How much should we be paying for games?

Rand price increase money

With the highly-contentious release of No Man’s Sky, consumers are once again asking about whether we are paying too much for our favourite hobby.

Despite its numerous technical achievements, many are arguing that No Man’s Sky is not worthy of its $60 (R850+) price tag, as various other survival/exploration games are available for a fraction of the cost and arguably offer more content.

In contrast, games like The Witcher 3, Skyrim or Mass Effect all offer hundreds of hours of gameplay for the same price.

Yes, these are RPGs and not survival/exploration titles, but they have much bigger development teams and should cost much more to make.

In fact, very rarely do we account for factors like the size of the team (compare the size of Hello Games’ original ten man team compared to the hundred or so who worked on Skyrim), how the game is being funded and who is publishing it.

Speaking to RockPaperShotgun, the indie team behind Brigador explained that consumers do not fully understand how much a game actually costs to make:

We have spent 5 years making Brigador, if you include when we started building the engine.

5 years.

Much of that has been working full time, 6-7 days a week, 8+ hours a day. Even at a very conservative estimate that’s over 10,000 hours of work per person, and there are 4 of us. We did not do a kickstarter, we do not have a publisher. We have funded this entire project out of pocket.

Video games still offer the best “dollar to hour” value according to Get Data, and that’s assuming you bought the game at full price on release.

This is in part because of length and replayability, and because pricing has remained virtually unchanged since the inception of commercial gaming, only really adapting with inflation.

Get Data


How much should games cost? Let us know in the comments below and in our forums.

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