Could Games Go Above $70? Embracer CEO Weighs In

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Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors has commented on the possibility of raising the price of major games from the industry standard of $70 to something above that. Speaking to GI.biz, Wingefors said the video game industry is no different than other businesses in that inflation and production costs continue to rise.

Wingefors said it’s been “hard” to increase price for premium games in the console and PC space, and due to this, “the margin to success is less.” Prices beyond $70 for new game releases is not out of the realm of possibility, Wingefors said, and it might take one company being a first-mover and seeing how the market responds.

“The reality is no one has tried it. If you create an enormous RPG, for example, with 100 or 150 hours of gameplay, very polished and a unique experience, would the consumer be willing to pay more? If they would, they would have more products potentially coming to market. But no one tried it,” he said.

The executive went on to say that Embracer has been “discussing” this very thing. However, for the time being at least, Embracer is following the wider industry and keeping its price ceiling at $70. Of course, many game companies charge more than $70 for new games when considering deluxe/special editions. Many games today, including single-player titles, also have microtransaction systems built into them that provide another revenue stream for the publisher beyond the initial purchase price.

“Would it be that one [company] one day that tries to increase pricing? That remains to be seen,” he said.

Another possibility, Wingefors said, is that Embracer might consider making shorter games that could help lower costs and increase the upside potential. For what it’s worth, 2024’s best-selling game so far in the US, Helldivers II, is priced at $40 USD.

“I just believe there are consumers willing to engage in those amazing RPGs and other single-player games, and ultimately they are willing to spend money on them. Do you increase pricing, or do you make them shorter?” he said. “I think there are ways. I think it would be very sad if everything just became big multiplayer, in-game monetization titles. There are millions of consumers willing to engage more in classic games.”

Some have theorized that Grand Theft Auto VI could launch at a price above $70 for its standard edition. After all, Take-Two was one of the first companies to raise prices from $60 to $70 for new release, and some believe the company might go up another $10 for GTA 6. That remains to be seen, but CEO Strauss Zelnick said the company’s aim is to “over deliver” on value against cost.

As for Embracer, the company recently concluded a cost-cutting program that resulted in hundreds of layoffs, canceled games, studio closures, and more dramatic changes. The name Embracer is going away in the future, but Wingefors maintains the change is not due to bad press.