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Why are games more expensive on console than on pc? And why do you have to pay a subscription to pay online?

Izerous

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If I were to hazard a guess about anything it is because console games still do a lot more physical distribution than PC does and prices are bumped to account for warehousing and shipping even though that is also dieing off for consoles it is still a thing. Content insurance, building insurance, vehicle insurance, cases, disks etc.
 

WeaksauceDoggo

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If I were to hazard a guess about anything it is because console games still do a lot more physical distribution than PC does and prices are bumped to account for warehousing and shipping even though that is also dieing off for consoles it is still a thing. Content insurance, building insurance, vehicle insurance, cases, disks etc.
ok, that makes sense.
 

FreeKnight

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Consoles have a vested interest in keeping prices higher as they make a larger profit off the sale. Just like how steam/epic/gog/etc get XX% from a game sale, Sony, MS and Nintendo get a percentage of a game's sale.

However, on PC there's both a larger market and multiple places to buy PC games for so there's more competition. Then throw in key sales/resellers that don't have their own platform like Steam/Origin/Epic and you've got a much better situation for consumers. With a Playstation game you're either buying it from Sony, or a physical copy or not at all. Let's say I want to buy a copy of Civ V on PC
- I have a choice of platform stores (Epic/Steam/Origin/Ubisoft/GOG/etc)
- I have a choice of resellers that may have various pricing on keys/activation codes (Greenman gaming, Fanatical, Humble, etc)
- Some games have DRM free versions that don't even require a platform (Humble for example on some games)
- 'Gray market' keys and out of region keys that are still usable in other regions.

There's just vastly more competition on the PC end, so games are much cheaper. Usually well after release, but sometimes there's enough promos or 'platform exclusive sales' that even new games are cheaper on PC
 

JD

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My guess would be it's to subside the console cost (along with all the R&D costs that go into it for many years). I don't think consoles are sold at a profit, usually just to break even or sometimes a loss. I believe Sony/MS also pay out a fair bit to their developers to make exclusive games for their consoles too. It's all about "hooking" people into the ecosystem.

XBOX Live/PS Plus help pay for all the server infrastructure behind the scenes too. I believe XBOX leverages the cloud for some rendering purposes, I think games also follow the more "dedicated server" concept on consoles?

On the PC side, a lot of games on PC are P2P and have no server infrastructure behind them, and thus no cost to the developers.
 

FreeKnight

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Consoles are (in modern times) always sold at a loss.

Game sales (especially with exclusives) & peripherals are where they make up the money.
Nintendo is the last holdout for making profit on their consoles. They still net a profit on each switch ($40-50 USD IIRC) but I haven't confirmed the amount in a while. They definitely made profit on their previous consoles, I think the Wii U was the only exception (maybe VB, but I don't know for that one).

Sony was for sure losing money as of the PS2 era, not sure for PS1. MS was definitely losing on every console from the original Xbox to the current generation.

I suspect that's part of what's allowed Nintendo to stay in the game without being supported by a massively funded larger company (MS, Sony). Coupled with Nintendo's first party software generally selling very well and staying at higher costs through a consoles life. I think the DS was particularly profitable and those things sold like hotcakes.

Edit: Generally the software sales are what makes up the profit for the company as Sagath and Gingerbee mentioned. The financial reports for the companies often (used to possibly) track something called 'attach rates' which was basically the volume of software sold per console, averaged out. I don't know how actively it's tracked now, but it used to be an occasional topic of discussion.
 

RyanWalker77

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May 14, 2021
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Console gaming boils down to convenience. They have a lower front-end cost, and a higher back-end cost. If you're a parent trying to get your kid a gaming system, consoles are a much better route due to the ease of the whole process.
 

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