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Ubisoft says it won’t raise next-gen game prices (for now)

In contrast to 2K Games’ $69.99 NBA 2K21

Viking raider Eivor battles an enemy warrior in a snowy setting from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Image: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Ubisoft will keep its same pricing strategy for its next-generation games coming this fall, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said during an earnings call Wednesday. Video games released during the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launch windows will remain $59.99 — at least, for now.

This is in contrast to a statement made by NBA 2K21 publisher 2K Games that its next-gen basketball game would cost $69.99, while the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia’s version will remain $59.99. 2K Games said that Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 players won’t get a free next-gen upgrade, like other publishers of cross-gen games are offering.

Current-gen video games have largely cost $59.99 for 15 years, since 2005 when the Xbox 360 was released. Standard prices didn’t increase when the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One came out in 2013. 2K Games’ announcement of its $10 increase signaled, to many, an industry-wide price increase was coming. It’s statement was the first on next-gen pricing — and Ubisoft’s announcement means there’s clearly no consensus between publishers regarding prices — at least, not yet. Ubisoft’s wording during the call leaves room for a price increase at some point in the future — the statement specified that its “Christmas releases” would remain $59.99, with no increase planned right now.

It’s entirely possible that Ubisoft will increase prices for fully next-gen games. During the call, Guillemot was careful in his wording that the focus for this pricing was on the games released this holiday season. The publisher plans to release Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla later this year on current and next-gen platforms.

Third-party game publishers typically set their own upgrades, and are free to decide whether or not they’ll include cross-generational upgrades for free. Many publishers are promising just that, though: CD Projekt Red will offer one for Cyberpunk 2077, Crystal Dynamics for Marvel’s Avengers, and Electronic Arts for two sports titles, Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21. Microsoft, too, has a system in place for this with its Smart Delivery feature. However, neither Sony nor Microsoft have announced the pricing on their first-party games, and it’s clear there’s no standard yet.

We’ve reached out to Ubisoft for more information.

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