i had to laugh when i read some articles warning that the price of “games” in Canada is set to rise. Self-appointed video game sage Michael Pachter predicts a return to a $69.99 price point for new-gen PS4 and Xbox One games following a low of $49.99 and $59.99 on their console predecessors. The faltering loonie has already made that prediction a reality here in Canada, with “game” prices for many titles hitting $69.99 at retailers like EB Games, Best Buy and Future Shop.
The report by Fansided clarified that these prices are for “standard games,” and that the price hikes affect “Canadian gamers,” adding that “it may be commonplace for $5 to be bumped for the majority of games going forward,” citing Game Deals Canada.
The majority of games for Canadian gamers are priced at 70 bucks, are they? That assertion didn’t smell right to me, so i decided to bust out the Stats Gun. According to the Entertainment Software Association Canada’s annual study of the Canadian video game industry, more Canadians said they play games on computers and handheld systems than they do on consoles. While console game sales still account for well over half of video game revenues in Canada (likely owing to those $70-a-pop price tags), it’s fallacious to suggest that the “majority” of games will ring up at such a high price.
i took a quick survey of the Steam storefront for Mac/PC/Linux, platforms on which 36% of Canadians said they play games, which enjoys a 95% penetration rate of ownership. At the time of writing, the average price of the games featured on Steam’s prestigious front page was $17.48 (although, to be fair, the page included a number of sales on older titles). The average cost of the top 10 paid games on Apple’s iPhone (which is among the mobile devices that 21% of Canadians use to play games), is $4.09. On the handheld front, where 44% of Canadians play, the PS Vita averaged $40.10 and the Nintendo 3DS rang it at $38.32 average per game.
The objection that would erupt from any self-proclaimed “gamer” at this point would be that Fansided was talking about “games.” You know—GAMES? Stuff like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, The Last of Us. GAAAAMES!! Not Flappy Bird. That’s not what we mean when we say “games.” i mean, Flappy Bird is a game, technically. But this report is talking about gaaames played by gaaamers. REAL games. GUY games. Like, actual REAL games on REAL consoles, where you can shoot hookers in the face and chainsaw aliens in half and cool stuff like that. Gaaames.
Incidentally, the ESAC’s report also states that 58% of Canadians self-identify as gamers , that nearly half of those gamers are female, and the average age of gamers in Canada is 31 years old. i’m confident that those resourceful grown-ups, many of whom understand the value of a buck, can find ways to get their kicks at under $70 per title.