02 Jul 2021 2:13 PM +00:00

Sony's PS5 Game Price Increase Feels More Baffling Than Ever

Yesterday saw Ghost of Tsushima's Director's Cut announced, a PS5 version of 2020's excellent Samurai adventure with some new bells and whistles, chief among them a new story DLC with a new location.

As someone that really enjoyed Sucker Punch's open-world epic, I'm excited to experience it again, but I can't help but feel that Sony's pricing model is tone-deaf.

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Sony's PS5 Game Price Increase Feels More Baffling Than Ever

In case you missed it, there was a pandemic last year. Millions lost their jobs around the globe, and while lockdown and isolation undoubtedly meant many reconnected with gaming, for others it was a luxury hobby that could be ill-afforded with a lower income.

That made it somewhat surprising when Sony announced that its next-gen titles for the PlayStation 5 would retail at $69.99/£59.99 - around ten dollars/pounds more than the previous generation.

The thing was, many that were lucky enough to snag a PS5 had to roll with it, and perhaps many felt Sony had earned that right. After all, a cursory glance at the PS4 generation, with titles like God of War, The Last of Us Part II, Ratchet and Clank, Marvel's Spider-Man and, of course, Ghost of Tsushima showed that if there's one thing Sony does incredibly well, it's big-budget exclusives.

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Nintendo also knows the value of its IP. That's why The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild costs the same £50 now as it did in 2017, and why Mario Kart 8: Deluxe costs the same - despite being a re-release of a Wii-U game.

Sony arguably isn't wrong to place a premium on its titles, but the company's insistence on doing so in the wake of a pandemic and subsequent financial changes is made all the more stark when compared to its other competitor, Microsoft.

For all the Twitter memes about Xbox Game Pass, it really has shaken up the distribution model and conventions of delivering games. At its most expensive, it offers over a hundred games on PC and two generations of Xbox hardware for $10/£10 per month, and at its cheapest, it offers the same for $1/£1.

Microsoft is also offering Smart Delivery as a way to upgrade Xbox One games to Xbox Series S/X compatible versions, something Sony is charging $9.99 for in Ghost of Tsushima's case (albeit prior upgrades have been free for other games).

Between price hikes and paid upgrades, plus the continual discussion about Sony's indie relations, it feels a little like the king's crown is slipping - even if just a tad. Ironically, these feel like the kind of grumbles that could've been levelled at the 2013-era of Xbox.

Here's hoping the company remembers the all-encompassing 'For the Players' mentality that helped it reign supreme last generation.