go down eventually. They’re just trying to screw the early adopters, and so they should.

Game prices going up.
Game sales going down.
Used game sales going up.


They’re not kicking off the new $60 price point very well. Someone who buys, oh, let’s say, Gun or Tony Hawk or College Hoops is going to feel pretty ripped off. Especially if they’ve seen the Xbox/PS2 versions. Even Condemed, although not a shabby game, you’re talking about 6-8hrs and no replay value.

How about Fight Night 3? Ok, that makes more more sense, it’s a pretty big difference from the Xbox/PS2 versions. But then you get a little bit into the game and the announcers start saying that your knockdown was brought to you by the New Forman Grill- Taste the Meat, Not the Heat! So now games cost $60 plus insane advertising? Sweet.

Now you’ll have a more weary customer. Burned too many times, they will at the very least buy less games or move into the used game market. Good for EB, not so good for publishers/developers.

They should have eased into the $60 price point more carefully. Only price the top tier stuff at $60. Oblivion? Sure. Halo 3? Why not. Gears of War? Probably. At least have some level of justification other than “It’s a 360 game.”

We’ll see, maybe there won’t be any real backlash and people will continue to fork over $60 for ports and ridiculous advertising. They are definitely pushing their luck though.

Oblivion’s particularly amusing - you can get the PC Collector’s Edition for the price of the Regular 360 edition. Score!

True - and while I’m a PC-centric gamer looking forward to the dual-release, it would have been much more in the favor of the X360 to have a staggered release to really pimp the X360 features before offering equal-to-better PC experience.


Did anyone here ever take an econ class???

It isn’t about development costs or any other damn thing, at least right now (although cost of getting a good–video games–to market eventually will become primary). It’s all about supply and demand and what the market will bear.

If you’re the owner of an Xbox or PS2 and you walk into a BestBuy or EB Games, you’ve literally got hundreds and hundreds of different games competing for your dollars. It doesn’t matter if you’re bringing in a new RPG, FPS, Action, Sports, or combination of those genres; you set the price at $60, and you’re going to price yourself way at the wrong end of a supply/demand curve, wherein only the real die-hards and hardcore fans of the genre/your studio/the franchise of your game are going to buy.

With the 360, it’s different. There are maybe, what, 16 titles out there? There’s some serious scarcity of supply with regards to variety of titles. A manufacturer can slap a $60 pricetag on his game, and be reasonably assured that consumers will give it the once-over, even if they’d normally have no interest in it. With NCAA 2k6 Basketball, I can guarantee you that folks who’d normally not have enough interest in basketball or college hoops will take a long look at–and buy–the game, simply because it’s a new 360 title, and that makes it fairly unique at this point.

I think we had this discussion before, about consumer prices not having a relation to how much it costs to make an item.

I wouldn’t say there’s no relation, but pricing can be based on value to the comsumer or the cost of the item. Value pricing worked for IBM when they were the only game in town, and it’s working for 360 games, too.

No way is GUN or THAW worth the extra $20. But you won’t get any achievement points for playing on another system. The Gamerscore idea was one of MS’s best for this gen.

OK, Mr. Economics, explain why the same exact thing didn’t happen during the release of every other new game system.

Its because the 360 is the most powerful console on the face of the planet!

Right. Which is why the line I’ve seen thrown around that the price increase is due to increasing developer costs is highly suspect.

But not the moon. The moon’s got crazy powerful hardware.

Because with the launch of every other system, the circumstances were different, and didn’t dictate this particular market and consumer makeup?

This isn’t that hard.

The conditions were different. Sometimes it was a cartridge based system, sometimes they were being released too close in time to another system. It’s strategy, and strategies change not simply because the situations change, but also because people like to try new ways to succeed. Remember, for a lot of people, the Playstation wasn’t a generational leap, it was the first system they owned. People skip generations. Also, maybe they think that the average person has more and is willing to spend more on games these days, and so they can try to gouge you.