Video games are expensive. Depending on the game and its platform, a new release can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Yes, that’s not chump change, especially if you have kids and a spouse who insist on getting their hands on it as soon as possible. With that being said, the prices of video games can seem a little crazy at times. Why are some games so much more expensive than others? And why does it seem like there’s never any consistency in terms of pricing? Let’s take a look at how video game prices work and the reasons for the pricing disparities. 

What determines the price of a video game?

If it’s the price of a video game you’re curious about, then you’ve come to the right place! The prices of video games are determined by a combination of several factors, not just the cost of the game itself. Understanding these factors is the best way to understand the price of any video game. The first thing to understand about the price of video games is that it’s not a single number. Instead, there’s a wide range of prices for any given game. The reason there’s a range of prices is that it’s influenced by a number of factors. 

Console Manufacturing Costs

If you’ve ever wondered why some games are so much more expensive than others on the same console, one of the primary reasons is because they contain different amounts of content. For example, if a game contains two discs and each disc is packed with 40 total hours of game play, that game is going to be substantially more expensive than a game with only a single disc that only has 20 hours of content. This is because manufacturing a single-disc game is going to be significantly cheaper than manufacturing a game with two discs. Manufacturing costs are one of the primary factors that determine the price of any video game like SV388.

Add-On Content and Microtransactions

When it comes to the costs of creating a video game, you’d be surprised to learn that advertising is the least expensive method of advertising. Instead, the most cost-effective form of advertising is creating additional content. For example, if a game’s publisher decides that they want to add more story to the game, they can create additional pieces of downloadable content that add more story. This is known as “additional content” or “add-on content”. In the case of a game that charges $60 for its full retail price, the publisher could decide to charge $5 for the first piece of add-on content and then $10 for each subsequent piece of add-on content. This would allow the publisher to earn an extra $50 from the player if they decide to purchase all four pieces of content.

Marketing and Overpricing

When it comes to the costs of creating a video game, there’s one major factor you may have never considered. That factor is marketing. Marketing is often mistaken for overpricing. In reality, there’s a difference between marketing a video game and overpricing a video game. If you want to market a video game, you do so by arranging marketing campaigns, creating ads, and reaching out to press and influencers. All of these activities are important parts of marketing your game, regardless of whether you charge $5 or $500. The trick is that if you charge more than $500, then marketing is suddenly an extremely expensive part of creating a video game. This is because you have more money to spend on advertising, but you also have to charge more money for additional content and you have to create more content to justify that price.

Final Trawl

If you truly want to know how the price of video games works, then there’s one final question you have to ask yourself. What’s your goal for buying the game? If you know what your goal is, you’re one step closer to understanding what that goal really costs. And from there, you can work backwards and figure out what your expectations are for the final product. If your goal is to get your child interested in gaming, then you’re going to be a lot happier with a $20 game that has a lot of content than a $60 game that doesn’t have nearly as much content.


The price of a game is going to vary a lot depending on several factors. This includes the cost of materials, the amount of content included in the game, and the amount of marketing needed to bring in sales. While it’s exciting to see all of these factors at work, it can be a little disconcerting to see so many different prices. With that all being said, the best way to understand how video game prices work is to first understand what all of these factors are. Then, once you understand them, you can have a better idea of how your video game price works and why it’s different from another game’s price.

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