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Do Video Games Cost Too Much?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the depends-how-the-pirate-bay-trial-goes-right dept.

The Almighty Buck 763

Valve's Gabe Newell gave the keynote address at this year's Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit about the cost of games, the effect of piracy, and how to reach new players. Valve undertook an experiment recently to test how price affected the sales of their popular survival-horror FPS, Left 4 Dead. They Reduced the price by 50% on Steam, which "resulted in a 3000% increase in sales of the game, posting overall sales that beat the title's original launch performance." They also tested various other price drops over the holidays, seeing spikes in sales that corresponded well to the size of the discount. This will undoubtedly add to the speculation that game prices have risen too high for the current economic climate. G4TV ran a live blog of Newell's presentation, providing a few more details.

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Yes (5, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26926951)

Yes. That was easy. Next!

Re:Yes (5, Insightful)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 5 years ago | (#26926999)

yup. the cost of video games is why i quit buying them. and no, i haven't resorted to alternate means of acquisition, either. i just quit buying new ones, content on playing the couple dozen or so that are on my gaming pc.

not buying any new games has also saved the money that would've otherwise had to gone into hardware upgrades to even play the new ones in the first place.

$20-30 for a game is much more agreeable to my checkbook than the $50-60 or more some games cost these days.

and then you have series like the sims, which gets you both coming and going. $50 for the game, $20+ for each addon pack. by the time you pick up the entire "set" for the kids, you're looking at a couple hundred bucks or more.

Re:Yes (0)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927027)

I sometimes buy expensive games because I realy, realy like them. VALVe games are the only games I buy without even thinking it through. VALVe is just full of WIN all the way.

The above is only for online play, but I'm more of a single player compaign game that I can finnish. It feels more like an accomplishment than constantly placing 2nd for online matches. I buy more of those games, but only if their prices have dropped.

I quit downloading because I have money now, but when a single player game is full of 'bad' DRM, (like Crysis Warhead) or if I can't find a game in stores I download them.

Re:Yes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927099)

VALVe games are the only games I buy without even thinking it through.

So you have a crush on Alyx? Admit it!

Re:Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927325)

So you have a crush on Alyx? Admit it!

No chance. It's GLaDOS who stole my heart away. I think she used it as a cake garnish.

Re:Yes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927109)

You're an idiot. Please don't post here anymore.

Re:Yes (5, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927063)

I wait until the games I want are on the bargian shelves then buy them (or cheap on Steam). Ok, this usually means I'm behind other gamers, but new to me is good enough.

Nor am I starved for quality games, less so perhaps, because by the time I get round to buying, the shit games have been identified, and the gems lauded.

Diablo 3 may cause me to break this trend, at least for that one game, but everything else is bought cheap or not touched.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927149)

me too. also this has the positive effects that most of the games I buy will run on a 800E machine (bought with monitor).

I lag a year or so behind new releases, and two behind latest gen hardware, but paying pc half price of a gaming rig has the benefit of allowing me to update them more often.

up until now, the trend on gpu has been that a cheap card could beat any time the powerhouse of the previous generation, maybe not in synthetic benchmark but games do feels snappier, due to improved hardware/software/whatever support.

Re:Yes (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927345)

Yea, friend, you speak the truth. Diablo 3 will be the first game I will seriously consider buying since WoW.

Re:Yes (2, Interesting)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927397)

I know exactly what you mean. I recently bought a PSP which it ain't seeing many new games lately, but it's got a big back catalog of some excellent games I can get on the sub £8 price tag. There's one exception, I've preordered new "Resistance: Retribution" for next month, but other than that, with the existing back catalog, I'll have at least a couple of years of inexpensive gaming.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927085)

You mean around $300... and some of the add-ons are crap. Not all, but many of them.

Yes they are... (4, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26926953)

Considering that a $200 million "film" [wikipedia.org] can be obtained in DVD for USD$20 at most, I am sure that there is no way a Wii game should cost more than that... (currently 50 euro!)

Re:Yes they are... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26926979)

A fair point but part of the equation is also that a film gives you two hours of entertainment whereas a game gives you perhaps 20-50+ hours.
Personally, I'm reasonably OK with prices - a new title in the UK is around GBP40 but quickly falls to GBP20 or less after a few months. There are some titles which are GBP50 and that's just too much for me though.

Re:Yes they are... (1, Insightful)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927003)

i'd rather stress the target audience. the movie going crowd is by far larger than the gaming crowd i think, so there would be the difference imo

also, honestly, how many games these days are still made for 10+ hours of non repetitive gameplay? even most fps-shooters i read reviews about these days are said to be less than 10 hours to play through...

20-50 hours, most rpgs and adventure games should reach that, and that's about it i'd say

Re:Yes they are... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927007)

I think the real equation is ticket cost (times number of tickets sold) vs production cost. A similar economy (modulo liability insurance costs) can be applied to the pharmaceutical companies.

Re:Yes they are... (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927187)

A similar economy (modulo liability insurance costs) can be applied to the pharmaceutical companies.

I strongly doubt movie tickets and pharmaceuticals can be grouped under any single model. Movies are a luxury whereas pills are a necessity and will be purchased at almost any price.

Yes they are...Virtual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927047)

"Considering that a $200 million "film" [wikipedia.org] can be obtained in DVD for USD$20 at most, I am sure that there is no way a Wii game should cost more than that... (currently 50 euro!)"

So basically we're comparing the cost of the real universe vs the cost to create a virtual one?

Impulse power! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26926955)

My psychological maximum for impulse buys for games would be about 20$. Keep games around that and I would have a hell of a lot more.

Well, that and wine compatibility but that is a whole 'nother story :)

Re:Impulse power! (5, Insightful)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927131)

Also, the ability to return a game that I do not like.

It used to be that this was a given, since before the media companies forced their will upon the rest of us, games were treated like any other merchandise. When I could return a game I didn't like, or that didn't work, to the store in the mall (at the time it was Software Etc.) I bought many more games than I do now. I could take a chance because the risk to me personally was extremely low.

I would frequently browse the shelves holding PC games (which were far more numerous back then). Hmm, that looks like it *might* be fun/interesting. I'll buy it and find out. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but I'll soon know first hand.

Publishers constantly whine about the risks of developing new IP because it is very hard to know how it will do in the market. If I, as a customer, have the ability to make low risk purchases, I'm far more likely to try new games.

As it stands now with the draconian return policies, I almost always wait for a stack of reviews to be published before I make any decisions. This hurts the developers and publishers in a number of ways. First, I have to take the initiative to find these reviews which all but eliminates the chance of an impulse buy (or even a semi-researched buy). And second, I am relying on the reviewers subjective opinion. I know that I am getting filtered information and that my views on what is good/bad are likely different from that of the reviewer, but what choice do I have?

Demos can mitigate this problem, but only a little. They still eliminate the chance of an impulse buy. Plus, I find I give a demo much less time to "win me over" than I do something I have paid for. And, of course, depending on what genres you like, the availability of demos varies greatly. Adventure games, strategy, RPG/JRPG? Good luck finding demos.

Re:Impulse power! (3, Interesting)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927257)

Yes, yes, yes!!!

I've bought several games that were great in theory but that I just couldn't enjoy if you paid me. I recently went through about 20 demos and found that of all of them, I only really liked one. These were 20 games that I would have otherwise just bought and hoped for the best, only be to be disappointed in the end, and quite a bit poorer considering that new xbox games are $60 each. To make matters worse, the actual games does not always match the demo. Conker Live & Reloaded was great in the demo. I couldn't wait for it to finally come out so I could play the whole thing. I picked it up on release day and raced home. Popped it in and immediately noticed that the game play was quite a bit different than what I had played on the demo disc from some magazine.

It's one thing to buy a game and end up not liking it. It's quite another to play a demo of the game only to buy the full game and find out that the game company decided to make some major changes to how the game was played. Of course I couldn't return the game so I was out $$$.

Re:Impulse power! (1)

bmorency (1221186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927279)

Also, the ability to return a game that I do not like.

Isn't that the point of renting games from places like Blockbuster or some other place so you can try them before you buy them? I'm also thinking Blokcbuster had (has?) a policy where if you rent a game and you do like it you can keep the game and pay the rest of the purchase price if you want to buy it.

Re:Impulse power! (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927321)

For consoles, yes, this is certainly an option. But my comment comes mostly from the PC gamer side of the equation. I have a PS2 and a Wii, but I buy and play many more games on my PC than I do on consoles.

If I had a 360, obviously I'd have a few games for it, but for the types of games I like to play, I'm fortunate that most of them are released on PC at the same time or as an eventual port. For example, the new Prince of Persia (which I don't enjoy as much as I expected I would), Mass Effect (even better on the PC), and others.

Re:Impulse power! (1)

berberine (1001975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927353)

The problem is that there were many people who finished a game within a couple of days and then returned it, claiming they didn't like the game. Essentially, they got to play it for free.

Other people would install windows, return it, then the next person got an invalid key. This pretty much happened to all types of media once people figured out the myriad ways to scam the system. It was a big enough problem that the rules for all media had to be changed.

Yes (1, Insightful)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26926961)

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: the headline got it right when it said from the depends-how-the-pirate-bay-trial-goes-right dept.

For better or worse, rampant, unmitigated, unstoppable noncommercial copyright infringement committed by ordinary consumers is here to stay and it's getting more and more popular every year. All digital information with any kind of a price tag costs too much when the competition be it legal or not offers it for free.

That is an economic reality, and no amount of moralizing or legislating is going to make it go away. It's time for us to face this already.

Re:Yes (2, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927119)

I very nearly bought spore. I was about to put some cold hard cash down for the collectors edition as after all the videos I'd seen of it over the years, I was sure it was going to be a bit.
One torrent later, however, I spent my money on something more worthwhile.

Re:Yes (5, Funny)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927311)

See, see, solid evidence that one download = one lost sale. If he had not been able to evaluate Spore he would have bought it. We got you now TPB.

Mwahahaha, The plaintiffs in the TPB trial

Hiopcrits? (4, Interesting)

deejay1 (578230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26926987)

Well, but he didn't mention the situation with Valve's store in Europe where prices are much higher for two months now as they used to be. And there's no answer at all from Valve even though there's a massive thread over at their forums and even sites are being created about this issue. Just take a look at http://steamunpowered.eu/ [steamunpowered.eu] or http://www.steamrepowered.eu/ [steamrepowered.eu]

Re:Hiopcrits? (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927017)

Actually the increasing value of the dollar, compared to the falling value of the British pound means that I got Left4Dead for £13.50 last weekend, whereas TFA says it cost $25 (£17.48 at today's exchange rate) in America. So I saved money thanks to Valve's recent change to price things in local currency.

Re:Hiopcrits? (1)

deejay1 (578230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927041)

Well, as you can read from the 4000+ posts in their forums actually the British get better prices than the rest of Europe or even the US. For example I get you a comparison from 17.1.2009, all values are in USD - Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures EU: 52,63 UK: 33,61 US: 39,99 And that's only one example

Re:Hiopcrits? (1, Flamebait)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927133)

I do get your point, but when the dollar was ridiculously weak (peaked at almost $2 to £1) games in American retail stores were "cheaper" in real terms than games in British retail stores. No-one makes an issue of that because each country has it's own economy, it's own taxes, it's own business models etc.

If you had an online game store would you think it was a good idea to sell a game to someone in a third-world country for $60? Hell no, because $60 might be a month's wages or more due to massive economic differences between two countries. You'll sell it in local currency at a price people can afford.

The complaining about this change would seem to stem from the fact that European (and at one point British) customers used to be able to save a crapload of money by buying games in dollars, and now they're forced to pay prices more realistic for their own countries. Greed, plain and simple.

Re:Hiopcrits? (1)

deejay1 (578230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927227)

The complaining about this change would seem to stem from the fact that European (and at one point British) customers used to be able to save a crapload of money by buying games in dollars, and now they're forced to pay prices more realistic for their own countries. Greed, plain and simple.

Well, but the point is the prices on Steam aren't even realistic, heck retail boxed games when compared to Steam games can cost a whopping 50% less (eg. Steam 49,99 euro, retail 25,00 euro on release date!). Also the complaining is about blocking access to the UK store which isn't allowed by EU laws. We have a more or less free market, so how would you feel if you weren't allowed to buy any products which were manufactured and are sold outside Great Britain of even if you couldn't (weren't allowed to) buy products sold in Scotland or Wales for that matter? Well, I think the British economy would be a pretty fracked if it couldn't import any products at all...

Re:Hiopcrits? (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927291)

The unrealistic prices is easy to fix - buy the game in a store where it's cheaper. If the game is too expensive both online and in a store then that's another issue.

About restricting access to the British store from non-British customers, well I kind of doubt that's illegal. Do you (or someone on the Steam forums) have a source for this law? And anyway, they're not actually restricting you from accessing the Steam store, they're restricting you from bypassing their region-based price system, and simply choosing to pay via whichever region has the lowest price due to currency value changes. Maybe I'm a valve fanboy, but that doesn't really seem like a crime to me.

Bottom line, Valve want people buying games using their own currency, with prices determined by local market conditions rather than highly variable exchange rates. The customers obviously want their games to be cheap, so they're complaining because they can't buy it from the British version of the Steam store. I don't think it has anything to do with "EU laws" regarding access to websites.

Re:Hiopcrits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927409)

Actually, I looked into buying from Steam when the £ was double the price of the dollar and, to be honest, could still find physical copies cheaper.

I now work in Switzerland (which Steam appears to think is in the EU and hence uses the Euro) and so it's even more costly.

Even retail stores are not selling games at the kind of prices Steam is charging so what is the benefit to the consumer?

For me, buying games this way would mean that once I've finished with them, I could delete them - no need to make landfill (yes, I give them to charity but eventually, that's where all that plastic will probably end up).

Steam offers me "World of Goo" for 19.99 Euros. Or, I can just go to the creator's website and pay them $20 - I'm far happier to do that as there's no "middleman" fee paid to Valve.

Likewise, the "regular updates" are only as good as the quality control. I bought the Orange Box recently and an automatic update a few days ago screwed up HL2: Episode 2 for me - animations don't work, can't switch weapons, areas ahead of you turn white/aren't visible, etc.

Last I looked, a lot of people had this problem and Valve were not responding. "I'm sure they'll fix this soon" was one comment.

Guess someone wasn't listening to their customers, eh?

Re:Hiopcrits? (0, Troll)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927043)

Everything in Europe is expensive due to their overrated Euro.
Not a coincidence that now with the economic crisis several countries in the EU are considering the devaluation of the Euro or getting their own currency back.

Re:Hiopcrits? (1)

deejay1 (578230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927057)

Everything in Europe is expensive due to their overrated Euro.

Actually that's a different issue with regard to the Steam store, the exchange rate has nothing to do with it. If it was that simple we would all shut up instead of buying our games at different vendors.

Re:Hiopcrits? (4, Insightful)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927107)

Well here in argentina the Peso is devaluating (1 peso = 3.52 dollars, last week it was 3.50, and it keeps devaluating), and a game like GTAIV for xbox360 costs 399 pesos at a retail store.
Now, imagine that salaries are similar to, say, salaries in the us but in pesos (i.e.: where an us worker makes u$s2k a month, the same job in .ar can make ar$2k a month), so it's no wonder everyone gets pirated copies.
Imagine if you had to pay 399 euro or 399 dollars for a game. If it weren't easy to copy them, most people wouldn't play them at all.

Ironically, I just bought World of Goo for linux at 20 dollars over the net, which is about 70 pesos.. that's as if you had to pay 70 euros for it, but I bought it for two main reasons.
1) I wanted to support non-drm, linux native efforts
2) I really like the game. Not 70-bucks-like-it, but having reason 1) there, I thought the occasion warranted an extra effort.

Re:Hiopcrits? (3, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927183)

Valve's store is too high anyway, particularly for new releases.

As an example, I opened up steam and checked out the first game that appeared: Dawn of War 2.

On steam, it costs £34.99, about the RRP of a retail PC game. http://store.steampowered.com/app/15620/ [steampowered.com]

On play.com, it's only £22.99.

http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/5380006/Warhammer-40-000-Dawn-Of-War-II/Product.html [play.com]

Do you honestly mean to tell me that the cost of manufacturing the box, pressing the disk(s), pressing the manuals and then sending them out to Jersey is actually more than £10 cheaper than throwing it on a server somewhere and having someone download it through the internet connection they pay for?

Re:Hiopcrits? (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927299)

Have you seen the price of most American media for sale in South East Asia? Books that cost me 50 dollars cost the equivalent of 4-8 dollars. Why because their currency is "weaker" than ours. Well the USD is weaker than the Euro, means stuff is cheaper here. The shit cuts both ways.

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927001)

Oh, and what L4D retail? What does that still go for?

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927367)

I just ordered the 360 version at a discount for 32 euro (about $40), while normal retail here is still at 65 euro ($81), which is about the standard price for xbox 360 games (although just about any store gives a standard discount of about 10%). Standard retail for PC version is 50 euro ($63).

to support the theory (at least in the case of l4d and the word discount), 5 of the 7 xbox owners in my immediate vicinity ordered the game when they heard of this discount, while they didn't plan on getting it beforehand.

remarkably clueful (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927005)

The points he makes in the Gamasutra summary [gamasutra.com] sound remarkably clueful for the co-founder of a semi-major media firm. He seems to essentially "get it", that when selling content you're in a market, and if you're failing to sell as much as you'd want, the best solution is to figure out how you're failing to succeed in the market rather than whining about pirates.

Basically:

1. Price points are not given from God. There's a supply/demand curve, and if you price things higher, you'll get more profit per item but sell fewer items. What shape this curve takes, and where you ought to locate yourself on it, can vary on a lot of factors, and it's your job as a company selling things to research that, rather than decide "games cost $50/$60, and that's that". Maybe they should cost $20, maybe they should cost $100, maybe it varies based on the game and your goals.

2. There are a lot of people are willing to spend money. Some people will always get your stuff off Bittorrent purely due to the price (because it's free there, and you want money). But this is, contrary to what many media firms think, not the only or main problem. There are a lot of people who are willing to spend money on a lot of things. You'd do best to ask yourself if your company is doing something wrong that's keeping even people who would be willing to give you money from doing so (e.g. region-locked DVDs making it impossible for them to buy a legit copy).

3. Along the lines of #2, DRM can be counter-productive, by making the legit copy seem like a bigger hassle than the cracked copy off Bittorrent. People who are willing to give you money for something they like may not be willing to give you money if you come off seeming like you hate your customers.

Of course, #3 is slightly strange since Valve does in fact use DRM on Steam to authenticate your account to a particular machine. I suppose in their defense it's not nearly as draconian as much DRM, so they at least seem to be making efforts not to piss off their customers. And the existence of Steam in the first place, several years before any other major companies did anything similar, seems to indicate a certain understanding of, "if you make it easy for people to buy your things, they might do so".

remarkably downloadable. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927101)

"The points he makes in the Gamasutra summary sound remarkably clueful for the co-founder of a semi-major media firm. He seems to essentially "get it", that when selling content you're in a market, and if you're failing to sell as much as you'd want, the best solution is to figure out how you're failing to succeed in the market rather than whining about pirates."

Are we saying that piracy has no influence on success?

"1. Price points are not given from God. There's a supply/demand curve, and if you price things higher, you'll get more profit per item but sell fewer items. What shape this curve takes, and where you ought to locate yourself on it, can vary on a lot of factors, and it's your job as a company selling things to research that, rather than decide "games cost $50/$60, and that's that". Maybe they should cost $20, maybe they should cost $100, maybe it varies based on the game and your goals."

And the local economic climate. That's why items can cost different prices in different countries. We're ok with that, right?

"(e.g. region-locked DVDs making it impossible for them to buy a legit copy)"

Selling the rights to a local company can do that too. Not to mention cultural differences can play a part.

"3. Along the lines of #2, DRM can be counter-productive, by making the legit copy seem like a bigger hassle than the cracked copy off Bittorrent. People who are willing to give you money for something they like may not be willing to give you money if you come off seeming like you hate your customers."

Will the real pirates please line up against the wall!

Re:remarkably clueful (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927217)

Your post is remarkably clueful, too!

DRM can be counter-productive, by making the legit copy seem like a bigger hassle than the cracked copy off Bittorrent.

I have a nagging suspicion that Young Joe Sixcola will play the DRM-infested game, just for pride's sake (of being able to afford an original game). Or at least he'll buy the original and play the pirated copy.

Or am I really off my cuckoo?

Re:remarkably clueful (1)

Xymor (943922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927233)

I'd append the following:

4. Supporting multiple-platforms can be a massive overhead. You develop a game for PC, than port it to 360 and PS3 to reach a bigger installed base and your game ends up costing 30~40% more plus taking 2x as long to be released.

5. You have to pay licensing fees in order to reach a bigger installed base by going multi-platform. Not to mention, having to bend over to manufactures to get your game approved for that platform.

A unified gaming platform would decrease costs by cutting #4 and #5. DRM could be included in the standard so interoperability would be guaranteed, cutting #3. The reduction in cost and the standardized platform/architecture would greatly affect #2 and #1 positively.

Re:remarkably clueful (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927395)

A unified gaming platform would decrease costs

Game development costs, yes. Console (or TPM-PC) costs, yes. Prices? I don't think so, since you're talkinga about a practical monopoly. Who'll be in control of this platform? Microsoft? Sony? Nintendo? Who sets and recieves the license fees? How would hardware competition be if everyone used one console with one manufacturer's parts? The gamers would end up worse off in the end.

Re:remarkably clueful (1)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927243)

Actually, you can log into Steam on any machine you please and play any of your games. Well, maybe it's limited by country or something, maybe not. But I've never had any problem going into my Steam account and playing any of my games from any machine I felt like, but I haven't traveled outside my province here in Canada to try it. But it sure doesn't "authenticate your account to a particular machine."

Re:remarkably clueful (2, Interesting)

Simulant (528590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927319)

Actually, you can log into Steam on any machine you please and play any of your games.

This is true. All of your Steam games can be downloaded to as many PCs as you like... just install Steam. If you are using a friend's PC and they've already Steam installed and own the same games, you can log in as yourself and play them with no waiting. If you are installing Steam on a new PC, you can even copy the game data from another PC if you don't want to wait for the download. (I do wish they'd make this a bit clearer/easier though... It's a FEATURE!)

    DRM only kicks in if you try to login as yourself on more than one machine at a time. You can't.

This is a pretty good compromise. I now prefer to purchase my games on Steam if they are available there. It's highly convenient. I've even re-purchased some games that I already own on Steam (9.99 for UT3) just for the convenience factor.

ah yeah, I was misremembering the complaints (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927383)

I don't use Steam myself (since the Linux client is still supposedly "on the way"), so was misremembering complaints I had read. It's not that Steam ties your account to a particular machine, but that it requires you to "phone home" every time before playing games even if they've already been downloaded. There's an Offline Mode, but there seem to be a lot of complaints about how well it works, and worries that if Steam were ever shut down, your games would basically be useless since they're not playable without authentication.

Re:remarkably clueful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927267)

Don't piss off your customers. Don't make them put you on their "will never buy from again"-list.

Pricing things differently across the world just pisses off the informed consumers. Don't try to ignore customers that have faulty equipment that is still under warranty. Don't close our email support ticket mentioning to call your 1.50 USD a minute telephone support number instead... and then keep us on hold for the next half hour. Don't lie. It's ok to make some mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. But don't lie.

Used to cost way more (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927009)

Back in the day when I had an Atari 800, games were typically GBP35 with the odd extreme one being GBP80 (Some SSI or Avalon Hill game, War in Russia I think?).
My monthly pay at the time was GBP120 so that was basically a weeks money per game.
Bearing in mind how much more effort goes into a modern game, it's amazing prices have effectively dropped. That said, I had more fun then with those old 8K games except the very occassional title that really grabs me now like Bioshock.

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927067)

Bearing in mind how much more effort goes into a modern game, it's amazing prices have effectively dropped. That said, I had more fun then with those old 8K games except the very occassional title that really grabs me now like Bioshock.

Still, the money that goes into the development of a main-stream game is peanuts when compared to the price of the average Hollywood movie. Which sells for about 20 bucks.

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927161)

Still, the money that goes into the development of a main-stream game is peanuts when compared to the price of the average Hollywood movie. Which sells for about 20 bucks.

Indeed. And just imagine how much more money they'd make if they dropped it to a more reasonable 5 bucks...

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927077)

agreed. Snes games would cost 60GBP (about $100-$120 USD) when they are available. Now they take 40 hours to complete and are created with a huge landacape design / physics / progammer / story teller / film prodution force. I feel happy paying the price of about 35GBP for games. And if I don't like that I can get them second hand.

However, if the games stores seriously want to get me to buy from them instead of just browsing during my lunch break, they have to start meeting amazon prices or less. Who'd pay double for a game unless they wanted it quick?

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927127)

However since the Atari 800 and its ilk were kings the games market has grown somewhat. I imagine the cost of producing those ROM carts was pretty high against the cost of pressing a DVD.

Re:Used to cost way more (2, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927195)

>I imagine the cost of producing those ROM carts was pretty high against the cost of pressing a DVD.
True but the actual game was often a one man job, maybe 3 tops (coder, music, graphics) and writte in 3-6 months. These days a typical game has a full blown team for 6-18 months with that team being anything from 6 to 30+ people.
Another aspect is that a game now can have patches released. A game in ROM pretty much stayed that way and very, very few were released as 'fixed' ROMs if anything was found. OTOH, smaller simpler games tended to have less bugs anyway.

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927129)

Yes, more effort goes into a modern game, but the tools have vastly improved as well.

The price of a game does not reflect the effort to develop it, but the effort to experiment with new engines, graphics tricks, art etc. Most of this effort is thrown away, and the price reflects that.

If game developer companies were more focused, this would not have occurred.

Re:Used to cost way more (2, Interesting)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927139)

Okay, I've seen people say that Bioshock was a title that stands out in the midst of other games but my personal experience of it was hugely disappointing. However, I only played up to the part where you have to go to 'Neptune's Bounty'. I was in the big room with all the ways leading off and one said "Neptune's Bounty" so I headed towards it. There was a big incident, the antagonist made his first appearance and that way got blocked so I had to go "around" via the medical bay ( IIRC ).

This would have been fine if I hadn't already guessed this would happen as soon as I was asked to go to Neptune's Bounty. I was so racked off with the predictability I closed the game and haven't touched it since. Does it get better after this or something?

Re:Used to cost way more (3, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927171)

>Does it get better after this or something?
Probably not much! I just loved the look, feel and vibe of the game, the whole 1930's art-deco gone bad thing. Strip that away, the music etc and it's just another run/collect/shoot game. That art-deco twist really made it for me.

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927213)

That's funny, I got to exactly the same point and did exactly the same thing. Very disappointing, even the graphics aren't that good. Glad I only paid $3 for it, presumably that was during one of their price testing deals.

Re:Used to cost way more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927381)

Wow, so you gave it a whole 15 minutes of your time! Congratulations!

Re:Used to cost way more (2, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927165)

Back in the day when I had a commodore 64 games cost £5.99, with the cheap bargain tapes costing 99p... damnit Game Zone, why did you have to turn into a Kilt hire shop...

Re:Used to cost way more (1)

dogsolitude_uk (1403267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927317)

Bizarre. Back in them days I had a Spectrum, and lived in the UK. A 48k game would cost £5.95-£9.95 depending on the publisher (Ultimate games typically £9.95, Ocean £7.95, Hewson £6.95). Budget games cost £1.99 (Firebird silver range and Mastertronic) or £2.99 (Mastertronic's MAD range). No way was that anywhere near a week's pay! It would be a couple of hours work, maybe an afternoon at Waitrose (the local supermarket), if that. Mind you though, that was when games could be written by a sole dev, or a small handful of folks. And games would be given away free on the front of magazines.

The only ones at fault are Sony & Microsof (5, Insightful)

lostandthedamned (907167) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927015)

If Sony & Microsoft didn't try to make money by selling their consoles at a loss and making the money on games sales then this proof would never have been nessessary. If you sell a PC game then it's generally priced in line with the console release, which is inflated by the console markup. Rather than blame themselves for pricing games out of peoples spending brackets, both are trying to blame the second hand market for reducing sales and work out ways to kill it. Pro Evolution Soccer on the PS3 is the start of the slope. If you buy a second hand copy you can't play it online if it has been used online before. It won't be long before disks brought in shops only count as a "non-transfereable licence to play" rather than ownership of the game and it'll still be at the current prices.

Re:The only ones at fault are Sony & Microsof (3, Interesting)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927287)

This is an excellent point and one which I think too many people overlook.

It's certainly true that many games cost a whole hell of a lot of money to produce, but the fee that the console makers charge is astronomical for exactly the reason you give.

The only exception is Nintendo since they do not take a loss. So why are their games not substantially cheaper? Simple: they don't have to be. As long as they charge developers less and Wii games cost less than 360/PS3 games, customers will recognize the less expensive choice.

Personally, I'd be extremely happy if PC game prices were uncoupled from the console prices. There are no licensing fees since there is no central authority. I'm not sure if the "Games for Windows" logo/certification costs anything. Some publishers might want it because it makes their game look more official, but on the other hand Microsoft needs that logo on more boxes to make Windows seem more attractive. At any rate, it's not a significant portion of the cost.

Re:The only ones at fault are Sony & Microsof (2, Informative)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927349)

That's the beauty of the 360. You can't lock a game to a single console because the consoles break so damn often. Although to be honest, I've had mine for nearly 2 1/2 years and it just broke a month ago after which it was less than 2 weeks turn around on getting it fixed by Microsoft at no charge. Didn't even have to pay for shipping so I think they are handling the issue as well as they can. They should NOT fail as often as they do, but what's done is done I guess.

Anyway, I recently got into Fallout 3 on my new xbox while I was waiting for my old one to be repaired. After it came back I put the old one in my living room and then found that my downloadable content would only work on my account, not my wife's account. I had to login to the xbox live site and move the licenses from the one console to the other. Solved the problem. It was a bit frustrating but I can understand why they do it. Keeps me from going to a friends house, logging into my account on live and then downloading DLC packs to other consoles. I mean I can do that, and I can play it on the other console just fine, but I guess other users on those consoles would not be able to access it. Seems like a fair trade off. I can still get to it from any console, but other users can only play it on the console that I have a license on.

Or maybe I've got it all wrong and there was just some issue with other users playing it on the one console until I did the license move thing.

$5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927023)

A game should cost about $5. Really. Otherwise I will do without. The prices on most iPhone App Store games are about right and these type of games match my attention span and interest level pretty well.

Re:$5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927053)

And ponies should be free too!

Cheaper over time? (1)

cshcrgo (1454975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927035)

I think the prices at release are OK in some sense. Sure, they're expensive but you do get the game right away and you can usually trade in older games for a discount. Once the game has been out for a few months, I really don't feel like paying full price anymore. Some stores seem to get this but a lot of them don't.

wow (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927059)

i used to buy my game or two a week, play them and their regret them or finish them before the next week. perhaps i would rent a game and have the same feeling.

since wow was released i cannot really think of any titles i have purchased. a few rentals here and there.

Elasticity of Demmand (5, Interesting)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927061)

I did this in Economics long ago. Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_elasticity_of_demand [wikipedia.org].

I think, it means that when stuff costs less more (or less) people buy it differently. It works differently for different stuff. Fuel, for instance probably is not very elastic because it is not a discretionary purchase - you have to get it. I think some really expensive stuff might actually sell more because it is expensive - caviar anyone?

A game is a highly discretionary purchase and so it will be very elastic. Proper capitalism should mean that you try and maximise your profit by lowering the price and increasing sales. Obviously, you can only cut the price so far because you need to make some profit per unit but the theory is sound and fairly obvious to me.

The idiots in charge in the industry seem to see the whole thing differently. Obviously MBA/parasite economics is not the same as real economics.

Re:Elasticity of Demmand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927405)

True, however eventually the price drops to the point that the extra sales you get don't cover the loss of profits from the sales you would have got anyway from the higher price.

Valve's little experiment wasn't perhaps the best example since the general feeling was that Left 4 Dead was only half a game and didn't justify the price tag. Out of those who bought it, many were gambling that Valve were going to expand the content for free, which has worked out. But yes, there were a lot of fence sitters because they were charging full price for a limited game.

It's based on the game (4, Interesting)

TuaAmin13 (1359435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927093)

I wouldn't draw a hard and fast line on how much games should cost. If every PC game was $25 new, I still wouldn't buy every game I was interested in on release day.

I bought L4D this past weekend because it was a steal. Great game (all my friends have been raving about it), and I thought I would like it (it reminded me of counters strike a little bit). Would I buy Mirror's Edge for $25? Probably not. Crysis? Maybe once it hit $15-20, but that'll be much faster than starting at $50

Is it only marketing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927125)

I wonder if Gabe Newell is really thinking what he's saying... or if he's just trying to look like the "good" guy by saying what he's customers want to hear. Is he saying this only as some kind of cheap publicity?

They do, but . . . (1)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927137)

In south-american countries the price are much influenced by the import taxes, they go between 150% and 200% of the actual retail price in the US. Piracy here is not about trying to fool game developers, but tax collectors and overpricing retailers. Digital distribution goes as far as broadband Internet connections, so no real solution for piracy here.

Inflation (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927151)

A lot of people say that this price increase is due to inflation etc. and that the prices we all remember are impossible today.

I can only think of the games that come out for Spectrum - 1980's, £10 for a "full-price" game, 99p for a budget game (rising to £1.99 and then £2.99 before the end of the 80's). Let's ignore the high-end stuff for a while, because people buy stuff just because it's full price and just came out - they are the people who are stupid.

Even taking into account inflation, etc. that is a hell of a markup. And these people formed teams like Codemasters etc. (Two brothers started out programming Spectrum and C64 games under the name Codemasters and soon built a company out of it before the Speccy era had ended.) so it's not like they didn't profit from it.

Now, let's look at the Wii... not the newest console but a good seller. The cheapest "new" (not used) game I can find in an average shop is £10 and it's an unpopular title. The average "budget" game (i.e. a popular game that has had it's run and needs to sell more units) is around £20-30. The "good" games can cost up to £60, not including other hardware bundled with them, and stay at that price for YEARS.

The 99p - £1.99 - £2.99 was a fast expansion of price - 300% inflation within 10 years. But since then, we've seen nearly 1000% inflation in 20 years (£2.99 in 1989 -> £20-30 in 2009), just for budget titles. That's exponential growth. Real inflation in developed countries hangs way under the 5% a year mark, so even with the best maths in the world (you can't really necessarily just "add up" the year-on-year inflation for the last ten years), it's not anywhere near 300% and certainly not 1000% inflation over 10 or 20 years.

Prices will be set to whatever people will pay. Unfortunately, people are stupid and a lot of parents spend this ridiculous sort of money because they think they have to. But for, say, half a dozen new (but been out for a while) games to cost a week's wages for the average person, that's just stupid.

However, the prices of the hardware are relatively static. The Spectrum cost £100-200 when it came out, the same price bracket as the Wii. The hardware has inflated a little but not anywhere near as much. Considering that is bound by real-world economics like availability of parts, bulk-orders, raw material prices, I expect it to model inflation quite well and it does. But the software seem to be nothing but pure profiteering - probably based mostly on the fact that once you've bought the hardware, you "have to" buy games for it.

Steam's sales are great. I haven't bought myself anything on Steam in years (I bought my brother a birthday present of Half-Life 2 when it first came out, and nothing before that at all) but I went on there the other month and ended up getting about 12 games for about £25. That's perfect for me, and they were all games I wanted, all big names, two Half-life 2 episodes, the entire GTA and UFO series, (but not GTA4) etc. I could easily have bought another 12 games for around the same price. But when I look at the "normal" prices of some of that stuff, I shriek in horror. £30-50 for a game? Come on, that's *4* DVD's even at "brand-new" pricing, and there's no way that a Rainbox Six game costs as much to make, even taking into account the difference in the amount of final sales, as four Hollywood movies. £50 is a LOT of money. That was once-a-year birthday-treat kind of money back when I was a kid and I could make that run to games, films, books, magazines, etc. for ages. Now that's the price of one game (which isn't guaranteed to be a blockbuster). Inflation hasn't grown that fast.

The scales aren't right - software is far too expensive, especially for the effort that goes into updating and supporting most of it. Multiplayer games are left to die after a few years, patches dry up a matter of months after the initial release, support is non-existent for most stuff and consists of "send it back if it doesn't work". I understand that there's a certain amount which some people claim is going to "fund" the next game. That's a crock... if you're a big-name studio, you're funding games in parallel and ditching most of the big titles that people are crying out for, plus financial management and finding investors for your next game is *your* business, not ours. They want to put ads into games, restrict what you can do with them, they tie games to particular platforms and "forcibly" sell them with the hardware, they charge you for online games, for support, for digital distribution, expansion packs...

Games are a money-making machine that need this kick up the bum from real statistics... charge less, scrap a load of the DRM, and you will make MORE profit and sales than you ever would have before. At the moment, you're just alienating customers like me that refuse to pay over £X for a game on principle, won't install anything that has obnoxious DRM, and end up buying second-hand games and consoles because they are within my price range, easily available, all the "tricks" of how to get around stupid restrictions have been learned and because, to me, they are still good games. But the companies don't make a penny out of second-hand sales, which is why digital distribution, online play and DRM are seen as vital in todays games - to kill the used games market. If you do that to me, then I just don't buy games from you at all until they become sensible prices - it's very simple.

At some point, the industry will do it's sums and work out that, actually, selling 10,000 units at £1 is better than selling 300 units at £30. As far as I'm concerned, it's got to be a BLOODY good game for me to part with more than £20. And that means, I need to have played it (why have some companies stopped putting out demos?), am confident about installing it on my pristine system and *nothing* gets in my way of playing it and enjoying it (no ads or DRM).

Re:Inflation (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927379)

The 99p - £1.99 - £2.99 was a fast expansion of price - 300% inflation within 10 years. But since then, we've seen nearly 1000% inflation in 20 years (£2.99 in 1989 -> £20-30 in 2009), just for budget titles. That's exponential growth. Real inflation in developed countries hangs way under the 5% a year mark, so even with the best maths in the world (you can't really necessarily just "add up" the year-on-year inflation for the last ten years), it's not anywhere near 300% and certainly not 1000% inflation over 10 or 20 years.

At 5% inflation per annum, the price of a budget game today should be £7.96 if it was £3 twenty years ago. But comparing to the Wii is unfair; no Wii game is more than two years old, whereas in 1989 the Spectrum had a library going back almost a decade, and the older games made up the 'budget' category. So take a look instead at older PS2 or PC games. How much can you get those for? Pretty much every games store has a rack of budget PC games going for about a fiver.

Yes - initial release prices too high (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927177)

I *always* buy the game long after the initial release when it is on sale. Example: I bought The Orange Box for $20 this last December.

It is important to emphasize that one other reason I waited so long was the DRM. I don't like it and I don't want it. Usually the first thing I do after buying a game is get the no-cd patch, and waiting a while after release gives time for those to appear. However, once the price went low enough I decided to take the risk and give it a try anyway. Maybe if the DRM wasn't there in the first place I would have paid a little more and sooner.

Question of perspective (3, Interesting)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927179)

It's really a question on who you ask.

If you ask the gamers: Yes, way too much! I better pirate it.

If you ask the studios: How much can we squeeze the most out of the costumer? Can we put into legislation, that games cost 100$ and every one has to buy one at least once a month? Can we also put an additional tax on everyone, because everyone is pirating anyway?

If you ask some folks how don't feel gaming is of mush value, and do it only as passion: They cost enough to keep me away from buying them. And cool, I have a lot of time I can use for something useful.

Because every game is a monopolistic product by it's definition, you really can't compare it like for instance cheese. It's also not utterly required for survival. At this point it is only a question on priority. Probably the software houses can increase this priority (demand) of third group costumers and increase the legal purchase of the first group by producing better quality games and/or lowering the price.

Not surprised... (2, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927219)

Close to all games i have bought over the last 5 years or so have been out of bargain bins.

With shops having a no return policy, for fear of those pesky pirates buying a game, make a copy and then return it, comboed with the average price, its just not worth it.

Thing is that no matter how many review one read, view or similar, the only real way to tell if one like a game or not is by spending a day or more playing it. And if the prices are like they are, one cant really afford to buy, play and then shelf the ones one do not like.

Re:Not surprised... (1)

GuidedByVoices (1421045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927407)

Agreed. I was out of PC gaming for a few years simply due to the price of many new games. It wasn't until I picked up the Orange Box (which I thought was a great price point at full price mind you), that I started to get back in. For example: I had played the Doom 3 demo a couple years back, and just wasn't sure if I wanted to buy it. The reviews were good, but damn, it just didn't have much to grab me. A couple months ago, it was on Steam for next to nothing so I gave it a whirl for a day or two. Needless to say Im glad I spent next to nothing on it. Steams weekend sales are something I look forward to and checkout every Friday night. Honestly, if a company or retail marketplace can entice me to regularly check their site for "great deals", they are doing something right. I wonder what the sale will be tonight; though at this point, I'd like to own a legit copy of Homeworld....

Before the Economy went bad... (2, Interesting)

Time_Warped (1266658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927221)

I would usually balk at paying more than $30 or so, I would only pay $50 if the game had rave reviews or I was really happy with previous releases from that company. Under Ex Prez George Bush's "New World Economy" where everyone is paid minimum wage, I will consider paying $20, but only if the game is an absolute MUST HAVE. If not, maybe $10, and it better NOT have any crappy copy protection like SPORE did. I have a Linux box, I can program my own games. They will not have glitzy graphics like the gaming house ones, but they are just as much fun. I am working on upgrading a version of ROGUE that I found on Source Forge, just as entertaining as things like EverQuest but you don't need a $6000 graphics card to play it.

Steam's unacceptable credit card policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927239)

Since we're discussing Steam, and some people have highlighted them as "friendly" DRM, I thought I would point out their unacceptable credit card policy.

Firstly, they don't give refunds, ever, for any reason.
Secondly, if you happen to buy a game and e.g. its DRM authentication servers are down for two weeks, and you do a credit card reverse charge for this or any other reason, they will lock you out of ALL your steam games.

So you could have spent a thousand bucks on Steam, and may even believe you are in the right of reverse charging a purchase, but if you do, it's goodbye to all your games. The automatic game ban is explained in the EULA under "Credit card - Fraud/Abuse".

It depends. (5, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927241)

I bought Dawn of War 2 yesterday for £24.99 which personally I don't mind paying for a game.

But then I got home and tried to install it and it requires you install Steam and Games for Windows Live and activate the game via Steam. I tried to activate it and was told I can't because it's not for sale in my country- presumably because although some shops are selling it THQ decided the actual release date was today.

So yeah, that changed my mind, £24.99 is fine for a game I can play when I want and whatever system I want but it's far too overpriced for a game I can only play when they decide I'm allowed to play it whilst also having to give away a bunch of personal details to Valve for Steam and Microsoft for Windows Live.

The box at least said an internet connection and registration was required to play but it still said nothing about having to give away details to register to Valve AND Microsoft and it certainly said nothing about them being able to choose when I can and can't play the game.

It's been said here many a time that pirates provide a copy of a game cheaper (free) and that you can play without restriction when you want and where you want. If companies want to increase sales then perhaps they need to accept that they have to beat pirates on at least one of these levels, by either matching them on price (not gonna happen) or by beating them on product quality. Whilst they continue to do neither they wont get anywhere.

As for me and DoW2? I file a complaint with UK trading standards and will be returning the game tommorrow and they can damn well take it back even if it is opened because as far as I'm concerned if I don't have the guarantee of being able to play it when I want and have to hand over personal details to two third party companies to be able to play then it's faulty or simply misadvertised. Just as I got burnt with Spore's DRM I've now been burnt with Dawn of War II's. You see when I was young I used to pirate games because I couldn't afford to buy them, now I make plenty enough to buy these games I do so, just as I *gasp* bought a copy of Windows for my most recently built PC. I also bought music from iTunes only to find the only music on my iPod that would play on the game Lips on the 360 for my girlfriend was downloaded MP3s and none of my legally purchased music would work. Some may think it's not a big deal having to wait a day to activate but my concern is that they can revoke my access just as easily as they've prevented my access to a game I've legitimately bought.

What they need is a change of attitude and price is only part of that, I wont buy brand new XBox 360 games at £39.99 but at around £29.99 I don't mind because at least the restrictions are pretty obvious when you buy the game and console. It's not ideal that there restrictions exist but it's light years ahead of the unadvertised 5 install limit with Spore on release and the "Valve gets to choose when you can and can't play" with Dawn of War 2. So whilst I'll buy 360 games, I wont buy music, I wont buy PC games, not even if they were £9.99 anymore it's not just worth the hassle.

So yeah, even Valve with their "Hey look at us guys! we think DRM is silly, we love piracy and think it helps! hell we even do great discounts sometimes!" are still the scum of the Earth and as bad as EA when it comes to draconian DRM in that they prevented me playing a game made by the company THQ and bought from the company GAME and could just as well prevent me again any time they wish.

Re:It depends. (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927393)

But then I got home and tried to install it and it requires you install Steam and Games for Windows Live and activate the game via Steam. I tried to activate it and was told I can't because it's not for sale in my country- presumably because although some shops are selling it THQ decided the actual release date was today.

This would seriously piss me off as well but I think this can be attributed more to limitations placed on Valve by your country than by Valve's own policies. (some one correct me if I'm wrong) Also, your shop jumped the gun. If you had made the purchase on Steam, you would have been informed of the activation date before you spent your money.

prices do not match quality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927277)

Movie: 3 Hours fun, 10 euro's (recent movies).
Game: 4 Hours fun average on current titles: > 50 Euro's.
Games are interactive, so i will pay a bit more for them: but not more then 2x the price for a movie.
The real problem: today's games are way to short.
I would pay more (say 100 Euro's) if a game would have enough actual content to last me a while...
(And no: getting all "achievements" is not content, it's a stretch trick ;) )

Local distributors rip-off (1)

darthvader100 (1482651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927285)

Microsoft in south africa are now charging R1000 for new xbox games (that is about $100/50 GBP) i only paid twice that for the console. That has gotten way out of hand. One local shop has even put a sticker on a 512 memory card upping the price from R250 to R1000. That is roughly the price of a HDD. Luckily some sites still import games at better prices.

Only if the price is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26927303)

I've been a firm believer in the quality over the game over the price. I tend to torrent or warez brand new games to test them out and see if they run on my computer.

I just see too many games that come out, that feature just mindblowing graphics, and nothing really more. Time to time, games even seem half done, and they're really only on their 3rd beta. A very expensive open beta.

What the industry needs to quit complaining over is the effectiveness of DRM, the price of the product, or how many "pirates" out there are "stealing their games." Instead the industry, game studios, and publishers (Yeah, this includes you EA) need to quit half assing, and rushing their work. Providing no or little outside survey panels, seeing what the CONSUMER might want in the new game. Actually take input, and criticism (constructive or not), find the issue, and fix the issue.

And a completely off the wall change of pace here, I think they need to quit invasive and constrictive DRM methods. SecuROM is becoming a headache, offering you at most 3-5 re-installs (Yeah, so if you reformat once a year, or reset your BIOS/CMOS battery, you only got this game for 3-5 years MAX)and really puts your money to shame. So your $50 goes to waste each time you reset BIOS/CMOS, or reformat/install your OS.

So price is it too high? You bet it is. With invasive and constrictive DRM, low gameplay, lack of story/creativity, many bugs, and a half-assed rushed project with minimal/no community input. Maybe they should lower the price down 50% of their already retail amounts.

Way too much (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927335)

The distributors, etc. need to realise that they are trying to sell a product that is practically worthless monetarily (anything that can be easily and freely copied is worthless to sell). Therefore they should greatly reduce prices in both digital download and physical copies, remove DRM, and add in multiplayer, etc. where possible to encourage people to purchase it. ATM, most companies charge a small fortune for a more crippled product than you can get for free via piracy, they need to realise that they should be happy with whatever money they can get and that buying games now (especially single-player only) is practically a donation.

Absolutely (1)

Noirling (1468781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927343)

The problem is that you don't always get what you pay for. For example, if you go see a movie for $10, you can count on sitting through roughly an hour and a half of film, whether it's quality or not. But when you buy a game, sometimes for upwards of $50, you can't be sure that it will be any good. In fact, it may barely be playable at all. And it might be short or have an inordinate amount of difficulty that makes playing it a chore. Now, I don't even buy games until I see they have super high scores on sites like Metacritic, and then I only buy them if the doodz in my clan are interested. That means I buy about 1 game every couple of months. Developers either need to lower the cost, or raise the standards. I'm talking to you, WII developers!!!

This from Gabe Newell? (5, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927351)

This is a gross publicity stunt from Newell, not a recalcitration of industry pricing tactics.

I remember being SHOCKED at the prices of games on Steam. They sold, and still sell, at the exact same price as games at MSRP, which as we all know is more than most stores, let alone online retailers. Yet, apart from the expense of running steam's servers/bandwidth, it looks very much like Gabe Newell just eats up what would have been the costs of distribution, media and the retailers approx 30% cut on top!

Why is this not coming back to us, at least in part? When we were told that one of the advantages of online distribution was a reduction in costs, were we expected to celebrate a rise in profits for industry players? I think we all rather expected online distribution to make games cheaper! Hell, Bioshock RAISED the price of games when it was released on Steam.

When you combine this with the fact that Steam has cut users off from their games who have LEGALLY saved on the price by buying from a different country, and you've got one of the biggest contributors to the high cost of games preaching about how games should be cheaper. To quote the movie Airplane: What an asshole!

Fixed price (1)

RasendeRutje (829555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927359)

What's wrong is that nearly all new games cost 70$. There should be more diversification. Some (high-produciton--value) game might be worth such a price, but a lot other (niche) games not. The question is why free market economy does not seem to work here?

How much is Battletoads? (0, Offtopic)

Bazman (4849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26927391)

Try phoning your local Gamestop and asking them how much Battletoads is...

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