Most consumers believe that the price hike to $70 for most AAA games seems a little steep but Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick says long AAA video games actually offer greater entertainment value for their price than any other medium such as movies.
UPDATE: The information presented in the article below has been corrected in a recent Games Industry article, clarifying that Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick did not explicitly state that longer games should cost more. As a result, we’ve also updated the information in this article to accurately reflect the new, corrected quote and meaning.
Speaking during an investors call over the weekend, the Take-Two CEO gave a rather complex response to the pricing and value-per-hour of AAA games, especially those that offer longer hours of entertainment. Zelnick believes that longer AAA video games, priced at either $60 or $70, offer more entertainment value at 60+ hours as opposed to, for example, watching a two-hour movie that costs $12. Essentially, $70 is “very, very low” for what enjoyment video games provide when compared to other mediums.
Zelnick said in the investors call:
“In terms of our pricing for any entertainment property, basically the algorithm is the value of the expected entertainment usage, which is to say the per-hour value times the number of expected hours plus the terminal value that’s perceived by the customer in ownership if the title is owned rather than rented or subscribed to. By that standard, our prices are still very, very low because we offer many hours of engagement, the value of the engagement is very high. So, I think the industry as a whole offers a terrific price-to-value opportunity for consumers.”
Before GTA 6 fans worry that the upcoming game will force you to pay-to-play per hour, it doesn’t sound like Zelnick is suggesting that it will cost more than $70; he is just addressing the fact that players will get bang for their buck whenever they purchase one of Take-Two’s published titles, or any AAA title for that matter that offers several hours of quality content at premium cost.
In that regard, Zelnick has a point. Video games with great content that offer dozens upon dozens of hours of entertainment – Red Dead Redemption 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, Elden Ring or The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, for example – are modestly priced if you’re comparing the amount of hours it entertains you to movies, music or television shows.
Rockstar Games and Take-Two are preparing to drop the first highly anticipated trailer for GTA 6 in early December after casually announcing the news on a social media post. Zelnick also previously stated that the game was protected from the SAG-AFTRA actors strike during development.
Source: Rock Paper Shotgun
Article updated with the correct information on 17 November 2023.