Game Pricing – WTF?
by, 07-27-2010 at 06:00 PM (975 Views)
Typically demand dictates the price of goods. I know there are other factors involved, but ultimately the consumer has to decide if a product is worth the price that it is being sold as. Most products use competitor products as a guideline for pricing its products. Rarely do you see a universal price for a particular good across several competitors and/or brands.
How many products do you know garner a set price, regardless of quality, quantity or overall value? Say you’re in the grocery store and you’re going to buy potatoes. Why would you intentionally buy a single spud for $2, when you can buy an entire bag for that same $2?
The $60 price point of games has become somewhat ridiculous to me. Maybe it’s because I consume a lot more of this “product” than I have in the past. It’s a combination of things, but mostly because as an adult, I can actually afford it, I guess. But do all games deserve that $60 price tag?
This is something I’ve thinking about for some time. There are games that deserve to be played that lose their potential for success because of how they’re priced. An example is this year’s online racer Blur. During one of those weird combinations of coupons and sales dates, I was able to pick up Blur at the bargain buster price of $10. Earlier that month, 3 separate racers were released. Blur, Split Second and ModNation Racers. I opted to go for ModNation Racers and used an Amazon coupon to bring the price down to a reasonable $45 shipped. Although I was very much interested in Blur I passed on it because there was no way I was going to pay $60 on some generic online only racing game. Turns out Blur is a fantastic racer with some unique qualities.
As much as I like Blur. $60 is a stretch for this type of game. I find it hard not to compare games when considering a purchase. And I’d find it hard to justify a $60 price tag on a game with limited lasting appeal.
How could you possibly price a game like say Splinter Cell Conviction the same as you would a game like Modern Warfare, Super Mario Galaxy ($50 BTW) or a Fallout 3? Splinter Cell Conviction’s single player campaign reportedly takes less than 8 hours to complete, while the average Modern Warfare or Halo player gets over 100 hours worth of multiplayer on top of an 8 hour single player campaign. Super Mario Galaxy took me 30 plus hours to complete and Fallout 3 have had some users play it in excess of 100 hours.
So you look at sales figures. Blur reportedly sold 31,000 copies in its first week and has sold around 88,000 copies to date (according to VG Chartz). Alan Wake reportedly sold 145K copies in its first month of sales. Would these games have done better had they been priced accordingly? I think I might have pre ordered both Blur and Alan Wake if they’d priced it at $39. How many more people would have picked these up at that price? Eventually the price will fall on both of these games. But by then, these games will be considered a failure and old, not gaining any of the buzz or accolades that go to games who gain commercial success. Not only that, but I don’t see a Blur sequel coming anytime soon and the verdict is still out on if Remedy will consider making a sequel to Alan Wake.
I can only think of a few games that can demand a $60 price tag this generation. The majority of the games we play now are heavily based on story and most have limited replay value. I think if Publishers understood that they’d actually earn more over the long haul by pricing games accordingly, they’d be a whole lot more successful.
I heard a story somewhere once, I can’t remember exactly where but it goes something like this. There’s a bull and his son standing at the top of a valley overlooking a herd of grazing cows. The young bull looks up at his father and says: “Dad, let’s run down there and screw one of those cows!” The old and wise bull looks at his son and says: “No son, let’s not run down there and grab one. Let’s walk down there and screw them all!”
PS... If my story was a little risque I'll edit it out. Just PM me.