For Canadians, at least those that enjoy playing videogames on consoles, it’s going to be a long, joyless road ahead. It’s not that there are significantly less releases than in the past or that the average quality has dropped. No, the problem is much wider and far-reaching than that, and affects more than just videogames – but since this is a gaming-focused website, let’s focus on that.
Console games are just too goddamn expensive.
Since our dollar started sagging, the price of games (mostly console games) have shot way up*. Take a look at Amazon, or Future Shop, or EBGames. See the common thread? The average price of games has risen from $59.99 to $69.99, $74.99, or in some extreme cases, even $79.99. Even handheld games have gone up, with some handheld game snow costing more than console games did this time last year. Note that these are before tax prices. Depending on the province, it could cost more than $90 for a game after all is said and done.
Maybe things would be better if games dropped in price like they used to, but they don’t. A few years ago, games would drop in price quickly, and with a few notable exceptions (mostly Nintendo published titles), games could be had for half our their original price, or less, just by waiting a few months. This is no longer the case, and games are taking far longer to drop in price far less.
As an example, take a look at the Assassin’s Creed series. Once the poster child for price drops, most Assassin’s Creed games would drop in price rapidly after the initial release window had passed. If you waited until the next entry came out, it was rare that you’d have to pay more than $20 for an AC game. But take a look now. A year and a half old entry in the series is still $40 – very close to what was once the price of a new game.
Sales, too, have taken a hit. For the past several years Futureshop has held it’s annual E3 sale; During E3, Preordering any game announced at the show would come with a massive discount. Last year, thanks to the weakening dollar, the discount was reduced, and the preorder prices for most games sat just below $60, essentially removing the biggest incentive for the consumer to preorder (cheaper than normal prices).
Long story short, console gaming (not exactly a cheap hobby in the first place) is just becoming too expensive. Games have risen in price by 25% and show no signs of going lower anytime soon. Methods to get games for cheaper, whether that be waiting for a pricedrop or taking advantage of weekly and monthly sales, methods that price-conscious gamers have used for years, are becoming less reliable. The new discounted price is the same as the old regular price, budgets are being stressed, and less games are being bought.
Don’t be surprised if more Canadians begin migrating towards Steam or mobile, where the prices are still reasonable.
* Of course, when our dollar drops the price immediately shoots up, but back when we had a strong currency it took years for the prices to actually drop. Imagine that.
Didn’t wanna read this whole thing? Here’s the gist of it: First World Problems.