Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

Game Prices — a Historical Perspective 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
The Opposable Thumbs blog scrutinizes the common wisdom that video games are too expensive, or that they're more expensive than they were in the past. They found that while in some cases the sticker price has increased, it generally hasn't outpaced inflation, making 2010 a cheaper time to be a gamer than the '80s and '90s. Quoting: "... we tracked down a press release putting the suggested retail price of both Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 at $69.99. [Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer's Association] says that the N64 launch game pricing only tells you part of the story. 'Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,' he told Ars. 'Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then — though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in.' He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Game Prices — a Historical Perspective

Comments Filter:
  • Yeah (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:41AM (#33821660)

    Not a popular fact here on Slashdot, but true. I've mentioned this many times when people were complaining about game prices.

    When I was younger the standard price for an SNES game was 129 guilders, which equals 59 euros. Nowadays new console games also cost 59 euros, except Wii games which are normally 49 euros. Accounting for inflation, games have gotten much cheaper. Also, I'm not sure about this, but I get the impression games hit the bargain bin much faster these days (except big sellers like Mario Kart and Modern Warfare).

    My problem with game prices is the difference between US and EU prices. We usually pay in euros what you guys pay in dollars, so we pay much more (even if you take into account that the EU price does include sales tax).

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:47AM (#33821698)

    PC games have definitely become cheaper. I remember in the 90s paying £40 for some games (I paid £44.99 for Warcraft II as it was the cheapest I could find it at on release!), usually though they were around the £29.99 mark with the odd £34.99 game. At the start of this century they seemed to all pretty much go up to £34.99 as standard, but in recent years the trend has reversed, and £24.99 seems to be common for new releases, sometimes even lower - £22.99 or so.

    I've never historically been much of a console gamer, although did own a few consoles I never bought more than a handful of games for them until this generation. I've noticed XBox 360 games used to be £39.99 or thereabouts as standard on release, but nowadays they seem to be closer to £34.99 a lot of the time, sometimes only £29.99. Major releases are still usually higher, and Call of Duty tries to sell at £44.99 because Activision are a bunch of profiteering twats, but then, supermarkets in the UK Sold MW2 at £28 on release night so it shows it pays to shop around so you can avoid the Call of Duty tax if you buy it. Certainly the general trend seems to be that in the 5 years since release, 360 games are, on average, a bit cheaper now.

    Of course there are stores that'll get you games a little cheaper than these prices, but I'm referring to the usual advertised price from the typical non-discount mainstream stores for the most part because it's hard to compare to the discounted prices when they vary so wildly from title to title!

  • by nem75 (952737) <jens@bremmekamp.com> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @03:50AM (#33821982)

    PC games have definitely become cheaper. I remember in the 90s paying £40 for some games (I paid £44.99 for Warcraft II as it was the cheapest I could find it at on release!), usually though they were around the £29.99 mark with the odd £34.99 game. At the start of this century they seemed to all pretty much go up to £34.99 as standard, but in recent years the trend has reversed, and £24.99 seems to be common for new releases, sometimes even lower - £22.99 or so.

    For whatever reason the UK seems to be special in this case, computer game prices there are way lower than in the rest of Europe. So much so that some publishers ask Amazon.co.uk to not ship certain games to the continent (at least they did this in some cases last year). Anyway, when I buy new games I buy in the UK, it's way cheaper than in Germany e.g.

  • by Canazza (1428553) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @03:51AM (#33821988)

    They missed out on the old Amigas, Spectrum and Commodore era. I remember picking games up for under £3.
    We're definitely not better off, price-wise, from that era. Graphically, and gameplay wise, yes, and I wouldn't want to go back to those days (except through an emulator)

  • by plumby (179557) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:05AM (#33822068)
    Absolutely. When I started buying Speccy games in about 1984, they were typicaly £4.99 (about £11.95 adjusted for inflation). Some games did start to come out at £9.99 - I remember the shock in magazines at the time, but equally we started to get the £1.99 range at around the same time.

    Like you say, obviously most of them are nowhere near as good as the best games released today, but they were the cutting edge at the time, and were far cheaper than today's cutting edge games.
  • Re:DVD vs cartridge (Score:4, Informative)

    by lowlymarine (1172723) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:33AM (#33822204)

    Ok, but what about the billions and billions of dollars they don't lose to piracy? Doesn't that factor into the pricing somehow?

    It's generally a bad idea to try to factor imaginary money into your pricing scheme. [arstechnica.com]

  • Re:More missing. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:35AM (#33822432)

    True. But what you may or may not know is that some Euro countries still display prices in their former currencies for reference and the conversion rate that was used for the transition still applies.

    I offer this as an example. In Spain, where I live, you still find apartment and houses listed in both Euros and Pesetas. Some supermarkets and stores also display prices in both currencies.

    The point is that even if the Euro didn't existe in the '80s it is still possible to do the math and figure out how much something from way back then would be worth today.

  • by yuriks (1089091) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:46AM (#33822508)

    Console games are licensed, PC games are not. I don't know how much it costs to publish a game for the Xbox360/PS3/Wii, but it's more than zero. Publishing a game for the PC costs nothing in licensing fees.

    If you are willing to write a game engine from scratch, sure there are no licensing fees. Most game developers license the engines from the likes of Id Software and Epic.

    Yes there are. All console manufacturers demand licensing fees for developing and publishing software for their consoles.

  • by terrisus (108956) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @06:27AM (#33822686) Homepage

    From the article:
    "Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,"

    I never recall paying more than $59.99US for an N64 game (maybe one of the games that came with something else in the box, but other than that), and have a number of receipts still sitting around to verify that (prices below from ebworld.com from a couple of purchases in 2000. I would have posted the full emails, but slashdot's filter kept being upset with it).
    People now always seem to talk about regularly paying $70 or $80 for N64 games, but, I have no clue at all where people were shopping where they were paying that.

    179934 $49.99 BANJO TOOIE N64
    182565 $59.99 AIDYN CHRONICLES: 1ST MAGE N64
    182829 $59.99 Mario Tennis
    182835 $59.99 Legend of ZELDA 2: Majora's Mask
    182837 $59.99 HEY YOU PIKACHU N64
    182841 $59.99 PAPER MARIO STORY N64

    162701 Perfect Dark $59.99
    176879 OGRE BTLE 64 PRSN LORDLY CALIB $59.99
    164384 Pokemon Stadium $59.99
    175495 MARIO PARTY 2 N64 $49.99

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:22AM (#33823570) Journal

    Go down to your local Goodwill. In the past couple week's I've bought Outpost 2, both Aces games, Tie Fighter, Dark Colony, Return to Krondor, and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego. All complete, in great condition, for $2.99 or less. Now really is a cheap time to be a gamer.

  • by BStroms (1875462) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:35AM (#33823718)

    I'm confused both by why you feel inflation is a terrible metric and why you feel the minimum wage would be a better metric. According to a department of labor page I pulled up here [bls.gov], in 2009 only 3% of workers aged 25 or up made at or below the minimum wage. So you've got a number that's only important to a very small percentage of adult workers that's supposed to someone be more important then inflation, which effects everyone?

    I could see arguing about which inflation metric to use, ie core inflation rather than the overall inflation rate. However, I think minimum wage is far less valuable to compare prices between time periods than inflation.

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:57AM (#33824728) Homepage Journal

    This is quite common with games that are still popular many years after release. If your game is still selling a lot of copies 5 years after launch, why should you cut the price? Slashing prices is how you move more units. You don't bother if you're moving plenty of units already.

    Diablo II is 10 years old and the Battle Chest still goes for $30-40. Blizzard must still be moving a decent number of copies otherwise they'd drop the price. Businesses do their best to maximize overall profit, so it doesn't make much sense to keep the price high if the game isn't selling.

    As someone who frequently looks over bargain bins with games that are $10 and under, it's usually not a surprise what games wind up there: indie games that got no marketing, big-budget games that shipped with massive bugs and sold poorly, games that have since had one or more sequels (sequels tend to cannibalize sales of the original unless the sequel is just awful), and original versions of games that were later released with expansions in "gold" or "collector's editions." All of those make perfect sense from a business standpoint.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

Working...