Despite the fact that we all understand that every company is run by people, and that every game is made by human beings instead of magic, we occasionally forget those facts.
It's also easy to forget that games, at least most of the time, are a way of making money more often than a way of making art. Sometimes those aims overlap, and that's nice, but with the rise of loot boxes, microtransactions, and a plethora of other things designed to keep you attached to one game, it's important to remember that they're there to make money.
We, whether we like it or not, are consumers of a product, and while you might not like to think about that fact, the companies often do.
Earnings calls often remind us all of these facts, and the most recent one from Take-Two is a doozy...
Take-Two boss "we charge much less for them than we believe they are worth to consumers"
As reported by PC Gamer, Strauss Zelnick, the head of Take-Two, said in an earnings call that "We deliver the highest quality experiences in the business, and we charge much less for them than we believe they are worth to consumers."
Arguably, however, it's not on a company to dictate how much worth a consumer gets from a product. Sure, they set the value of the thing, but how much value we get from it is down to us. That's how it feels from my point of view, anyway.
Also, in this writer's opinion, it feels disingenuous to talk about how the experiences they give are worth more to customers than they charge, given the wealth of microtransactions found within their games.
In case you're unfamiliar with the company as a whole, they own both Rockstar Games and 2K. 2K, as you might be aware, is the same company that recently put unskippable ads in a full-price game.
How much is a game worth?
We've talked about the worth of games on the site before, and while costs are definitely going up, it's important to note that so are the earnings on each game. Digital games, multiple purchases, in-game expenses, DLCs, battle passes, season passes, and cosmetics all make games more profitable than ever.
It's also worth noting that unless a game is free, using the word free is a lie. As Zelnick in the call, "we deliver, typically, an ongoing component that is free. And that is already a great deal of value. Any monetization is of course totally optional".
If you've bought a game and a mode has come with that game, then it's not free. Sure, the monetization is technically optional, but still... it's hard to take in these statements from Take-Two without them leaving an incredibly bad taste.