Triple A games, broadly available on Steam and many other platforms, will run the player sixty dollars, sometimes more if they wish to purchase additional DLC. This seems like a hefty price tag, but considering the number of employees the development company employs to build the game, money spent on marketing the game, and various other business expenses they will run into along the way, a sixty dollar price tag is not too bad. Some may disagree, and if you are one of those people, you will likely find the games on this list outrageously priced (and rightfully so)!
If you were to buy every piece of content available on Steam, you would be looking at a total purchase of just over $500,000. This is a mind-boggling statistic, but not exactly what we are looking for. Instead, this list will focus on the highest individually priced games. It is important to note that, considering their price tags, ESG is not endorsing any of these games. Rather, we aim to simply highlight the seven highest priced games on Steam and give some brief insight as to why the price tag is so high. As you will find out, some of the games have a genuine reason for being so expensive, while others not so much. Without further delay, let's get into the seven most expensive games available on the Steam marketplace including:
A bit of forewarning, the majority (literally all except for the number one spot) of the games on this list will cost $199.99. Due to this, there really is no particular order for the majority of this list. Also, I was unable to purchase and play these games (for obvious reasons) so the descriptors are more based on research rather than experience!
As far as I can tell, Run Thief is a side-view running simulator similar to that of Temple Run or even the built-in Dinosaur Game when offline in Google. From the trailer, viewers learn that the game was made with Unreal Engine. Combine that with an indie developer with no other games posted and it starts to make sense. It seems as if this was the developer’s first game, or at least first game posted which makes sense given that Unreal Engine is super popular amongst budding game developers due to its simplicity (not that you can’t make amazing games with Unreal Engine, just that it is a great tool for beginners).
The game seems to have little content as it is still listed as Early Access. The one review (in which the product was received for free) the game has admittedly tore the game apart. The consensus reached was that it lacks story, gameplay, audio, and just about everything that makes a game, well, a game. This seems to be a case of an indie developer massively overpricing their product in the hopes they will sell a singular copy and receive some compensation. To any indie developers out there, don’t do this. Just don’t. Make it free and improve your developing skills to a point where you can justify your game’s price tag.
Another vastly overpriced game, Super Fight is a side-view fighting game with very little content. In fact, the scene you see above is pretty much the entire game in a nutshell. The combat system seems like any other arcade fighting game in which a simple combo takes out the unintelligent AI. There are only a handful of different enemies to fight and three different weapons to use. This seems like yet another scam to try and get someone to buy a copy and make a quick turnaround on a game that probably took a single day’s work to complete.
W.H.A.L.E is an interesting one, as it is not a typical game. Instead, it is a functioning laboratory simulation in VR for the lab at the University of Sassari in Italy. I questioned the legitimacy of the simulation at first due to the developer’s only other game being broadly considered VR shovelware in the review section. However, a quick search shows some evidence (last paragraph) that the game may have been legitimately made by students at the university. That being said, the lab still does not look too robust. If you happen to be looking for an educational VR game to teach you Agricultural and Hydrological approaches to a more sustainable development (which would be insane to find you here), I’d probably look elsewhere.
By far the most unique ‘game’ on this list, Virtual Orator is a VR training simulator for practicing public speaking. Many people, arguably even the majority of people, have a fear of public speaking. If not, they could still likely improve on their abilities. This game (program?) has a ton of unique features that can make it a great training aid such as:
Overall, I think the concept for the game is awesome. So many people struggle with a fear of public speaking that this really could be a great way to address that. The price tag is certainly out of consumer range, but I could realistically see businesses utilizing the software efficiently if they have a considerable number of employees who will be speaking publicly. That being said, the $199.99 price tag is for the personal edition. Enterprises who wish to implement this will be looking at a steep $3,000.00 purchase price which is way too steep in my opinion. Let’s be honest, the game is a great idea but not anywhere near difficult enough of an implementation to justify such a monumental price tag.
Similar to the last, VRemedies is a VR training simulator for a real-world event. More wholesomely, this game aims to help children become more comfortable with a certain procedure by instead simulating said procedure in VR with friendly robots. It is considered to be a method of exposure therapy, with the aim to lower the amount of children needing sedation for non-invasive procedures.
Like Virtual Orator, StaplesVR (the developers) have managed to find a niche market to create VR technology that could benefit people’s lives immensely. It is a great feeling to find developers utilizing VR in innocent ways to benefit their customers. All too often, VR is used for, erm, *less innocent* purposes, so it is nice to see this change of pace. The pricing may still be a bit off, but it is honestly hard to tell considering the business model is different compared to a standard consumer game. Hospitals may very well be happy to pay the two hundred dollars to help comfort the children in their care. Either way, kudos to StaplesVR!
This is a bit harder of a game to get an accurate depiction of as it has no reviews whatsoever, which should probably be expected considering the game’s teaser picture versus its price tag. As far as I can tell from the gameplay trailer, there is nothing more to the game than walking along the ocean floor while battling endless skeleton enemies. They drop gems which allow you to further upgrade your playable character. Outside of that, I do not think there is much more content to discuss. It seems like it plays similar to a flash game you would find online, except you have to pay two hundred dollars to play it. Needless to say, I would not recommend trying this game out.
With much anticipation, we have finally reached the most expensive game available on Steam. With a price tag of a whopping one thousand US dollars, Ascent Free-Roaming VR Experience is yet another VR game. This time, it is centralized around slaying an infestation of aliens at a scientific research facility. You can play with up to four friends at a time to face the five different levels of difficulty. Even cooler, the game’s description claims there to be “under-floor bass-shakers, haptic suits, smart-plugs and gun stocks” to enhance the gameplay. The aim seems to be making a game that is as realistic as possible utilizing VR.
Pricing on this game is an interesting topic, as it does not seem to be intended for your average VR user. Rather, it seems to be marketed towards commercial companies that have VR sets and rent them out to clients for use. I remember playing a VR game on the boardwalk of a popular beach whenever VR was becoming popular and it looked quite similar to this. The rental fees were pretty steep (I want to say around $50 for half an hour) making the return on investment somewhat realistic for shops in a good location.
All that being said, there are three reviews for this game. All three say the exact same thing, “not bad.” I can’t tell if this is Steam reviewers just leaving the same comment as a meme, or if they are people from the same company recommending the game. Either way, it's definitely suspicious and a pretty big red flag. Considering the price tag and the fact that the gameplay really does not look too spectacular (especially for a thousand dollars), I’d recommend steering clear from this one. But hey, at least they hold the title of the most expensive Steam game!
Steam is a wonderfully unique marketplace full of diverse games, workshops, and downloadable content. Since the price point of these pieces of content can be set by the creator, there is a massive range as to what price any given game will be. In this list, we compiled seven of the most expensive games available. If you haven’t realized by now, we can not (in good conscience) recommend any of these games. But hey, you do you!
Image courtesy of squadstate.com