Gaming industry looks to shift per game price model, Sony invests in Epic Games, and the UK government recommends stricter restrictions on loot boxes

In this week’s news, the gaming industry looks to move to a $70 per game model in next gen consoles, Sony invests $250 million in Epic Games, and the UK government recommends that loot box mechanics be regulated under the same legislation as casinos.

Next-gen games will be more expensive 

Last week, 2K Games made history by announcing that the next installment in their ultra popular basketball sim series, NBA 2K21, would cost $69.99 as compared to the current price model of $59.99. While the announcement caused an incredibly divisive reaction on social media from fans, journalists were largely aligned that while not ideal, the change is unavoidable and has been a long time coming. ScreenRant commented that due to ever rising production costs, the change is unavoidable in order for studios to remain profitable. Polygon noted that while costs of other forms of entertainment, like a movie ticket, have increased dramatically over the years, the cost of video games has remained steady at $60 for almost two decades. Ars Technica took a more data centric approach to the news, breaking down the cost as it relates to economic inflation to defend the move.

Sony makes an Epic investment 

Sony invested $250 million in Epic Games, the company behind the popular battle-royale video game Fortnite.The PlayStation console maker will take a minority stake in Epic, the two companies said Thursday, in a strategic investment deal that expands on an existing relationship between both firms. CNBC reported on the news, commenting that this deal is mutually beneficial for both Sony and Epic, allowing them both to expand their already massive presence in the gaming industry. IGN wrote that this announcement isn’t shocking, noting their recent work together to unveil Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 during a recent PS5 event. The Verge suggested that the line from the press release, “we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music,” indicates that  Sony and Epic may want to create more Fortnite-like virtual multimedia experiences, like the hugely popular in-game Travis Scott concert tour.

UK says loot boxes should be regulated like gambling 

The UK’s House of Lords published a report on the harms of gambling, which found that in the UK there are 55,000 problem gamblers aged between 11 and 15. Included in the report’s findings on problem gambling was the recommendation that so-called “loot boxes” in video games be immediately reclassified by the government to fall under the remit of 2005 Gambling Act. Business Insider noted that due to the vast variety of loot box mechanics, any regulations could be difficult to implement. The BBC used the announcement from the government to tell the story of a young adult who blew almost £3,000 on loot boxes in the Fifa soccer game series. Newsweek wrote that, “In the U.S., as elsewhere in the world, data on “pathological” and “problem” gambling is relatively thin on the ground,” suggesting that more research needs to be done on this topic in order to properly regulate and address it.