The much anticipated indie title No Man’s Sky has been one of the hot talking points of the year so far, it is one of the most highly anticipated indie games of all time and is already racking up game of the year nominations before it is even released. Wow, that’s a hell of a start.
However, the internet, or rather certain subsections of the internet, have recently been thrown into uproar after the price of the game was revealed, and it’s being charged at $60 (£49.99 here in the UK). Many people consider the price tag AAA, and have become very, very, upset considering that No Man’s Sky is being touted as one of the biggest indie games of all time, and therefore should not be sold at AAA pricing.
Now, I am not here to tell you which side of this fight is right or wrong, but I am just here to try and get a few questions asked (and then to rhetorically answer them because it’s my article and I can do what I want to MOOOOM!)
The first question I have is, ‘Does how many people, or which studios, made a game really need to be the deciding factor on pricing?’. I cannot count the amount of times that I have paid full price for games and then felt disappointed with what I got. I mean think about it, how many of you bought things like The Order: 1886 and discovered that the game has about 2 hours of actual gameplay, and that you have been completely short changed? Would that situation have been different if the game had only cost you £4.99, and you’d gotten a short but sort of decent experience out of the affair?
Now for a counter example, how many people would have minded paying slightly more for a game like The Binding of Isaac or FTL? The amount of hours of gameplay inherent in either one of those games means that paying by the hour would have been extremely expensive, but because they’re both indie titles we expect only to pay a fraction of the worth of the actual content.
Honestly, for most people it should be plain to see that just because a game is indie or triple A doesn’t mean it should have a built in price tag. It’s what you get out of an experience that should be the deciding factor (rhetorical question answering: check).
My second question is: ‘Why were so many of you okay with paying that price for triple A titles?’. It’s a well-known fact that part of the reason for such heavy prices these days is that video game budgets are getting so bloated and huge (for instance GTA V cost $265 million to develop and market….wow), so to make up the cost games have to cost more. Although this does make sense and there are certainly some games where the price tag can feel justified, there are at least as many that would have done better by having a smaller budget and costing slightly less.
So here’s the final point of this article, getting upset at the cost of No Man’s Sky at this point is entirely pointless. We have no idea how much the game is actually going to be worth by the time it comes out, it’s possible that we truly will get thousands of hours of enjoyment out of No Man’s Sky and it’ll be worth the price, it’s also entirely possible that each planet will be minor variations on the last and after 10 hours you’ll get so bored you’ll want to rip your spleen out to keep it interesting.
At the end of the day, it’s a much better idea to remain skeptical of the pricing and wait until we actually know how enjoyable it’s going to be. Seriously, if that game’s not worth the $60, we just have to wait a while and the game will have come down in price, well at least on steam it will have, if you’re planning on playing it on PlayStation 4, then you’re probably just going to have to pay the $60.