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Titanfall’s price on Xbox One is a sign of a larger problem with games today

by on March 12, 2014
 

titanfall

It takes a considerable amount of money to play a modern game on the current set of consoles, and the price is only getting higher.

Microsoft is the most egregious with its pricing model. An Xbox One retails for $500 and to access most of its third-party features like Netflix and Hulu, and to play online multipayer games, you need the $60 a year Xbox Live Gold subscription. As GamingBolt pointed out today, Titanfall, the already-popular shooter, is an multiplayer only game, making it essentially $120. It’s important to keep in mind that the subscription fee also includes access to severral other features, but there’s no getting around a price like that when a parent or someone not familiar enough with Xbox Live finds he or she needs to pay that much to play Respawn Entertainment’s new game. I too have been in retail when a parent wants to get Minecraft for their child to play with his or her friends but quickly realize they’ll need to purchase Xbox Live Gold.

Sony’s PlayStation Plus will also require a $50 a year subscription to play multiplayer online games, it just so happens the PlayStation 4 (which costs $400 itself) doesn’t have a game that’s similar to Titanfall yet. That time will come.

The Wii U would be the best option but its lesser hardware and lack of third-party games makes it a harder choice.

But by that logic, games pretty much require an internet connection. Internet is expensive and pretty slow for what you get, depending on where you live. Some more rural areas don’t even have the option. Those people are cared for less and less with games because many big releases need patches on the day of release that fix critical problems, and for others, half of the game is built to be played with other people online. If you don’t have internet, you’re clearly missing out.

And if we take it even further, lots of newer games work much better on high definition screens–things like on-screen text can be illegible on standard definition screens. HDTVs aren’t necessarily expensive, but it’s another cost if you don’t own one.

At least we got rid of one cost almost: controllers. Fewer games have local multiplayer which means you don’t have to buy four $50 controllers for your friends. This is certainly not applicable to every game but I’d bet there’s significantly less people with a basket of spare controllers around, unless maybe they’re in a family or prone to physical destruction when angered.

So, no, I wouldn’t call it “marketing genius” I’d call it a worrying barrier to entry for the medium, especially compared to say a novel or a movie. Big, blockbuster games are expensive to make and play. The rise of independently developed and cheap mobile games might be helping lower costs for fun experiences, but the base price just to stay current is still large. And if the end goal is for more and more people of different ages and backgrounds to play games, something might need to change about that.

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  • Cozomel
    March 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Your article is wrong on so many levels, and this is coming from a sony guy.

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  • ChitownJ
    March 12, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    This article is nonsense. Why would you place the entire weight of XBL Gold price on Titan Fall alone? Stop it. You should at least have mentioned that should any other on line only game come out during your subscription the additional $60 would have been covered.

    Now the price to watch Hulu or Netflix on the X1 would have been more reasonable.

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  • March 12, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Wouldn’t say you’re wrong but it’s only fair to mention when you mention Sony’s $50 annual subscription that it’s cheaper than Xbox Live, gives you free games across ALL Sony consoles, and is NOT required for streaming video apps OR MMO games :)

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  • CDB
    March 12, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    I think your point is well taken that parents don’t anticipate a monthly fee to use the console. Not sure I’d add it into the price of the game, however.

    With respect to the WIi U, you state “lesser hardware” but that really isn’t the case. It is non-legacy hardware which is able to run much more efficiently. Lesser it is not. You are correct about 3rd party games though.

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  • Mamba
    March 12, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Give the guy a break, I am a doctor yet can’t afford to shell out so much cash for gaming despite 30 years gaming, from missile command to GTA 5. The prices and payment schemes along with the unpromising hardware, sees the first neo-consoles few people want or can afford. I have my 360 with lots of games, netflix, sky, xbox live and titanfall on it’s way, it’s not like the old days where a new console brought huge improvements, we have been coding the hell out of consoles for a decade and the very unimpressive line up of new games are already stretching the next-gen consoles. Am I really ready to offer up over half a thousand pound to play the same titles but with slightly better graphics……. not any more.

    I think this writer has gone some way at digging up an issue sony and microsoft have not paid much heed to. An informed and highly communicative community.mWe won’t fall for it simply being new and shiny. Until now, they have yet to excite or entice us. Titanfall, the most expensive multiplayer game Ever and dumbest purchase for anyone silly enough to buy an xbone just for it… It simply does not suffice.

    Sad times. If any 3rd party console builders are out there, now is the time to smash the market with some heavy hardware and VR tech.

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  • jay jones
    March 13, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    “It takes a considerable amount of money to play a modern game on the current set of consoles, and the price is only getting higher.”

    It also took a considerable amount of money to play games in during the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. A Saturn cost $399 in 1995. NES games cost $50, N64 games cost $70. I find it amazing that games still cost $60. In fact, once adjusted for inflation the cost of gaming has actually decrease. What has not keep up with inflation are wages, and that where the issue lies. The reason people can’t afford the new consoles not because the cost of gaming has increase, its because families have not seen an increase in wages.

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/10/15/the-real-cost-of-gaming-inflation-time-and-purchasing-power

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  • Vaud_Villian
    March 13, 2014 at 1:07 AM

    Its per year too, so you can say that if you want to play titanfall for 3 years, its a $240 game as long as we are being illogical.

    Oh and let us not forget if you are buying XBL for $60 annually, then you are dumb enough to deserve to. It’s regularly found in the high $30s to low $40s by bargain hunting.

    But please, keep reaching, it’s amusing to watch.

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  • Logan
    March 13, 2014 at 2:11 AM

    If you think $500 for a xbox one or $60 for a xbox live subscription and $60 for titanfall are bad, Try living in Australia the xbox one here in Australia is $599,12 month xbox live subscription $79.95 and Titanfall (hardcopy/disk $99.95) and if on xbox live on demand $109.95 so in order for Australians to have fun in total for all 3 The console,game and subscription comes to $788.95 Compared to US total price of all 3 of $620.

    Out of all the gamers in the world the Americans have the best of everything,Even the people in the UK are being charged more than Americans.

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