The average cost for PS5 & Xbox Series X games reaching the £70 mark isn’t breaking news, we’ve known for months now that this was going to be the new normal as we push ahead into a new generation and for the most part, we accepted it. However only a few months into what I guess we should start calling current-gen, these new price tags are beginning to cause some frustration as certain publishers look to take advantage. Yes, we’ve been lucky for a while with game prices barely rising (especially here in the UK) but is £70 a fair price for AAA titles and how will this affect the future of gaming as we know it? Let’s jump in. If you’d prefer to watch the video version of this article then feel free to do so in the link below..
At first I’ll admit that I was completely fine with this new price point. Don’t get me wrong, £70 is a lot of money but the way publishers were handling the increase was very encouraging. Publishers such as Ubisoft, EA, PlayStation Studios and more were all offering free Next-Gen upgrades to their Last-Gen titles. Tie that in with Xbox exclusives going straight to GamePass and PS5 games such as Destruction AllStars, Maneater and Control Ultimate Edition all being included with PlayStation Plus recently, I think it’s fair to say that the apparent price hike really hasn’t ruined my Next-Gen experience in the slightest. That was until last week when PlayStation streamed their latest ‘State of Play’ event and confirmed a PS5 update to Final Fantasy VII Remake will be coming in the summer alongside some additional story content.
The following day it was confirmed that the current PS4 version of the game is coming to PS Plus in March and we all rejoiced in assuming we would all qualify for a free PS5 upgrade come June. Well that turned out not to be the case as Square Enix were quick to confirm that the PS Plus version of the game WILL NOT be eligible for a free PS5 upgrade. This was followed by the PS5 version titled Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade, being added to stores for that whopping price of £70.. It goes without saying that I was raging at first and my initial reaction was that we are finally seeing studios take advantage of this pricing and was expecting punters to part with a massive chunk of change for a game we’ve basically already played! Thankfully we all took a big breath and it turns out the situation isn’t quite as shitty as we may have originally thought.
There will indeed be a free upgrade for FF7 Remake for those players who already own the PS4 version of the game that is not the PS Plus version. Meaning if you already own it then rest assured you’ll qualify for the upgrade and will only need to pay out whatever the cost is for the extra story content if you want it (which let’s be honest, you will). It also means that if you don’t own the game and find yourself loving it free on PS Plus, you will have the opportunity to purchase a PS4 copy for a decent price and just upgrade that for free rather than shelling out £70 for the PS5 copy. There is still a bit of confusion how this will work if you already own the digital PS4 version rather than a physical one but I’m sure this will be addressed by Square Enix soon.
Coming off the back of this, it feels like we had a close call more than anything else with this confusing Final Fantasy news and although I’m personally okay with this direction, I’d be lying if I said alarm bells aren’t ringing. Without even touching on the controversial issue that PS5 digital owners with physical FF7 copies are screwed, it also shows these companies see an opportunity to sell last-gen titles for a lot more than they’re arguably worth by adding a performance mode and throwing a PS5 cover on the game. If we keep getting free upgrades in one way or another then I think all of this is mostly fine but it’s worth staying wary and just not paying these prices if you don’t think it’s worth it, always vote with your wallet people!
As time goes on and we see less last-gen upgrades and more next-gen exclusive titles, we’ll have to eventually get used to paying £70 on a more regular basis. As things stand this year, both Returnal and Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart are listed for preorder at this new price and I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t feel steep, at least for one of those. I fully understand that development costs are rising as games get bigger and bigger so with that in mind, parting with £70 for a Naughy Dog epic or a gigantic open world GTA game for example really wouldn’t feel unjustified. However going back to the two upcoming games I just mentioned, Returnal and Ratchet & Clank. Can the former really be qualified as having the same development costs as the latter? Maybe, but a few of us here at Respawning wasn’t 100% sure Returnal was a full AAA game until we saw the price point.
It raises the question whether every game that isn’t considered an indie should instantly be classed as AAA? I truly believe that video games have evolved to a point where we can have more options than just indie and AAA and prices should reflect this. Shorter AAA experiences like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Uncharted: Lost Legacy are prime examples of games that were perfectly priced for what they were – shorter AAA experiences. I think the future would be a lot brighter with more options like these. Most casual players won’t have the budget to afford a new £70 every month but a shorter £45 game while they’re still getting through their massive open world AAA game sounds way more realistic to me. And why stop there? If you’ve made a AAA game you feel it isn’t quite to the size and graphical quality of one of the big hitters then why not sell it for £60 instead? I really feel gamers would massively appreciate fluctuating prices depending on development costs and the size of the game. Maybe I’m asking for too much but my point is we can’t have a world where every publisher just throws that new £70 price tag on every game because we won’t always pay it and eventually the smaller games will get lost in the shuffle and potentially suffer in the long run.
I’m going to end my rambling here. How do you feel about the current price points and do you agree with how Square Enix have handled the Final Fantasy VII Remake PS5 upgrade? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.