Yes, you read the headline correctly.
Although streaming and online services such as Netflix and Playstation Plus are no strangers to the occasional price hike, it’s unheard of for the prices of digital games to increase over time. However, that’s precisely what RPG giant NIS America plans on doing soon- and some of the markups will be rather extreme.
Many of these titles are heavily discounted thanks to Steam’s annual summer sale, but that is set to end this week. Over a dozen games will be affected by this decision starting July 19- and this is coming straight from the hor-I mean Prinny’s mouth. Popular titles such as Disgaea and YS VII will be affected. However, you can view all of the affected titles by checking out the link provided. So if you have any interest in these games at all, now would be the time to pull the trigger- many of them will set you back $10-20 more in just a few weeks.
As to be expected, consumers are not happy about this move. The comments section on the official blog post is full of colorful responses, suggesting that this will backfire and result in infamy. I’m definitely with them on this. At the same time, it’s pretty standard for physical video games to increase in price years later (as a matter of fact, it’s already happening with the PS3 library). That’s typically dictated by aftermarket circumstances not involving the developers or publishers. With digital games, it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily “own” whatever you purchase- you have a license to it that can be revoked at any time. It’s easy to see why The increase would anger the average consumer overpaying more what boils down to a license on an intangible product.
In the minority are the people who run around telling others to stop “whining” and that consumers can always resort to backdoor methods (such as piracy). I’m going to be perfectly blunt- I feel like this is a weightless defense. While piracy always has (and always will be) a thing, nobody should have to use that as a workaround to access something they paid the total price. Especially for in the future… when it’s to the tune of $50+. Sure, the concept of voting with one’s wallet is a nice one, but few people have self-control, and the reality is that it won’t do much to fan the flames.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, this news should serve us all as a reminder that it’s not just the big guys who are capable of making questionable decisions in the industry. As much as some like to point fingers at Nintendo for $60 ports with standard features locked behind an additional paywall, they aren’t the only ones guilty of gouging prices anymore. I’m not sure what the future holds. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if digital price hikes become a trend in the future, considering we’re headed towards an “all-digital” landscape. I hope we won’t have to pay $30 just for the privilege of playing the original Super Mario Bros. on an emulator in the next ten years.