Xbox vs Playstation

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  • For nearly 15 years, the standard cost of video games has been $60. 
  • But for the next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which launch this November, that standard price is increasing to $70. 
  • The first indication of that change came on July 2, with the announcement that this year's "NBA 2K21" will cost $60 for current generation consoles but $70 for next-gen consoles.
  • Then, in mid-September, Sony announced $70 pricing for some PlayStation 5 launch games.
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When this year's "NBA 2K" game launches, it'll cost the same $60 it has always cost for current-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

But when the PlayStation 5 and next-gen Xbox consoles arrive this November, the next-gen version of "NBA 2K21" will cost $70 — a precedent-shattering shift in the price model that the games industry has used for console games for more than 10 years.

"$69.99 may be the new standard pricing for next gen titles," NPD Group video games analyst Mat Piscatella said of the announcement.

That change was seemingly confirmed by Sony on September 16 when the company announced a $70 price ceiling for PS5 games.

"Our own Worldwide Studios titles will be priced from US$49.99 to US$69.99 on PS5," Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and president Jim Ryan said on the PlayStation Blog.

It's the first change to video game pricing "since Activision went with $59.99 for 'Call of Duty 2' 15 years ago," Piscatella said, a reference to the last major change in video game pricing standards.

That last change came with the switch from the PlayStation 2/Xbox generation to the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation, and the standard price increased to $60 from $50. But as games get more complex and visually dazzling, they cost more than ever to produce.

Over the years, game publishers have sought other methods of getting players to pay more.

The annual "Call of Duty" games, for example, have collector's editions and season passes that increase overall price beyond the $60 standard. That practice has been widely adopted across major game franchises from nearly every publisher. 

Both Sony and Microsoft are launching their respective consoles this November, with Microsoft first on November 10 with the Xbox Series S at $300 and Xbox Series X at $500. Sony's PlayStation 5 is scheduled to launch soon after, with an initial release on November 12 at $400 for the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition and $500 for the PlayStation 5 with a Blu-ray disc drive built in. 

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