Why Do Games Cost $60? Why Hasn’t The Price of Video Games Changed?

Why Do Games Cost $60? Why Hasn’t The Price of Video Games Changed?


In 1994, it cost around $2.49 to buy a 20-ounce
box of Oreo cookies. In 2014, it cost around $4.49 to buy a 14
ounce box of Oreo cookies. Manufacturing one box of Oreo cookies hasn’t
necessarily gone up, but the rate of inflation has, making a smaller box cost nearly twice
as much as a larger box did twenty years prior. But video games are a different story. Though the cost of developing them has risen
considerably over that same period, the retail price has not, and in some cases, it’s even
dropped. Why is that? That’s the mystery we intend to solve, in
this episode of The Infographics Show: Why hasn’t the price of video games changed? The first example of a game machine was unveiled
by Dr. Edward Uhler Condon, at the New York World’s Fair, in 1940. The mathematical game was played by roughly
50,000 people, with the computer reportedly winning more than 90 percent of the games. The first game system designed for commercial
home use was in the late 1960’s, when Ralph Baer and his team released his prototype,
the Brown Box, a vacuum tube-circuit that could be connected to a television set allowing
two users to control cubes that chased each other on the screen. But it wasn’t until the 1970’s that games
became mainstream, when the first commercial arcade video game, Computer Space by Nutting
Associates, was introduced. And in the same decade, Atari introduced Pong
to the arcades. A game that many who were born in Generation
X will remember fondly, Pong is a table tennis sports game, with simple two-dimensional graphics. And it quickly grew in popularity. It was the first commercially successful video
game, and it helped to establish the video game industry along with the first home console,
the Magnavox Odyssey. Soon after its release, several companies
began producing games that copied the layout of Pong’s gameplay, and went on to release
new types of games. But back in 1976, of course, things were quite
different and gaming was simple. Pong was the height of at-home multiplayer
gaming, with only two dials, one button, and a switch. And new, it cost nearly $100, which is enough
to buy an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii by today’s dollars! So what about the modern gaming era and the
prices people pay to play? The 1990’s were a decade of innovation in
video gaming. A transition from sprite-based graphics to
full-fledged 3D graphics. It gave rise to several genres of video games
including the first person shooter, real-time strategy, survival horror, and massively multiplayer
online, or MMO. Consoles went from 4th to 5th to 6th generation,
CD-ROM technology was born, with the Nintendo 64 being the last major home video game console
to use ROM cartridges, and game controllers took on a new look with the Super NES controller
introducing a more rounded dog-bone like design and adding two more face buttons, “X” and
“Y”, arranged in a diamond formation. Games such as Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat,
Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario 64, Doom, Resident Evil, Starcraft, and dozens more
were released. And how much did the 90’s games cost? Well, Super Mario 3 cost $94.40, Mortal Kombat
for Super Nintendo, was priced at $119.55, Street Fighter 2 was a cool $123.13, a big
chunk of cash for a 90’s gamer. Those prices should have continued to rise,
but that’s not what happened. The price eventually dropped to $60. We couldn’t work out exactly when this was
but the online opinion of gamers says that it was sometime in the 90’s, and $60 is
where it has stayed. And with rising development costs and inflation,
how and why has the price not shifted? Kate Cox from The Consumerist, a non-profit
consumer affairs website, detailed some of the practices that have become standard with
video games sales, in recent years. She explained that the reason most retailers
in the US charge $59.99 for a new video game on release week, is because it’s a price point
that comes from the publisher, and all the retailers that sell the new product agree
to abide by it. Stores that choose not to abide by this price
quickly find themselves out of favor with the publisher, risking future shipments. So if Big Game Store is keen on getting players
in the door, they won’t drop below the publisher’s guidance. And gaming media website Gamerant concluded
that all the AAA publishers set their game price at $60 as it’s a guaranteed method
of leveling the playing field. Publishers set the minimum price of $60 because
it guarantees their cut will be substantial enough to support them, with more being made
from extras such as collector’s editions, DLC, and microtransactions. Unfortunately the model may not be as lucrative
for retail, and stores often take a hit on stocking new games, which is part of the reason
used game stores don’t offer much cash for used games, yet still on-sell them at a much
higher price. So where exactly does this $60 go to? According to Alex Pham in an article for the
Los Angeles Times in 2010, that sixty dollar price is broken down as follows: $27 goes
to the publisher; $15 to the retailer; $7 to returns, which are games that don’t sell
and are sent back; $7 is a platform royalty which is paid to Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo;
and $4 to production and distribution. You might have noticed that there’s no mention
of the developer…well, that’s because in most cases the developer has already been
paid. And to talk about developing video games for
a minute, you would think that a game that is more expensive to make, should be more
expensive to buy. Well, that’s just not the case. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, cost two hundred
million dollars to make, whereas Gears of War, only cost ten million to make. Surprise, surprise, they’ll sell for $60
and generate $27 of profit per sale. Will video games stay $60 and below forever? No one knows for sure, and we found there
is a lot of debate from gamers on Reddit and Quora as to when things might change. Maybe you have your own opinion on why this
$60 price tag has lasted so long. Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Minecraft vs Roblox – How Do They Compare?! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 Comments

  1. The Infographics Show says:

    Which video game are/were you most eagerly waiting for?

  2. Devin Renshaw says:

    the retailer and production should be switched

  3. Newbie Gaming Tactics says:

    now games are free 🙂

  4. Renato Santos says:

    "Bu-ons"

  5. Saturn666 says:

    The price has changed in many ways though. Sales have become far more prevalent with online retailers such as Steam, and several services offer free games for about the cost of one game per year. Indie developers and smaller studios also sell games far below that AAA mark, so I think it's fair to say that the price has indeed changed. Not for AAA titles, perhaps, but in general, it's a lot less expensive to be a gamer now than 10 years ago, when it was a lot harder to find games on sale. Like, on steam sales (and other kinds of sales) you can get AAA games for $10 sometimes. I agree that compared to the cost of manufacturing the price is low, but that's also the case with movies, books, and other things we consume. This kind of model is made so that companies can break even or make a profit if their games sell enough copies, granted this isn't easy, but it would be a lot harder to pull off if games cost $3-400, which is probably why the $60 pricetag hasn't changed.

  6. Lava Creeper Gamer says:

    Unsubscribes*

  7. Ram P says:

    Super mario bros costs $4.99 but super mario run A MOBILE APP cost $9.99

  8. Perfect Chaos says:

    I have a reseat of Star Wars battlefront 2 for the PS2 coating 25$ new at Walmart in 2005 along side shadow the hedgehog also 25 in 2005 did I some how get them cheap

  9. mohamad pro says:

    So much money but get some in dollar store

  10. thegamerguy2014 says:

    DLC and season passes is why games can sell at 60$.

  11. skasere1 says:

    Now you need 60 for the game 60 for the DLC and 60 for each of other 3-4 games that complete the story of the game….In the old times you could spend months playing a game…now you just finish it up in 3 days and wait for a year for its DLC

  12. RICHARD YOUTUBE says:

    In philippines ps4 games and pc on lazada is just 19.0193 USD or $20 above

  13. Lion Sin Escanor says:

    But some games aren’t worth $60. Cough- We Happy Few

  14. Parker Scovell says:

    3:00 Super Maareo 64?

  15. coolfastlouis says:

    the price of games have changed but you just dont realase it you buy a game then you buy things in the game to get the full game

  16. Asher Harwell says:

    Show me where u can buy an Xbox 360 and a wii for 100 bucks please🤨😤🙏

  17. FILIP HEDMAN says:

    I never buy 60$ games. It's way too much for me.

  18. pit1209 says:

    Next time you complain about Deluxe editions and DLC maybe you could remember this video and the fact that there are games that cost hundreds of millions to produce and we're not talking about marketing and stuff, people needs to stop the whining and vote with our wallets for quality content in games.

  19. Aya ya says:

    Why are people saying $60 isn't cheap?
    Depending how long the game is, that's $5-10 an hour.
    Not to mention you can replay the game. and have many features movies don't have.

  20. Dalton Williams says:

    My dad had a pong that he didn't let me play, but he bought me a NES and Sega Master system when they came out so I couldn't complain much.

  21. Me. Yes. says:

    Pre-order prices (usually)

    Standard-60$
    Silver-80$
    Gold-100$

  22. Alpha YT says:

    Maximum game price is 50$ as the new titles such as Far cry new dawn,Rdr 2 and every game is less than 50$ here in bangladesh

  23. Isaiah McGrath says:

    Well… Canada has $80 games. 😛

  24. Ramniwas Pareek says:

    video game

  25. Kieran O'Dea says:

    Crazy to think that most kids don't know what pong is let alone have played it.

  26. That panda Kid says:

    I have a feeling that games will end up being free since most games that are free to play have been making way more money than games that cost 60 dollars. Fortnite is an excellent example and so is Apex. Micro transactions are definitely the way to make money.

  27. Tom Chaude says:

    I think I'm just cheap, if a game costs $60 or more, I'll immediately be turned off. I guess I'll just stick with free or cheap games like osu, Terraria and Rocket League

  28. Gachachii 2 says:

    I heard that Portal 2 only costs $9. I became skeptic now after watching this video.

  29. Matt Naslund says:

    I do NOT remember SNES games being that much. I recall them being 30 or 40 dollars. Also I remember paying 50 dollars for PS2 games, in the early 2000's. Games didn't hit a steady 60 dollars til after 360 and PS3 were released. That's how I remember it. For the record, I'm not talking about used or bootleg games, and I live in the US. Video gets a down!

  30. DirtSprite GT says:

    how to make esy money – buy a Mario video game . wait like 9000 years until its literally ancient. your descendants would be mother fking rich

  31. yt.Comic says:

    I feel like it's a fair amount of money for all that time and effort. I mean, have you seen the Forza Horizon games?

  32. Bailujen says:

    New full priced games cost 100 dollars in australia

  33. Aeron Gianan says:

    well 60$ain't cheap in my country its like 3000₱

  34. Plasma 34 says:

    4:00 who holds a laptop like that

  35. asian54792YT says:

    games are £40 in uk

  36. SkyFire says:

    Don't tempt fate

  37. dbspaceoditty says:

    i feel like the industry paid this guy to say "video games cost 60 dollars"

    i dont think i have ever once in my life paid that much for a video game.

  38. Gamerbadass says:

    There's a game at Walmart that cost 80$

  39. Obi says:

    But now we buy 1/4 the game for 60$ the rest is dlc. We dont play games anymore we pay them

  40. nebulaCHRIS says:

    I thought this video was to explain why modern video games are expensive

  41. nebulaCHRIS says:

    I can’t wait until 2050 when video games are just ten dollars

  42. Thu Ta Oo says:

    1 word. torrenting.

  43. The Prophet says:

    Video games used to be £15.

  44. The grand master Duran says:

    1970 vídeo games 2 dollars

    2019 video game 60 dollars

  45. Aidan Sweeney says:

    It hasnt changed because it was a scam from the start. Steam sells AAA games for less than $40 while the same games will run you at least 50 for any console.

  46. Game PUNISHER says:

    RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 IS STILL TOO COSTLY I WISH IT WAS A LITTLE CHEAP SO I COULD BUY IT 😑

  47. giant taco god says:

    It is Mario not mario

  48. harry poole says:

    Not $60 on Steam haha

  49. Iam Legend says:

    New games should go back to 50$ now that people buy digital more.

  50. Aditya Shahapure says:

    So you mean $60 is "cheap". Wow.

  51. DanPH77 says:

    Back in my day video games were 40-50 dollars and all DLC (called expansions back in my day) were free… (I am 29 years old) Lol

  52. wolfisince1978 says:

    Wow, that video when you can literally spend up to 1200 Dollars on a fighting game nowadays… Not mentioning paid DLCs, Lootboxes,purchasable Skins, Extracool (Gold etc) Editions and"Live services" which charge you monthly… This video has got to be sponsored by EA/Activicion/etc.

  53. Neo 1208 says:

    I say Steam Sales.

  54. lord bandit says:

    30 is too expensive for me lol

  55. EhRayTV says:

    umm wht..? yeah games used to be $60 ($59.99) now AAA games are all $80 ($79.99), so the title of this video is just bad

  56. So edgy says:

    I hope games become so overpriced and ppl stop buying them so publishers hit a brick wall

  57. AL Simmons says:

    60$ is in no way a deal for video games most aaa games are not even worth 30$ plus some people already paying for multiplayer monthly or yearly to microsoft or sony and you have to pay for multiplayer again at the store games are not worth 60$

  58. leo alvarez says:

    I think 30$ is a reasonable price
    60$ is too much especially when the game isn’t finished such as black ops 4

  59. Samuel Moore says:

    Because games are not important.😝😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒😒

  60. once upon a death says:

    Games where 29 dollars in the late 90s

  61. jdumbia2887 says:

    I remember when games used to be $50 at release.

  62. SAPRAtheGREEK says:

    3 types of gamers. 1. Will buy 60$game or with collectors edition 2.will only buy when game is under 30$ 3. Will pirate

  63. J says:

    I wait for games to come down in price because that's how you save money I don't give a s*** about having the latest game who cares.

  64. AOFsm95 says:

    Some games are still 60 after 3 years its bs

  65. Sykamori says:

    How much did ps1 games cost when they came out on the shelf?

    It was a while ago and is a bit hazy in my head, but I think they were all different priced in the shelves, right? From 10-30 dollars

  66. yakork says:

    now is 69

  67. woodro blue83 says:

    This why I wait 60$ is, alot for a, game

  68. Jake the Astronaut says:

    Remember when you only had to pay 10-20 bucks for an awesome game, now you pay 30-40 bucks for a game that requires updates every 3 days

  69. Zach Cooper says:

    Our video games are $75-85 in Australia… of course we have AUD, not USD.

  70. Nate B says:

    in Canada it costs $80 when around 4 years ago they costed $50

  71. Tidy Heidi says:

    To all the people complaining that this video didn't answer anything…
    1. The publisher wants to sell more copies so they basically force outlet stores to sell hard-copies at $60, otherwise they'll stop doing business with them
    2. No one wants to be the first to raise the standard price of their games to $65 or $70, because then they'll be outsold by all the cheaper $60 games. Basically they have to match the price of their competitors, which is every other AAA title.
    3. The developers get paid regardless of how expensive the game was to make, so they don't care how much the game costs, as it doesn't affect their pay directly whatsoever.

    Now shut up.

  72. jerome akmadol says:

    That is why i subscribe you. gaimboy first before you buy consoLe gaim.

  73. Simplified 9 says:

    Wow in Suisse one new game costs 120CHF and 1CHF costs more than 1US$

  74. Empyreon of a Mortal God says:

    I am so privileged the games in Albania cost 0.00 $

  75. ERROR 97 says:

    First i could buy ps2 games for 20€ then at xbox360 new games cost 70-50€ but after a year or less they felt to 20-30€ nowadays with gpc, ps4 and xbox one for 3 stait years a game cost 70€ unfinished with microtransactions…

    Nintendo handheld games always costed 45€ unless you bought it from ebay or so.

  76. IXVY king says:

    LoL in my contory its like 12 💵

  77. Exile Drop says:

    Eil jump force 149.50 and track and field 70000.00$

  78. spooka770 says:

    The games at Walmart go down to $49.99 a week after release smh

  79. RocketPlayz 58 says:

    Yet you paid $60 dollars for a cheap unfinished money hogging game

  80. Kisu Ke says:

    Work 3 hours of great pay part-time jobs to get 1 game! So it’s cheap

  81. xxknight nfc says:

    FIFA 14 is 0.78p

  82. Matthew Sayre says:

    Why hasn't the price of video games gone down? You are paying for an incomplete game and have to buy addition content like DLC and Expansions just to get the complete game. Let alone the insane amount of money being made form Micro transactions. I would like to see the cost in making a entire video game vs making a cosmetic change to your character. See how much they are over charging for the amount of work they are actually doing.

  83. SYLO says:

    N64 last to use CD-Rom? are you guys this clueless? They never used CD-Roms!

  84. Brandon Brünious says:

    Meanwhile in East Malaysia, it cost RM 599.00 to RM 500.00 or RM 669.99

    Me : Dafuq?!?!

  85. Charles Aiden De Leon says:

    I play Minecraft…

    DEMO

  86. zerocool says:

    a very nutshell video. You could've gone into the price of 8 and 16 bit game carts causing a much higher price of $80+, the awesome drop in price to $49.99 for PS1 games even tho the CD had much larger storage capacity than n64 carts. Then the rise to $59.99 in 2006 for the PS3 gen. Oh and Indie games costing much less, indie physical games costing more than digital/ AAA digital and physical releases costing the same, etc.

    I really like you showed how the $60 price was divided up to the publisher, distribution, etc. I'd like to see more videos like this!

  87. Taylor Keller says:

    Ps2 games were $50

  88. The Glass Grizzly says:

    60 isn't cheap for what you get from games nowadays. Half finished, bug riddled messes devoid of life and purpose.

  89. SebbeF says:

    Too much filler.

  90. Zalan Gueth says:

    In Hungary the games are actually between 20 and 50 dollars. (I am Hungarian.)

  91. Keith Fenning says:

    Cough* Cough*
    Nintendo…

  92. Jason T says:

    I could be wrong about this but I suspect that if video game companies were hurting at this price point they wouldn't hesitate to change. HOWEVER, lets say sony got a wild hair and said "We are raising the price to $70." They run the risk of sending a bunch of consumers to xbox, nintendo or pc due to the games being cheaper. So I think in order for it to work it would have to be done across the board. Also its no secret that micro transactions are a HUGE source of profit. A gun or outfit that is sold for 5, 10 or even hundreds of dollars is spent fairly regularly. Look at how much these free to play games are grossing. Like Fortnite. It's insane. oh and speaking of $60 I just bought Borderlands 3… currently installing on my PC. Stooooooked. 🙂

  93. Vigo The Carpathian says:

    Sonic wasn't on SNES

  94. Mario Man 85 says:

    I think the better question is why are controllers sometimes are more expensive than the games?

  95. Clbull118 says:

    > Nintendo 64 was the last major home video game console to use CD-ROM.

    Say sike right now.

  96. FlamesGay says:

    Bruh new games in the philippines like, NBA 2k20 is like 20 dollars.

  97. Prestiged Vids says:

    Minecraft is 26.95 and it makes me happy, I don’t need a 60 dollar triple A game when I have blocks.

  98. Dragon Elias says:

    Alot of Nintendo games cost around 450-650 bucks

  99. False Image says:

    Games for an entire generation of consoles (xbox/ps2/gamecube) were $50 as well as $50 for a lot of n64 stuff. The 60 dollar price we know to day seems to have started with the release of the xbox 360. I could be wrong though. I am just glad we didn't have to start paying $70 when the current gen of consoles released heh.

  100. Renz Davis says:

    if people will buy a game for $20, then they will pay three times that amount.

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