Video Games: Price vs. Quality

Credit: Nintendo Caption: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Switch available for preorder now.

Credit: Nintendo Caption: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Switch available for preorder now.

Brooks Gannon, Staff Writer

Ever since the start of the pandemic, the video game industry has seen many challenges. Games have been delayed, released with many glitches and bugs, developers working as hard as they can for little reward, and all the while, game prices have been going up. In addition, many releases still need to be completed, relying on separate purchase downloadable content (DLC) to get the entire game. This series of events has upset many fans, but they continue to buy exceptionally high-budget high-cost games called AAA games (pronounced triple a).

The rising cost of producing and purchasing a AAA game has gone up due to an increase in the workforce needed; the cost of making a game has gone up due to the same inflation driving up the prices of our everyday needs like gas and homes, and food. With that buying, a game at the total price will run you about 60 to 70 USD. Therefore, the cost to produce a AAA game is about 60 to 80 million USD. This increase has been questioned by fans who have bought full-priced, broken games from companies such as EA, CD Projekt Red, and even Nintendo.

The changes have affected many people worldwide, including some at Wheeler High. Owen Gustafson (10) has been affected by the rising prices and declining quality of his games. He said that he thinks the decline in quality results from increased demand for games, leading companies to rush them to appease the masses. When asked if he preorders games, he responded that he used to but has stopped due to a lack of trust. Owen thinks that the quality will increase and the prices will be reasonable, but doing so will cost companies a lot of money. Aaron Bishop (12) hasn’t been affected by rising prices but by declining quality. Seen especially in Pokemon Violet, where he explained how he felt, “Unsurprisingly disappointed.” Venus Hall (10) hasn’t been able to enjoy newer games since they’re all too expensive. As a Pokemon fan like Aaron, she was disappointed by Scarlet and Violet as well as Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which she was upset with after she preordered them. She described her feelings as “Not great. It made me very angry.” Mallorie McCollough (11) doesn’t play video games. The situation was laid out for her, and she responded that the decline in quality seemed to result from sloppy work on the developer’s end and that the price of the games would be acceptable if the games had a rate worthy of the price tag.

The main question about the rise of prices and decline in quality is why? The obvious answers are inflation and corporate greed, but here is another. Preorders. The games “Cyberpunk 2077” and “Pokemon Scarlet and Violet” are prime examples. Cyberpunk had massive hype leading up to its release as a barely functional game due to people preordering it in droves. They were lured in by preorder bonuses and star Keanu Reeves performing in the game via motion capture technology. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet sold 10 million copies in its first three days of release, even though it was a glitchy mess. With the draw of preorder bonuses and carefully executed trailers and teasers, people will fork over their money before the game is finished and before any creators or reviewers can even report on whether the game is good. Inflation is a challenge that the everyday consumer can’t easily combat, but deception is. Companies must know that they work in an age where reputation is critical, and people can stop them. People need to stop preordering AAA games and wait for reviews so that companies will set later deadlines giving their producers time to make a functional game and ensuring that consumers get a product worth their hard-earned money.

Credit: Nintendo Caption: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Switch available for preorder now.

Credit: Nintendo Caption: Coin representing Money