Gamers, developers, and publishers are locked in a seemingly endless argument over game prices and what they should be. But lost amid all this is a pretty important question: Why is $60 the magic number?
The Consumerist broke it out, and the answer, unsurprisingly, is that publishers lean on retailers, and the retailers play ball because hey, it’s not their money:
From a retailer and publisher perspective, that flattening out of competition has a bunch of positives. Publishers know what their cut of the game will be. Stores know that they don’t have to cut into the bone on their own profits to try to get shoppers in the door. Retailers compete on convenience, other available goods, and other factors that aren’t price.
If you’re wondering how this is legal, essentially the Supreme Court has said that a company that makes a product can dictate a price floor or ceiling on the cost of that product, but that retailers can’t conspire to do the same. Which is fair, if you think about it; if you publish a video game, that you own, there’s no reason you can’t set whatever price you feel like. Generally, for video games, that price is $60.
True, a retailer could decide to sell under the price floor… but then the publisher takes their ball and goes home. For big box stores, it’s not worth it. Hence, the $60 price.
It’s annoying in some ways, not least because if a publisher decides that a game’s price should really be $80, there’s not much we as gamers can actually do.
Via The Consumerist