Games Cost Too Much, but Lets Blame ‘Sales’

According to the interview, games that go on sale create issues. If games constantly go on sale, then the amount of people that jump to buy it on launch will dwindle. The less people buying games on day one, means less games sold from the publisher. At the end of the day the developer gets less money due to sales and people waiting for the sales.

I’m not an econ major, but I’ve taken my fair share of econ classes. The most basic thing you learn is supply and demand, and how price points shift it. If more people are buying your product at a discounted price, shouldn’t that signal something obvious? Games perhaps cost too much? In my opinion the sweet spot was 40-50 dollars like it was on the PS2/Xbox. Sales were pretty good back then, and if you watch it now this is when people’s interest gets peaked. When games go on sale during the holidays, what price are they? 40 dollars. People line up for days to snag this deal, then it shoots back up to 60 and people don’t care.

Now the question is, is this just people being cheapskates to get a lowball price? Well this is where the developer’s idea is so great. They are offering their game on Steam at a discounted price, and as time goes on the price will increase until it hits its “standard” price point. From there the developer promises that the price will remain for the rest of its life.

This isn’t the only time the idea comes up. Movies actually do this as well when they release on DVD/Blu-ray. During week of release, movies are actually rather cheap at around 15 dollars. From there they normally raise to their “retail price” of 25+ dollars. Of course movies are also not the greatest example either as they constantly go on sale or get thrown into bargain bins after a year.

The question remains, would this formula perhaps work with the game industry too? We could reward early adopters, and it would help fend off a few bad reviews. I don’t think raising the price permantly is a great idea, but at least bumping it up to full price for a year would be a good idea. It would then be a decision to buy it early at a discount and push users into the stream, or buy it at full price. With DLC and season passes galore I don’t think major publishers will lose much money, if any at all, due to the added user base that now has access to more add-ons.

Granted it does take a lot of self will from a developer to allow this. Any developer will think their game is worth “full price,” but the market is clearly more dynamic and can’t afford 4 or 5 60 dollar games a month. They then need to pick and choose. Another option would be an overall more dynamic pricing model. Not every game needs to be 60 dollars, and publishers know this. The problem is they want the games at 60 dollars, and as consumers we want it less. All I say is instead of constantly crying about sales, how about we do something about it?