I love PlayStation, but I just can’t justify a £70 price tag for Returnal. Look, let’s be clear. On our Any Button Gaming chat groups, I’m often referred to as the ‘Sony Pony’. I’ll pretty much game on anything, but I can’t lie that I think Sony first party output on last gen smashed it. I like narrative driven, third person single player games. Sony release big budget, well-crafted narrative driven, third person single player games.
It’s why, at the start of this new generation, I opted for the PlayStation 5. The console is great. I like the UI. I have even come to live with the design (kind of). Yet, I am still sour on the price of games.
The resident ‘Sony Pony’
I went through my bank accounts and checked and last year I bought two Sony exclusives at launch – The Last Of Us: Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima. I spent £49.99 each on physical copies. This is pretty much the typical launch price of most AAA games here in the UK. I don’t pander to random ‘deluxe’ editions so I’ll ignore this from my calculations.
Now, if I wanted to buy Returnal, I’d be looking at £69.99. That’s £20 difference in a little over six months.
To be clear, this has nothing to do with Returnal as a game. I don’t value games by who they are created by, their marketing or even their length. I actually really want to play Returnal. Housemarque are great developers and this game is a risk for them and Sony as a whole. Sony SHOULD take risks. I want games like Returnal to be made. I just don’t think that arbitrary price hike is fair or clear.
There is always much discussion over the cost of games. Games cost a lot to make. Especially AAA games. They can bomb. It is a big risk. So why shouldn’t you pay more? After all, a game like Returnal might last 40 hours – isn’t that good value for money? I mean, £1.75 an hour! What other entertainment product gives you that?
Why £70 for Returnal?
Which might be valid I suppose if a similar experience didn’t cost me £20 only a few months ago. You see, the games industry is yielding ever bigger profits each year. The PlayStation division is making some serious bank right now. So why the price hike?
Truthfully, there isn’t a reason for one. It is greed. The market was happy with the £49.99 price tag. Large organisations want that to be larger. For profit reasons, not revenue. As a consumer, that additional £20 goes a long way. If I wait six months, I’ll be able to get that game for less than £69.99. Then I might be able to afford 2 games for the same amount.
Cashing in on FOMO
Still, FOMO is a real thing and I’m looking jealously at the gamers gushing about the game. I’ll feel even worse when the new Ratchet and Clank game comes out. Sony has taken a lot of flak for their pricing from gamers, but to be honest, I don’t see that really turning into any meaningful boycotts of the game. This is predictable but a shame. It feels like no one really cares about this as an issue. Maybe people have more money than me. Will I also be the same when games I REALLY want, such as God Of War: Ragnarok, are released? Sony know they have a product people like me will want.
So this is a small stand, I guess but a stand all the same. Sorry Sony but I would have bought this day one at £49.99. I love PlayStation but can’t justify £70 for Returnal.
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