Game Makers Need To Understand No One Wants To Pay Full Price For An Old Game

The fairness of these decisions needs to be reconsidered.

Story Highlights

  • The trend of asking a steep price for re-releases of older games is quite prevalent these days, with Rockstar’s recent Red Dead Redemption port being the latest addition.
  • Sony’s decision to port its exclusives to PC is highly welcome, but the tall asking price after a release gap of 2 years does more harm than good for lesser-known entries.
  • Nintendo has consistently demanded unfairly high prices for its games, and seldom issues reductions or discounts, which makes pricing a much more critical issue on the platform.
  • It’s imperative to make the unjust and greedy nature of these practices known, and hope it will be considered for amendments.

Have you ever come across a port or re-release of a game you enjoyed in the past and wished to relive in the nostalgia but were immediately shocked by the ridiculously high price tag? If so, you’re certainly not alone. I frequently find myself asking the question; What is it with the publishers setting full price for a game that’s been around for quite some time?

If you’re releasing an old game to a new system, probably looking to expand its player base and bring the game more recognition, why take the risk of losing potential customers simply because they find the steep price unfair? Yet, it seems the trend continues and some games even suffered the consequences of this decision, like the recent Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart’s PC port, and now the recent Red Dead Redemption is doing the same.

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Red Dead Redemption’s Asking Price Remains Controversial

There isn’t a gamer that doesn’t know Rockstar. GTA‘s immense popularity aside, Red Dead Redemption 2 is widely accepted as among the best games ever. The second game enjoyed enormous popularity, but the first was not that well-known because of its unavailability. It was only available on PS3 and Xbox 360. Thus, the news of the game receiving a modern console port was an overwhelming surprise, as many players who enjoyed Red Dead Redemption 2 never even got to play the first game.

However, this release brought some controversies. The first thing to note is the platforms it came out on. A huge chunk of the RDR2 player base comprises PC gamers, yet RDR1 wasn’t released on the platform, enraging PC users. The most substantial complaint, however, was the high price demand. It is a more than a decade-old game, now released as a simple port, yet Rockstar demanded $50 for this re-release.

A $50 price tag for a simple Red Dead Redemption port is CRAZY. The game is 13 years old, there’s no multiplayer included, there aren’t many visual improvements, and it isn’t even releasing for PC or PS5 directly.
by u/Trevor_58 in reddeadredemption

If this were a remake or a remaster, the price would have been more justified. That would make it a brand-new game worthy of the price tag. But it’s a port of the PS3/X360 game with no additional features and upgrades, simply re-releasing for modern systems. Demanding full price for this sort of port is highly unfair, and thus has resulted in a pretty strong opposition by the players

Sony’s Steep Pricing of PC Ports

PlayStation has always been brilliant with its exclusives. It’s no wonder the demand for PlayStation’s exclusives among PC players was so high. Thus, Sony’s decision to actively push out PC ports was a pretty big deal. However, this also became a business opportunity. PC ports were released 2 or more years after the game’s initial release, and when they did, it was with a sturdy price tag. 

Sony is slowly pushing its exclusives to PC, but what about the high price tag?
Sony is slowly pushing its exclusives to PC, but what about the high price tag?

By that time, the game on PlayStation systems would be available cheaper, yet PC ports cost a fortune. Take a look at Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. When this immensely sought-after title finally came to PC, it also brought a whopping $60 price tag. This was effectively a 4-year-old game released with such a high price. I’m not saying the game is bad or not worth getting, but the price is a little difficult to justify when it is available cheaper on PS5.

Initially, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered was available only as a bundle on PS5. Miles Morales’ Ultimate Edition included both of these games for $70. For just $10 more than the PC port, you can get two complete games. Similarly, it was released as a standalone entry on PS5 for $50, still lower than PC. Couple that with no regional pricing on launch, and you get an overpriced port that although is an excellent game, has a difficult-to-accept price.

Still, this was an enormously popular game and did great despite the high price. The problem arose for lesser-known exclusives. When they finally got a chance at the spotlight, they were regrettably ignored due to poor strategies like pricing. Take Returnal for example. An exceptional throwback to the bullet-hell genre, yet ignored on PC due to non-existent marketing and a high price tag.

It's a shame Returnal's epic adventure flew under everyone's radar due to Sony's poor strategies
It’s a shame Returnal’s epic adventure flew under everyone’s radar due to Sony’s poor strategies

Moreover, Consider Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. You’re releasing a game that has zero presence on the platform, and then putting it up with a $60 price tag? No one would risk spending $60 for a game they barely know, and also a 2-year-old game available cheaper on PS5. On the other hand, an acceptable price tag would have brought in more players and increased the series’ fan base. This pricing issue was a primary reason for the port’s lackluster reception. 

Lastly, not the port but the PS5 version of The Last of Us 1’s remake suffered the same problem. A landmark game that had aged beautifully and was in no need of a remake, received one nonetheless and then was priced at $70 on top of that. Both of these factors when came together, created the perception that the studio is only interested in making money off the projects it knows are popular, with no care for the players’ demands.

I am confident that i am one of the biggest fan of The last of us franchise, but 80$ for a game that i had paid for 2 times now? Such a slap to the face….
by u/Doom_C25 in thelastofus

Nintendo Has Always Been Cruel With Its Prices

Sony did make some poor pricing choices for its games, but at least we had sales and discounts to look forward to. The consistent offender of the pricing issue is Nintendo, however. The company has remained pretty strict with its prices; even simple ports cost considerably high. On top of that, they retain their price tags for years, seldom getting reductions or discounts.

Am I crazy for thinking Switch Game Prices are too high since initial release
by u/cool-guy867 in NintendoSwitch

Once a game releases with a particular price in the store, you can forget about ever getting it cheaper. In addition, the Switch ports of many Wii games are still sitting at high prices, despite being available at less cost on the Wii. Take Skyward Sword HD for example. It was a port of a years-old Wii game with some changes, though not big enough to justify a $60 price tag compared to the $20 on Wii U.

Similarly, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze falls in the same category. It’s a Wii U game with just a single character as an additional bonus. I don’t see how that’s anywhere near enough to jump the game up to $60 on the Switch when it is available on the Wii for $20. Most of Nintendo’s Wii games have continued to follow this trend of ridiculous prices just for jumping systems.

Why is the Switch version of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze so expensive?
by u/Edge_of_Happiness in NintendoSwitch

The most cruel cash-grab has to be Super Mario 3D All-Stars. It was simply a collection of three games in their original, unaltered state with no improvements whatsoever, yet Nintendo felt a $60 price tag would be appropriate for it. And to add on, it was a limited-time release after which the game was taken off sale. This resulted in the game going for ridiculous prices in some stores. Still, people bought it, so it’s all a cry on deaf years.

Super Mario 3D All Stars is simply an unaltered collection of old games
Super Mario 3D All Stars is simply an unaltered collection of old games

Moving on, we have the Skrim Anniversary Edition on Nintendo Switch, which costs a whopping $70. Skyrim is a more than a decade-old game, which is available substantially cheaper on other platforms ($49.99 initial price, now available for $31). Then, why is it sitting at an outrageous price of $70 on the Switch? It runs considerably worse on the platform yet somehow costs a fortune more than its competitor platforms.

Charging Full Price For Old Games Needs To Be Discouraged

I understand there are multiple factors included in pricing like development costs, but simple ports costing full price is a trend that needs abolishment. If you wish to introduce a game to a newer audience who weren’t aware of it, a more reasonable price should be the starting point. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t be interested in dropping $60-70 for a game I barely know anything about; it’s a risky bet.

Still, whether it be remasters, ports to newer consoles, or a prior game’s re-release to the Nintendo systems, the company remains unhinged with its pricing. What’s more surprising is that although there is opposition, people still buy the game eagerly. It’s common knowledge that this step reassures the company that it can smoothly do business even with steep prices.

If it works, there’s no need to fix it; that’s the prevalent mentality. Thus, it’s important to make the need for more suitable pricing known. Publishers need to consider if it’s fair to charge a particular price, and even if the base price is high, at least plan reductions and discounts after releases to attract more audience. I hope it is not just another ignored plea but something that is given meaningful thought.

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Amama Farrukh is a News Reporter on eXputer who’s been passionate about playing and writing about games since an early age. As a die-hard God of War fan, she’s really into gory hack-and-slash titles that get her adrenaline pumping. She’s got a bachelor's in Business Administration and several years of experience reporting on the gaming industry. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration || Previously worked as a Freelancer || Published 100+ News Stories

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