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Romeo
31st Mar 2009, 07:23
Everyone's poster boy, Warren Specter, thinks we're being over-charged; Not just Deus Ex 3, but all games.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/spector-we-need-to-drive-down-game-prices

Now personally I disagree with his statements. Yes, videogames are more expensive than say, movies or music, but considering the length of entertainment provided, video games are a pretty good bargain. For example, a DVD movie is about $25 in Canada. A game comes in at around the $75 (Usually a little less, but for match purposes we'll ignore that). Now, a movie typically provides me with two hours of just story, negating the little details included. A game is considered to be horrendously short if it can be completed within a six-hour window, and again, that's only for the story, negating the multitude of details included with games. Considering things such as online play, easter eggs and genre type, games suddenly make CDs of music and DVDs of movies seem brutally over-priced when compared. That's just my opinion, however. Let me know what you think.

Irate_Iguana
31st Mar 2009, 09:06
He makes a decent point when he mentions impulse buys. The price of a new game is too high to just pick it up without thought. Even though a movie might be shorter it is much easier to drop three instances of $25 than a single one of $75. In that regard he is correct.

Even worse, games take ages to drop in price. It is hard to find that $10 gem a year after the game is released. If they were still $75 for the first six months and after that dropped to say $30, you'd probably see a lot more sales.

He fails to mention the biggest problem. It so enormously easy to pirate a game. Many people don't feel like paying that $75 for anything less than a perfect game (in their eyes). They'll glad pirate any game that they don't expect to meet this criterion. Because let's face it, $75 is a lot of money so why bother if you can try it out for free. Cheaper games would possibly persuade more people to buy "mediocre" games instead of just pirating them.

Personally I find games too expensive for regular purchase. I will buy games I really expect to be good and new parts in good series. I'll wait until the price goes does on any game that seems fun, but I'm a bit unsure about. I don’t buy very many games in a year. When I expect a game to worth full price I’ll try it out by any means necessary.

lumpi
31st Mar 2009, 09:07
I think that PC games prices are generally OK.

My gripes are more specific:

In Europe, games are a good 25% more expensive (if not more). I thought this was due to taxes or import costs, but even for digital download services like Steam, you're mostly paying "sucker fees" for living here. (see: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/1e1us )

Also I do not get "DLC" pricings on consoles at all. 5 Euros for a stupid costume or bonus level? WTF? $2.50 for horse armor (http://www.joystiq.com/2006/04/03/download-oblivions-horse-armor-for-a-price/)? Sure, the prices aren't that high, but the content you get for it is even more meager. You're feeling milked, like being exposed to merchandise from a George Lucas production. It's hard to see any human face, any game designer's vision or creativity, if you see a $5 price tag next to virtual leather jackets you can buy for your digital hero.

I prefer Valve's "flat rate" approach. You might only get a few maps and pay full-price, but for that, you can rely on constant support, updates, new missions, bug-fixes plus an SDK + a huge, happy community that is producing new content and entire new games for free.

imported_van_HellSing
31st Mar 2009, 09:17
The "games are not overpriced in comparison to movies or music" argument is flawed since *all* media are overpriced. Yes, the proportions are about right, which doesn't change the fact that most prices could and should be halved.

GmanPro
31st Mar 2009, 09:38
Games are not over priced if you ask me. I'd be willing to pay up to $75 for a good game. Of course, PC games only cost around $50 these days. Now cars on the other hand, I'd say those are waay over-priced. :P

Jerion
31st Mar 2009, 09:38
Games are a little too expensive.

The problem as I see it is a disconnect between the price of the game, the time since release, and the quality of the game itself. Too many games are uniformly slapped with a $50 price tag, regardless of whether or not their worth it.

For some games like Fallout 3, $50 is worthwhile because you're simply getting so much game. For Call of Duty 4, $50 is a bit much. Yeah it's a fun shooter and was worth that much originally, but we're buying GOTY editions of it now; the price needs to drop $10. Mirror's Edge? Worth paying $50, but it'd be more reasonable at $40. Far Cry 2? Crysis Warhead? Both worth the $30 I got each for, though I got FC2 at Circuit City's sale and Warhead at Walmart.

Gamestop is still charging $40 for Halo PC. That's a game that's been out for over half a decade. Gamestop is charging $20 for Battlefield 2142 Deluxe Edition, which was/is a more interesting shooter than Halo anyway. Gamestop's loss.

Some games are simply priced a little too high for what they deliver. You occasionally have games that could even be considered underpriced at $50, but most of the time that isn't the case.

If it was a really spectacular game, I'd pay up to $75 for it. I can't thin of any PC game in recent memory that's priced that high though. I have not ever pirated a game; I'll find a way to try it out if I can, I'll find reviews on it, and if it looks promising I'll plunk down the money for it. If I'm pleased with it, I'll consider it money well spent. If I'm not pleased, I'll just try and get my money's worth out it and be very wary of any followup games in that series and/or from that developer.

itsalladream
31st Mar 2009, 09:44
I say a little over-priced, however, I remember talking my mom in to buying me Doom II when it came out, back in the day. That game was, what, 8 3.5" disks @ $80 (US). As far as I know, a new (good) PC game generally costs $50 nowadays, with a very few exceptions.

GmanPro
31st Mar 2009, 09:51
If I was a big developer and didn't have to go through a publisher, I would bundle my games into bargain packages. Just like Valve does. Orange box is probably the greatest deal in video game history.

Jerion
31st Mar 2009, 09:52
If I was a big developer and didn't have to go through a publisher, I would bundle my games into bargain packages. Just like Valve does. Orange box is probably the greatest deal in video game history.

Ditto. :thumbsup:

imported_van_HellSing
31st Mar 2009, 10:02
I can't wait for the day Valve announce the Lemon-Lime Box, which contains the Orange Box + Ep.3. And also announce this will be the only retail option for getting Ep.3. Joyous times those will be.

SageSavage
31st Mar 2009, 10:05
I chose #3 "They're a little too expensive. A slight price drop might see increased sales. " because I think most good games require a lot of manpower, mean a big risk for the publishers and they give me a good amount of entertainment. Because the replayability of many games is an advantage, I think an hour of gameplay is a bit more worth than an hour of cinema. Most people play most games only one time however (at least that's what I guess), so it shouldn't add too much to the total price.

It's just a milkmaids' assesment but still...

I am ok with paying 4,50€ (it's actually ridiculous 7€ nowadays) for an 2h-visit of my local cinema so I should be ok with 36€ for an 16h-game. Now add maybe 4€ for the replayability (because it's rarely used) and 0,95€ for a DVD case + x.

So, I think I'd consider 39,95€ for a brandnew retail game to be a fair price. That's 5-10€ less then the actual price for most AAA-games on release day here in Germany although even 55.- aren't that uncommon anymore.

Mezmerizer
31st Mar 2009, 10:57
I think it's relative. Some games worth the price, some games not.
So the only thing you got to do is:
1) Get a demo.
2) Read some reviews ( from sites, magazines )
and then you can decide if the game worth the money or not.
I never pirate any game, if I like a game and want to play it, I just buy it, else I forget it.
50$ is a good price.

lumpi
31st Mar 2009, 11:12
Gamestop is still charging $40 for Halo PC. That's a game that's been out for over half a decade.

Now that's hilarious. Whoever seriously considers paying that price deserves being ripped off, though.

DXeXodus
31st Mar 2009, 11:17
I think in our current economic climate that if they halved the prices of games then they would make that up in extra sales. Additionally, piracy would be reduced. Simple argument I know, but it's what I believe.

I pay full price for all my games, but I honestly think they are a little overpriced.

SageSavage
31st Mar 2009, 11:26
Yeah, I think the "halve the price / double the sales"-thing could also work.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
31st Mar 2009, 11:30
I think they retail at a fair price 'brand new'. Provided they don't end up being too linear and/or short.

If I'm not totally in love with a game and don't mind not getting my hands on it immediately upon release date, I often buy second-hand.
In DX3's case - I'll be buying it immediately (pre-order), definitely. :)

Oh, and I'm happy to pay a little more for a special Collectors' Edition. :cool:
http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=74437&highlight=edition

Spyhopping
31st Mar 2009, 11:42
Where I shop at Gamestation, they have a section for second hand games that is actually larger than the section for the new releases. Usually saves me a bit of money, unless I'm dying to play it on the release day.

Games and other kinds of media can be overpriced considering they are for personal use. But they are not an essential commodity (maybe with the exception of DX :whistle: ) so I don't like to complain about it

WhatsHisFace
31st Mar 2009, 13:39
I stopped buying games new this generation. $50 was pushing it last go-round... but $60 is just asking too much. I either wait for a price-drop, or just get it second hand. With so many games these days, it's easy to wait for price-drops. I've always got something on my back-catalogue.


Yeah, I think the "halve the price / double the sales"-thing could also work.
Steam weekend deals show that games selling at lower prices make more money than when they're selling at full price. Left 4 Dead practically doubled.

Blade_hunter
31st Mar 2009, 14:04
I stopped buying games on their release because they cost too much, I think a price of 35 - 36 € is fair also it should increase the game sales not by twice but 2.5 I think, also if a collector edition cames up I think 40 € is a good price for a collector edition

GmanPro
31st Mar 2009, 19:17
I can't wait for the day Valve announce the Lemon-Lime Box...

Best. Idea. Ever. :eek:


Where I shop at Gamestation...

Don't waste your money there. You can get what ever you want for 2 credits on the black market in Asia!


lol :D

lumpi
31st Mar 2009, 19:55
Steam weekend deals show that games selling at lower prices make more money than when they're selling at full price. Left 4 Dead practically doubled.

3000% sales increase for L4D (more than at launch).

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/02/20/steams-left-4-dead-sale-increased-purchase-infection-by-3000/

More detail:

During the Holiday sales:

* 10% sale = 35% increase in sales (real dollars, not units shipped)
* 25% sale = 245% increase in sales
* 50% sale = 320% increase in sales
* 75% sale = 1470% increase in sales

At 75% off, they are making 15% more money than they were at full price.

Source: http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/693342/Live-Blog-DICE-2009-Keynote---Gabe-Newell-Valve-Software.html#readmore

Romeo
31st Mar 2009, 20:40
He makes a decent point when he mentions impulse buys. The price of a new game is too high to just pick it up without thought. Even though a movie might be shorter it is much easier to drop three instances of $25 than a single one of $75. In that regard he is correct.

Even worse, games take ages to drop in price. It is hard to find that $10 gem a year after the game is released. If they were still $75 for the first six months and after that dropped to say $30, you'd probably see a lot more sales.

He fails to mention the biggest problem. It so enormously easy to pirate a game. Many people don't feel like paying that $75 for anything less than a perfect game (in their eyes). They'll glad pirate any game that they don't expect to meet this criterion. Because let's face it, $75 is a lot of money so why bother if you can try it out for free. Cheaper games would possibly persuade more people to buy "mediocre" games instead of just pirating them.

Personally I find games too expensive for regular purchase. I will buy games I really expect to be good and new parts in good series. I'll wait until the price goes does on any game that seems fun, but I'm a bit unsure about. I don’t buy very many games in a year. When I expect a game to worth full price I’ll try it out by any means necessary.
I understand his point, but you will never, never see full production games cheap enough to buy them with a twenty and bus fare. However, there is plenty of systems in place for impulse buying: XBLA Arcade/Wii-Mart/Playstation Online games are all cheap enough to buy for ten dollars or less, buying game content and lastly, renting games. These are all details often over-looked. In the case of rentals, if after playing it for a week you find you really like, both Roger's Video and Blockbuster allow you to substract the cost of the rental and then buy the game.

I remember an article about a year back that said you can split game sales roughly five ways: 20% to production costs (Discs, writing process, shipping, etc...), 20% to the develloping company (The people who actually made the game), 20% to the production company (The people who provided the initial funds for the game, such as what EA does), 20% console gratuity (Although companies like Sony and Microsoft will sometimes lower, or even completely drop this rate in an attempt to gain exclusivity) and finally 20% to the actual retailer (Electronics Boutique, Gamestop, Walmart, etc...). This means that a fifty dollar game can only become a thirty dollar game if the develloper and publisher sacrifice half their profit, and they sacrifice selling it on multiple consoles (Limiting how many sales they'll see). As you can imagine, they'd have a tough time keeping afloat if they did that. As such, the only way they'd sell it at that price is to cut content, which I think would be a bigger wound to the industry, myself. I enjoy reading everyone's opinions though, it is a good discussion.

Romeo
31st Mar 2009, 20:43
I stopped buying games new this generation. $50 was pushing it last go-round... but $60 is just asking too much. I either wait for a price-drop, or just get it second hand. With so many games these days, it's easy to wait for price-drops. I've always got something on my back-catalogue.


Steam weekend deals show that games selling at lower prices make more money than when they're selling at full price. Left 4 Dead practically doubled.
Valve is a smart company. Because they own electronic production companies and because they usually publish their own titles, they negate alot of the costs typically associated with games, not unlike Bungie (Albeit Bungie don't own any production companies, I'm sure Microsoft does).

Gosh, Gman you're SO right. India had a car that was to sell for, are you ready for this? $3500. Total. They were told they weren't allowed to though, because it would have drastically increased the rate of global warming with all the new cars on the road, although it still sold for $8000. Double the price, but still fairly cheap in my opinion. However, it does bring up the fact that auto-makers are foolishly wasting money. Did you know the average line worker (The average, there are those making more than this) Was $33 per hour in America? But yes, I actually built a car from the ground up (Literally started with a frame. lol) and still having to buy every single part I needed, not using in-house stuff for all my vehicles like automakers, cost me $40000. Sounds expensive, but comparing it to the Mini, mine is mid-engined, almost triple the horsepower, similar in mileage, has all the same features (Except for heated seats) and in my own opinion, looks slightly nicer (Even though it's not painted as of yet), so why is it the Mini, or a loaded Mustang, or a Cadillac CTS comparable in price? The auto industry really needs to start getting realistic - and more business savvy - lest they drive themselves out of the market, so to speak.

dixieflatline
31st Mar 2009, 21:44
3000% sales increase for L4D (more than at launch).

http://www.joystiq.com/2009/02/20/steams-left-4-dead-sale-increased-purchase-infection-by-3000/

More detail:

During the Holiday sales:

* 10% sale = 35% increase in sales (real dollars, not units shipped)
* 25% sale = 245% increase in sales
* 50% sale = 320% increase in sales
* 75% sale = 1470% increase in sales

At 75% off, they are making 15% more money than they were at full price.

Source: http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/693342/Live-Blog-DICE-2009-Keynote---Gabe-Newell-Valve-Software.html#readmore

Games are too expensive. I think they should be about 20% - 25% less. I think games should be closer to DVD prices than , say, sweater prices.

That quoted bit about says it all really. Profits would go up if games sold for less, and piracy rates would go down. If more studios aimed to make smaller budget, cheaper games as well, they might find success. It really is a under- serviced market.

It's pretty uncommon for me to to feel like I received my dollars' worth for a game over $60. Like Mass Effect last year was an exception -- other games, I felt they were over priced.

I feel especially sorry for Aussies, who pay exorbitant rates for games.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
31st Mar 2009, 21:50
I can't wait for the day Valve announce the Lemon-Lime Box,

OMG, awesome name! :thumb: :cool:

Romeo
31st Mar 2009, 22:12
Games are too expensive. I think they should be about 20% - 25% less. I think games should be closer to DVD prices than , say, sweater prices.

That quoted bit about says it all really. Profits would go up if games sold for less, and piracy rates would go down. If more studios aimed to make smaller budget, cheaper games as well, they might find success. It really is a under- serviced market.

It's pretty uncommon for me to to feel like I received my dollars' worth for a game over $60. Like Mass Effect last year was an exception -- other games, I felt they were over priced.

I feel especially sorry for Aussies, who pay exorbitant rates for games.
Yes, the Aussie's get screwed. I remember Trent Rezner from Nine Inch Nails telling people from Australia not to bother buying his CD, to just find it on BitTorrent. Ballsiest move I've ever seen from the music industry.

I have to say though, I doubt piracy will go down if prices fall. The highest downloaded things on Torrent sites usually arn't games, but rather blockbuster movies. Besides, if some jerk can download a game for free, he's still not going to pay thirty bucks for a game, it's just the mindset of it. Now, increased sales you might see, or you might not. If someone is going to buy a game, they're going to buy it. Now, just because they have $20 left over, doesn't mean they're going to look at a second game, it just means they have money left over. They may choose to buy another, or they buy lunch with it, or buy a new shirt, or whatever tickles there fancy. I know I rarely buy more than a game a month, and if I had more money, I'd still not invest it into games - I can only play one at a time anyways. Still I recognize that there's people who would, but this is all negated by one simple fact: There's not one company who can drop all the gaming prices 20%, every party involved would need to agree to sacrifice 20% of their revenue, which I really don't see happening any time soon. They'd have to be all-but-sure they'd make that money back, because companies don't "make" 100% of their revenue, alot of it goes to overhead, production, employees, rent, equipment, electricity, etc... Say profit is 30% (Generous, to say the least), asking that company to drop 20% of their price cuts 66% off of their "true" earnings.

a house
31st Mar 2009, 22:19
They're a good bargain if you really want to pay for it.

Ninjerk
31st Mar 2009, 23:19
How about the frontloaded cost to actually be able to interact with the game. To watch a movie or listen to music you don't have to buy eyes and ears and hopefully to read a book you've already been given a (sort of) free education in that. I don't think there are that many people in the impulse buying category that need a console or a performance computer for something outside of interactive entertainment.

Romeo
31st Mar 2009, 23:24
How about the frontloaded cost to actually be able to interact with the game. To watch a movie or listen to music you don't have to buy eyes and ears and hopefully to read a book you've already been given a (sort of) free education in that. I don't think there are that many people in the impulse buying category that need a console or a performance computer for something outside of interactive entertainment.
Yeah, you bring up another good point. One of Warren's ideas was to try and integrate new people into the gaming industry, but that's difficult to do with at least two-hundred dollars for the cheapest console, and about three-hundred dollars for a computer capable of running most new computer games.

FrankCSIS
1st Apr 2009, 00:19
If the idea is to attract even more gamers, I really don't know how much more the cow can be milked. As Ninjerk pointed out, there are structural costs linked to gaming that are more important than those of CD's and DVD's, first of all.

I'm also not sure of just how many more people you can attract to games, especially so average to long ones. There IS a vast potential for mini-games and downloadable arcade games, a crowd yet relatively untouched. I've seen, for instance, an increase in several workplaces of people in their 40's and 50's playing with their kid's DS during lunchtime. Most of those would not sit on a pc and play through a whole game, though, no matter how cheap.

While it might make sense to design more games for them, I really don't want the market to go out and cater simply to them. That would immensely piss me off, in fact.

Inflation-wise, games, at least upon release, are not so bad. I remember paying 90$ with taxes for the first GTA the week it came out, and I knew nothing of it, other than the back of its box and the promises written on it. The fact that new pc games are relatively cheaper than they were ten or fifteen years ago is pretty good by itself. My biggest concern is how long it takes before console games drop in price, and the actual drop in production value of many big titles. I seem to be getting less bang for my buck with each passing year, while the industry itself has never seen so much money, and that leaves a bitter taste. There are too many cheap games out there with big price tags that never seem to go down. I have a very long list of games I'm still waiting to buy for the 360, for the sheer reason that their prices are too high compared to their actual value. So in that sense, yes, dropping prices would generate more revenues.

Honestly though, the main reason I'd like to see prices drop is to cut on development budgets in the first place, and rethink the entire distribution methods. The industry hasn't just aged, it got fat as well. Productions are too large and far too ineffective. The costs have exploded while the actual value has barely increased, and in many instances has dropped. The availability and concentration of large sums of money for an elite group of companies has a terrible effect on the quality of releases we're getting, as well as the very management of development cycles and development in general, and it doesn't look like it's getting any better over time. In fact, instead of simplifying itself, more levels and structures seem to be adding themselves left and right, all competing to be THE structure everyone will adopt. From monthly fees to downloadable upgrades to online distribution to engine development, everybody's trying to milk the cow a little more, and it all adds up to the tally.

Not to mention the fact that this kind of money has attracted a lot of people into an industry they simply do not care about. Those who finance and green light a project are not the same who design, develop, write and make the games, as it used to be the case. This is, by far, the biggest problem of the industry, and one that will only worsen as the audience broadens.

WhatsHisFace
1st Apr 2009, 00:27
I have to say though, I doubt piracy will go down if prices fall. The highest downloaded things on Torrent sites usually arn't games, but rather blockbuster movies.
Yeah... that's because more people watch movies than play games. :rolleyes:

GmanPro
1st Apr 2009, 01:30
Prices will eventually go down. Way down. Same way computer hardware is so much cheaper now than it was 20 years ago, and immensely more powerful to boot.

Eventually, games are going to reach a point where everyone has access to life-like graphics and state of the art tools, which means that production costs will drop significantly. It could very well get to the point where you don't need a huge expensive team of artists to create a believable world anymore, and the only important people are going to be the writers and lead designers.

FrankCSIS
1st Apr 2009, 02:16
which means that production costs will drop significantly. It could very well get to the point where you don't need a huge expensive team of artists to create a believable world anymore

Not necessarily. In the end, it will heavily depend on the mindset of the people involved. People are rather good at protecting their status intact. As long as there is a lot of money to be made, and as long as people are prepared to pay, there will be wastes, and the prices will remain high, unless production and development deliberately decides to change their own attitude towards costs management. A LOT of economies could already be made as we speak, and yet costs keep on rising.

Costs of movies have also exploded in the past decades, and technology advances generally contributed to this escalation. With cheaper means of production you'd expect budgets to go down, but specialisation keeps on dragging the costs up.

Romeo
1st Apr 2009, 02:30
If the idea is to attract even more gamers, I really don't know how much more the cow can be milked. As Ninjerk pointed out, there are structural costs linked to gaming that are more important than those of CD's and DVD's, first of all.

I'm also not sure of just how many more people you can attract to games, especially so average to long ones. There IS a vast potential for mini-games and downloadable arcade games, a crowd yet relatively untouched. I've seen, for instance, an increase in several workplaces of people in their 40's and 50's playing with their kid's DS during lunchtime. Most of those would not sit on a pc and play through a whole game, though, no matter how cheap.

While it might make sense to design more games for them, I really don't want the market to go out and cater simply to them. That would immensely piss me off, in fact.

Inflation-wise, games, at least upon release, are not so bad. I remember paying 90$ with taxes for the first GTA the week it came out, and I knew nothing of it, other than the back of its box and the promises written on it. The fact that new pc games are relatively cheaper than they were ten or fifteen years ago is pretty good by itself. My biggest concern is how long it takes before console games drop in price, and the actual drop in production value of many big titles. I seem to be getting less bang for my buck with each passing year, while the industry itself has never seen so much money, and that leaves a bitter taste. There are too many cheap games out there with big price tags that never seem to go down. I have a very long list of games I'm still waiting to buy for the 360, for the sheer reason that their prices are too high compared to their actual value. So in that sense, yes, dropping prices would generate more revenues.

Honestly though, the main reason I'd like to see prices drop is to cut on development budgets in the first place, and rethink the entire distribution methods. The industry hasn't just aged, it got fat as well. Productions are too large and far too ineffective. The costs have exploded while the actual value has barely increased, and in many instances has dropped. The availability and concentration of large sums of money for an elite group of companies has a terrible effect on the quality of releases we're getting, as well as the very management of development cycles and development in general, and it doesn't look like it's getting any better over time. In fact, instead of simplifying itself, more levels and structures seem to be adding themselves left and right, all competing to be THE structure everyone will adopt. From monthly fees to downloadable upgrades to online distribution to engine development, everybody's trying to milk the cow a little more, and it all adds up to the tally.

Not to mention the fact that this kind of money has attracted a lot of people into an industry they simply do not care about. Those who finance and green light a project are not the same who design, develop, write and make the games, as it used to be the case. This is, by far, the biggest problem of the industry, and one that will only worsen as the audience broadens.
Yeah, that's actually a really good point. And I like how you touched upon the casual market, because that seems to be so taboo for most "hardcore" gamers, yet they don't seem to accept that it can help them out indirectly.

Yeah... that's because more people watch movies than play games. :rolleyes:
Yeah, that is true I suppose, but the point remains the same though. Movies are about a third the price of games, yet they're still pirated. I can't imagine too many of those who are paying nothing suddenly cheering on the prospect of paying $30. I think the only way to curb that problem is increased, harsh enforcement of copyright laws. Still, like I said, you do make a valid point.

Prices will eventually go down. Way down. Same way computer hardware is so much cheaper now than it was 20 years ago, and immensely more powerful to boot.

Eventually, games are going to reach a point where everyone has access to life-like graphics and state of the art tools, which means that production costs will drop significantly. It could very well get to the point where you don't need a huge expensive team of artists to create a believable world anymore, and the only important people are going to be the writers and lead designers.
I can only hope you're right. Although I wonder if it will: Computer parts are more manufacturing than artistic endeavors. As you machinary becomes more efficient, your cost lowers, and you can pass those savings on to consumers. However, you cannot simply lower the amount you pay your designers, artists, directors, etc, or they'll simply jump ship to another devellopment company. That unto itself makes it hard to lower prices, at least until there's a universal market shift.

FrankCSIS
1st Apr 2009, 02:38
Careful with piracy and easy solutions. The biggest cause of movie and music piracy is the Offer severely exceeding the means of the Demand. In market theory, offer as well as prices should go down, but then again, market theory is a simplified crock of sh"t that simply doesn't work.

There are too many products out there, but the structures in place manage to keep them all afloat (successes from one label allow to keep on producing less successful titles, for instance). The fact that the product you did not necessarily intend to buy is available for free should not be translated into the falsehood that if you were afraid to pirate it, you would buy it. That is a dangerous assumption to make, because it doesn't address the core of the entertainment industry problems.

Irate_Iguana
1st Apr 2009, 06:34
These are all details often over-looked. In the case of rentals, if after playing it for a week you find you really like, both Roger's Video and Blockbuster allow you to substract the cost of the rental and then buy the game.

Where I live you can't rent games. People give you a hard time if you want to return a game for any reason. The only way to get second hand games is buying them via E-bay. I don't like that option. That limits the options in what I can and can't do. So I have to wait until the price drops and hope that there is still a retailer stocking the game when I don't feel a game iw worth full price.



I remember an article about a year back that said you can split game sales roughly five ways

That might be the case, but online distribution has shown that there is something wrong with that model. If there is any price drop compared to the regular boxed version then it doesn't follow those rules.

Oddly enough nowadays I get a jewel box and if I'm lucky a single pamphlet with some control schemes printed on them. Back in the day we used to get this huge cardboard box filled with a gigantic manual and sometimes other tiny goodies. Price hasn't changed even though they are cutting corners everywhere.

I think the budgets and production values have gone out of hand. Somewhere things are going horribly wrong. If you look at the cost of developing Fallout 3 for instance and seeing that it is basically an Oblivion port with some new skins I can't help but wonder why current games have to cost that much money to be developed.

Romeo
1st Apr 2009, 06:34
Careful with piracy and easy solutions. The biggest cause of movie and music piracy is the Offer severely exceeding the means of the Demand. In market theory, offer as well as prices should go down, but then again, market theory is a simplified crock of sh"t that simply doesn't work.

There are too many products out there, but the structures in place manage to keep them all afloat (successes from one label allow to keep on producing less successful titles, for instance). The fact that the product you did not necessarily intend to buy is available for free should not be translated into the falsehood that if you were afraid to pirate it, you would buy it. That is a dangerous assumption to make, because it doesn't address the core of the entertainment industry problems.
I'm sorry, but I think there is only one excuse for piracy: Re-downloading something you've already bought. If you can't afford to buy all three movies coming out this week, too bad. I can't afford every game I think looks interesting, but then I pick the one I want the most and buy it. If next month nothing catches my attention, I'll buy another of the games I found interesting. If not, I can always hope for my birthday, or Christmas. If after all those things still fail, then oh well, looks likes I'll have to go on without playing every game, or I rent it. People seem to have fallen to this assumption of entitlement. Worse still are the ones who don't support the industry in any way, but download everything free. It is a serious problem with the indurstry, and I support any measures taken towards stopping it, even if it includes coming down hard on those guilty of piracy.

Irate_Iguana
1st Apr 2009, 06:48
I'm sorry, but I think there is only one excuse for piracy: Re-downloading something you've already bought.

I still think trying before you buy is a good excuse. There are a lot of games that refuse to give you a demo before buying them. Magazine reviews are all about not scaring the advertisers away. That leaves you with only worth to mouth as to whether the game is good and no idea on how it will run on your system.

GmanPro
1st Apr 2009, 06:49
@Romeo
I agree with the sentiment, and I too am sometimes forced to forgo many a good video game. It helps to know that most of the critically acclaimed games that come out these days are crap anyways.

As for cracking down on piracy, I think that (I just know I'm going to regret saying this) but steam is the only system that I remotely like for going about this. I've had some pretty bad experiences with steam, but recently I reinstalled windows on my PC. I was really worried that steam was going to be ghey and force me to download all of my games again, but all I had to do was copy and paste them over from my backup hardrive and they were good to go. Good thing too because I've got somewhere around 25 Gb worth of steam files and a slow internet connection.


I'm sorry, but I think there is only one excuse for piracy: Re-downloading something you've already bought.

Totally agree. And I think steam lets you do this. Never had to do it myself so I don't know for sure.

Romeo
1st Apr 2009, 06:53
I still think trying before you buy is a good excuse. There are a lot of games that refuse to give you a demo before buying them. Magazine reviews are all about not scaring the advertisers away. That leaves you with only worth to mouth as to whether the game is good and no idea on how it will run on your system.
Rent it. Besides, if you've been following a game, you should have a fairly good idea of what it's like.

@Romeo
I agree with the sentiment, and I too am sometimes forced to forgo many a good video game. It helps to know that most of the critically acclaimed games that come out these days are crap anyways.

As for cracking down on piracy, I think that (I just know I'm going to regret saying this) but steam is the only system that I remotely like for going about this. I've had some pretty bad experiences with steam, but recently I reinstalled windows on my PC. I was really worried that steam was going to be ghey and force me to download all of my games again, but all I had to do was copy and paste them over from my backup hardrive and they were good to go. Good thing too because I've got somewhere around 25 Gb worth of steam files and a slow internet connection.



Totally agree. And I think steam lets you do this. Never had to do it so I don't know for sure.
Yeah, Steam is a really great system. I keep .ISO's on my computer for the games I buy, as well as a document with their CD-Keys, just in case my CD gets scratched or lost. Works for me, but I understand when certain people, say, even someone from this very community (You know who you are) loses their CD prior to a seven-year concieved mod coming out. ;)

Irate_Iguana
1st Apr 2009, 06:57
Rent it. Besides, if you've been following a game, you should have a fairly good idea of what it's like.

Like I said before, not everyone is in the position to rent. I certainly can't. You can't physically follow the development of all games. Even then it is a question of how well does the information fit? Remember DX: IW? The Demo was terrible, but we were assured that it would be fixed for release. I bought the game the day it came out. Could have saved me some money.

lumpi
1st Apr 2009, 10:42
Oddly enough nowadays I get a jewel box and if I'm lucky a single pamphlet with some control schemes printed on them. Back in the day we used to get this huge cardboard box filled with a gigantic manual and sometimes other tiny goodies. Price hasn't changed even though they are cutting corners everywhere.
Oh, yes, those were the times. Unpacking a new Civ or SimCity style game, reading the 400-page manual... it was great. Really gave you a sense of the complexity and depth of the game. Back then strategy games were marketed towards strategy lovers. Imagine!


I think the budgets and production values have gone out of hand. Somewhere things are going horribly wrong. If you look at the cost of developing Fallout 3 for instance and seeing that it is basically an Oblivion port with some new skins I can't help but wonder why current games have to cost that much money to be developed.
Yes. Some of the most praised games in history, big, complex games, were developed by 10-15 people over the course of a year or two. Deus Ex had 2 programmers.

There is another extreme nowadays: Some indy developer making an entire game all by himself (http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/), ignoring any convention. That's awesome, really, but I wonder: Could there be something in between? A game developed by 10 people, no pixel shaders or hardware requirements worth mentioning, just clean, pure gameplay in the spirit of the best 1990ies games. It could be produced at very reasonable cost and still sell hundreds of thousands of copies, making millions.

And I just realized, Stardock (http://www.stardock.com/)might be exactly what I am suggesting here. :)

Ninjerk
1st Apr 2009, 16:01
Eventually, games are going to reach a point where everyone has access to life-like graphics and state of the art tools, which means that production costs will drop significantly. It could very well get to the point where you don't need a huge expensive team of artists to create a believable world anymore, and the only important people are going to be the writers and lead designers.

The type of industry you are talking about would probably lead to visual homogeneity. I think there could only be so many viable state of the art toolsets at any given time. Without artists or crack programmers to expand the capabilities of the engine/tools at their disposal--let's not forget that they would then have to buy the expensive, expensive license for the engine/toolsets--each game world would eventually look and feel the same as the last. The potential there exists to have players turned off to the game before they hardly get into it.

Jerion
1st Apr 2009, 16:08
That's what happens when every game's art direction tries to be completely photorealistic, instead of a bit more stylized.

GmanPro
1st Apr 2009, 16:11
As video games turn out more profits, more people are going to try to get into the game I'm sure. Games will become more and more abundant, and then cheaper ... maybe.

WhatsHisFace
1st Apr 2009, 16:23
That's what happens when every game's art direction tries to be completely photorealistic, instead of a bit more stylized.

Deus Ex 3 - cel-shaded confirmed.

Romeo
1st Apr 2009, 18:47
Oh, yes, those were the times. Unpacking a new Civ or SimCity style game, reading the 400-page manual... it was great. Really gave you a sense of the complexity and depth of the game. Back then strategy games were marketed towards strategy lovers. Imagine!


Yes. Some of the most praised games in history, big, complex games, were developed by 10-15 people over the course of a year or two. Deus Ex had 2 programmers.

There is another extreme nowadays: Some indy developer making an entire game all by himself (http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/), ignoring any convention. That's awesome, really, but I wonder: Could there be something in between? A game developed by 10 people, no pixel shaders or hardware requirements worth mentioning, just clean, pure gameplay in the spirit of the best 1990ies games. It could be produced at very reasonable cost and still sell hundreds of thousands of copies, making millions.

And I just realized, Stardock (http://www.stardock.com/)might be exactly what I am suggesting here. :)
Ninjabee is kinda like that. They have a fifteen person studio, and while they produce XBLA games, they're kinda "High-End" XBLA games. I don't know, I like alot of indy games, but I also like some of the big budget affairs that come out, such as Forza Motorsport. A game like that cannot come out with a small studio, there's simply too much in the game. Same goes for a game like Morrowind, or even Oblivion (In terms of size and all the stuff in the landscape).

dixieflatline
1st Apr 2009, 23:29
I have to say though, I doubt piracy will go down if prices fall. The highest downloaded things on Torrent sites usually arn't games, but rather blockbuster movies. Besides, if some jerk can download a game for free, he's still not going to pay thirty bucks for a game, it's just the mindset of it. Now, increased sales you might see, or you might not. If someone is going to buy a game, they're going to buy it. Now, just because they have $20 left over, doesn't mean they're going to look at a second game, it just means they have money left over. They may choose to buy another, or they buy lunch with it, or buy a new shirt, or whatever tickles there fancy. I know I rarely buy more than a game a month, and if I had more money, I'd still not invest it into games - I can only play one at a time anyways. Still I recognize that there's people who would, but this is all negated by one simple fact: There's not one company who can drop all the gaming prices 20%, every party involved would need to agree to sacrifice 20% of their revenue, which I really don't see happening any time soon. They'd have to be all-but-sure they'd make that money back, because companies don't "make" 100% of their revenue, alot of it goes to overhead, production, employees, rent, equipment, electricity, etc... Say profit is 30% (Generous, to say the least), asking that company to drop 20% of their price cuts 66% off of their "true" earnings.

You make good points and you might be dead-on about the piracy thing (which was the case for World of Goo), but I think you are missing one point that I was trying to make, which was that it is possible that with a 20% price reduction, the profit margin for the game might actually go UP.

You are thinking that 20% cut would translate into a 20% revenue loss, whereas I would argue that a 20% price cut would lead to substantially more sales leading to actually more money for the game developers, than they'd make at the higher sales price.

I think you are also saying that big price-tags for games are needed to support the big budgets. But I would say that instead of the over-genre-fication of gaming, where a handful of the most successful examples of one particular game design make the lion's share of money, studios should instead narrow their focus on more specific audiences, using smaller budgets (I'd point to Sins of a Solar Empire here... no big company would make that game in today's game development scene, yet Ironclad made way more money than tons of big game companies that made derivative, second-rate examples of the most popular games of the previous year.)

The 'Steam experiments' I quoted are good proof of this possibility. Of course, I suppose the obvious counter-argument would be that if ALL games cost 20% less people would not consider them abnormal, good deals, and sales would balance out....

FrankCSIS
2nd Apr 2009, 01:13
I'm sorry, but I think there is only one excuse for piracy: Re-downloading something you've already bought. If you can't afford to buy all three movies coming out this week, too bad. I can't afford every game I think looks interesting, but then I pick the one I want the most and buy it. If next month nothing catches my attention, I'll buy another of the games I found interesting. If not, I can always hope for my birthday, or Christmas. If after all those things still fail, then oh well, looks likes I'll have to go on without playing every game, or I rent it. People seem to have fallen to this assumption of entitlement. Worse still are the ones who don't support the industry in any way, but download everything free. It is a serious problem with the indurstry, and I support any measures taken towards stopping it, even if it includes coming down hard on those guilty of piracy.

Sorry to be a little off topic, but I'd like to clear a point. My previous post was not a justification for piracy, so I will rephrase it slightly.

People not pirating game/movie/music will not equal to people buying said game/movie/music. I'm always terribly amused when I hear a movie studio or music label come up with the amount of avergae downloads tracked for their product, and then translate it into money they lost because of it.

It's a leap in logic, and serves as a modern scapegoat to cover a much more serious issue with art financement that has been raging, well, forever.

GmanPro
2nd Apr 2009, 01:20
Sorry to be a little off topic, but I'd like to clear a point. My previous post was not a justification for piracy, so I will rephrase it slightly.

People not pirating game/movie/music will not equal to people buying said game/movie/music. I'm always terribly amused when I hear a movie studio or music label come up with the amount of avergae downloads tracked for their product, and then translate it into money they lost because of it.

It's a leap in logic, and serves as a modern scapegoat to cover a much more serious issue with art financement that has been raging, well, forever.

^^ Ahh, yes that is a very good point. I think its mostly because there is so much media now. We are practically saturated with it. So you can't expect people to go out and buy everything.

So then, if someone isn't very interested in something, they might download it just because its free, you know - why not? But if they can't download it, its too much of a hassle to buy it when they don't particularly care that much about it anyway.

Romeo
2nd Apr 2009, 01:35
You make good points and you might be dead-on about the piracy thing (which was the case for World of Goo), but I think you are missing one point that I was trying to make, which was that it is possible that with a 20% price reduction, the profit margin for the game might actually go UP.

You are thinking that 20% cut would translate into a 20% revenue loss, whereas I would argue that a 20% price cut would lead to substantially more sales leading to actually more money for the game developers, than they'd make at the higher sales price.

I think you are also saying that big price-tags for games are needed to support the big budgets. But I would say that instead of the over-genre-fication of gaming, where a handful of the most successful examples of one particular game design make the lion's share of money, studios should instead narrow their focus on more specific audiences, using smaller budgets (I'd point to Sins of a Solar Empire here... no big company would make that game in today's game development scene, yet Ironclad made way more money than tons of big game companies that made derivative, second-rate examples of the most popular games of the previous year.)

The 'Steam experiments' I quoted are good proof of this possibility. Of course, I suppose the obvious counter-argument would be that if ALL games cost 20% less people would not consider them abnormal, good deals, and sales would balance out....
I understand what you mean, and while I'm not an entrepreneur, the guy who ran the shop I used to work at explained it to me the best: When you cut 20% from your price, that's 20% of the total sale price gone. However, say you sell something for a hundred dollars, and you pay out $40 creating it, and you know that based upon effeciency, employees are going to cost you $20 and rest/electricity another $10, that means you will make $30 dollars net off of the sale. Well, that means a 20% off sale means you don't lose 20%, but rather 66% of your net profit. As such, things that sound like relatively small figures end up having a profound effect.

Sorry to be a little off topic, but I'd like to clear a point. My previous post was not a justification for piracy, so I will rephrase it slightly.

People not pirating game/movie/music will not equal to people buying said game/movie/music. I'm always terribly amused when I hear a movie studio or music label come up with the amount of avergae downloads tracked for their product, and then translate it into money they lost because of it.

It's a leap in logic, and serves as a modern scapegoat to cover a much more serious issue with art financement that has been raging, well, forever.
Ah, yes, now I'm totally with you here. I don't agree that piracy equates into dollars lost, but yeah, I still think if you haven't paid for a product, you have no right using it (Unless it's freeware, or you have some exemption). I would love to drive a Ferrari, but if I tried "testing" it out for free, it'd be a few years before I would be released for prison. The same logic should carry over to videogames as well.

FrankCSIS
2nd Apr 2009, 01:50
It lacks a few shades of grays, but otherwise we agree. I'm still not sure where I stand with movies. If I've paid to see it in theaters once or even twice, is it still a theft to download it afterwards? I'm still questioning myself on copyrights, especially so how they have evolved over the decades. The time limit has been excessively extended, for instance, something that is a bit worrisome.

I've never felt piracy to be such an issue with games though, and I'm not sure dropping prices will have any significant impacts on piracy, or stopping piracy having any major effect on sales.

I find the current price drop rates of PC games to be fairly adequate, as stated earlier, and maintain the biggest issue to be with console games. I was at Best Buy today, and saw some 50 Cents game for 69,99$ before taxes, as well as year-old games still going for 59,99$. I don't mind paying a good price for good production value, but lesser games need to come with lesser price tags, and age should affect them a lot quicker.

Romeo
2nd Apr 2009, 02:01
It lacks a few shades of grays, but otherwise we agree. I'm still not sure where I stand with movies. If I've paid to see it in theaters once or even twice, is it still a theft to download it afterwards? I'm still questioning myself on copyrights, especially so how they have evolved over the decades. The time limit has been excessively extended, for instance, something that is a bit worrisome.

I've never felt piracy to be such an issue with games though, and I'm not sure dropping prices will have any significant impacts on piracy, or stopping piracy having any major effect on sales.

I find the current price drop rates of PC games to be fairly adequate, as stated earlier, and maintain the biggest issue to be with console games. I was at Best Buy today, and saw some 50 Cents game for 69,99$ before taxes, as well as year-old games still going for 59,99$. I don't mind paying a good price for good production value, but lesser games need to come with lesser price tags, and age should affect them a lot quicker.
1) Personally if I've already seen a movie in theatres, rarely do I bother picking it up again once it comes out on DVD, otherwise if I do want to re-watch it, I do buy them. I do understand the people who paid to go see it though, at least they've supported it. But I hate the people who just download copies of brand new movies.

2) I'm completely in agreement with you, although for the sake of justice, I'd still like to see piracy crash and burn.

3) Yeah, PC games are starting to get more affordable, but as you said, consoles seem to be creeping in the wrong direction. Halo 3, for example, had a $150 edition when it launched. That's excessive, there's no need for that kind of price tag. Still, PC seems to have held firm, which is why I still think the pricing is fair enough. And console games are starting to dip in prices, and indie-style games are becoming more and more popular, so perhaps that trend will help force down full console games' cost.

FrankCSIS
2nd Apr 2009, 02:15
Yeah, PC games are starting to get more affordable, but as you said, consoles seem to be creeping in the wrong direction. Halo 3, for example, had a $150 edition when it launched. That's excessive, there's no need for that kind of price tag. Still, PC seems to have held firm, which is why I still think the pricing is fair enough. And console games are starting to dip in prices, and indie-style games are becoming more and more popular, so perhaps that trend will help force down full console games' cost.

I'm worried about a few things concerning this situation, though. I suspect PC game tags to be dropping mainly because of console game sales hiking. When a title is released on all systems, console being the most popular choice, PC prices dropping is not necessarily a sign of the industry's good faith, but rather a hint that they've figured out the big money was to be milked from the console crowd, hence the hike in prices. Not only do console game prices have gone up between the X Box and the 360, but they do not go down over time.

If this is how the industry now finances all its titles, and still barely manages to stay afloat, when would we ever see a drop in prices? Like I said yesterday, the biggest problem is how fat the productions and structures have become compared to the final production value. Dropping prices with the current mindset would lead to necessary loss in value. Either way, we lose. The indie games you mention, who generally come cheaper, are also a lot shorter and offer as much value as a token used to get me on arcade games. It's a great source of financement, true, but not a tangent every game should take. Once again, this is a structural issue. One should complement the other, with a sensible price strategy.

Romeo
2nd Apr 2009, 03:54
I'm worried about a few things concerning this situation, though. I suspect PC game tags to be dropping mainly because of console game sales hiking. When a title is released on all systems, console being the most popular choice, PC prices dropping is not necessarily a sign of the industry's good faith, but rather a hint that they've figured out the big money was to be milked from the console crowd, hence the hike in prices. Not only do console game prices have gone up between the X Box and the 360, but they do not go down over time.

If this is how the industry now finances all its titles, and still barely manages to stay afloat, when would we ever see a drop in prices? Like I said yesterday, the biggest problem is how fat the productions and structures have become compared to the final production value. Dropping prices with the current mindset would lead to necessary loss in value. Either way, we lose. The indie games you mention, who generally come cheaper, are also a lot shorter and offer as much value as a token used to get me on arcade games. It's a great source of financement, true, but not a tangent every game should take. Once again, this is a structural issue. One should complement the other, with a sensible price strategy.
Oh I know what you mean in that regard (I spend all my time around cars, which is a perfect example of what you're talking about), however, a company still can only stretch the medium so far. If there were no cars between say, a Kia and a Lambourghini, there'd be a definite problem with the market, and in the same sense, while I think $65 is reasonable for a good game, I don't believe that justifies a further price hike. If the industry cut their prices as they are right now, you'd have a price for every market:
<$20 = Arcade games (XBLA, Wii-Mart, PS Online).
$20-40 = Handheld games (DS and PSP).
$40-70 = Full computer and console games.

lumpi
2nd Apr 2009, 11:55
I understand what you mean, and while I'm not an entrepreneur, the guy who ran the shop I used to work at explained it to me the best: When you cut 20% from your price, that's 20% of the total sale price gone. However, say you sell something for a hundred dollars, and you pay out $40 creating it, and you know that based upon efficiency, employees are going to cost you $20 and rest/electricity another $10, that means you will make $30 dollars net off of the sale. Well, that means a 20% off sale means you don't lose 20%, but rather 66% of your net profit. As such, things that sound like relatively small figures end up having a profound effect.

Hummm... Is that some twisted commerce logic I don't quite get? Because otherwise, I think the logic might be flawed. :hmm:

All that counts in the end, is how many dollars you get. Whether you get 50x1,000,000 or 25x2,000,000 doesn't matter. No matter how expensive the development was. And if you look at the Steam statistics, for example, you see that a 50% price drop leads to a >50% sales increase. So it might not be 25x2,000,000 but rather 25x2,500,000 or more. A risky thing to experiment with, but in the end, that is probably where the real money lies.

If the market wasn't so stuffed with monopolistic mega-corps, there would actually be a chance for more experimentation in pricing, such as Steam which is ridiculously successful with it. The same is true for the music and movie biz, IMO. Give me a reasonably priced flat-rate, and I might actually start using online MP3 stores.

Ninjerk
2nd Apr 2009, 11:56
That's what happens when every game's art direction tries to be completely photorealistic, instead of a bit more stylized.

If they spend time and money on balancing the team instead of paying big money for just the concept guy and the writers, there's a pretty good chance the games will look, and play, differently.

JCD
2nd Apr 2009, 15:52
Nice topic :thumb: - by coinsidence, I just bought some games, so I would like to share my thoughts:

For starters, this is what I do (I will be totally honest):

When a game whose franchise I love comes out, or has gotten great scores in reviews of people that I trust (PC Gamer UK is an example), I buy it without question. This means that games such as Half-Life 2, Deus Ex 3, Fallout 3, Diablo 3, Dawn of War 2, etc, are/will be instantly bought - period.

For the rest of the games now, this is not the case.

I torrent them.

Then I try them.

If I like them -> a) I buy them at once / b) I buy them at a discount, when their price drops a bit/a lot.

If I don't like them / they didn't amuse me that much -> a) I don't buy them / b) I buy them at a GREAT discount (5-10€), at stores such as Media Markt, where price drops are regural.

Trust me, I have many original games but I also have downloaded MANY games which I haven't bought / won't buy.

---

For example, today I bought Mass Effect for only 15€. I haven't yet played the game nor have I downloaded it. I was not going to buy it @ 45€, which was it's original price. But now, since I found it @ ONLY 15€, it's "a sin" not to buy it, since I was definitely going to play it in the future.

My point is that I always want to support the people whose work I admire and offered me sth I enjoyed. However, since I am not at a state that would give me the opportunity to buy everything I like, I simply wait since the prices drop a bit/a lot, and then I make my move, even if I have already played the game.

So, my choice is the 3rd one - I would like to see them a little bit dropped ;)

Romeo
2nd Apr 2009, 20:42
Hummm... Is that some twisted commerce logic I don't quite get? Because otherwise, I think the logic might be flawed. :hmm:

All that counts in the end, is how many dollars you get. Whether you get 50x1,000,000 or 25x2,000,000 doesn't matter. No matter how expensive the development was. And if you look at the Steam statistics, for example, you see that a 50% price drop leads to a >50% sales increase. So it might not be 25x2,000,000 but rather 25x2,500,000 or more. A risky thing to experiment with, but in the end, that is probably where the real money lies.

If the market wasn't so stuffed with monopolistic mega-corps, there would actually be a chance for more experimentation in pricing, such as Steam which is ridiculously successful with it. The same is true for the music and movie biz, IMO. Give me a reasonably priced flat-rate, and I might actually start using online MP3 stores.
Ok, I'll use two figures then.

If my $100 item when sold nets me $30 after all my costs and expenses are paid for, and I sell 100 of them, I net $3000.

If I have a 20% discount, and I double my sales during the discount, I only make $2000.

That's because that 20% off comes off the total price of the item ($20 off a $100 item), and you can't get 20% off your manufacturing fees, and your shipping costs, and employee wages, so it comes off your net income. Meaning, in the example above, a thirty dollar profit per item turns into a ten dollar profit per item, even though you "only" cut the price by 20%.

lumpi
2nd Apr 2009, 22:16
Ok, I'll use two figures then.

If my $100 item when sold nets me $30 after all my costs and expenses are paid for, and I sell 100 of them, I net $3000.

If I have a 20% discount, and I double my sales during the discount, I only make $2000.

That's because that 20% off comes off the total price of the item ($20 off a $100 item), and you can't get 20% off your manufacturing fees, and your shipping costs, and employee wages, so it comes off your net income. Meaning, in the example above, a thirty dollar profit per item turns into a ten dollar profit per item, even though you "only" cut the price by 20%.

Hmmm... could it be that example applies more to physical goods than intellectual?

I don't know how much packaging and shipping costs per DVD (my guess is cents), but for digital downloads, distribution costs arrive at near-zero. Publisher costs are usually a percentage of the price, thus aren't really affecting profit from price increases.

So what's left? A company spending 3+ years working on a game. That must cost quite a lot, but once they're done, the game code is simply copied and nobody is working on each item sold individually. Maybe that period of time costed $20 mil? More? Less? IDK. But you would have to take those 20,000,000 and split them over every copy sold. That means, the more copies sold, the less money each copy cost to produce (and, again, DVD production or download traffic costs are negligible).

If they sold 1,000,000 copies, each copy would have cost $20 to develop. For 2,000,000 copies, it would have only cost $10. 4 mil sold? (*fingers crossed* :D ) -> $5 per copy. So this is dynamic and goes both ways. The more copies sold, the less each copy cost to produce. Of course you make less money if you sell your game 20% cheaper, and before anyone buys, that 20% might actually be 40$ of production cost... but if sales increase 100% in return, you might just reach the golden spot where prices are so attractive, the number of people buying increases exponentially!

I'm not that confident about the math, but if you listen to Valve (and watch how consistently they continue their tactic), it has to pay off.

Romeo
5th Apr 2009, 01:07
Hmmm... could it be that example applies more to physical goods than intellectual?

I don't know how much packaging and shipping costs per DVD (my guess is cents), but for digital downloads, distribution costs arrive at near-zero. Publisher costs are usually a percentage of the price, thus aren't really affecting profit from price increases.

So what's left? A company spending 3+ years working on a game. That must cost quite a lot, but once they're done, the game code is simply copied and nobody is working on each item sold individually. Maybe that period of time costed $20 mil? More? Less? IDK. But you would have to take those 20,000,000 and split them over every copy sold. That means, the more copies sold, the less money each copy cost to produce (and, again, DVD production or download traffic costs are negligible).

If they sold 1,000,000 copies, each copy would have cost $20 to develop. For 2,000,000 copies, it would have only cost $10. 4 mil sold? (*fingers crossed* :D ) -> $5 per copy. So this is dynamic and goes both ways. The more copies sold, the less each copy cost to produce. Of course you make less money if you sell your game 20% cheaper, and before anyone buys, that 20% might actually be 40$ of production cost... but if sales increase 100% in return, you might just reach the golden spot where prices are so attractive, the number of people buying increases exponentially!

I'm not that confident about the math, but if you listen to Valve (and watch how consistently they continue their tactic), it has to pay off.
True, but how many games, especially games like Deus Ex, sell even a million copies? Halo Wars was the number one selling RTS for any console, and it barely made it past a million. Also, devellopment costs are closer to $50 million, not twenty. But say, for example, we are making a "Cheap" game that's only twenty million to devellop. We assume we'll sell a million copies. We then have to pay our publisher back, maybe we got a great deal, and that was only ten million. We also have to pay gratuity charges, say it's only five million because Microsoft loves us. Now, if every single game sold is done digitally, therefore reducing our manufacturing and distribution costs to zero, that means we have $35 million invested, and every one of our million downloads must retail AT A MINIMUM of $35 in order to recoup our costs. To lower our price just ten dollars and still break even, we'd have to sell an additional four-hundred thousand copies. And remember, these figures are purely to break-even, not even turn an appreciable profit.

Although it's not the same as an auto-shop, I do know that's why auto-shops, despite charging almost $100 an hour, rarely differ from each by more than $5 either way, because they all have a bottom-line to maintain.

Jets Connor
5th Apr 2009, 04:26
I don't think it really matters to what lumpi is saying whether a typical game will cost 20m or 50m to make. What he was arguing in the last post was the principle.

I actually wrote this post out on my phone before, but (argh) by the time I finished my login session had finished. So this will be less... fleshed out.

Let m be the cost to manufacture each unit. Let F be the fixed cost of development. Let u be the total number of units.

Cost = mu + F

Let p be the price for each unit, subtracting what Electronics Boutique or whoever takes and so forth. For simplicity's sake, let's say every copy made is sold. This will affect the result of any given calculation, but shouldn't have so much of an effect on the principle as to what we're discussing here.

Revenue = pu

The core of lumpi's argument appears to be that a price drop will produce an exponential increase in popularity, at least within the range we can practically talk about. Valve's sales data, referenced by Lumpi, is consistent with this.

Let's say there's a maximum possible interest number of people, n, who would buy the game if the game were free. Given there are finite people in the world, this seems reasonable to me. Let d be how drastically the price affects interest.

Units sold u = n + 1 - d^p. The 1 is there because otherwise you'd still get n - 1 people buying the game if the price were 0 and the universe would tear itself apart with contradiction and the games industry would have to be shut down for destroying the universe again.

Plugging this into cost, we get revenue = m(n + 1 - d^p) + F and cost = p(n+1 - d^p). That gets us profit = (p - m)(n + 1 - d^p) - F, and if you graph that you find there is an optimum price, either side of which you will make less money. The argument to be had here seems to be whether or not today's prices, on average, are greater than p at this turning point.

So the principle appears valid. It doesn't make much difference to argue over the cost to develop a game when arguing principle, because the numbers only need to relate to one another. It doesn't make much sense to argue over the number of units typically bought unless you can find how price will affect popularity. That's a difficult number to find, and I'm not confident a weekend of sales figures will provide sufficient accuracy.

FrankCSIS
5th Apr 2009, 05:31
Also, devellopment costs are closer to $50 million

This is quite frightening. Worse than I thought, actually.

This expense control model can't go on forever.

GmanPro
5th Apr 2009, 06:16
I heard that GTA4 cost about $100 million :eek:

Jets Connor
5th Apr 2009, 07:42
I'm thinking that'd be mostly content. You need an army of artists to create anything these days. Then again, from what I hear Spore cost a bomb to make...

Jerion
5th Apr 2009, 07:47
I'm thinking that'd be mostly content. You need an army of artists to create anything these days. Then again, from what I hear Spore cost a bomb to make...

Square Enix's FF team was bigger than the entire Eidos Montréal studio, and EM has, in comparison to that FF team, made more progress in as much time with fewer people. SE is actually looking at EM as an example of how to do things right.

Jets Connor
5th Apr 2009, 12:15
It's good to know EM is doing things right. :)

gamer0004
5th Apr 2009, 13:59
It's good to know EM is doing things right. :)

Er...

http://i553.photobucket.com/albums/jj392/KOLMod/deusEx3_conceptArt_v04.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc159/eternaltreasure/office.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc159/eternaltreasure/scientist.jpg


:confused:

Jerion
5th Apr 2009, 15:15
Considerably outdated images from when the art team still hadn't nailed down the art style. Besides, those are fairly unrelated to the discussion.

gamer0004
5th Apr 2009, 15:19
Considerably outdated images from when the art team still hadn't nailed down the art style. Besides, those are fairly unrelated to the discussion.

I really do hope they completely ditch renaissance, then make some renaissance style models and send them to me so I can smash them with a baseball bat. And they should send me a Barret action-figure. Please tell me they've ditched him as well.

Disclaimer: yes, I'm a psycho :P

Romeo
5th Apr 2009, 17:19
Maybe it's just me, I think the game (Graphically) looks pretty damn good in those images. Sure, the styling can go either way (I like the lab for example, and the renaissance-style office would be cool in someone's mansion) but I like it.

gamer0004
5th Apr 2009, 19:12
Maybe it's just me, I think the game (Graphically) looks pretty damn good in those images. Sure, the styling can go either way (I like the lab for example, and the renaissance-style office would be cool in someone's mansion) but I like it.

I think the graphics will be okay, I just really hope they won't go for the renaissance style. They have announced it won't be as bad as the concept art, so my faith in EM has been a little bit restored.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
5th Apr 2009, 21:33
I like the concept art too and the Renaissance style to architecture and fashion.

Even the sewers look cool... who would of thought I'd be looking forward to exploring down there. :D


http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc159/eternaltreasure/sewer.jpg

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc159/eternaltreasure/grate.jpg

JCD
5th Apr 2009, 23:13
I find this rennaissance-look to be somewhat surrealistic, which I like :D

I would of course like to see it implemented in-game and then "judge" it :thumb:

Lady_Of_The_Vine
6th Apr 2009, 00:13
I find this rennaissance-look to be somewhat surrealistic, which I like :D

I would of course like to see it implemented in-game and then "judge" it :thumb:


Same.
Same.
:thumb: :cool:

FrankCSIS
6th Apr 2009, 00:28
Those aren't the sewers, it's Montreal in 15 years!

Romeo
6th Apr 2009, 00:36
It's the rest of Canada in the eyes of Montreal. lol

FrankCSIS
6th Apr 2009, 00:46
It's the rest of Canada in the eyes of Montreal. lol

Well, I don't know if it's all of Canada to us, but surely Toronto :D

"The rent's too high
The air's unclean
The beaches are dirty
And the people are mean

The water is polluted
And the mayor's a dork
They dress real bad
And they think they're New York

In Torontooooooooo, Ontario-oh-oh!"

Hey, don't look at me, it's an Albertan song!

Ok ok, back to how fat the industry has gotten.

Jets Connor
6th Apr 2009, 01:28
I've always been interested in how 20th century Deus Ex I feels, and how it feels like there's been less progress than there should have been (or that there has been progress and then regression). This is included in the fashions of the day - very 20th century looking lapels and ties and such, a real retro feel. Then when you get to Invisible War, the change in clothing - particularly the lab coats. Very futuristic! Gives you the feeling of a world emphatically not thrust into economic depression, thriving after the collapse. The lab coats in Deus Ex II appear to have been a retro trend of a sort after all, though, based on those of the DX3 era. I wonder if this suggests the current economic depression will end in a way that gives rise to great growth and futuristic lab coats.

IOOI
6th Apr 2009, 01:56
I wonder if this suggests the current economic depression will end in a way that gives rise to great growth and futuristic lab coats.

Yes, I see it already! Little children in the primary school learning seventh grade Physics, Chemistry and ASCII: "So children lets repeat again. 0001=1, 0010=2, 0011=3..." :D

Romeo
6th Apr 2009, 04:36
Well, I don't know if it's all of Canada to us, but surely Toronto :D

"The rent's too high
The air's unclean
The beaches are dirty
And the people are mean

The water is polluted
And the mayor's a dork
They dress real bad
And they think they're New York

In Torontooooooooo, Ontario-oh-oh!"

Hey, don't look at me, it's an Albertan song!

Ok ok, back to how fat the industry has gotten.
Toronto = Vancouver's Rejects. :D

Daedalus Ciarán
5th Jun 2009, 15:00
A brand new franchise game (GTA, COD) in Ireland costs about €60-70. That's over US$80. I'm being ripped off. So yeah. I don't generally buy anything anymore in games until there's been a price drop or second hand games have come into the shops.

KSingh77
5th Jun 2009, 21:11
Let the recession end so I can afford a futurstic lab coat.

lightbetsoin
10th Jun 2009, 20:52
He fails to mention the biggest problem. It so enormously easy to pirate a game. Many people don't feel like paying that $75 for anything less than a perfect game (in their eyes). They'll glad pirate any game that they don't expect to meet this criterion. Because let's face it, $75 is a lot of money so why bother if you can try it out for free. Cheaper games would possibly persuade more people to buy "mediocre" games instead of just pirating them.



I know a lot of people that never buy a game before to finish it. thats some kind of test.
And they buy only the best games.
They are a lot of games realesed each year, and each one are expensive. If u wanna people to choose your game, it got to be perfect, because marketting dont affect people that already played your game.

Jerion
10th Jun 2009, 22:02
Let the recession end so I can afford a futurstic lab coat.

Let the recession end so I can afford a trenchcoat. :cool: