Despite achieving success with discounted titles this year, Take-Two said today that they may consider raising the price of ESPN Sports games in their Sega co-publishing venture, once the next generation of consoles arrives. The games, each of which carried an MSRP of $19.99 this year, may rise back up to their previous level of $40 or even higher.
The $19.99 ESPN Sports titles, including football, baseball, and hockey games, did well enough for Take-Two that the company saw profit from them, according to comments by executives. Furthermore, the ESPN line of games reclaimed some market share from dominating competitor EA Sports; the recent presentation by EA CFO Warren Jenson included a slide titled "Pro Football: Take Nothing for Granted," indicating that EA's stronghold over the sports market had slipped from 85% to 78%.
"We continue to evaluate pricing," said Take-Two Executive Vice President Cindi Buckwalter. "When the next-generation hardware comes out, we do expect to introduce the sports products at premium prices."
A factor in Take-Two's pricing decision for current consoles may be that the wide install base permits a profit to be made on volume, whereas the smaller userbase of a launch console would need full-priced games to turn a profit. Whether the price increase will go into effect next year or the year afterwards depends whether or not any of the three major hardware manufacturers introduces a new system; in the meantime, Take-Two has not made a decision on current generation ESPN games.