NBA 2K21 is a forthcoming basketball simulation video game that will certainly be developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports, based on the National Basketball Association (NBA). It will be the 22nd installation in the NBA 2K franchise business as well as the follower to NBA 2K20. The game will be launched on September 4, 2020, for the PlayStation 4, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and also later for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
With the previous NBA 2K21 PS5 conference and Microsoft’s announcement of Xbox Series X-related information, the appearance of the next-generation game console within this year can be said to be almost inevitable.
However, it is not difficult to speculate from the attitudes of Microsoft and Sony on product prices that the upcoming two next-generation hosts are likely to usher in price increases. But for players, it is not only the more expensive next-generation consoles that will shrink their wallets but also the price of 3A games after 15 years.
A few days ago, NBA 2K21, a new work in the “NBA 2K” series of super sports game IP under 2K Games, has been pre-sold on all platforms, and its standard version on Steam is priced at $59.9. However, the situation of this game on the console platform is relatively more complicated. It is divided into two different versions of this generation (PS4Xbox One S) and the next generation (PS5XSX). The standard version is priced at $59.99 and $69.99, respectively.
This is why the price of 3A games that has been noisy in recent years has increased in the future, and 2K Games has become the first manufacturer to announce that the game has broken the $60 “red line”. In response to the price increase, the American video game website Polygon also interviewed a 2K Games executive who said, “We believe that this new price fully reflects the value presented by the game-including new technology, performance, etc., NBA 2K21 will be a milestone in the series and will have excellent visual effects on the next-generation console. We will show more content in the next few months.”
But the reason given by 2K Games is quite far-fetched. After all, the last price change of 3A games was in 2005, when the price of PS3 and Xbox 360 masterpieces increased from $49 to $59.99, and this level has continued to this day. However, in the past few years, although the image quality, content, and expressiveness of 3A games have improved, few manufacturers have used this as a basis to increase their prices.
The cost growth rate of 3A games far exceeds revenue growth, leading to the question of whether its development model is sustainable or not, which has been discussed by the industry for a long time. There is even a voice in the industry that the cost of next-generation 3A game development will inevitably soar from US$80 million to US$150 million. For example, Shawn Layden, the former president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said when he was a guest on Gamelab’s online live broadcast, “Since I joined the (game) industry, the price of these games has been $59.99, but the cost of development has increased tenfold. If there is still no elasticity in price, but there are huge changes in development costs, then this model will become more difficult.”
In contrast, product price increases in the mobile phone industry are more actionable. For example, the increase in the cost of upstream components will lead to a rise in the retail price of mobile phones, and the addition of new hardware will also lead to a price increase. In short, once the cost increases, manufacturers will choose to Use price increases to solve the problem. So the question is, why don’t game makers do this?
The answer is straightforward. A “horror balance” has been formed in the field of 3A games. With the decline of the entire console market, the growth of the number of game players served by 3A games has been stagnant for a long time. Under this background, the logic behind the game manufacturers’ fear of raising prices is obvious.
As the console market stops growing, there is little hope that the cake will continue to grow bigger. Game manufacturers can only divide the existing cubes. To maintain competitiveness, although the cost of 3A games is rising, they can only get higher sales. Amortizing the loss means that it is the best choice to grab the share of a friend, and whoever increases the price first means that it may lose market share first.
In addition to peer factors, players are also susceptible to game price increases under the influence of habit. Previously, Japanese manufacturers launched two games, “Neil: Automata” and “Octagon Traveler”, whose prices have risen on Steam, which is evident from the large-scale criticism and resistance from players. And more importantly, 3A games are not only competing in the industry but also facing the squee.
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