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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

The High Cost of Gaming 115

Posted by Zonk
from the wallet-in-pain-must-get-doctor dept.
MTV Games is reporting on the financial pinch next-gen gamers will feel now that the 360 is out. $60 games are drawing frustrations from both sides of the gaming industry. From the article: "Many developers and publishers say the reason for the price hike is simple: Next-gen games, because of graphics, coding, voice acting, cinema scenes and everything else gamers expect, cost more to make. 'As a studio we can certainly speak to the amount of man hours and increase in staffing for next-generation content,' said Cord Smith, the producer of February 2006 car-combat title 'Full Auto.' 'As a gamer, it seems like it costs a lot to enter this new generation.'"
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The High Cost of Gaming

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  • I don't know shit about console games, but wouldn't it be logical to expect next gen game's prices to fall as the 360's userbase increases, therefore increasing the size of the market? I mean, all the launch titles will be outdated before there's decent market penetration.
    • No, no it wouldn't. The object here it to make money, not please a group of people that while bitching to High Heaven about the prices of this or that consumer toy, will continue to fork over the cash-ola. Why the Hell would they lower the price? You on drugs?
    • As long as folks are willing to pay high prices, companies will continue to sell at high prices. That applies to games as well as music.
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @10:40PM (#14153130)
    If you adjust for inflation, it's not really as much as it was in previous generations. I remember when Street Fighter 2 came out for SNES. That game was $70! So the new games for XBox 360 cost $60. Adjusted for inflation, that's less than what SF2 cost when it first came out. Or we can look at price as a percentage of yearly wage. Still, it's less than what it used to be.
    • by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @10:43PM (#14153156)
      And also, even _without_ adjusting for inflation 60 is still less than 70.
      • Wow your high level math blows me away....what class did you learn to decphier the hierarchical ordering of numbers?

        Sorry I had to get the morning smartass out before I went in to a meeting ;)
    • The difference now is that we are no longer paying for the cost of the media. Back then it cost a fortune to produce just the cartdriges then CDs came along and made things cheaper. Now prices are going up to make games "better" but somehow I don't believe spending millions on hiring good voice actors and adding flashy effects is what should be the focus of game design. The focus should be on the game itself and in some cases the story. Paying this much money for games that offer little to no actual gamep
      • Now prices are going up to make games "better" but somehow I don't believe spending millions on hiring good voice actors and adding flashy effects is what should be the focus of game design. The focus should be on the game itself and in some cases the story.

        So true. I *think* I am a gamer, but I don't feel like one when I read stuff like "Next-gen games, because of graphics, coding, voice acting, cinema scenes and everything else gamers expect, cost more to make". I don't expect voice acting and cinema sc

      • A great example of this is Civ IV. We get Leonard Nemoy doing voice work, a special soundtrack, Sid Mier doing a walk through, etc. Does it make the game itself better? No! I could give a shit if Spock tells me what tech I've just discovered!

        I wonder how much of the ~$50 cost of the game goes to paying for the fluff?
    • This is just another way that Micro$oft is trying to screw the entire economy, and send us all into the poor-house.

      Those money-grubbers from Redmond are ONLY concerned about one thing!

      From the article

      At the launch of the 360, only the Microsoft-developed "Perfect Dark Zero," "Project Gotham Racing 3" and "Kameo: Elements of Power" are available for what has been the industry-standard price of $50. Titles from Electronic Arts, Sega, 2K Sports, Ubisoft and Activision all cost $5-$10 more than that.

      What? It w

      • Ah, but Microsoft is still sticking it to you. You see, while their profit margin may be worse, they still make that profit, and they make that profit more, by reducing the pricing. Hence, it all evens out, but your opinion on Microsoft's business practices waver, simply because of this inconsequential thing. They're making a terrific loss on this, anyways.
      • They're cutting out a person, maybe microsoft doesn't let you make a profit on 50 dollar games if you aren't them right now?

        I don't know how much the liscense costs, but what if they're charging people higher than they did before, thus the publishers either make a *lot* less money, or charge more for games? Doesn't bother microsoft made games.
      • I was always under the impression that industry standard was $59.95/game.
    • ACK, for handhelds, at least the Nintendo ones its the same, GBA games where around 40-50EUR, while DS games are now 30-40EUR. Today there are also a lot of Platinum, Player or whatever Editions of games that cost only half the original price, in times of SNES such stuff simply wasn't there. On the PC its even better, wait a few month and almost any game will drop to 10-15EUR. Games these days are quite a bit cheaper then they used to be, so from that standpoint there is little to complain about. Sure on th
    • Street Fighter 2 also wasn't your average unaccepted launch title. It had people constantly pouring quarters into the arcade machines, so a home version would've sold at almost any sane price.
    • If you adjust for inflation, it's not really as much as it was in previous generations. I remember when Street Fighter 2 came out for SNES. That game was $70!

      Ah yes, but nearly all other consumer goods have dropped in price massively. SFII came out in 92. back then, a 21 inch TV would cost well over £400. I bought my first CD album about the same time, it cost something like £17. A video player cost £200. A video tape of a movie, £12 or more.

      Nowadays, I can walk onto woolworths
      • New video games though, have barely moved in price over the same period.

        Right. Over the years prices have gone up only slightly, even though game development costs have skyrocketed. Insead, pack-ins and media have gotten cheaper to cover part of the burden, and a growing market has taken the rest of the slack.

        Back about the time SF2 was released on consoles, I bought Master of Orion for 40 bucks. It came on 4 floppy disks, and came with a nice beefy manual.

        Two years later, I paid 40 bucks for Transport T
  • If the higher standards really do take extra man hours, is that one of the reasons why PC gaming was somewhat in decline compared to consoles? (eg. 720p at 1280x720 is much more akin to PC resolutions) Or are those comments rubbish?
    • This is rubbish. If you go by the logic that 'better graphics/voice acting = higher price tag' then console games should have dropped to $30 for a brand new, day its released game during the PS2/Xbox/GC era. Most console games flat-out have awful graphics, poor textures and low resolutions. That alone should justify a $10 cut but it doesnt happen. Vice versa, PC games with their resolutions commonly reaching 1600*1200 the least, often times requiring a hardware upgrade just to reach 60 frames per second, ha
      • Vice versa, PC games with their resolutions commonly reaching 1600*1200 the least, often times requiring a hardware upgrade just to reach 60 frames per second, hardware stress-testing graphics should cost $60~$80 by now.

        First off, I would note that some big PC games have debuted at about $60. They usually quickly fall to $50 but PC games at $60 would be nothing new. More important to the comparison of price between PC and console is the issue of licensing. Developers/publishers don't have to pay a dim
        • Actually, the change in physical media should have caused a rise, followed by a drop in prices. As cartridges grew more expensive in price due to memory costs, prices should have increased (and they did, to an extent).

          However, the flaw in this is the flip side. If prices increased due to cartridge costs, then prices should have DROPPED when the PS1 popularized CDs as the new storage format. Moreso with DVDs, you don't even need to print multiple CDs anymore, one copy = one DVD. Instead we get Microsoft try

          • Your mistake is that you're looking at the price of the CD/DVD/cartridge as if it existed in a bubble instead of as one small piece of the cost puzzle. Developers very quickly started developing more and "better" (increased audio/visual fidelity) content to fill up the CDs and they've continued to do so with DVDs. Doing so costs money - over time becoming more money than the cost difference between a CD/DVD and a cartridge. Imagine, for example, the difference between a game composer writing music and fe
            • No, now you're simply setting double standard. If development costs rise due to better graphics and music as you say, then the price to buy a NES game should be low since the music would be written, composed and implemented by one man. Sprite graphics? We have fan-made sprites that could pass off for officially made ones these days. Don't forget, development teams that hit the double digits during the Nintendo age were considered to be huge. Look at the staff lists on handheld games, you usually have the sa
    • You see consoles are cheaper that is why you get games like "Fable", "Morrowind", "Knight of the old republic" wich sell for 10 euros extra for the console version yet come with less content. Fable PC had extra chapters, Morrowind the whole user created content and Kotor an extra space station and some goodies.

      More content, lower price. Welcome to the wonderfull world of game economics.

      The reason could be that game companies look at their respective userbases and decide wich userbase is most likely to be

      • I don't really know, but it is also possible that console games require a heck of a lot more testing - after all there's basically no way to patch them at this point. PC games, on the other hand, can be easily patched when flaws are discovered.
        • Unless, of course, you happen to be using a next gen system with a centeral internet service like .. say .. Microsofts X-Box Live on the 360.

          Although it's true that Console games in general are still held to a higher standard before being released, there have been plenty of patches to XBox games in this generation (the big live games get a patch or two at some point in their life-cycle).

          Besides, it isn't like the coding for patches is done by volunteers. I'm sure compainies build the estimated cost of cont
      • You see consoles are cheaper that is why you get games like "Fable", "Morrowind", "Knight of the old republic" wich sell for 10 euros extra for the console version yet come with less content. Fable PC had extra chapters, Morrowind the whole user created content and Kotor an extra space station and some goodies.

        Here in the States, Fable: The Lost Chapters (the same as the PC version with more content) has been released. It is a platinum hits title so it sells for $20 (or less) everywhere. Fable was $50. M
  • just wait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @10:42PM (#14153144) Journal
    The solution is to wait a few months after release before you buy a game. It's really not that hard to do.
    • While I am the king of frugal gaming, the economics of this don't quite work.

      If no one wants to buy the game at the initial price, the developers don't have any incentive to drop the prics of the game. No incentive to drop the price means that the game's price remains high, and then no one ever buys it. No one buys it... No money to finance the next project.

      I hope this theory works out, though. It'd be nice to see developers like EA take dive....... :D
      • Re:just wait (Score:2, Informative)

        by cornface (900179)
        If no one wants to buy the game at the initial price, the developers don't have any incentive to drop the prics of the game.

        Nobody buying the game is the incentive to drop the price. Are you sniffing glue? You are, aren't you?
        • It's not a problem with most games. There are plenty of people willing to fork over $40.00 or $50.00 for a new game without even blinking an eye. Three months later the game costs $20.00, maybe less if it sucked.
        • Hi. My Name is New Game Developer. I just made a game that cost me $2,000,000. I want to sell as many games as I can to recoup my costs. What? My game isn't selling because it sucks? I'd better drop the price and expect people to pay a lower price for the same EA brand--erm. I mean quality game.

          Facetiousness aside... Developers have to recover their investment one way or another. If they can hold off and recover their cost by keeping the price high, then so be it. Sometimes it's in their best interest, t
          • Actually it's the dublishers who take the hit. In all but the most rare cases they fund the development of the game, they handle the marketing and they set the wholesale price. The developers (i.e. the creative folk) get money from the publisher to make the game and receive royalties per unit sold.

            A publisher can't just sit on a game in the hope it will sell eventually. Retailers won't keep stocks of games that don't move - they'll send them back to the publisher who'll have to store them (which costs mon

    • look for sales during the first week like at Fry's Electronics. Check those ads! Some Best Buy has sales too. Check them!
  • Are gamers such a homogenous group that they all demand these same things? I know a lot of gamers do like the super-intense state of the art games, but surely there are segments of the market other than this! A lot of gamers are getting older too, and more older people are starting to play, and I think they would be very happy with good graphics (rather than superb) and good gameplay. I think only the small independent developers are providing these games, though. The internet lets gamers and developers fin

    • Who have you been talking to? Every gamer I know, child, teenager, or adult, who doesn't know anything about computers or technology is into the flashy, new games. Gameday 2005, Farcry: Instincts (or whatever that game's called), and that kind of thing. They think it's cool as long as it looks cool and has just came out.
      That's who they're selling the XBOX 360s to (primarily), and that's the crowd who will continue to purchase most of the games.
    • What small independent developers?

      Off-hand, I can't think of any small independent developers and certainly none that are making anything innovative. Occasionally, you could say that about certain teams that are parts of major companies, but what small developers are making anything of major value?
    • This is, surprisingly to me, one of the better features of the XBox 360 - the XBox Live Arcade - it brings smaller, original apps that would never, ever see shelf space to the market at a reduced, almost impulse-buy price. I can't think of a better way for a smaller/startup studio to get itself off the ground than to produce a hit game for such a platform and be able to distribute it to the world digitally (providing, of course, that you can get your hands on a 360 Dev Kit). I think it's fantastic and can
  • Or... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ScaryFroMan (901163)
    You can now jump into the last generation, which still has negligibly different graphics, great games (with more to come; think Twilight Princess), and fast declining prices.

    The newest things aren't necessarily the best.

    • Agreed. I just bought my girlfriend (no really I have one) a PS2 because she just loves Katamari Damacy. I think I'll be getting her We Love Katamari as well.
    • -- 357c3435686430372052757c3335 (A cookie for anyone who decodes that.)

      Your sig... "Slashdot Rules"... where's my cookie?

  • Just another example of how badly we need a new direction in games than our current "Next Gen" approach. I for one nominate Will Wright and his amazing Spore concept/game. http://www.gamespy.com/articles/595/595975p1.html [gamespy.com] Yeah I know, gamespy. But its the best coverage of the inital Spore unvailing from GDC 2k5 I could find.
    • When Will Wright innovated the Sim, I had respect for him. After selling his soul to EA and milking the industry 4 years straight with endless expansion packs. I lost almost all respect.

      Spores a good idea? I am not sold yet. Sounds like they want to sell you a game engine and you fill in the contents yourself. Could be an EA trap.

  • MTV Games? Cool! Looks like we picked up another client, folks! I look forward to seeing several stories a day from MTV games now that the Z-man's on the case.
  • Maybe I'm just cheap, but I can't remember the last time I paid more than $30 for a game. Sure I have to wait a while to get some games, but I don't mind.
    • You're obviously playing the wrong games...for those of us who are playing on a system during the period where it is current gen, like the first Xbox for me, good games will stay high priced. The original Halo never dropped a cent below 69.99 on average and it was a launch title. Go to a game seller tomorrow, it probably still will be. Everything below $30 these days is all the stuff that was either just an uninspired rip off of something, or a failed experiment. Period.
      • The original Halo never dropped a cent below 69.99 on average and it was a launch title. Go to a game seller tomorrow, it probably still will be. Everything below $30 these days is all the stuff that was either just an uninspired rip off of something, or a failed experiment. Period.

        You should probably do some research before making statements like that. The original Halo now sells for $20. Heck, Halo 2 is selling for $30. In fact, most of the best-sellers from previous years are at the $20-$30 level no

  • ...to bring down developing costs! Making things cheaper on both the developer and the consumer to me is much more important than things like High-def. I mean, maybe I'd care a bit more if I had one of these thousand-dollar HDTV's that everyone supposedly owns nowadays...

    I hope Nintendo can really pull through with their promises to make game development simple and cheap with the Revolution. I think ease of development may become a HUGE factor in who wins the next console war...

    Sony and Microsoft can sh

    • Or they could stop paying their executives such psychotic salaries.

      http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?sect ion_name=pub&aid=1868 [gamesindustry.biz]

    • Complexity has very little to do with things. If I recall correctly, when Doshin the Giant was ported to the Gamecube, it was done by one guy. The GCN was very easy to program for (compared to the average complexity of the Xbox and the extreme one of the PS2).

      Still, it came in last place. Most of the time, the system has very little to do with how the system sells.
    • Why is everyone falling for the nonsense that the cost of the games has anything to do with the cost to develop them?

      Since the cost of the discs themselves is virtually zero, the cost of the games has to do with how many disc they can sell. Let's suppose that if the price is $60 they sell 300,000 of a given game and if the price is $20 they sell 600,000 of a given game. Which price point will bring in more revenue? (for those of you who can't do the math in your head, total revenue higher at $60 per game
      • There's a LOT more taken into account, it's not quite that simple.

        The #1 factor in all reality is those damn greedy publishers. They take the majority of the $$$.

        But your wrong about developing costs not affecting game costs. Yes, game costs stay at a fairly consistant level no matter a particular games budget. However, there is a corrolation between development costs and sale price.

        If I spend $5 million on a game, I'm going to need sell it high enough to make a profit back. If I only spend $10,000, then I
  • Voice acting my ass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagicDude (727944) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @12:01AM (#14153678)
    They're blaming the cost of games on voice acting? That is the biggest load of crap ever becase that's like the once place they can hire good AND cheap actors to play the parts. However, instead of going that, developers are intent on paying big bucks to celebrities because they believe that it somhow legitimizes their game by having big name celebrities in the credits.

    Billy West, a voice actor with the roles of Fry and Prof. Farnsworth from futurama to his credit, has an interesting article on The Onion - AV Club [avclub.com] about how Hollywood pays people like Cameron Diaz 20 million for their voice in Shrek while overlooking the vetran voice actors in the industry. He makes a lot of good points about how good film actors don't make good voice actors and vice versa, since a voice actor has to learn to expression emotion without the use of his physical features, and how regular actors never really escape their own voice. He also has other interesting tibits about how voice actors typically help producers save money because they can do multiple different voices. I mean, would you guess that the same actor did the voices of Fry, Prof Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan, and Zoidberg on Futurama?. Anyways, the point is that I don't buy the fact that the video game industry is all that interested in keeping prices low, because they could find cheaper means of production if they were truly interested in doing so.
    • That's a good and talented ass you got there... *quietly runs away*
    • When you have a Cameron Diaz in your movie, then she can go whore herself on late night TV shows about her next project and what not. That alone might be worth millions of dollars of marketing right there. Not saying it is right. If you are making a 100 million dollar special effects video game, paying a little more for Vin Diesel might be worth it, as he can do a lot better job of going on the talk show and tell Barbara Walters, that along with the romantic comedy he is in, he is also doing a FPS shoot em
      • paying a little more for Vin Diesel might be worth it

        File that among the phrases I never thought I'd see. (Okay, maybe I could see it for Vin -- not for the crap car movie and the stupid James Bond "extreme" knockoff, but for Iron Giant, which he was great for before he made his name. He actually rates as a voice actor, having done legit work there.)

        But most celebs who do voice work on games are on the level of Billy Dee Williams, who just wants to collect some spare coin for a cameo as Lando in Jedi Kn

    • They're blaming the cost of games on voice acting?

      No, they aren't.

      Billy West, a voice actor with the roles of Fry and Prof. Farnsworth from futurama to his credit, has an interesting article on The Onion - AV Club about how Hollywood pays people like Cameron Diaz 20 million for their voice in Shrek while overlooking the vetran voice actors in the industry.

      They paid Cameron Diaz for her star power, her voice was just a small corner of the overall package. Veteran voice actors are ignored because voice a

      • They paid Cameron Diaz for her star power, her voice was just a small corner of the overall package. Veteran voice actors are ignored because voice actors have zero box office draw.

        Certainly the reasoning. I have to wonder if this makes a difference. Personally, I'd love to see a film with Billy West doing a voice. And the main target market (kids) don't really care about who's doing the voices.

        Pixar movies tend to go for decent voice actors. They do have some big names but never the huge stars tha
  • by Headcase88 (828620) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @12:39AM (#14153894) Journal
    "because of graphics, coding, voice acting, cinema scenes and everything else gamers expect, cost more to make."

    You want me to pay for:
    • Graphics: Have little to do with gameplay. Sure you need good frame-rate, low popup, and distinct colouring, but that's actually achieved best with minimalist graphics, which cost less to develop.
    • Coding: More coding = more unneccessarily complicated = less fun. When I look back at my favourite games, it's their deceptive simplicity that keeps me coming back. Yeah, I guess "deceptively simple" still requires a lot of coding, but that goes against my argument so let's forget I said that.
    • Voice Acting: Fuck this. I don't really use that word awfully often, so that means I really hate it. I personally prefer reading text, but I do enjoy games with voice. But why pay a celebrity to do voices? Shit, I better buy this game, it stars celebrity x. Yeah, and I know that's why a lot of uninformed people buy games too. Dammit.
    • Cinima Scenes. Oh God. Don't even get me started. I have two points against this one. One, I didn't buy a game to watch a screen with my controller aside for half of it. Two, blockbuster movies cost like $25. Yeah, I know the lower price is due to the fact that they sell a lot more of them, but again, against my argument... I know I've said that twice, but I hope you still understand the fundamental stuff I'm talking about.

    Can I please see a few more games like Alien Hominid? Not speaking from a genre point of view, just the style of the game. I think the XBox360 Live Arcade is a step in the right direction, but I'd rather see new games with old-style graphics, not the other way around, which is what I'm seeing from a lot of those games (ie Joust, Smash TV).

    This whole post just wrote itself. It took like 2 minutes to write it. That means I feel strongly about it. You should probably take that with a grain of salt... I'm just saying.
    • 10 cents about voice acting. Generally I agree that using voice actors as opposed to movie stars is a great idea. However Occasionally, hiring the celeb voice actor makes it all right. My example here is Patrick Stewart hired for the X-men legends games. None of the other characters had their movie counterparts voiced in the game, but Mr Stewart has such a recognizable voice that it really fits. Now, what made those games awesome was the gameplay, which had little to do with any voice acting. However
      • That's different though. Obviously it's best for movie-based games to have the voices done by the actual actors.
      • Mr. Stewart is an exception to the rule, as he is as accomplished a voice actor as he is in person. He's getting at least as much work in TV commercial voiceovers as the rest of the cast combined (opinion, no research done). Heck, Patrick Stewart would probably have done the voice work for the game even if he hadn't done the movie.

        Heh, imagine the poor SOB in 50 years who has to play Dr. X in the remake. The comparisons he'll get.....
    • I agree on all points, simple colorful "nintendo graphics" looks great, we are talking games like say paper mario the thousand year door. Compare the gfx to something which is supposed to look "real" and it just look like shit.

      I'm not a fan about teller voices either, but I don't like all the text dialogues in recent games either, it was enough of them in Zelda for the NES ;D, that's about the amount I can handle.

      Same goes for cinematic clips, I'm there to play a game, maybe just for 20 minutes, I don't wan
  • How does that work? (Score:2, Informative)

    by paranand (914456)
    So, if next gen games are costing so much more to produce, why is it that a game like Call of Duty 2, which is made in tandem for pc and xbox 360, will sell for 50 bucks on pc and 60 on the console? Seems like they might be messing with the market base a bit.
  • Almost all first gen games are expensive. I still remember paying about $80 for all my 64 games when it first came out. What was I thinking?!?
    • You were thinking, Turok is really really going to be fun. In 1996, I think I paid 340 dollars for an N64, an extra controller and Turok. In 1993, my parents paid 2000 bucks to buy a Macintosh Performa 450 computer. It was a great gaming machine, built in 8bit Mono sound, 256 colors, a huge 14 in monitor. Had games like Leisure Suit Larry, Spectre, Escape Velocity, Maelstrom. So things have come a long way. Today, if you were to buy a Mac gaming machine it would cost you a lot less than 2000. Oh wait...
    • Cartridges cost a lot more than DVDs to manufacture.
      • It is true, but this was a case of first gen mark up. Less than five months later, 64 games were down to the norm $50. Same thing when PS1 came out, and crap like Virtual Tennis was $60. First gen games are always high because they can. When the system is flooded with games they have to lower cost to stay compentetive.
  • I buy my games on ebay for $5 to $20 dollars. Once in a while I'll pick up an A-List title (like Valkyrie Profile) for $35-$40. The people who should be worrying about the high cost of gaming are at Microsoft. So far they haven't done much to make me wanna pony up the cash for there next gen. Not when I've got 20+ games on my shelf still in need of playing from last gen.
  • Guh...all the prices on this page are messing with my head cuz I keep thinking Canadian prices and I don't understand why $60 games are a big deal. Then I realize that's like $70 CAD and I'm still like "That's still not that bad" How many games can you play in a month? 1.5? Give or take depending on genre and all that? I know people who spend more than that in a month on weed. Generally addictions are expensive. I think this thread is mostly composed of addicts complaining about how expensive their habi
    • A lot of kids get their games through parents and the like. So its a big deal. There have been a market for gamers who have money, 3D0, Neo Geo, CDI is that a gaming system?, Turbo Grafx and the like, and they all failed. Why? Because given two options, the gamer will choose the cheaper one even if it is slightly less quality.
  • What I find amazing is that generally everyone sees gaming differently than they see other forms of entertainment media. While I will admit that there are radically different formats for say music versus games, the fact that they are both entertainment media ties them together. When I pay to go see a movie, I expect it to occur once. I pay my $8 (cause I live in Minnesota where movies are still less than $10 a hit) and see it once. If I really need to, I pay $8 to see it again, or I wait until the DVD r
  • I've tried to do some digging up of launch prices for games in the Atari/NES era, but came up empty. I seem to recall them being high enough to likely be well over $60 adjusted for inflation. Is gaming really more expensive now than it was 15 years ago?
  • Carp! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Elfod (567688)
    What a load of carp. Right, so the technology is changing and we didn't realise it was going to cost more so we have to pass on the costs to you guys...sorry! Come on - technology is constantly evolving, the only difficulty is keeping your developers skills up to date. The technology gets better/shinier/more complicated (choose two) but costs overall do not go up, except for inflationary rises or where a major retooling is required (I can't think of anything of the top of my head - I was going to say somet
    • >> but costs overall do not go up

      Development costs: wages, licencing, rent, hardware, other.

      wages: 200 people costs more than a few guys in a garage. Most of the staff are not programmers, but artists and testers who produce and verify CONTENT. A DVD can hold more than a 8k cartridge, and gamers expect it to be full of content.

      licencing: It costs money to have a hardware company test, then master discs, then take royalties for your console game. Even though it's for the worse, many games now incorpora
  • Trivial fix: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @04:59AM (#14155139) Homepage
    I don't see the problem here. The fix is trivial:

    If a certain entertainment-option (such as a game) is not worth the price asked to you, then don't buy it. Selling games at $60 works only when people buy games at $60, and evidently, quite a few do.

    Most games fal in price rapidly, so it's not like you can't play the very same game for half the price, if you're willing to wait a few months. If not, and you absolutely *must* have the game at release-day, even at $60, then obviously the price was not too high, but instead correct. It's called a free marketm, get used to it.

  • To stop alienating gamers in Japan they'll start alienating American ones! Japanese people are used to paying $60 for games [amazon.co.jp], so the tables are finally even, winning Microsoft some favor on the other side of... the other pond. Actually, (I'm my own insightful reply) Japanese 360 games are $10 more too (ignore the discount thing) [amazon.co.jp], which probably provides twice the alienation doing nothing would have... I wonder how Microsoft possibly could hope to do well in Japan with games that cost more than a used Xbox
    • Something similar is happening with Europe it seems, $60 is about £35, which would be £40 with VAT / tax[1]. £40 is the RRP for games. So naturally, the RRP for Xbox 360 games appears to be £45 (or even £50), you can't have the Americans paying the same price as the rest of the world!

      Although I gather in the US shops are far more likley to sell at the RRP, whilst in the UK places like supermarkets and online stores often have fairly big discounts on games (etc.). But the RRP is
  • Studios don't need to create games with flash-in-the-pan graphics, as long as they make them fun. As far as I'm concerned, they can get away with Gameboy Advanced graphics on the Xbox 360 as long as the game is fun. It's nice to have all that kickass graphical ability for the hardware - BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT ALL HAS TO BE USED. Games with good gameplay mechanics don't require that much horsepower - unless of course, an original gameplay concept comes out that requires an incredible amount of CPU horsepow
  • by AaronLawrence (600990) * on Thursday December 01, 2005 @06:05AM (#14155318)
    One thing they waste far too much time on in many games is character models. I guess it makes for nice screenshots, but how often are you right up close to a character examining the detail on their boots?

    This is at least true for FPSes. I guess RPGs and other more interactive games can use close-up detail. But thinking of UT2004, the character models have obviously been slaved over for many months, and are works of art; but the most you ever see is a couple of quick flashes as someone runs past. To be honest, the character models in the original Unreal Tournament (99?) were perfectly fine for an FPS.

    The same mostly goes for weapon and power-up models. Gratuitous transparency and pretty textures is interesting for maybe the first 30 seconds, and then it could just be a yellow circle for all the player cares.

    That's a big chunk of graphics they could simplify and spend much less time on. Further, it would save wasting lots of polygons on them.

    The thing that really makes a big impression is the landscapes, and a lot of those are at least partially machine generated, so I guess they are probably a lot more efficient in terms of results for time spent.
    • If I had mod points right now I'd give you a +1. You hit the nail on the head.

      There's also the issue of hiring "big name talent" for videogames. Do we really need the likes of Christopher Lee and Heather Graham doing voiceovers for Everquest 2? No. It's extra money that could go towards hiring lesser-known voice actors who are fully able to perform the task well.

      If companies like EA insist on creating games with productions on the level of hollywood movies, they should be prepared to eat that cost inste
    • but how often are you right up close to a character examining the detail on their boots?


      Quite often, actually. Doesn't everyone? The curved survaces, the bump mapping.

      Oh. I'm sorry. I just realized you said boots.
  • Here's the equation to determine retail cost:

    Retail price = cost of each unit + the amount that will make us most money.

    As you will see - There's no development cost there. If it costs less to devlop, then that is simply an increase in profits. Why would they charge less? So that they can make less money? It simply doesn't work like that. Business doesn't exist to offer a "fair" price to consumers. It exists to maximise profits. They are charging $60 because they think that the increase in per u
  • Well, I haven't really read in detail anything about videogame development costs but, are they really more expensive to produce than a blockbuster movie with, say, julia roberts and brad pitt plus the best of the FX ? I'm pretty sure than each one of the Lord of the Rings movies was more expensive to make than Halo 2 and I haven't seen yet a 60$ DVD of a single movie.

    I don't think it's justified princing a videogame in 60$. Maybe costs per unit in the cartridge era where higher and we could in some way acce
  • Games at the moment have voice acting, cinematic scenes, thousands of scanned images for textures etc. What difference does it make if you render them at a higher resolution? PC games do this at the moment and cost LESS than console games!

    Am I missing something, or are the companies just using "next-gen" as an excuse?
  • You stupid gamers. Why do you expect so much? The game which has been capturing most of my attention these past few weeks has been Alien Hominid - and not the main game, the mini game. Thats right, stick figures jumping around on a little, limited tile-based map. Why has this captured my attention? Not the graphics (though it is funny to watch those little guys explode), not the voice acting, and not the cinematics. Its the simple fact that I can play with 4 people at a time and can make my own maps.
  • As long as people will pay $60 for games, games will sell for $60. If it makes you feel any better, just think of the official release as an early release especially for those who are willing to fork over extra money. For example, as far as I'm concerned, Madden 06 came out in early November for $28. There was an early release back in August for those dumb enough to pay $50 (and sometimes more) for it.
  • I can't what for that revolution to come out. I'd like to pick up a gamecube and play those games for less than $20 each. The reason that I had bought a PS2 instead of GC was simple, I wanted to play all the FF games that were released on PS1 & the 1 for PS2. I picked up I think it was like 3 FF for $20 or slightly less each. To me, that was an excellent bargain. I paid $50 each for FFX, FFX2, and Kingdom Hearts. FFX and Kingdom Hearts were worth every cent. FFX2 was really worth some where between $30-
  • If I'm going to have to pay more for next generation titles because they are oh so superior graphically, then developers better damn well start pumping out games that have lasting appeal, better stories, and are fun to entice me to pay that extra $10. I can eat for a week on $10. I'm sure a lot of us can! IMO, graphics can take a back seat. I'd rather pay 40 to 50 dollars for a game that keeps me coming back after that initial period of fierce gameplay, than for something that looks amazing that I end u

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