Capcom President Says ‘Game Prices Are Too Low’

In comments this past weekend, Capcom president Haruhiro Tsujimoto asserted that video game prices are too low, pointing to the massive increase in development costs and how game prices haven’t risen at the same rate. He suggested that increasing the price of games would be a “healthy option” for the industry.

It was only a year ago that the era of $70 video games really began, as numerous “AAA” releases—like Gotham Knights and God of War Ragnarök—began selling for $10 more than what players had come to expect. Now in 2023, around half of AAA games from large publishers have adopted the new $70 price point. Yet Capcom is one of the few publishers that’s abstained from raising prices thus far. It has continued to sell new games, like Street Fighter 6, at $60 instead of $70. But that might be changing.

According to a September 23 report from Nikkei, Tsujimoto spoke at the Tokyo Game Show about various topics. While speaking at the event, the president of Capcom reportedly explained that he felt the price of video games was “too low.”

“Development costs are about 100 times higher than during the Famicom era, but software prices have not gone up that much,” said Tsujimoto, referring to Nintendo’s massively successful 8-bit console from the 1980s. “There is also a need to raise wages. Considering the fact that wages are rising in the industry as a whole, I think raising unit prices is a healthy option for business.”

Tsujimoto further explained that even a recession or society’s low general confidence in the business world shouldn’t matter when it comes to game prices, saying that those factors have “little to do with the game industry” and that people still bought games even during the Lehman Brothers stock collapse in 2008.

“Just because there’s a recession doesn’t mean you won’t go to the movie theater or go to your favorite artist’s concert. High-quality games will continue to sell,” said Tsujimoto.

Video game prices will likely go up, even if gamers don’t like it

There’s no doubt that in 2023 it costs a lot more to make a video game than it did in 1983. Games are bigger and more complex than ever before, requiring more people, time, and resources to create. Even many “smaller” games are still vastly bigger and more complex than any game released in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

But games today are also jam-packed with always-online requirements, cosmetic stores, and paid “battle passes.” Sometimes the argument made is that these things are needed for publishers to make money and if prices on games were raised these microtransactions and other annoyances would go away. However, looking at how many $70 games still contain all of that stuff in 2023, I’m not so sure about that.

Regardless, the industry can’t sustain this pace forever. As games get bigger and bigger, failures become riskier, and trying something new becomes more unlikely. Something has to change. And given the choice, publishers will probably increase the price you pay for big games like the next Halo or Grand Theft Auto in the coming years, perhaps even past $70.


Nintendo President Teases Smoother Transition To Switch 2

A Splatoon 2 Switch OLED sits on the pavement.

Image: Nintendo

One of the biggest questions about Nintendo’s next console is how it will treat everyone who’s built up a massive library of games on the Switch. Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser isn’t ready to spill the beans about the Switch 2 yet, but he is teasing a smoother transition to the company’s next console in a new interview with Inverse.

Following reports that Nintendo recently showed off its successor to the Switch behind closed doors at Gamescom, questions have been swirling about the new console’s specs and potential backwards compatibility with the existing hardware. Will a Switch 2 support physical cartridges and digital downloads? Or will players have to buy some of the best games Nintendo’s ever made all over again?

Bowser wouldn’t comment on the Switch 2 reports but he did say that Nintendo Accounts, which track user data across consoles, will be a key part of bringing players over to the next console. “In the past, every device we transitioned to had a whole new account system,” he told Inverse. Creating the Nintendo Account will allow us to communicate with our players if and when we make a transition to a new platform, to help ease that process or transition.”

He continued:

Our goal is to minimize the dip you typically see in the last year of one cycle and the beginning of another. I can’t speak to the possible features of a new platform, but the Nintendo Account is a strong basis for having that communication as we make the transition.

While that’s not a guarantee that everything will carry over between the Switch and Switch 2, or whatever Nintendo’s next gaming machine is, it’s at least an attempt to potentially assuage some fans’ concerns about the move. That’s not nothing, especially coming from a company that has historically been happy to try completely new things from one console cycle to the next and get players to buy games they already own all over again on new platforms. Plus any dramatic departures this time around would mean abandoning the Switch’s 130 million install base, a risky move as competition between platforms gets more fierce.

Competitors like Microsoft and Sony have already been doing this with the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, both of which register users’ purchase from the prior console generation. While Nintendo hasn’t always been at the cutting edge of online functionality, it does have a pretty good track record with backwards compatibility. The Wii supported GameCube discs, and the Wii U supported Wii discs. On the handheld side, the DS supported Game Boy Advance cartridges and the 3DS supported DS cartridges. Hopefully the Switch 2 follows a similar pattern. Nintendo has previously stated that it won’t announce new hardware until April 2024 at the earliest.