Players who want to play the newly announced Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X will have to pay an additional $10 for the privilege. And whether fans agree with that call or not, a slew of versions and clarifications about physical copies isn’t helping the messaging for today’s news.
- Standard Edition ($59.99): The standard game available for Xbox One, PS4, or PC, complete with “cross generation, cross play and cross progression support” if you upgrade later.
- Cross-Gen Bundle ($69.99): The Standard Edition with “a dual entitlement… which allows you to play on current (PS4, Xbox One) and next-generation consoles within the same console family (PS5, Xbox Series X).”
- Ultimate Edition ($89.99): Current and next-generation versions of the game, plus exclusive skins and a Season Pass. (also available on PC)
In addition to those digital packages, Activision also lists physical Standard Editions of the game, which will cost $59.99 for current-generation consoles and $69.99 for next-generation consoles. And while the Xbox Series X physical Standard Edition will include a copy for Xbox One, the PS5 physical edition will not include a copy for PS4.
To make things even more confusing, the cheaper PS4 and Xbox One digital versions of the game will play via backward compatibility on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, respectively, according to online store listings. Those versions should get some basic performance improvements on the higher-end hardware, but they won’t be able to get fuller benefits like more detailed textures, higher native resolutions, and faster load times.
One more makes a trend
Activision’s move comes weeks after Take Two similarly set a $69.99 price point for the next-generation versions of NBA2K21, which is also $10 higher than the Xbox One and PS4 versions of that game. But Take Two is asking cross-generational players to shell out $99.99 for a “Mamba Forever Edition” if they want access to both a current and next-generation version of the game in one package.
Since Take Two’s announcement, no other major publishers had followed suit with $70 pricing for their own PS5 and Series X games. Take Two has explicitly said that its game pricing would be determined on a “title by title basis” going forward. Ubisoft has promised that all of its “Christmas games” for 2020 would be priced at $60 for all consoles (and will be freely upgradeable from current consoles to the next generation).
Take Two and Activision’s pricing moves come despite reports from earlier in the summer that Microsoft was urging third-party publishers to make Series X upgrades free for those who purchase a game for the Xbox One. Many publishers are doing just that by using Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system. Other publishers are providing free next-generation upgrades in their own way, such as with EA’s Dual Entitlement program or Bethesda’s free optimized upgrades.
We’re still stuck in an awkward transition period where major publishers are trying to figure out how to best manage a console transition where inter-generational compatibility is taking a prominent role. Whether or not $70 eventually becomes a new standard price for high-end console games, though, it’s worth remembering that inflation means that nominal price point is not what it used to be.