It took nine years to make, but less than two months to receive a permanent price reduction. Polygon reported the unexpected reduction and confirmed with a Sony representative. The current price is now $40 USD whether shopping the PSN store or any other retailer.
Black Friday and Christmas sales saw drastic cuts on new AAA titles like Battlefied 1, Titanfall 2, and another game with 9+ years of development time, Final Fantasy XV. While those were eye-catching and wallet opening, they all eventually returned to the standard $60 USD.
Games usually sell the vast majority of their copies within the first handful of weeks so this could be a strategy to reinvigorate sales before 2017’s big hitters push it completely into obscurity. The Last Guardian did however, have better first-week sales than Team Ico’s other two efforts – Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
Considering the costs of such an elongated development cycle, Sony could be using the discount to encourage one last sales push in order to recoup more of their investment.
A New Trend?
If Sony has any success with this strategy you can bet we’ll see plenty more scenarios like it. Consoles have finally caught up to the flash-sale culture of Steam as publishers learned years ago that gamers will often buy a cheap game on impulse that they would not have purchased otherwise and will most likely never even play. I own Dino Crisis 2 for example 😐
Cutting prices so close to launch is a dangerous game. You risk angering the most loyal supporters of the game that paid full price several weeks earlier.
If gamers start believing the price will drop in less than two months, publishers might see a drop in those day-one purchases they value so high.
Time will tell.