Opinion: Sony’s Pricing Model is Fucking Dumb

I realize I’m a couple days late on this, but I feel compelled to speak out about it. Sony’s current pricing strategy for games is the stupidest shit I’ve ever seen. Don’t go mistaking this for Sony hate born out of some misguided console war crusade. I say this as someone who enjoys video games. And as someone who enjoys video games I don’t want to see this evil EA style nonsense become mainstream.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Sony is currently engaged in a strategy whereby they intend to charge players an upgrade fee in order for them to play their PlayStation 4 games on a PlayStation 5. Yes, seriously. Sony wants players to pay an additional fee to play a game they already own on new hardware, otherwise they won’t be able to reap the full benefits of that new hardware.

I should clarify, this is only for games which are releasing on both PlayStation 4 and 5. You see Sony wants to charge seventy dollars for games, but didn’t have the spine to raise prices across the board. Only the PlayStation 5 branded copies of the games will have the new premium price, while PlayStation 4 copies of the game will remain at sixty dollars. Unfortunately, this has lead to a completely asinine pricing scheme where the company wants to hold the graphical settings in your games hostage.

As it stands, Sony is effectively charging an additional ten dollars for graphical settings. As someone who almost exclusively plays games on PC the notion of having to pay extra for the privilege of using enhanced graphical settings is appalling. Can you imagine buying a new GPU and as soon as you boot up your favourite game you’re hit with a message informing you that you need to pay ten dollars to play the game with your new hardware? No because that’d be fucking stupid. Yet that is exactly what is being done here.

Last generation we saw both Microsoft and Sony adopt hardware and software specifications that ran closely inline with what is currently the standard on PC. At the time of their release, it was speculated that this was done with the intention of allowing hybrid generations that would allow games to be released easily across multiple pieces of hardware much like how things are done on PC. This has the advantage of not requiring developer to rebuild significant portions of their games when a generational shift happens, while also allowing them to become increasingly familiar with the tools and hardware they’re working with. In essence, consoles had become tiny living room PCs.

As such, consoles should adopt the same pricing structure as PC. There aren’t several different branded versions for different hardware: there is simply one version of the game. Everyone pays the same entrance fee, but their graphical experience with the game is determined by how much of a premium they were willing to put forward on hardware. If Sony wants to charge seventy dollars for their new games then they should be charging that across the board rather than selectively charging based on the SKU you purchase. Charging sixty for a functionally identical version of the game, claiming it is different, and locking graphical enhancements behind an additional ten dollar price tag is frankly disgraceful.

If you own a PlayStation get out there and demand better. Can you imagine how frustrating it’d be if Sony asked for an additional fee for you to take advantage of the extra power afforded by using a PlayStation 4 Pro? Because that’s exactly what they’re doing with the PlayStation 5.

6 thoughts on “Opinion: Sony’s Pricing Model is Fucking Dumb

  1. I’m fairly certain it’s not but I do wonder how much of this is born out from the limitations on the installation base given current restrictions in being able to move forward at pace into the current generation. You’d normally have seen healthier numbers which through economies of scale would have driven down prices with a broader audience but with a much narrower target audience, they need to do something to generate income. Maybe, seems like a bad move but do feel peeling back the layers its being driven by outside conditions as opposed to a simplistic notion of being bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only problem with that theory is that the PS5 is presently outselling the PS4 despite the shortage of stock.

      Ref: https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/28/22597784/sony-ps5-playstation-5-sales

      I’m not surprised that Sony, or any company for that matter, wanted to raise the base price of games as they’ve been stagnant at 60 dollars for some time now. What I really take issue with here is that they didn’t do it across the board. The play seems to be that the PS5 version is different enough to justify the additional price, but all that’s effectively done is lock increased performance settings behind an additional paywall. If Sony wanted to raise the price of their games I think they’d have to do all or nothing, else you end up with the current situation which appears to be just as much of a PR disaster as raising the price on PS4 games would be.

      Like

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