The gaming industry is currently facing a dilemma of sorts. Development costs for triple-A games are ever increasing and demands from players increase along with it. Eventually, games would become far too expensive to be profitable in any way, and as a result publishers have begun to seek additional sources of revenue in order to make up for these rising development costs without increasing the price of the game itself which has been sitting at $60 for the past decade. The extra sources of income come in the form of DLC or microtransactions, both of which are not exactly welcomed by gamers.
Recently, the industry has turned towards multiplayer games that have longer lifespans and produce more revenue as a result, moving away from singleplayer experiences, or at least the shorter, linear variety. Publishers want more ways to get your money, and they’re trying to decide what is, and is not, worth their time and money to develop in the current industry.
But what if the solution was not to increase the cost of goods, but to decrease it? I often see people claiming that games are just too expensive these days, an issue compounded by the fact that there are so many good games releasing near one another. On top of that, many gamers, such as myself, are really only interested in one half of a $60 game at times. The publisher gets their money, but it doesn’t feel worth the money spent. So what if publishers split the two halves of a game? Pay $30 for the singleplayer half, and pay $30 for the multiplayer half. If a game cannot be divorced from its multiplayer half, which is the case with games like Destiny and MMO’s, then those would still be full $60 purchases. Same goes for singleplayer open-world RPG’s.
Some of you may be thinking that it’s a very stupid idea, and perhaps you’re right, but I figured I’d entertain it anyway. The way I see it is this: Games are expensive, both to develop and to buy. If the price of games were lower, more people might be willing to buy a game they may have otherwise passed on at $60. But with both multiplayer and singleplayer combined, there’s no way publishers would lower the cost of, say Call of Duty, to $30. When pricing games, publishers seemingly don’t take into account the amount of content a game has, meaning that at times you end up paying $60 for a game that, well, doesn’t have a lot to it. Take the original Star Wars Battlefront from EA and DICE. It was a $60 game, but it lacked any kind of dedicated singleplayer, a handful of game modes, and a handful of maps that were changed up from game mode to game mode. Compared to the previous installments in the series, it didn’t feel worth the $60 until all of the DLC had dropped for the game, and even then you had to pay for a $50 season pass to get all of it. If the cost of Battlefront were $30, people probably wouldn’t have felt as cheated as they were because they didn’t pay as much for it.
If Microsoft came out to me and said something along the lines of “Hey, do you like Halo? Well, if you only like the singleplayer, here’s a $30 package with just that, no multiplayer attached. For those who don’t care about the singleplayer, here’s a multiplayer package at the same price. And for those who want the full Halo experience, here’s a $60 bundle with the two.” I just feel like, at lower price points, games would sell more because people would be far less hesitant to shell out for them. And if you offer them the parts of the game they want separately, they be even more inclined to buy it rather than pay for this game that they’re only going to play quarter to a half of and then drop it like a rock, at which point they’ll just say “Screw it, I’m just not gonna buy it.”
Now, please feel free to tell me if you think this is a stupid idea. There’s a reason I’m not going into a career that involves finances. But are there any games you might have bought at $30 a piece that you ended up not buying for $60? Any games that you would have bought one half to start and then bought the other half later down the line if that were possible?