2K Sports may have just revealed the special edition of their upcoming title NBA 2K21 that honors the late Kobe Bryant, but the company might also have inadvertently set the pricing standard for next-gen console games. And if so, that means gamers everywhere should expect to add $10 for each and every new title.
Since 2005, a new, full-priced game has set folks back about $59.99. That price point stands for the current-gen consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) and PC games, even over at 2K Sports; you can pre-order NBA 2K21 on current-gen and PC for $59.99. The “Mamba Forever Edition” honoring Bryant will set you back $99.99, but it comes with the added bonus of being compatible on both the PS4 / Xbox One and the PS5 / Xbox Series X when those next-gen consoles launch. However! If you want to pre-order the sports game only on next-gen consoles, they’ll set you back $69.99 each. And that could be a herald of things to come.
Obviously, the “Mamba Forever Edition” is the best buy for folks who want to play the game on their current consoles and the new ones when they arrive this Fall. However, it’s still a pricier transaction than the free upgrades from current-gen to next-gen offered by other publishers, such as CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 and Crystal Dynamics’ Marvel’s Avengers; even sports games like EA’s Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21 are getting a free bump from old to new platforms. 2K’s price structure also differs from Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system (which is essentially “One Purchase, One License, Accessibility on All Available Platforms), and whatever Sony ultimately decides to do to bridge the technology gap.
Polygon reached out to 2K for a comment, which follows:
We believe our suggested retail price for NBA 2K21 on next-generation platforms fairly represents the value of what’s being offered: power, speed and technology that is only possible on new hardware. While we are confident that NBA 2K21 will be a monumental leap forward for the franchise and a standout visual showcase on next-generation consoles, we recognize that it’s our responsibility to prove this value to our fans and NBA 2K players. We’re looking forward to doing so and can’t wait to show more in the upcoming months to launch.
It’s interesting that the 2K rep rationalizes the $10 price increase for what the hardware allows, not what differences the same software will provide. That’s a nitpick though; prices for individual titles were bound to go up after 15 years, but it remains to be seen whether or not the rest of the industry will follow suit.
So while third-party publishers are free to set their own price points and don’t necessarily have to include a free upgrade from one system to the next, this $69.99 cost for next-gen systems could soon become standard. We don’t even have a price point for the consoles themselves yet, so stay tuned on both fronts. But would you be willing to shell out $10 more than normal to play along?