How much more will games cost in the coming year?

4 min read
98

Rands

The South African Rand has been tanking. With the exchange rate tumbling, all imports are obviously becoming more expensive. In fact, it feels like the price of everything is going up. Gaming has always been a bit of an expensive hobby, but lately it has been feeling even less affordable. So just how much more expensive can we expect things to get?

During rAge, I sat down with Mario Dos Santos, the CEO of Ster Kinekor Entertainment. In case the stands at rAge don’t clarify things enough for you, or just out of curiosity, Ster handles the South African distribution of PlayStation consoles and corresponding Sony Computer Entertainment titles, as well as a variety of other third-party publishers’ titles. So, when I got the chance to interview him, I really only had two questions – how much more expensive will games get in South Africa, and how much will PlayStation VR cost when it launches locally? Here you can see his answers:

He sort of dodged the game price question, although we can already see that the favourable relationships with publishers are keeping prices slightly lower than we’re seeing from other publishers. Still, the average price of a new console game is sitting between R750-R900, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see that level out at about R1000 per game in the near future thanks to issues with the Rand exchange rate, as well as costs of shipping, storing and selling products of all kinds.

As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify buying new games at retail as compared to digitally (with the exception of Collector’s Editions, of course). It’s not the distributors’ fault; there’s a ton of logistics involved in getting stock into the country and making it as affordable as possible for consumers, but it’s looking like gaming is going to get even more pricey.

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Meanwhile, as excited as I am for Virtual Reality, it is going to be an extremely hard sell. It’s difficult enough to convince people to take the plunge and upgrade to the new generation consoles. If PlayStation VR is going to cost as much as the PS4 currently does, I don’t see the local market jumping on board right away. There will have to be incredibly compelling launch titles and some incredibly well-priced bundles to make that worthwhile.

With the rising cost of buying at retail, I think the local market is going to need to change dramatically. The “long-standing and trusting” relationships between distributors and publishers will certainly help, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a continuing trend towards digital distribution as people hunt for the best prices possible to keep their gaming habits affordable. Instead, local distributors will need to shift their attention towards the hardware gamers require, as well as the merchandise we all crave.

It’s far easier to justify a R300-500 merchandise purchase than a R1k game at retail. Or, perhaps, we will see retail vendors selling memory sticks with install files to help those with bandwidth concerns still be able to buy digitally with an option to buy the files from their retail outlet of choice. Whatever the new model, things are going to need to change locally, and quickly, if the local retail market and its distributors are going to survive. Otherwise, we’re all going to have to admit that Gavin was right in his predictions, and none of us want to have to admit to that. Ever.

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Last Updated: October 13, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Uberutang

    Here is an IDEA. We are part of BRICS.
    Russia, Brazil, etc Have their own gaming regions, with prices adjusted for their economies.
    WHY are we treated as either UK or US?

    • Grand Admiral Chief

      Because our government likes to steal our monies

      • Uberutang

        I dont think the gov sets gaming prices etc. That is part of the retail tail that for some reason still counts us a UK colony and not a 3rd world nation that we are.

        • Grand Admiral Chief

          I’m sure there is some Gupta deal in the back-end somewhere, which in turn lines a few pockets

          • I cannot face palm hard enough to describe this comment.

            This is not News24, not everything bad in the world is the ANC’s fault. We’ve shown on numerous occasions that our game prices are actually competitive with the rest of the world,. The only reason they seem so expensive is because our exchange rate has gone to hell thanks to the idiot Zuma.

            Crap so maybe there is an ANC link here… but it’s not corruption

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Oh come now, relax

    • Bagel

      I cant give you a straight answer, but im sure this falls back to what Electronics we import. Like i know we used to get PAL versions of games purely because we imported the PAL Playstation. Which the UK uses. The US uses NTSC or something like that.

      Region settings are dumb tho.

      • Uberutang

        I am pretty sure those things are not applicable at all when it comes to software. Perhaps the language pack that ships with the game, but that is just a patch to fix.

        • Bagel

          Well you asked why we are treated as UK or US and im sure it falls back to what i explained.

          The trust is already established with distributors etc.
          I think it is just easier. But i could be completely wrong.

          One of the biggest reasons *i think* software is shipped with region locks is specifically to combat piracy and/or that software being sold at a cheaper rate.

  • Grand Admiral Chief

    Steam specials and Humble Bundles for me I’m afraid :/

    These high prices can Get In The Filthy Sarlacc

    • Deceased

      You haven’t pre-ordered Fallout 4?

      • Grand Admiral Chief

        Nope, I have not, I have however been hammering my backlog like a crazy person. And rightfully so, I’ve got some damn fine games on my backlog that received attention

        • Commander JJ of the Normandy

          Some might say you have been Valiantly hammering your backlog

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Indeed, oh indeedadeedily so

        • Deceased

          O.O

          What I read: “Nope… crazy person…”

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            I’ve had wonderful experiences this year, and still a few to come.

            Yes, I’ll get Fallout 4, but not now

          • Deceased

            But… but…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Fallout 4 eventually, after all DLC has been released. Then we’ll see.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Agreed, in a year or two or three

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I wouldn’t be surprised by game prices going up soon. They’ve been pretty much fixed for the last few years because pubs know if they put the prices up people will bitch & moan. But costs go up every year. Which is why you get the increased focus on MTs, DLC & season passes – which explains Bovrifront’s $50 one – to make up for those increased costs.

    Unless you’re buying stuff on Steam special though, physical is almost always cheaper than digital nowadays.

  • I myself have fallen back to Indie titles between 20 and 30 dollar. Not that its a bad thing, since most of the time I get way more playtime out of Indies than actual AAA titles.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      I’m waiting on a 75% plat discount. Thank goodness I’ve got $5 sitting in my Steam wallet that I bought months before the exchange rate went bevok.

      • I did the same, loaded $50 dollars into my steam wallet when I saw the crash coming. Got a 75% Sunday and got myself the $5 dollar plat as well 😛 should keep me busy for another 100 hours.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          I need a slot for Atlas. 😀

          • I took Mirage out for a spin… she was so damn fun I leveled all the way to 30 and 3 formad my Dread, so much freaking fun!

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Got my Excalibur up to 30 this week.

            Now, I need to find all the components I need to get my damn Volt

          • O my Glob, you have no idea what crappy luck we are having with Volt P -_-

          • Commander JJ of the Normandy

            You get all the upvotes for that AT reference.

          • Just keeping it real xD

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            xD

            Well he HAS to stay in character, else IT’S A TRAP

          • I wish I could simulate the Finn girl scream as well on here…

          • Commander JJ of the Normandy

            I always laugh my ass of when he does that.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            LOOOL

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            lol. I’ve got a bunch of keys now. It will be ours! Unlike Nyx MF P. I swear I farmed Nekros and Equinox faster than Nyx P. We must also do a T3D – I just need an Ash P BP.

          • My ISP died last night, mid void. But Volt P shall be ours muhahaha!

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Who are you with? I’m with Telkom, had some weird issues, rebooted router, sorted

          • It was Vox, was down from 2pm till past midnight.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Masehare, you should have told me, I’ve got quite a few contacts there

          • Meh was not so bad compared to Afrihost or MWEB. Besides from recommendation from Vamps that I should act like a Sims character in my house while ISP was down, I proceeded to be stuck behind chairs, almost break my neck while spinning after a shower and talking gibberish… the night went by in a flash.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I used her for the first time in ages this weekend when I ran a couple of T3Exts. Love the Hall of Mirrors. Hunting for Nyx P chassis… got Nyx P systems and… Nyx P systems. FUUUUUUUUUUUU!

            Also found 3 rare containers while playing this weekend, normally a cause for celebration… Mantis BP… Mantis BP… Mantis BP. No components. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

          • How the frek do you get 3 rare containers in one weekend and I don’t see one in 300+ hours of gameplay o.O

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Found a Grineer one doing the spy mission for some quick XP on Ceres in one of the data vaults, found an Orokin one while doing a T2Sab & hunting for caches, found a Corpus one doing a syndicate mission & hunting medallions. 😀

            But yeah, it’s been months since I found any. Then 3 in 2 days haha.

          • You know how much I love SPY missions right…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Pffft they’re easy peasy. And the Grineer one on Ceres gives you a T3 key. ;P

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            And rare mods. ;P

          • You have my attention but I wont be fooled into a SPY mission that easily xD

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            The Corpus ones are annoying with their lasers, but the Grineer ones are EASY mode. Don’t even bother with a stealth frame. ;P

            And then you get those nice 50k treasury ship alerts… 😀

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            I hate the fekking Corpus

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Mag is the Corpus destroyer. I’ve been using her again since being reminded of that fact.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Thanks, will see if I can buy a blueprint

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            She’s an easy one to get early, drops from the Mars boss.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Noted, thanks
            *goes to farm Mars, also to check for water

          • A nullifier Corpus = Love

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            My last one also gave me a 30min cred booster – 250k from 10 T3 & 4 captures 😀

      • Commander JJ of the Normandy

        I pre-ordered W3 on Steam, then decided on a physical copy instead, so I’ve also luckily got quite a few cheap dollars in my steam account now. 🙂

  • Nikola

    I really hope the game prices don’t go up anymore as I prefer physical copies of game, but if it does I will probably have to revert to digital games. Now I just wish we had normal internet in SA so digital is a viable option….

  • Commander JJ of the Normandy

    It was just a matter of time.
    But considering the prices of games over the years, I’m actually surprised we’re still paying what we are for them. To be fair, the gaming industry hasn’t seen as much inflation as other markets

  • DragonSpirit009

    I really hope that prices of games don’t go any higher. I’m already struggling in life! They can’t take the only joy away from me!

  • Hammersteyn

    So I’ll buy one game every two months instead of one every month. There’s also sales and second hand games. Gonna be funny to see people fork out R1500 for a game with a season pass though

    • Commander JJ of the Normandy

      The pc gamers already think it’s funny when console gamers fork out so much for a game.
      Trolololooo

      • Grand Admiral Chief

        Hah

    • It’s R535 on the BTgames site, so that’s not so bad. But that season pass can GITFS

  • Weanerdog

    Hello backlog, time for you to get the attention you deserve.

  • Bagel

    This is why G2A and the likes will always have a market. Far to many times ive seen a half-assed product flaunt the $60 price-tag . F THAT SHIAT.

    I WILL look for cheaper options. Half-assed games going for $60 is one the main driving forces behind piracy imo. GTA Deserves $60, Assassins creed does not.

    • Commander JJ of the Normandy

      You could get Mad Max for $26 a month after release. You just need to know where to look.
      If you don’t buy on release games really aren’t that expensive.
      GTA for $60 though. No thanks.

      • Bagel

        I found Mad Max for $14 😀

        I used GTA as an example. My point was. Publishers ask for $60 weather the end product is worth it or not. IMO GTA was worth $60 on release, other games asking for $60 dont deserve to EVER be $60. Now we are looking at games being even MORE expensive. Do they deserve to be expensive? no they dont, but because the publishers logo is on the box is automatically gets the full price-tag.

        Its not about knowing where to look. Its about the price on release and the product you are getting.

        • Commander JJ of the Normandy

          I get it and I completely agree with you.
          Shadow of Mordor could have been a $40 game at release imo (if that). But Witcher 3 I will happily pay that $60 price again. Worth every penny. Then there’s something like ARK for $25 which is immense and will serve you with so many hours.
          This is where many of the games like Transistor completely overtakes the “AAA” games. You’re getting so much more quality than the “expensive” games.

          • Bagel

            I completely agree.
            And the current industry with all these embargoes and under the table paying of funds to reviewers and/or websites that are trusted for reviews, really fucks with the consumer when wanting to make an informed purchase on his/her game.

            Oh Polygon and IGN gave this game a 10/10 it must be good. it must be worth that $60.

            :c

  • oVg

    15 May 2012 Max Payne 3 was released in South Africa at a price of R699. We all went nuts, we wanted answers from 2K games. Why was it R99 more than all other games at R599?…

    So in 3.5 years its gone up R99 per year. All my gamer buddies at work do not buy games anymore. They swap. Some have not even bothered buying The Witcher 3 yet and they are hardcore PC owners.

    The PS store is also a crazy joke. The games that are Indie Japanese imports are going for R589 and those are mostly silly Anime visual novels.

    A huge gaming Recession is about to hit all those who are NOT American.

    I would love to know the turn around rate at retailers like Musica, because I always see the same games sitting on the shelf at R899 a pop.

    • Hammersteyn

      Musica survives on Kurt Darryn Dvds

      • oVg

        lol

      • hairyknees

        xD

    • Commander JJ of the Normandy

      PC gamers are a bit luckier than the console folk in this regard. I’ll admit.
      That is, of course, if you’re buying digital.

      • oVg

        Most of the PC gamers that I know have opted for going oldschool. They love playing old games that they can emulate or rip 😉 Arma4 or Mass Effect seems to be the most popular. They are just not interested in popular AAA games. One dude is asking for my advice on what game to buy next as his wife has allowed him the financial freedom to splash out on one game. These are middle class South Africans.

        Its not like the old days when we could just splash out and find what your favorite gaming preferences are. You have to do your homework these days before committing to a game purchase.

        • Commander JJ of the Normandy

          I agree. But you can get 10+ games for $6 on HumbleBundles, of or BundleStars these days. Most of them really decent games too. Sure, they’re not brand new, but that’s not even what you pay for a single person to eat at an average restaurant.
          Sure, games are expensive. But considering the inflation of the country, and all the other products we have, games have not gone up as much.
          Ten years ago a new game cost me R300 for pc. That’s 5% inflation a year, not even.
          The problem isn’t the games getting more expensive, the problem is the average South African’s income becoming worthless.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            And the rand is becoming worse and worse

          • oVg

            Ya, I live for games yet I’m averaging 1 game every 2 months lol I dont call myself a game connoisseur anymore but a gaming accountant lol

            After splashing R850 on The Order 1886 for the most expensive 5hours of entertainment of my life I decided to draw the line.

            As a console owner its darn expensive.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I think I’ve bought less games this year than I have in any of the previous 5. Think only 5 or 6, and even then only on special – only one not is the W3 expansion.

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            W3 expansion will be the ONLY thing I buy this year

          • Commander JJ of the Normandy

            That’s because you’ve been spending all your time on an F2P game ;P

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Not all, just… most. O_o

          • Bagel

            Thinking about it now. All the money i have spent in Dota2 could have been used to get a handful of new games at release.

            Im actually over the moon that i used that money on Dota and not some shitty game that will be irrelevant in 3 months 😀

          • DragonSpirit009

            I’ve only bought three games this year. All second hand. All Vita. First time I’ve done this. So I guess I’ll be waiting another two to three years before I buy a new game.

          • Bagel

            Regardless of inflation. Regardless of exchange rates, you should have never even been given the option to pay R850 for 5 hours.

            This falls back to “does the game even warrant that price tag to begin with?”

            It got hyped by reviewers and was somehow justified for that price.

          • Commander JJ of the Normandy

            Well, same here. I bought Witcher 3 new. Fallout 4 I was lucky to pre-order for R400. But those are the two new games this year for me. All the other games I got are older.
            I can’t complain though. I’m still having tons of fun, but the new game market just isn’t working so well for me anymore

          • oVg

            Im am surprised the gaming market is able to survive outside of America. How much does the middle man like CNA actually make per game sale?

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            Good question

          • Commander JJ of the Normandy

            You’ll be shocked to see what’s happening to the margins that some companies sell things at.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            If you want to be a gaming accountant you have to get a PC & come play Google Sheets online with us. ;P

      • Grand Admiral Chief

        I’d like to be paid my salary, exact same amount, but in dorrars.

        Then I be all like STEAM GAMES FOR ALL!

  • Francois Knoetze

    ok this is an old topic LG covered last year in regards to game prices last year I think. You know what, the game prices are where they usually are when the rand is crap and lower again when it stabilises, I have had PS2 games selling for R799 back in the day when the rand was crap. Its an expensive hobby but if you wait a bit and be patient the prices drop after a few months, you get psn and xbox sales etc.

  • K1FF J1MB0B (sizzle edition)

    “As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify buying new games at retail as compared to digitally”… nonsense, a digital game at R900 is way less value when you consider that it can’t be re-sold. I can buy/sell a physical game and always recover 80% of my expense when I’m done playing it.

    • Bagel

      What about online only games? Where your cdkey is linked to the Single Player and the multiplayer, Would you recover your expense’s? I dont purchase physical copies anymore. May you resell a game that requires a cd-key to login?

      • K1FF J1MB0B (sizzle edition)

        Not an issue with console gaming… the license is always associated with the disc, no CD keys. I do sell my online games too when I’ve had enough.

  • Rock789

    “As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify buying new games at retail as compared to digitally.” – not really… Particularly if you’re on PS4 – PSN prices are still more than retail for a disk, on release day. Don’t get me wrong – there are exceptions. But they’re few. For an example – the Limited Edition Batman cost R1199 on PSN, but it was R749 through pre-order with BT Games… And you got a disk! **gasp** Guess which one I bought?

    • Commander JJ of the Normandy

      The exchange rate on buying digitally is what gets me every time. Makes things exceptionally expensive.

  • MakeItLegal

    ” retail vendors selling memory sticks with install files to help those with bandwidth concerns still be able to buy digitally with an option to buy the files from their retail outlet of choice” this comment please tweeet this to BT games they need to hear it , bunch of chops

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