Price hike for Nintendo’s Zelda sequel opens the door for more expensive games

Nintendo’s upcoming Zelda sequel will be more expensive than the company’s other Switch games, paving the way for more game makers to raise their prices as well.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will cost $69.99 (roughly Rs. 6,000) when it launches in the US on May 12, $10 (roughly Rs. 850) more than usual for new titles from nintendo. The move, which matches the premium prices of console rivals Sony and Microsoft, may herald broader increases as it helps normalize the higher up-front cost.

Game studios around the world, including Nintendo’s home market of Japan, have been desperate to raise prices as the expense of producing games has skyrocketed with gamers’ increased expectations for quality and content, but none I was willing to do it first. Nintendo’s decision with the new Zelda is likely to be well received by its peers.

“The environment exists, especially outside of Japan, to increase software prices,” Koei Tecmo chief financial officer Kenjiro Asano said in an earnings briefing on Jan. 30. But his company did not “want to be one of the first to raise the price,” he added.

Capcom CFO Kenkichi Nomura and Gree SVP Yuta Maeda expressed similar sentiments when discussing their most recent quarterly results. Both see a widely shared desire within the industry to raise prices to offset the increase in staff and spending to create new content.

A Nintendo spokesperson confirmed that the new Zelda game will be the company’s most expensive first-party title, aside from the deluxe editions with extras. The company will continue to set the appropriate prices for each game, he said.

“If there is one game that allows Nintendo to test the waters, this is it,” Tokyo-based industry analyst Serkan Toto said on Thursday. “The $10 price increase will not only cancel out lost purchases from users who skip the game, but will actually lead to higher sales overall.”

The previous Breath of the Wild installment in the Zelda franchise was the signature launch title for the Switch and helped make the console successful. Nintendo had sold 29 million copies of the game and 123 million Switch consoles by the end of 2022.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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