Games Inbox: Do video games need a price cut?


Games Inbox: Do video games need a price cut?

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Spider-Man 2 – could the third one be done on a lower budget? (Picture: Sony)

The Wednesday letters page remembers the glory days of GAME and its midnight openings, as one reader decides to say goodbye to his Xbox Series X.

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Half the price, double the audience
Interesting to hear the Saber Interactive guy talk about games needing to cut their budgets and get rid of the £70 price tag. I completely agree on both points, but I really can’t imagine the EAs and Ubisofts of this world going along with that.

It seems to me that the problems we’re currently seeing could easily be solved by just taking a step back and winding in the budgets, but apparently that’s just too much to ask? I guess it’s a general business thing but reeling in previous excesses seems like something most companies are just completely unwilling to do.

Cut the budgets in half and cut the prices in half and I’m certain that you’d seed a huge rise in the number of people buying them. Worried there’s no growth in console gaming? Maybe if people could actually afford more than a few new games a year that wouldn’t be a problem.

No one at the wheel
It is a shame the Switch 2 wasn’t released this year after all, as I do feel there’d be a lot less negativity if we had that to look forward to and awesome next gen Nintendo games. At the moment, it’s hard to be positive when so little is on the cards and Sony and Microsoft are both acting so suss.

I did like the Star Wars Outlaws trailer, so that’s good, but what we’re missing at the moment is some industry leadership. I’ve seen Sony pretend that’s their role, but they’ve been so awful the last year or so that they can never claim that again.

I think it also proves that Nintendo can’t step into their shoes either. No matter how good Nintendo’s games and hardware are they’re too obsessed with doing their own thing to be an industry leader. I think the lack of authority is making the current situation worse, with publishers seeming just as directionless as Sony, even though they’re not technically doing anything wrong.

The Last Jedi
I really liked that Star Wars Outlaws trailer. I’m not sure about the main character, who seems a little too obviously good to be a scoundrel, but I love the graphics and the scale and the Star Wars-y nature of it all. As long as it reviews well then I am definitely interested in picking it up, even if August is such a weird release date for a big game it makes me wonder if something is up.

My bigger concern is that this may be one of the last big budget, amazing looking single-player games. Sony has been cutting down on them for a while now, but EA only just announced it was and Xbox still has a whole bunch of games to get out, before it can change direction.

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I’m not sure what Ubisoft’s plan is, but if Outlaws does well I’ll be very interested to see if it gets a sequel.

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Cross-gen barrier
The phrase ‘biggest technological leap ever in a generation’ is interesting because you wonder would it could end up being. It’s nice knowing it’s in an internal memo, as that suggests it’s the target they’re setting for people working on it.

However, I think none of us will be that surprised if we don’t agree the final results match the statement. You’ve also got to wonder about the practicalities of it. They’ve committed to Call Of Duty running on the Switch/PlayStation and given they’ve started experimenting with other games being multiplatform, it’s not like they can build something radically different and still release on those platforms.

I’d also expect the trend of games being built to work on older hardware to be even more common with the next generation of devices. Limiting the realities of what a technological leap could be even further.

GC: Those are some very good points.

Good old days
If I’m totally honest I’m surprised GAME is still going. Geels like only yesterday they was open at midnight for the launch of a top game, normally Call Of Duty or GTA 4 or 5. There was nothing like standing outside a shop in the middle of winter, waiting for 12.01am to show up so they could start selling it. And then soon as you’ve got the game, running out the shop to get home, to start installing and updating.

Only problem is that was 20 years ago. Now people can’t be bothered to walk down to the shop to buy the game (and get it cheaper) but rather pay extra so they don’t have to get up to swap discs over. They was really great days.

Lost glories
So GAME are struggling and the future of the company is not looking too good. I haven’t brought any games from them in ages. I used to be a regular customer, going all the way back to the days when they were known as Electronics Boutiques. I’m sure Mike Ashley will blame their troubles on the digital era. Which I can partly agree with as it must have had a big impact. But I still buy a lot of my games physically. So why did I stop?

That’s easy, they became far too expensive compared to the likes of Asda, Amazon, and Currys. Also, charging an extra £5 to pre-order and a game they will already have in stock is a complete joke. Stopping trade-ins was for me the final nail in the coffin.

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My local store is hidden away on the top floor of Sports Direct, so I think it has been largely forgotten about by the high street shoppers anyway.

So, I have fond early memories and I feel sad for how it has ended up. It’s the end of an era, as I cannot see anyway back for them now and can see them closing down altogether eventually.
Tony- -1975 (PSN ID)/SW-4453-8520-2043 (Switch)

Exacerbating the problem
It seems pointless for Sony and Microsoft to plan next generation consoles if all these hi-res 4K games are already too expensive to develop for the current generation of consoles.

Will the extra graphical horsepower actually be used often enough (if at all) to justify new consoles? I don’t really include Nintendo in this, as they are always about creativity and innovation when they release new hardware.

Attic attack
Let me start by adding some background: I’m 39 and have been playing computer games since the Mega Drive came out, and have owned PlayStations, Xboxes, and Nintendo. I’ve never considered myself a hardcore gamer, but in my younger years I did enjoy sinking many hours into Call Of Duty and various racing games. I currently own an Xbox Series X, but since its release my interest has steadily decreased, mainly due to me being more of a casual gamer which seems incompatible with what Xbox offers these days.

I was excited about this generation, but when I want action-packed games which I can complete in 10-20 hours all I found was a bloated mess taking months to complete and made me feel like I was holding down a second job. The gameplay was repetitive and most of it unnecessary, which quickly sucked the fun out of it for me. My once trusted format of racing games even went with the massive let down that is Forza Motorsport (never been more disappointed in a game).

The problem for me is that games are way too long and require hours and hours just to get anything out of them. Even Forza fell into this trap and targeted people who spend lots of time with tuning and building cars, whereas I just wanted to race, and it’s no longer the series I enjoyed playing.

Yes, games should evolve, but to me this is the wrong direction. They just aren’t accessible to a lot of people anymore. I have no problem with people who enjoy grinding and putting all of their time into games, if that’s your thing then fair play to you. But I imagine when you get older, and have a family like I do, this demographic gets a lot smaller. Some of us just want the big games but in a way we can enjoy them.

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For example, can many people say that Starfield is great the way it is, and if it lost 20-40 hours of its content it would ruin the game completely? Thats why I’ve made the decision to take a hiatus from my Xbox. It’s just not the same anymore, and I can’t remember the last game I really got into and enjoyed.

Maybe it’s time for me to move on to other things, maybe our paths will cross at some point in the future and my excitement for what Xbox can offer comes back. But for now Xbox, this is goodbye. Thank you for the memories.

Inbox also-rans
Paying £70,000 for a copy of something as ordinary as Castlevania is just an offensive use of money. I like to think if I had that sort of cash to throw around, I’d put it into something more worthwhile than something you can play on a dozen difference systems for only a few pounds.

Is it me or is Bungie starting to hint that there might be a Destiny 3 after all? I’m not sure how much I care after all this time but I know I’m certainly done with Destiny 2.

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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