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Large Publishers Pointing to High Prices 138

Posted by Zonk
from the because-we-aren't-spending-enough-money dept.
Despite Mark Rein's recent statements to the contrary, GamesIndustry.biz has word that Activision, THQ, and Take Two are all indicating that they may be charging $59.99 for next gen titles. From the article: "This strategy is likely to see a two-tier structure emerging for game pricing, where premium titles command a premium price point of $59.99 or more, while less important games are sold for between $39.99 and $49.99 - much closer to the current price point."
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Large Publishers Pointing to High Prices

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  • gouging? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by opposume (600667)
    You know, they can charge anything they want and still get it. $60 a game is quite expensive. But I guess if you really want it, you'll figure out how to afford it. *shrugs* I think it sucks because not one system is better off than the other being at the mercy of the developers...
    • Re:gouging? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kniLnamiJ-neB (754894)
      It's sad, but you're right. And it's probably going to keep going up. The worst part is, IMO, the games are getting to be less fun than they used to... I still play my original NES and SNES games (emulated on my PC) almost as much as I do the few new games I've got (eg Call of Duty). I probably won't be buying a lot of new games, even though I could afford it with little hassle... just don't WANT them that much.
      • How very true. I still play Darklands more than any other game, and not just because I'm a cheap bastard with a lousy 3D card. Outside of niche games like the Patrician series, very very few games are doing anything interesting these days. Have there been any decent RPGs in the past decade? Morrowind was a bit of a disappointment, but I have high hopes for Oblivion.
        • There have been ALOT of decent RPGs. You just have to look for them.
          • Such as? Maybe I'm strange, but I absolutely hated Baldur's Gate and its ilk, including NWN. Maybe it's something about the AD&D system that just doesn't do it for me. *shrug*

            Darklands and Daggerfall, and maybe the Realms of Arkania series, remain the best RPGs I've played.

            • Oh that's right...looking at RPGDot [rpgdot.com], I did enjoy Fallout and Fallout 2, but they still don't compare. Ultima 7 and Betrayal at Krondor were great, but they're old. Thief was fun, but I wouldn't consider it an RPG. And that's about it.

              I love games that make you feel like you're in a HUGE, diverse world. Any recommendations are very welcome.

      • Re:gouging? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by DeanMeister (868655)
        Games aren't getting less fun, your just not interested in the kind of games they're offering. If your still playing your SNES games(and dont get me wrong they're great) and not enjoying alot of newer games thats because the gaming medium is a completley different beast than it was 10 even 5 years ago. Your going to have to expect a different type of game and a different experiance.
        • Re:gouging? (Score:2, Insightful)

          by kniLnamiJ-neB (754894)
          So you're saying I should change my tastes in games AND pay more money? Not a chance. What seems to be happening is that companies are re-hashing all of the last 10 years' good ideas instead of using imagination and going out on a limb. What do we have this year? Another Halo, another Half-Life. Both wonderful games, but come on... there are hundreds of games that play almost the same (just without this year's video-card-burning eye candy). Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I want more fo
    • Re:gouging? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jicksta (760596)
      I guess if you really want it, you'll figure out how to afford it

      Or figure out how to pirate it...
    • It's called demand inelasticity. Apparently they think that demand won't decrease appreciably if the game gets that pricey. It's kind of like gas prices - they can go up 20% and people don't really drive less. If we decide we don't like the prices, we can choose not to buy... maybe a nice Commodore DTV ... oooh, Winter Games...! :)
    • I, for one, held off with with buying Doom III when it was initially launched at 60 Euros (almost an equivalent of 60 dollars) ;

      The other day I saw it in the bargain bin ; 25 good ol' euros : Nice :)

      Note : I would have bought it immediately if it would have been launched at the 'normal' price (which was 50).

      • FYI 60 Euros is about 85 Dollars. Quite shocking when you go to buy something in an EU country. Not as shocking as in the UK where $2 = 1 Pound Sterling (and everything costs more in pounds than it does in dollars at home, enjoy $4 cokes!).
  • by Drakino (10965) <{ten.ofniinim} {ta} {todhsals_d}> on Thursday March 17, 2005 @03:23PM (#11967962) Journal
    Slashdot already covered this from the other point of view, where Mark Rein of Epic found no reason games should be jumping to $60.

    http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/07 [slashdot.org]/ 1759251

    All it means for me is a longer wait. I've already been getting tired of buying games at $50 and watching the publisher suck up most of that money. Usually I only buy games at $40 or less. I have such a backlog of games anyhow that by the time I can play something new, it is already $20-$30.
    • Weird, I could swear the article didn't initially have the counter point. Oh well.

      And one of these days I'll remember when I am posting on slashdot that the posting methods that work fine on most of the web boards fail here.

  • Phony marketing people like to talk about "price points", instead of prices.
  • Two words: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRealJFM (671978) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @03:27PM (#11968038) Homepage Journal
    Price fixing.

    Costs of distribution are far lower today than they were maybe 10 years ago, and systems like steam and perhaps bittorrent mean its possible to launch a game on very little revenue - these consoles have broadband adaptors after all. Why the price hike?

    Well the fact that three publishers have announced it at the same time makes me wonder if there is something dodgy here.

    Any refutements or evidence in this one?

    Can't see it turning out well though: Nintendo were previously thrashed on price for the N64, and they were only able to return to somewhere close to their previous revenue by producing an incredibly cheap console.
    • Re:Two words: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jicksta (760596)
      Well, the justification supposedly is that games are getting more expensive to produce [bbc.co.uk] with rendering technologies becoming more advanced and the gradual migration of television owners to high-definition.

      I don't feel sympathetic for the game industry. Games are turning too pop-culture for me. The Halo 2 hype we still hear about? Sorry, but that's just too fucking creepy for me.

      I'll just stick to writing [sf.net] and playing FOSS games [jicksta.com].
      • Re:Two words: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bios_Hakr (68586)
        That's complete bullshit.

        Madden 05 is Madden 04 with updated names.

        Same for just about any other EA sports title.

        Most of your FPS titles on the PC will be Doom3 or HL2 engine revamps.

        Basicly, I see very little *new* code to justify the cost hike.

        On top of all that, putting a game on a shelf is SO 2004! Steam is the future; get onboard or get left behind.

        No more CDs, copy protection, printed materials, etc means lower distribution costs. Add bittorrent to the mix and your costs bottom out.

        On a side
        • Didn't Steam have a friggin' miserable HL2 launch? I still like the boxed copy. I can install it on any PC, I can resell the sucka, I can buy them cheap, and I get cool stuff like the manual and the box to, well, look at on the way home.
          • And you have the "privelage" of having to look for the CD whenever you want to play.

            Steam had a bad launch, but they'll learn and get better.
    • well, pc games have pretty much always been priced as high as someone is willing to buy them for - the price has had absolutely nothing to do with how much it cost to make and how many games they are going to sell.

      the price hike is because they have deduced from market research that they'd sell about the same amount even with a 20$ higher price(and that they can sell the game at 20% off or something similar, making it seem like a great deal when in reality you're paying the normal amount for a game).

      of co
      • Everyone here knows that, I think. I think what is being disputed is whether the actual price of making the games is going up. If they sell the games at current prices, are they going to go out of business?
    • It's illegal only if they talk to each other about it, and if you can prove it.

      A legal way to do price fixing is to follow the leader. Whoever changes their pricing first, all the others notice and change their pricing to match. Each figuring out that the other big players are following this strategy, they'll aim for monopoly prices, rather than price competitively. Vendors want to go along with this because they usually mark up by a %, so even if it'll still be profitable, they'll naturally aim to keep lo
    • "Any refutements or evidence in this one?"

      How about designing games with large amounts of detailed, high-definition content is a lot more expensive then it was in the days when textures and models just couldn't be very detailed? Or the added cost of developing, testing, and supporting online multiplayer content? Not to mention that American corporations now have to actually make money instead of just cooking their books and going into stupid amounts of debt to keep the SEC off their backs. And don't forget
      • How about the prebuilt engines available for use? How about the increasing number of programmers looking for jobs? How about the rising number of gamers? How about the outrageous prices charged by MMOs? Everyone needs fair compensation, but there comes a point where getting the game developed and to you costs $20 a unit, and the game costs $60. Where does the extra revenue go? I have a sneaking suspicion I know.... ;)
  • When the first Playstation came out, most games were $40, but a few premium games demanded $50. Now you can hardly find a new game for $40 on the PS2 and the XBOX. Looks like its back to the cartridge days and the $60 games.
    • When Serious Sam and Serious Sam 2: The Second Encounter each came out for PC, they were only $19.99 brand new.

      To say that releasing affordable, quality games for retail is impossible is, well, just blatantly wrong.
      • It's worth noting that the Serious Sam games were developed by a company located in Croatia -- a nation with considerably-lower costs of living than in the U.S.. They didn't need to charge as much as we do here because they don't need as much money to live on...

        Hence, they sold a high-quality game at a price that is half that (or less) than most games you find today. Such is the benefit of international trade, really...
    • I didn't mean to say that you could not find them, just that almost all of the good games are $50. Yeah sure you can see a bunch of $40 games, but most of those really aren't worth playing.
  • by EngineeringMarvel (783720) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @03:30PM (#11968095)
    I have only purchased one game that was at or over the $40 mark, and that was HL2. I have over thirty games and only maybe two or three of them I would say is worth $50. I do however own 2-3 games that were worth $50 at retail, but I recieved them as gifts. By no stretch do I consider a static game to be worth $60, that's just ridiculious, especially with the overall lack of gameplay quality in games nowadays. I believe $60 is too much and any game put at that price will see a reduction in overall profit of that title. I would like to add that I can easily afford a $60 game a month if I wanted. I don't buy them at that price because I can buy other entertainment equal in value for half the cost.
    • by (H)elix1 (231155)
      I'll second that - and add that I waited for HL2 until I saw it go on sale for $30 and Doom 3 for $20! Had they not been at the $50+ mark, it would have been opening week. $60 (even $50) breaks the threshold for me of 'impulse buy'. I'm a sucker to pick up a game - newer titles in the $20-30 mark, older titles for under $10 - adding up quickly to good chunks of money. $60 puts it right in the category of requiring due diligence in reviews, fan sites then customers, perhaps one or two people who played i
    • by Evro (18923) * <evandhoffman&gmail,com> on Thursday March 17, 2005 @04:49PM (#11969043) Homepage Journal
      "What the market will bear." If the quality of the games increases along with the price then it sort of makes sense, but somehow I don't see that happening.

      I expect them to come back with the piracy argument, which is totally backwards. "We're competing with a cheaper alternative (the same game for free) so we... raised prices... to... compensate."
    • I don't buy them at that price because I can buy other entertainment equal in value for half the cost.

      I agreed with you up until this, at this point it turns into a lie.

      A good choice of game gives the best return on investment...

      Just the anticipation should show you something, do you anticipate reading a really good book with baited breath? Most people don't

      But when you buy a game warm expectation creeps over you... until you put it in the drive and get hit with DRM, and then you realize it's DiKat
    • by ahbi (796025)
      Agreed.

      The $50 & $60 price points are supported by a tons of high school and college kids that have large amounts of discretionary income AND time. Even the first 2 years post-college I was able to pony up the high end prices.

      Now, 33 with a kid on the way, I just don't have the time and energy for too many video games. I can easily wait for the $30 or $20 price point. And, I don't have cable/sat TV. My PC is my primary form of entertainment.

      Yeah, I have the money for the $50/60 price point. I ju
  • Sounds about right (Score:5, Informative)

    by vasqzr (619165) <`ten.epacsten' `ta' `rzqsav'> on Thursday March 17, 2005 @03:32PM (#11968122)
    Compare $50 of todays dollars with $50 in 1990!

    Anyone remember paying $60 or $70 for a NES/SNES new release? Granted, you were paying for larger ROM chips...

    Look at the budgets of some of todays games. Millions of dollars. How much of a budget do you think Megan Man or Castlevania had?

    They have to make the costs up somewhere.

    • >They have to make the costs up somewhere.

      hooookay, how about on the order of magnitude more sales they make nowadays.
      • by badasscat (563442)
        >They have to make the costs up somewhere.

        hooookay, how about on the order of magnitude more sales they make nowadays.


        Atari 2600 units sold worldwide: 29 million.

        Nintendo 64 units sold worldwide: 36 million.

        Xbox units sold worldwide: Under 20 million.

        Console sales have hardly changed at all in the last 25 years. Game sales have increased, but so has the number of game developers. (Remember, in the early Atari days, there was no such thing as a third-party developer. In fact, Atari sued Activi
        • by evilmousse (798341) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @06:15PM (#11969975) Homepage Journal

          Aren't game sales what we were discussing? Aren't the console statistics a little slanted since each has been in the market for different amounts of time?

          I've honestly been having a hard time finding satisfactory data for this.. I do see that many of the all-time-sellers aren't necessarily modern-generation-games, but what I'd really like to see is the AVERAGE number of sales for a game on each console. Plus I'd like to see a cost-breakdown for then and now. I fully concede that development costs are higher now, but material and distribution costs are much lower, sales (as near as i can figure) much higher. I'm not sure just what those vectors would add up to.
    • by PoderOmega (677170) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @04:34PM (#11968886)
      I posted about this is a similar slashdot posting... but here we go. I'm not sure where you got the NES games costing $60/$70, but I do remember Genesis and SNES games costing that much. I would say that $70 for Street Fighter II for SNES was worth the price. $70 for Strider for Genesis was fair, and it is a matter of opinion if $80 for Phatasy Star 4 was reasonable. Yes, the argument was for the ROMs being larger, but I don't know if that is the real reason why. Anyway, compared to other games at the when SF2 for SNES came out, it was amazing. An almost perfect translation from the arcade. If they can release games that blew me away as much as SF2 for SNES back in the day, they can charge $70 for a game today. Unfortuantely, I don't think that will be the case.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Compare $50 of todays dollars with $50 in 1990!

      $50 in 1990 is now $74.

      Look at the budgets of some of todays games. Millions of dollars. They have to make the costs up somewhere.

      They make it up in sales. The market has grow a lot faster than inflation since 1990.

      • I'm not so certain. I think, with today's technology and mass-marketing of games, $50 is more than reasonable...

        Think about it... the SNES or Genesis game was a piece of hardware in itself. The game today is about $.10 of pressed plastic and some (terse and uninformative) manuals. Also, call me a fogie, but quality of many games (Half-Life 2 and others excluded) are ... eh...

        Asking for more that $50 is like saying "find me on bittorrent, Buccaneer-Americans [dieselsweeties.com]"... seriously.

        Saying the "typical" (yet ever

    • I'm fairly sure the market right now for video games is a wee bit bigger than for the SNES.
    • by 17028 (122384) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @06:22PM (#11970021)
      You're assuming the publishers use a "cost plus" method of pricing. I.e. this game cost us 1 million to make, and we expect to sell 100,000 copies, so we can sell it for 15 dollars a make a 50% profit. That's not how it works. They say; at which price point will we make the most money? If that happens to be 50 dollars, they sell it for 50 dollars. The only reason they don't sell games for 100 dollars right now is that they expect they'll lose too many sales and therefore make less money overall.

      So the obvious question is, what happens if the price customers are willing to pay is too low to pay for the cost of the game? First you decide whether it is worth putting it out to recoup some of the investment, or just can it and eat the cost. Then it is time to either look over your cost structure, or to look for another business to be in. It happens all the time in all kinds of industries.
    • Mortal Kombat for the SNES was in the $70 price range when it came out. That's $90 in today's dollars.

      Marble Madness for the NES was around $45 when it came out in 1988. That's $70 in today's dollars.

      Today's new games for $20, $40, and $50 are, respectively, in 1986 dollars, $12, $24, and $31.

      Consoles which retailed for $199 in the mid-80's would be about $335 in today's dollars. Consoles are staying about the same price, games are getting cheaper.
  • by SunFan (845761) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @03:34PM (#11968152)

    I can wait until next year and pay $20! Even less! HAHAHAHA!
    • You could do even better by becoming a Nethack snob! It's free and every time there's a story here about a new graphics card, FPS or peripheral you can brag "Ha! I only play Nethack! It's the bestest game in the world so why would I play anything but Nethack?"

      The downside, of course, is Nethack...

    • Except then you miss out on opportunities to get games by smaller developers that don't get a second print run as greatest hits. Things like Disgaea. Mmm. Disgaea. (Still never got that blasted Yoshitsuna)
  • To be honest, most video games only interest me for a few hours. Either game quality needs to come up or prices need to come down. There have been extremely few games that I've felt were worth $50 in the last few years.
    • I feel the exact same way. I'll pay $60 for a game if I feel I'm going to get $60 worth of entertainment out of it.

      Half-Life 2 is a perfect example, according to X-Fire I've played HL2 for a total of 67 hours! Well worth the money I paid for it, and more.

      On the other hand, there's a game like Call Of Duty. I paid $50 for it back in the day, and as great as the game is, I finished the SP campaign in FIVE hours. I'm not much into online multiplayer, and I've only found it worth one re-play, so I only got

      • You know, if you look for games that entertain you instead of just grabbing the latest greatest, you get a lot of fun for very little money.

        Case in point: I bought Locomotion when it came out, at $30. Now you can get it for $20 or less. The thing is, I've had it for a long time, and I still play it at least once a week, because it's a terrific game (I also played the living daylights out of the rollercoaster tycoon series).

        Similar: My wife and I still blow each other up in Worms Armageddon every so often.
    • Well, consider this: a movie ticket sells in the vicinity of $10 for ~2hrs of entertainment. A game that sells for $50 and you play for 10hrs is then equivalent in terms of dollar per hour of entertainment. Although purchasing a game is a bigger outlay at the beginning, comparatively, in the long run it is quite reasonable.
  • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @03:37PM (#11968199) Homepage Journal
    Here in Britain, $60 US would practically be a price drop.

    Gran Turismo 4 for PS2 has a recommended price of UKP39.99 ($76.9219 US) and the lowest shop price I found on launch day was £29.99 ($57.6761 US).
    • Heh, no wonder Britain holds world records for its amount of piracy.
    • Keep in mind that in the US prices are frequently quoted pre-sales tax, and while they vary considerably from state to state sales taxes usually add at least 5% to the final selling price. My understanding is that European price quotes generally include VAT. Pure greed (and less local competition) does play a role, as US based game manufacturers can hold off cutting prices when currencies swing favorably in foreign countries that do not have local competition. Eventually, arbitrage will close the gap, I
      • Also worth bearing in mind that instead of doing the price conversion companies will frequently just port the numbers. Wouldn't be surprised to see UK prices get hiked to £59.99 for premium games under this extortionate policy.

        Bring on the indie games. Outpost Kaloki [ninjabee.com] is ace fun and only cost me $10 ish.
      • So without VAT the price would be more like 34 GBP / 65 USD. People in the UK can get new games for around 30 pounds by buying from sites that avoid tax and add a bit of a discount to the RRP so this price is valid enough.

        It's also worth saying that the GBP to USD exchange rate used to be more like 1.6 than 1.9. Even taking this into account we Brits still had to pay more than Americans.
    • Over here in Australia, most games RRP $AU89.95 to $AU99.95. Mostly the latter... In $US, it becomes $US71.35 to $US78.52... We get seriously ripped up over here... Dont even get me started about console prices... Seems it's similar to Britain though
      • yup, in New Zealand games cost $100, which due to their lower average earning is like £100 to us Brits.. so no one can afford computer games, and you know what, the kids are outside playing sport, or driving around like lunatics.
      • I was stunned when I went to AU/NZ how much games & books cost. You appear to import books from the UK. I don't understnad why you don't just import from the US. LA is closer than London, and the books start off cheaper.

        In AU my paperback cost AU $20 (US $15), and in NZ it cost NZ $28 (US $21). Compare this to the US prices of US $8 for either book. Plus, Amazon usually offers a discount of 0-30% (0% & 10% on these 2 items). Granted the UK covers are cooler, but they aren't $7-13 cooler.

        I wa
  • With the rising inclination of gamers to resort to piracy, you'd think game developers would resort to raising game prices last.

    *sigh* The economics of game-making is getting so fucked up. Pretty soon, all we'll have will be a plethora of FOSS games.

    Sounds good to me.
    • Yeah, I dream of that day.

      META SHOOT 5000 KEYCHART:
      Move left: J
      Move right: K
      Jump: <META>-J
      Shoot: <META>-<CTRL>-K
      Save: <META>-F2, type 'cp metashoot.dat metashoot.save.#', where # is the slot in which you want to save, <META>-F1 to return to your game.

      • Is that honestly what you think of when someone mentions FOSS games?
        • Yes, but I'm open to suggestions. I've enjoyed Moria and ZAngband thoroughly, but have exhausted my interest in dungeon crawlers long ago. I've tried Frozen Bubble but have already been spoiled by Puzzle Bobble and the other games I've tried (TuxRacer, bzflag, Glest) didn't particularly impress me, but Glest shows promise.

          I am not the type that needs fancy graphics or sound effects in my games, although they are appreciated when tastefully applied, and currently buy more from independent developers than

          • Hmm, games I would recommend?

            I have a rather outdated page on my outdated website which lists some games I've grown to like [jicksta.com] you may care to check out

            When did you try BZFlag? They've recently made the big milestone of version 2.0.0 and the game is better than ever.

            I've never played Glest. I'm glad you mentioned it. I guess now I put some use to that ever-neglected Windows box in the other room. :)

            If you dig RPGs, be sure to check out Dink Smallwood [rtsoft.com]. The game is just absolutely crazy.

            I'm actual
  • affordable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nivoset (607957)
    i think this will lead to allot more copied games, cause im starting to have problems affording (or saying i can afford, other things have more importaint ques on my money) that are 44$ slightly cause i dont have tons of cash to spend on frivolas things at times, and mostly, cause very few games end up worth nearly that amount. and this price hike isn't going to help there cause i think. oh well. maybe once they get very old game si might be able to afford them (and hopefully that will coincide with the c
  • In Germany you pay roughly 55 Euros for new games, and even 59 Euros is not completely unheard of. That's $71.50 to $76 at the current rate. That's why I usually don't buy 'less important' titles and go straight for the gems.
  • Price of Entry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kamalot (674654)
    I recently blogged about this...

    http://www.kamalot.com/ [kamalot.com]

    This pricing is going to have a detrimental effect on the industry as a whole. With higher-priced games and consoles, people will be willing to buy fewer titles. The pressure will be put on game companies to produce the "next big thing" to ensure that their game is the one that gamers purchase. Publishers will only seek to fund development teams that can create tried-and-true games, ones that have a history of financial success or a recognizable tie
    • I'm not worried about the price increases hurting the games industry in the long run. It's very similar to the movie industry, where a few bonehead execs decide that it's best to put all of their eggs in one basket and invest $200 million in one summer blockbuster. Enough of these "can't miss" movies have flopped, that all of the major fil studios have set up divisions that concetrate on small indie pictures or foriegn films. They relaized that even though the big $100 -$200 million dollar flicks might b
    • There was already one video game crash in the early 80's. I wonder how much the current situation looks like the one back then? The "Great Game Crash of 2006?" Maybe!

      I finally picked up a GameCube for my children last weekend - my first console since the original PS. I snagged a deal at Worst Buy of two classic games for $25. If all games were $50, then I would not have purchased anything! Lower prices make me buy more! I like to buy when I can get a deal. I do NOT buy when I feel like I am being r
    • How many games are TRULY worth the $50 we pay for them?

      $8 for a 2 hour movie in a theater (or $20 for the DVD). Compare that to $50 for a video game. Even many "short" video games take 10 hours to finish. And big games (GTA: SA) take even longer. On a price per hour basis, a video game costs about as much as a movie.

  • I'm not going to pay $60 for a game that requires a $300 video card and a new computer (I've got a 1.4GHz Athlon) to be playable. I used to be a big time FPS player, but the inability (and unwillingness) of me to upgrade my machine has turned me to MUDs and free games (I'm loving simutrans [simutrans.de] these days) that I am perfectly contented with.

    There is no shortage of free entertainment for me to spend my time on. That isn't to say, however, that somebody else isn't perfectly justified in paying 60 bones for a game

    • There are plenty of games that are less than 4 years old and more than one year old that are very good and inexpensive. If you don't care too much about graphics, older games should be the way to go.
  • by ledow (319597) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @04:57PM (#11969148) Homepage
    Please, someone explain to me how, less than 15 years ago, a *full-priced*, years-in-development, state-of-the-art game cost in the region of 10UKP ($20). That same game would take many WEEKS, if not MONTHS, of game-time to complete if you dedicated yourself to it, many of them much more than that.

    [[[Me, my dad, and my older brother once spent night-after-night trying to complete Nonterraqueous and only managed it through sheer brute-force cooperative mapping of the game and many weeks of intense play... Typically, the next week someone else sent in the first ever map of Nonterraqueous to a computer magazine and had it published.]]]

    That older game would be programmed by (sometimes) a single-person or at most a small team. That game would interface direct with the hardware (no OS) and take full advantage of the entire machine's capabilities. It would be programmed in the lowest-level language available and be massively MANUALLY optimised to make full use of the available speed and resources, both of which were available in only miniscule amounts.

    That same game would be ported, without the aid of cross-platform tools, to numerous platforms (with similar optimisations) and sell for the same price on all platforms. That game would be fun, virtually bug-free, engaging and keep the average gamer with a large software library occupied for years and years.

    So why do modern games now cost RIDICULOUS amounts (way above equivalent inflation and way out of pocket-money territory even for modern youth) when they can be completed in a few DAYS of playtime, be in development for the same amount of time as the older games and sometimes never even appear at all.

    Admittedly, any game today usually have a larger team behind it and more of a PR push but that must be cancelled out by the comparatively ENORMOUS gaming market of today, the low cost of duplication, the ability to take advantage of massive libraries of pre-crafted code, audio, artwork, the proliferation of available programmers, computer artists etc.

    Modern games are also now written in much higher-level languages than older titles, which are easily portable across many platforms, using a massive framework of standardised operating systems and hardware interfaces with well-established controlling libraries (DirectX) etc.

    The modern games are buggy, boring, bloated and absent of decent gameplay. Processor power and resource availability has soared far beyond anything the older gamers could ever dream of, yet the games are sluggish and ugly even on the "recommended" hardware.

    I haven't played a game in years that engaged me, 90% of them having a single, oft-repeated premise that has been done to death and they provide nothing new but eye-candy that gets in the way of the game.

    I've actually got to the ideal point now... I have a massive library of older games and I do not buy modern games much anymore, maybe only once or twice a year, and even then usually from the budget range.

    My computer is DELIBERATELY several years behind state-of-the-art so that the only games I can be tempted to run are ones which have been on the market for a long while, allowed me to weed out the chaff and buy the one, single, ground-breaking game of the era.

    My last (impulsive and un-researched) game purchase was UT2003 and I installed it, completed several of the ladders and got bored and uninstalled it. Yet Counterstrike is on my hard disk (in fact, I have about 10Gb of installed Half-life games BUT NOT HL2 or CS:Source) and I'm currently engaged in a few games of OpenTTD. The best pieces of software I own are a Spectrum emulator and DOSBox.

    I have often wandered into my local game store and walked out again after not being taken by any of the games, even after test-playing many of them.

    Why do companies even THINK that people will pay for the rubbish they churn out, except possibly by mistake? Black & White was, for me, the last game purchase I made near it's release date... it was
  • Diminishing returns (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @05:05PM (#11969261) Journal
    I have to wonder how much this will really help? Personally, I only buy a few games a year anymore, and I'm somewhat selective in doing so. Usually, I'll try to wait for games to hit the bargin rack, or I'll wait for a friend to buy it, finish it, and borrow it from him. I'll grant that there are some games that I will buy at full price, but those are getting to be fewer. This year, the only game I'm looking at paying full price for is Rainbow 6: 4. And that assumes that it hits this year, and doesn't have a ton of bugs at release. The sad part is, I'll probably only play through it in co-op mode with some friends, whom I've played through 3 with. We just enjoy that sort of thing, and we all need to have our own copies.
    The other problem with the prices climbing higher, is going to be piracy. Let's face it, pirating a game is easy these days. And all of the silly key codes are doing nothing to slow it down. Do a quick google for "half life 2 cd key" and you'll see what I mean. Granted, this won't help people with online play, but if all they want is the single player version, then it'll get the job done.
    At some point, higher prices are not going to result in higher returns. Too many people will wait for the price to drop or outright pirate the game. Are we there yet, who knows, but we'll probably get to find out soon when the companies start charging more.

  • They can try (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bluGill (862) on Thursday March 17, 2005 @05:16PM (#11969382)

    They can charge what they want. Standard economics, you don't even need to take the class to understand it. As price increases demand falls. At some point there is optimal profit. As you raise prices you are also loosing customers who would buy at a lower price, while lowering prices brings in less customers than the added profit.

    They can try raising prices. However I personally consider $25 on a game too much, so already there are many games I personally do not buy. As price goes up more and more people will cross that line. I know many people who would buy more games, but their wife keeps saying that is too much.

    • However I personally consider $25 on a game too much, so already there are many games I personally do not buy. As price goes up more and more people will cross that line. I know many people who would buy more games, but their wife keeps saying that is too much.

      Oh you got it in one. The only reason that I would spend $50-$60 on a single game is that it is the lastest FF or Kingdom Hearts 2. My main reason for buying my PS2 was because I picked up almost all the FF for the PS1 and some of the older PS2 titl
  • Here in Holland recently released console titles are all already priced at EUR 59.95. At current exchange rates, this amounts to $80.17 according to the currency calculator [x-rates.com]. A 50% price hike in the US ($40 to $60) is likely to be mirrored in european prices, and this would put prices of new console games far beyond anything I consider even vaguely reasonable, probably in the EUR 80 - 90 range.

    At that price point, I have some severe doubts about the volume of units they will be able to move.

  • Sorry big ol' game publishers, but I won't be buying games at $59.95. Fifty dollars is my limit and only reserved for much anticipated titles. I've never seen a game worth more than $50 at retail and I'm not convinced that the next gen games are going to show us anything to make it worth the cost. I would predict that the only game that will get away with charging $59.95 will be the next iteration of Madden since EA killed off all of the competition with the NFL exclusive deal. So they can try charging more
  • I'll add myself to the majority here and say I will not buy a nextgen console game while this pricing scheme is in effect by developers trying to gouge me. Complaining about it is nice and all, but the best voice your opinion to them is through your wallet.
  • Compared to Australia prices!
    US$59 is approx AUS$75!
    A new release game in Australia ranges from AUS$79 to AUS$109 for a console (approx US$$62 to US$86!!).

    I hope they don't consider increasing prices here!! I will definitely stop buying games locally.

    I'm usually importing UK games (which work out to be AUS$75 for a new release!).

    I just cannot understand why games in Australia are so friggin expensive! Why is a game that is "manufactured" in Australia the same price as a game that has been imported from E
  • The fact of the matter is that for every one person saying they're not going to buy a 10 dollar more game 10 people ARE going to buy that game. Your not making much of a dent in the companies pocket, and besides they're making up that dent with the extra 10 bucks. Not buying their games just denies you some quality entertainment.
  • These days I don't pay a lot for a video game unless it's a top-line FPS game (e.g., Doom 3, HL2, UT2004). I'll wait a few months or maybe a year until the price is right.

    For example, I been looking at the demo of Empire Earth 2 that's coming out this month. The game is good enough to buy. However, I noticed that Empire Earth Gold (the original game and expansion pack) is available for $20 USD. So I got EEG instead of EE2 because it was cheaper, and I'll probably pick up EE2 Gold when it eventually comes
  • Now, I'm no math-a-magician, but...

    If they can raise the price 20% higher than what it is now, without losing 20% of their customer base, then the higher price point makes sense for the company.

    If their title is a big one and sells 5 million units, that means they'd have to piss off a million people before they'd start to lose money.

    Even TERRIBLE titles when released with the system sell at a 1:3 ratio, so I just don't see where this is risky for the companies, ESPECIALLY when the system is new.
  • by Taulin (569009)
    Almost all N64 games costed $80, and for some STUPID reason I bought them. Never again. I agree with an earlier poster, I will not pay over $50 for a game. I either wait for it to drop or look for a coupon/deal. The developers see the same amount regardless when they have publisher deals.
  • I spent $50 to purchase the computer game Ultima 3: Exodus in 1983. According to an inflation calculator [westegg.com] that price in 2003 adjusted dollars would be $90.91.
    Admittedly it came with a really nice cloth map and 3 manuals (2 were spell guides) but that's still a lot of money.
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Elranzer (851411)
    1. Activision, THQ, and Take Two are all indicating that they may be charging $59.99 for next gen titles.

    Well who buys games from these guys anyway? This is just another nail in their coffin. IT would be a bigger deal if it was Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Square Enix saying they are going to charge $60+.

    2. The possible main reason for the pirce flux is probably the cost of Blu-Ray or HD-DVD on the PS3 or Xbox Next, as oppossed to just cheapo DVD or whatever cheap propietary disc nintendo will use. Ot
  • The key is that the game has to be good. I haven't been impressed with a game since Asheron's Call in 99, and Starcraft earlier. I'm playing Halo2 now.

    GTA was an awesome series, but I'm past my senseless destruction days.

    I think video games are awesome, but there's so much innovation that needs to be done. The price tag isn't something that prevents me from buying. What prevents me from buying is that I don't want to waste my time playing something that's not fun. Bring on the big price tags if that
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano (13027)
    Every year, I become more and more happy that I "retired" from console gaming about 6 years ago.

    I'll pay $300-$500 every couple of years to upgrade my PC, but there's no way in hell I'd pay $60 each for console games.

    PC games come down in price so fast that I'm more than happy to wait 6 months to get games at a reasonable price point like $20-$30.

    But, I guess as long as people are willing to play those prices, they'll keep charging them. It's just possible that they might not know the limit, they may ove

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