Today, Bethesda announced that its epic RPG adventure, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, is coming to PC with support for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows VR headsets. This is big news because it just recently released for PSVR in November of 2017 and most people assumed Sony had locked down a year-long exclusivity arrangement, similar to Resident Evil 7: biohazard’s VR support. But as it turns out, Skyrim VR is gracing Steam finally on April 3rd, which means it’s less than a month away. A lot of people are getting hung up on one specific detail though: it’s going to cost the full $60.
If you’re upset about that price, I hear you and I understand your point of view, but I don’t agree with you. Yes, Skyrim originally released almost seven years ago on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC back on 11/11/11 and yes, it’s been re-released on pretty much everything short of your toaster since then, but that’s not enough to discredit the value of what Bethesda’s put together.
So, no, Skyrim VR is not overpriced at $60. Here’s why.
Hundreds of Hours of Content
Let’s get right to the core of why $60 isn’t too much money for this game: it’s literally got hundreds of hours of content. This is not an exaggeration or some bizarre “it’s procedurally generated so technically it’s endless!” malarkey. Like, straight up, it would take you several hundreds of real-life human hours to actually complete everything in Skyrim and its expansions (yes this will include all three expansions). This is not hyperbole.
Just because the game originally came out over a half a decade ago doesn’t discredit this fact. People that have bought it before (on PS3, PS4, PC, Switch, etc) might feel slighted, but the fact of the matter is that adapting this game to VR isn’t as simple as pressing the “VR mode” button in Bethesda’s Creation Engine.
Skyrim has cost $60 on every platform it’s released on at the time of its release, including PSVR, and so has Fallout 4. This isn’t news.
Full, Robust VR Support
Skyrim VR is a game with real, robust VR support. It’s not just a head-tracked version with a lame 3D filter to give the illusion of presence. When you play Skyrim in VR you can move around the environment, it’s got full motion controller tracking, all of the UI has been revamped, combat is streamlined and smoothed out for VR support, and there are a wide range of movement options.
When we played Skyrim VR on PSVR we lauded the immersiveness of the world and how fresh it felt to revisit one of our favorite digital universes. But it was held back by the limited functionality of the PSVR and its PS3-era Move controllers. The PC version will likely fix all of that.
Video Games Are Cheaper Than They Should Be
Anyone that grew up playing games in the 80s, 90s, and any other previous decade can attest to the fact that they’ve always cost about the same. Gas prices, movie tickets, and the cost of a decent cheese burger have all skyrocketed, but the price of a single AAA video game has remained just about the same for decades. All things considered, $60 isn’t much to ask for.
Not only have times changed, but so has the gaming industry. Team sizes now creep into the hundreds, marketing and development budgets stretch into the millions, and post-game credit scenes now last longer than most Hollywood-caliber feature films.
As far as I’m concerned Bethesda have earned the $60 price tag for how tirelessly they’ve supported this game and VR as a whole.
Setting Price Expectations for the VR Market
Finally, I think an argument needs to be made that companies with the size and influence of Bethesda have a responsibility to set expectations with how they price their products. The vast majority of VR experiences are short and/or unfinished and the developers charge consumers as such. Many of the top-selling VR games on Steam are less than $60 and a big reason for that is because they don’t have enough content to warrant that price tag. Games like Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR, on the other hand, absolutely do.
If Bethesda were to charge, let’s say, $40 for Skyrim VR, what do you think that would do to other VR games that cost $40? If games like Skyrim VR aren’t worthy of a full-price tag, what does that say about the quality of VR content as a whole? If we want more full-scale AAA VR experiences like Skyrim VR, then we should expect to pay the price a game of that magnitude warrants.
Paying full-price for a game you’ve likely played before seems offputting, but believe me when I tell you that if you played Skyrim outside of VR it’s just not the same. You haven’t seen this Skyrim yet and you owe it to yourself to experience it in VR to really see the beauty and wonder of Tamriel first-hand.
Think otherwise? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!