NBA 2K21 is the first game to have its price announced as higher on next-generation hardware, as the standard edition of the game will cost $69.99 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Unlike other games such as Cyberpunk 2077, owners of the standard $59.99 game on current platforms won’t get a free copy when it launches on new hardware. However, if you purchase the $99.99 “Mamba Forever” edition which will somehow honor the late basketball All-star Kobe Bryant, you’ll get the next-gen version for free as well.
The $59.99 pricepoint has been fixed since the launch of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In the 15 or so years since, a simple inflation calculator suggests the current price of games would be $78.76 if kept at the same real value, so even that $70 price is actually less than consumers would pay in 2005.
And while we’re doing math here, the U.K. price is increasing from £59.99 to £64.99, roughly an increase from $74.78 to $81.01.
Add to that the ever-increasing cost of producing games for more advanced hardware and the push for games to have larger worlds and longer runtimes, and this price increase was an inevitability. Developers have tried to offset these costs through limited editions, microtransactions, loot boxes, DLC and more, but many of these decisions negatively impact the game’s quality, prey on vulnerable people for their money or add even more work for the developers.
Nobody likes paying more money, but for games to keep evolving, this seems like it just had to happen, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other games soon following suit.
NBA 2K21 launches Sept. 4 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia and PC, and will launch on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in holiday 2020.