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Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

Can $60 Games Survive? 435

Posted by Soulskill
from the inflation-vs-customer-expectations dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "Game budgets continue to rise with each successive console generation, and with the Wii U launching later this year, the industry is on the cusp of yet another costly transition. Publishers have been regularly charging $60 for games this generation, but that model simply cannot survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim said in an interview. 'I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they're going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging,' Kim remarked. 'Today it's free-to-play, and I'm convinced that that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry.' He cautioned, 'If your mind is just set on keeping the current model of buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It's going to have to change.'"
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Can $60 Games Survive?

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  • Re:HotS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Freddybear (1805256) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:06PM (#39347449)

    Me too, and Diablo III as well. I expect both of those $60 titles will be good for a lot more than 40 hours of play.

  • Re:HotS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:36PM (#39347775)

    I don't care either, because I'm just going to pirate if I they keep doing this sort of thing. Video Game companies make massive profits. I really doubt that they need to raise the price again, but whatever.

    If people like you didnt pirate then maybe they wouldn't.

    I know each instance of piracy does not equal a lost sale. I know all of that. What you may not know is that even if no sale was going to happen, just knowing that somebody RIPPED YOU OFF and won't pay for your hard work, well there may be less-than-rational reasons of outrage for wanting to get what you can from those who have disposable income and are willing to pay. Feeling like it is owed to you and all of that becuase making a modern game really is a lot of hard work and they are only getting more complex.

    Like I said, less than rational. It is not economics it is more like psychology. You ever see that damned entitlement mentality from a lazy person who does not work very hard? They think the world owes them something cause they breathe or whatever. Lots of Baby Boomers are like that. Ok. Now imagine somebody who really does work hard who feels the same way. See how much more justified they feel?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:54PM (#39347943)

    Definitely profiteering. I was a game dev until the high dollar ripped the arse out of the local industry, and I also had contacts with an Australian distributor from a previous job, who let me buy games at wholesale prices as an employee perk. We were paid the same to develop the game, no matter how much it made. At wholesale price, I was paying around AUD65-80 for new games, which if you factor in all the costs of running a shopfront isn't giving the retailer an excessive profit at AUD90-100 per game. With the exchange rate change, the wholesale cost should have dropped to around AUD30-40, but it didn't. Now whether it's the publisher or the distributors overseas head office getting the money, I don't know, I only know that none of that fat profit is staying in Australia.

  • Re:HotS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:11PM (#39348095)

    knowing that somebody RIPPED YOU OFF

    Microsoft ripped me off with Mechwarrior 4 and its "I don't like your CDROM drives" DRM. Since the package was open, I was SOL at CompUSA. I stopped buying new PC games then, and have been playing only console or old PC games. And CompUSA went out of business; good riddance.

  • by WinstonWolfIT (1550079) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:30PM (#39348243)

    What happened was the AUD was weak, so Aussies got used to paying a premium, even when what they paid was a higher percentage of earnings compared to Americans. Then the AUD got stronger, but they still pay the premium! 5 years after moving here, I still buy media content from the US and have it shipped for less than it can be bought domestically.

    I put it down to the same reason why it costs $2 for a candy bar in Australia (more than double what the same candy costs in the US): Because they're stupid enough to be happy to pay it.

  • Re:HotS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s0nicfreak (615390) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @01:48AM (#39349211) Homepage Journal

    they're always taking money from people's bank accounts without consent and then shipping them a game regardless of whether or not the person actually wanted the game

    While they don't do that, what a lot of them do is make it impossible for a person to figure out if they actually want the game without buying it non-refundably. You can't find out if the game is worth its price, sucks, etc. without playing it. And often the only way to play it without handing over your money is to pirate.

    While I don't feel I am entitled to games for free, I feel I am entitled to make informed decisions about where my money goes, and to purchase a game if - and only if - I feel it is worth my money. A developer is not entitled to my money because they released pretty videos to the internet, or because their company (which may or may not mean the same people worked on this game) has released a good game in the past.

  • by crossmr (957846) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:33AM (#39349709) Journal

    Canadians have dealt with it for years. It's much more obvious to us since we get american channels and ads and everything else.
    Back when the Canadian dollar stopped being garbage it took a long time for book sellers to reset their prices. When the dollar sucked and waslike 63 cents us, we were paying 6.99USD/10.99CAD for books.
    Then finally the dollar shot up and was work 1.02 USD. But the book companies didn't adjust their prices. This went on for a month or two and people started getting really ticked off.
    They could buy it in the US and ship it cheaper.
    I think their solution was to raise the US price.

  • Re:HotS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alamais (4180) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:24AM (#39350227)

    The same tired arguments, still incomprehensible to me.

    The Wings of Liberty campaign was easily as long as the original SC campaign, with massively improved storytelling and gameplay. I'm sure Heart of the Swarm and the Protoss campaign will be just as long, and probably even better.

    Halo 2 was easily 50% longer than Halo CE. Halo 3 was perhaps a tad short, but was gorgeous and epic and had a great ending.

    All of the above came with complete, entertaining multiplayer (blah blah sc2 lan whatever) too, if you're into that.

    In no way did I end up feeling overcharged for these games. Reach I felt robbed by, but that's another argument entirely...

  • Re:HotS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:31AM (#39350255)

    The fact that the industry is screwing themselves over by overcharging and using onerous DRM does NOT entitle you to take a copy of their work for free.

    Irrelevant in the end, as there is no functional difference between someone who pirates a game and someone who refuses to buy it.

  • Re:HotS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MattSausage (940218) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @08:25AM (#39351053)
    God help me for not going AC with this reply, but here goes: Piracy is a direct result of the cost of digital goods.

    If game companies want people to stop pirating their games, lower the price. That is the silver bullet. In general people don't pirate games because they are too lazy to go to the store (or even better, the website) and buy it. The VAST majority of piracy is due to people not seeing the cost/value ratio of that entertainment within acceptable parameters.

    Obviously people don't necessary consciously think those things. But if you look at Louis C.K.'s latest gamble [louisck.net] with his DVD. Charging a fair (or beyond fair) price makes piracy almost completely disappear. Louis made money hand over fist, and piracy was almost non-existent.

    $60 dollar games cause piracy. It is that simple.
  • Re:HotS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bomazi (1875554) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @08:54AM (#39351257)

    Movies have a much larger audience than games. They sell at a lower price, but they sell more. You have to look at total revenues, not per unit price.

  • Re:HotS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @09:51AM (#39351783) Homepage

    Indeed, reviews these days are bought and paid for by the games companies so you simply cannot trust them... Publications that review games rely on the goodwill of publishers to provide prerelease copies of games for them to review, but publishers will simply refuse to do this if the publication has published bad reviews, forcing them to purchase the games on the open market after they've been released, by which time all their competitors have already published their reviews months ago.

    And game demos, if they are made available at all, tend to showcase the best aspects of the game. I played a game demo of a platform game years ago which was just the first level and it was great, bought the full game and found that:
    Subsequent levels were nowhere near as good as the first one...
    There was no way to save, so if you died you went back to the start.
    Although the first level was good, playing it over and over again soon got boring... Playing the second level over and over in order to get to the third really bored me to death and i never got any further than that.

    Other things to consider...

    The cost of producing a game is a one off, the actual per copy cost is trivial (and has actually gone down, you no longer get big boxes, multiple floppies, printed manuals etc and some are distributed online now so not even media costs)... If the games were priced more cheaply, then they would sell more copies and still make the same or more profit... Most people who buy games would simply buy more if the prices were cheaper, and some of those who pirate would switch to buying instead.

    Many games are simple remakes of older games, i doubt they cost all that much to make, and yet they are still sold at the same prices as original games... A lot of sports games come out every year, and the only change is an updated list of players and teams - hardly a huge budget activity... Charging full price for such games makes people feel even more ripped off.

    Some are just one or more games from an older platform, bundled with an emulator... No original content at all really, and yet still full price.

    DRM schemes do nothing to stop serious pirates, who will soon have a crack available... It is paying customers who have to suffer with the various hassles caused by the scheme.

    The only other impact is "casual piracy", that is where someone makes a copy for their friends... We used to do this a lot in school, since being schoolkids we simply couldnt afford to purchase all the games, so everyone bought a handful of games and we traded copies among ourselves.
    Those games which we couldn't copy due to copy protection schemes, we went and bought copyable pirate copies from someone...
    Had we not been able to copy the games, or acquire pirate copies, we would just have played less games and found other things to do... We simply couldn't afford to buy more games than we did. If the games had been cheaper, we would have bought more for the same money.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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