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Opinion: Are Video Games Too Expensive Or Should Gamers Have The Option To Tip Devs?

Opinion: Are Video Games Too Expensive Or Should Gamers Have The Option To Tip Devs?

There is a growing debate about the price of video games. While developers are constantly complaining that the price of making video games is on the rise, gamers are also complaining about rising microtransactions in games. So, are video games too expensive? Let’s have a look at the two different sides.

Opinion: Are Video Games Too Expensive Or Should Gamers Have The Option To Tip Devs?
Ybarra suggested these games are worth more than $70

On Thursday, April 11, 2024, former Blizzard president Mike Ybarra put out a tweet suggesting that it would be nice if games would have a way to tip the developer after playing, if the player thinks it is worth more than the $70 that is now the price or the standard edition of games.

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“I’ve thought about this idea for a while, as a player, since I’ve been diving into single-player games lately,” Ybarra wrote.

“When I beat a game, there are some that just leave me in awe of how amazing the experience was. At the end of the game, I’ve often thought “I wish I could give these folks another $10 or $20 because it was worth more than my initial $70 and they didn’t try to nickel and dime me every second”.

“Games like HZD, GoW, RDR2, BG3, Elden Ring, etc. I know $70 is already a lot, but it’s an option at the end of the game I wish I had at times. Some games are that special.

“I know most will dislike this idea. 🙂 BTW, I realize we are tired of “tipping” in everything else – but I view this different from a pressure to tip type scenario many face and give feedback on.”

Ybarra’s comment reignited the debate about video games being too expensive. Back in September last year, Capcom president Haruhiro Tsujimoto said video games were too cheap. He complained that the cost of making games had increased astronomically over the years while the price of video games had remained the same.

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Fast-forward to March 22, 2024, Capcom released its first $70 game, Dragon’s Dogma 2. It is now obvious that the era of $60 for the standard edition of games is behind us. In the comment section of Ybarra’s tweet, many gamers did not hide how insensitive the idea was. Others suggested a better way of appreciating developers rather than tipping them.

Are video games too expensive now?

Opinion: Are Video Games Too Expensive Or Should Gamers Have The Option To Tip Devs?

The price of AAA games has risen to $70 for the Standard Edition, $110 for the Gold Edition (or Deluxe Edition), and $130 for the Ultimate Edition. The Collector’s Edition usually retails for an upward of $200. Developers always try to entice players to pay for the more expensive Gold or Deluxe Edition with the promise of 3 days of early access.

For most players, that is already way too much of a price to pay for interactive media. Players who suggest video games are too expensive back their claim by pointing at the increasing microtransactions in games.

For example, after launch, Dragon’s Dogma 2 was hugely criticized with players bombing the game to mostly negative reviews. Trouble started after players discovered 21 day-one DLCs that can be purchased with real money. Players accused Capcom of locking a feature like character editing behind a paywall. Capcom later clarified the issue though.

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It almost feels like developers now primarily focus on monetization during development before thinking of player experience. The outcome is often seen in season passes and multiple microtransactions—especially cosmetics that add no real ability to the player.

When Ybarra suggested tipping developers if players loved their game, players had other ideas about appreciating developers. One player suggested buying the game as a gift for friends or updating from a lower edition to a higher one.

“I gifted BG3 to my best friend!’ wrote Chai Waifu Tecito. “So I bought it twice. Maybe buying the game for someone else more than once or updating to a collectors edition is a nice way to do it.”

Pauls Gaming Live wrote, “Unless your tipping an independent Dev.. aren’t you really just giving the publisher the money? With the Dev on a set wage?”

Opinion: Are Video Games Too Expensive Or Should Gamers Have The Option To Tip Devs?

Wandering Dutch added, “Or… wait… you could share more of the profit with the devs instead of asking more from the consumer,” referring to publishers who usually take a chunk of the earnings.

while opinions differed, some gamers were more critical with their opinion with some even calling out the corporate greet that is becoming rife among big corporations where employees are treated like disposable assets without fair compensation and friendly working conditions.

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“You’re right, I should tip the devs for a great single-player campaign on MW3, terrific Season 1 and 3 of Diablo, and extra tip for Overwatch 2,” wrote former PlayStation and Xbox hardware developer TheTerk. “As the former President of Blizzard, you’re smarter than this… the problem isn’t consumer behavior.

“How about the large gaming corporations treat their employees fairly instead of throwing money at shareholders?” wrote CapCorgi. “Games you mentioned don’t HAVE shareholders. That’s why they are good. Blizzard is one of the WORST for putting shareholder profits above quality and employees.”

The debate on the price of games will likely not go away

Opinion: Are Video Games Too Expensive Or Should Gamers Have The Option To Tip Devs?

Developers are out to make a profit from their games. AAA games are becoming more expensive to make with most studios now hiring professional actors for motion capture. Also, development cycles are becoming longer with most AAA games taking an average of 2 to 3 years to make. During this time, the studio must cover the wages of the employees and pay for office space and other miscellaneous.

In addition to that, the AAA market is volatile, and developers can never be sure of the number of copies their game will sell. Setting a higher entry price helps them to recoup most of the cost, even if the game performs commercially below expectation.

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On the player side, it sucks to continue spending dollars here and there after buying a game to get features that many years ago would have come as a free cheat. I remember playing Mortal Kombat on Sega and when you input the code AC (up) B (up) BA (down), you got a special menu that unlocks extra abilities. Today, players may have to pay an upward of $5 to get that feature.

It was revealed that players who purchased the 21 day-one DLCs that came with Dragon’s Dogma 2 would have spent an extra $30 in addition to the $70 they paid for the base game. Those extra payments eventually add up and wear the player out.

Indeed, most players don’t spend a dime on microtransactions. However, for those that do, it quickly becomes evident that video games are not cheap.

Do you think the price of video games should increase or stay the same?