Factorio, a very popular factory building simulation, joins a wave of much, much bigger game franchises like Call of Duty, Star Wars Jedi, Final Fantasy and others getting a price hike due to inflation. But unlike the massive AAA audience of those other games, much of the Factorio community seems… surprisingly cool with the idea. But not everything.
While companies like Ubisoft, Second try, Xboxand Sony have all effectively set a new standard for game prizes over the past year, Factorio is a bit of an odd man out because it’s a much smaller game. The developer, Wube Software, is a much, much smaller studio than any of the other companies that have announced price increases, and Factorio itself isn’t going up from $60 to $70, it’s going from $30 to $35.
It’s also notable that Factorio is a much older game that sees an increase over its previous prices, rather than a new game setting a trend for a future franchise. Factorio first launched in early access in 2016 before being fully released in 2020. It’s never had microtransactions since, and the only additional content that can be purchased on Steam for it is the $7 soundtrack. But it’s also never been part of a Steam sale before – a choice developers explained back in 2016 ( as noted by Kotaku) as a way of respecting the players who had already purchased the game.
“We don’t want to reward the people who wait to buy the game, we think the price of the game is fair, and this is the deal. If you think the price is too high, it’s your choice not to buy , and we hope that with enough time and additional development, we can convince you of its value.”
Factorio’s price increase was announced on Twitter on January 20, six days before it goes into effect, and the community response so far has been surprisingly positive. Granted, most of the people commenting seem to already own the game, but they’re also pushing for more ways to support Factorio. Many others share anecdotes about their own long playing time compared to how much they spent, implying that the many, many hours put into it were worth the relatively cheap price. A look at Factorio’s “overwhelmingly positive” Steam review score indicates that many more people feel the same way.
That said, a handful of people seem unhappy with the change. A look at Factorio’s overall user review trends shows very, very few negative reviews… with two exceptions. One is back in July last year when (based on the reviews) a regional pricing issue in Russia seemed to make the game twice as expensive for those users. And the other period of negative reviews began, you guessed it, on Jan. 20, with a flurry of “Not Recommended” posts accusing Wube of being greedy and questioning the validity of inflation as an excuse to raise prices. Unlike many other review bombardments, most of the negative reviews have logged quite a few hours, so it’s certain that at least part of the community isn’t happy about this (even if, again, they’ve already bought the game too ).
Factorio is one of the first major independent games to respond to inflation in such a visible, public way with a price increase, but it probably won’t be the last. As we reviewed earlier this month, AAA studios will likely continue to push $70 as the pricing standard for AAA games, but there’s also more debate among the indie community about charging more. It’s possible we’ll see more games follow in Factorio’s footsteps as the year progresses.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @ duck valentine.