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2009/02/18

Games to get cheaper: good or bad?

Unlike everything else in this world lately what with the global recession, the prices of games are apparently set to get cheaper instead of more expensive.

While we may be rejoicing, it’s supposedly bad news for publishers, as lower sales profits would not be compatible with flat development and publishing costs.

I have said for a long time, that they should have done this years ago. The recession aside, think about it; the cheaper things are the more sales they’ll make. By hiking the price up, it only leads to some missing it (we’re not all rich brats), and piracy, and that’s all money that doesn’t end up with the publishers.

As of the last few years, they’ve been charging astronomical amounts for games. For the PC in South Africa, a brand new game will cost usually somewhere between R350-R400, with slightly older games’ prices dropping a little bit. For console games, you can double that initial ballpark figure- it’s damn expensive.

If they were to sell a new game at half that price, say R200, you would think more about purchasing it. I know I would- I often go for games on specials when I can, especially classics at budget price.

Say ten people buy that game at R200 (R2000) versus one person at R400, and you start to see my point. Of course there are other costs that nobody knows or cares about that get deducted from this amount before it ends up where it’s supposed to go, in the publisher’s pockets. Say it takes R50 to churn out a single unit without adding on all the profit and whatnot. With the first model, you’d minus R500 (10x50), and have R1500 over for everyone to fight over. With the second model that we’ve been seeing, you’d minus R50 and end up with R350. Would you rather have the first wad of cash or the second?

How much confidence do they really have in their product if they assume that even if the price of the game is lower, only the same amount of people will buy it? 

I know years ago, they did trials with this, and had Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 on sale for about R100, and nobody bought it. Let’s be honest though, the game wasn’t that good, and anybody who cared was only looking at the sexy protagonist, Julie, on the box cover. 

I’m talking about new, exciting games that are destined to attract attention and make sales. Then they won’t have to worry about covering their costs. If they’re still making a profit, who cares?

If people are tightening their purse strings and avoiding overspending, then by everyone raising their prices to cover their costs, it will only reinforce consumers’ attitudes and lead to people making a loss anyway. 

It’s called business sense, and publishers or whoever, don’t say, “It’s not that simple.” How else would you go about it?

http://videogames.yahoo.com/feature/analyst-games-to-get-cheaper/1286173
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