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Should Good Indie Games Be More Expensive?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-wonder-what-the-internet-will-say dept.

The Almighty Buck 150

spidweb writes "Indie gaming blog The Bottom Feeder has an article on why independent games should be more expensive. The enforced low prices on XBox Live, Amazon, and iTunes might feel good now, but they'll kill off the variety and depth gamers are hoping indie developers can provide. From the article: 'Every year, life is getting more and more expensive. Insurance. Rent. Food. And, at the same time, games are getting cheaper and cheaper, sometimes as cheap as a dollar, as we engage in a full speed race to the bottom. This is not going to help developers stay in business. This is not how a healthy industry is maintained.'"

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Economies of Scale (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568019)

If your game is really good, then won't it sell more copies, making you more money?

Is there some hidden cost in producing more copies of a binary file?

Re:Economies of Scale (5, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568043)

Somehow, I feel that if a game is good enough to make me go through the process of grabbing my credit card, going to the website, checking for traps, entering the number, etc... a price of 1$ or 15$ doesn't really make a difference.

10-15 is probably the good price range to maximize the number of copies sold. Lower won't make more under our current distribution methods.

Re:Economies of Scale (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568277)

Once again, I am writing in response to Yvanhoe's asseverations, and once again, I merely wish to point out that there is no justification on any level whatsoever for Yvanhoe's peevish metanarratives. I begin with critical semantic clarifications. First, Yvanhoe does not merely show us a gross miscarriage of common judgment. He does so consciously, deliberately, willfully, and methodically. As sure as you're born, our path is set. By this, I mean that in order to stop the Huns at the gate, we must go placidly amid the noise and haste. I consider that requirement a small price to pay because Yvanhoe says that newspapers should report only on items he agrees with. This is noxious falsehood. The truth is that the poisonous wine of revanchism had been distilled long before he entered the scene. Yvanhoe is merely the agent decanting the poisonous fluid from its bottle into the jug that is world humanity.

If we shelter initially unpopular truths from suppression, enabling them to ultimately win out through competition in the marketplace of ideas, then the sea of Chekism, on which Yvanhoe so heavily relies, will begin to dry up. I believe it was Hegel who said, "Duplicitous, inarticulate devious-types are intrigued and puzzled by his amalgam of unholy interdenominationalism and contemptuous nepotismâ"a tangled web of KKK, Freudian, encounter-therapy, populist, Ayn Rand-like, and Marxist notions". He has commented that the world can be happy only when his band is given full rein. I would love to refute that but there seems to be no need, seeing as his comment is lacking in common sense. What kind of loser wants to support those for whom hatred has become a way of life? A loser like Yvanhoe.

According to Yvanhoe's distortions, distractions, and outright deceptions, those who disagree with Yvanhoe should be cast into the outer darkness, should be shunned, should starve. Fortunately, most of the people who are seriously interested in preserving our civilization know that the reality is that Yvanhoe has two imperatives. The first is to perpetuate what we all know is a corrupt system. The second imperative is to generate alienation and withdrawal. To end on a more positive note: Yvanhoe's fulminations serve only to safeguard his own power and privilege.

Re:Economies of Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568283)

Yeah, what he said.

Re:Economies of Scale (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568401)

It should be "Should expensive games be better".

FYI: Indie =/= Good

This is also an example of a "indie game". [zoy.org]

Re:Economies of Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568451)

The above link will bork your browser (firefox included)

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568707)

The above link will bork your browser

That is the game, you insensitive clod !

Re:Economies of Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568753)

Thank you :P

I wasn't intending to click on the link until you said that. You might as well have said, "don't push that big red button".

Re:Economies of Scale (0, Offtopic)

raynet (51803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27571201)

But it didn't bork Opera, I was able to quickly myte the computer with F3 and then close all those tabs with apple-w.

Re:Economies of Scale (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569317)

Of course, with iTunes you're already visiting a trusted site and they already have your credit card. It's just a matter of clicking on "Buy" and typing it your password. And getting people to click "Buy" for $10 is a lot harder than $1, assuming they've even found your app in the near-30,000 app marketplace. Thus, I think the iPhone/iTunes is a fundamentally different marketing model than putting up your own website and asking for credit card numbers yourself.

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568053)

I think the point is that low prices stop the creation of games that might be good, because only large sales cover costs.

So we have to live just with the games that will surely be good. Thus less variety.

Re:Economies of Scale (2, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568107)

I think the point is that low prices stop the creation of games that might be good, because only large sales cover costs.

What do you mean by "large sales"? Wouldn't a higher price lead to less sales?

Of course, it doesn't exactly work like that. Games with a high price often enjoy massive sales, but usually only when they are accompanied by a massive marketing campaign, or pre-existing expectations.

"Indie" games are in a different boat altogether. They usually don't enjoy such marketing hype, although some do. Ultimately, linking "good game" with "high price" is an exercise in futility. Sometimes that correlates, sometimes it doesn't. And any given person's definition of "good game" varies from another's.

Re:Economies of Scale (2, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568959)

Yes, indeed, advertising and shelf space and maintaining stock gets expensive: so does paying for insurance plans for vice presidents, making fancy PowerPoint presentations to investors, and showing up at trade shows to showcase your games.

For an example of how modest, "indie" games can work well, take a look at http://www.cheapass.com/ [cheapass.com] . These guys make small, funny as all heck, modest board games that spend their efforts on making the game fun, not on fancy graphics. They're the "Kingdom of Loathing" of the board game world. And speaking of Kingdom of Loathing, there's an example of awfully fun computer gaming with minimal hardware requirements, modest infrastructure needs, and a well-earned fanbase for a game run on donations and buying in-game items.

Re:Economies of Scale (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568067)

No, but there is one in selling more copies. It's called marketing and advertising. You can make the best game of all times, if nobody knows it exists you won't sell it.

Re:Economies of Scale (0, Troll)

bit01 (644603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568995)

No, but there is one in selling more copies. It's called marketing and advertising. You can make the best game of all times, if nobody knows it exists you won't sell it.

There is this amazing thing called word-of-mouth. Make a decent product and you know what? People will tell each other about it. Remarkable, isn't it? And no paid "marketers" involved at all.

---

The majority of modern marketing is nothing more than an arms race to get mind share. Everybody loses except the parasitic marketing "industry".

Re:Economies of Scale (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569197)

Oh yeah, that works great. So far I still didn't see a single case of true grassroots movement that didn't at some sort gain a lot weight either by media coverage (ya know, the kind that the real people out there watch and read, like newspapers or even TV) or by being picked up by someone who has a lot of media presence.

Word of mouth is fine and nice, if you want to get famous inside a certain circle. It works very well if you're, say, a scientist and want to be known amongst your peers, it works to some degree for underground bands. It fails when your audience does not really "hunt" for what you offer but needs to be told that it's there.

The average ("casual") gamer doesn't read game mags, and he certainly doesn't dig through blogs and game pages. I have to admit, I turned "casual" not long ago, lacking the time I had during my college days when I did actually spend some time on such pages. You know where casual games get my attention? Steam. Steam offers World of Goo for (IIRC) 15 bucks, I heard somewhere something about it and I dimly remember it was positive for some reason (it was on TV, a show about the indie game market), so I thought what the heck, 15 bucks, no loss, buy. Flock was offered, it looked cute, 10 bucks, what the heck... bought. And so on.

Word of mouth would have never told me that those games even existed. First, few of my "gamer friends" play indie. There's the FPS crowd that plays CoD and L4D, there's the MMO people with their WoW and EvE, but the people that I'd call my friends and that I'd put in the "casual" or "indie game" area rarely if ever talk about computers. Why? Because computer games aren't an important part of their life. They play them, they don't talk about them.

So word of mouth, while free and the best kind of ad, does not really work for Indie games IMO. Simply because those that play them the most talk the least about them.

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570991)

I was going to buy Flock on Stardock's Impulse, but it had SecuROM in it so I passed. The nice thing, is it was out there in big white letters that it had DRM.

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569325)

So these app stores are providing an outlet for you with millions of users. That does more to spread the word than anything the indie developers are doing. If the devs have a marketing budget, they should get off the closed platforms and start marketing - or stay on there but realize your revenue per copy is low. That said, the point of these things isn't to promote independent developers, it to make the platform more interesting to as many people as possible with the least cost. They didn't make the iPhone for *you*.

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568389)

To some extent a limited price scale can hurt your revenue as you may be locked out of the optimum price. Not sure the optimum price is above the price ceiling for many indie games though.

Re:Economies of Scale (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568779)

Clearly you didn't read the article or lack comprehension because that was the whole point in that having to worry about selling the maximum number of copies will mean a lack of variety and experimentation which is exactly what's happening with normal disc based games.

Being a good game does not equal good sales otherwise companies would make good games and not rubbish like baby and cooking sims on the DS.

But perhaps you're not bothered and eagerly await to but Baby-Momma on the DS.

Re: Economies of Scale (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569767)

Being a good game does not equal good sales otherwise companies would make good games and not rubbish like baby and cooking sims on the DS.

What you describe are games which appeal directly to women and girls - 50% of your potential market.

[and don't think for one moment that there are no males playing "The Sims"]

Re: Economies of Scale (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570909)

That is true but it doesn't make the good games. In the case of "The Sims", I have no experience with that one. It may be good but I doubt a game aimed at teen girls wanting to raise babies is very good. :P

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569259)

Yes because the ONLY cost to make a game is distribution. There are no other costs.

Re:Economies of Scale (2, Informative)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569363)

One could just as easily say...

"If your game is really good, then won't people be willing to pay more money for it, making you more money?"

The problem is, no matter how little the game is sold for, there is still only a certain number of people that will buy it. Obviously if only 10,000 people will buy your game if you sell it for $1, but 9,000 will still buy it if you sell it for $10, choosing between $1 and $10 is a no-brainer. The hard part is finding the sweet spot that gives you the most profit. If your game is good enough, it's possible that you will still sell 8,000 copies of it at $40, which again would make the price increase decision an easy one to make. But of course, no one can know for sure exactly what the results will be until after the fact. And then you still don't know what the results would have been if you had started with a different price. So most publishers set the price high to begin with, and hope they can make up most of the lost sales by reducing the price later. So maybe you only got 1,500 sales at $40, but if you can reduce the price to $10 later and pick up another 5,000 sales, you're still doing better than the original hypothetical 9,000 sales at $10 from the get-go... except of course, at this point for all you know you may have actually gotten 20,000 sales if you had set the price at $10 initially.

It's just really hard to establish causation in this type of thing. So the large publishers set the price high because they know they'll sell a lot of copies initially regardless (which is great for them, because then even if the game is a stinker, they might still get a good return on it before word-of-mouth kicks in), and the indie's set them low because if they don't, their game might not get purchased at all no matter how good it is. For them, by the time word-of-mouth kicks in the game might already be too outdated to be worth buying.

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

MaerD (954222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569779)

I argued this in the D&D PDF article. Basically it depends on what price you set and how many copies you want to sell. As you sell more of a digitially distributed game, your cost will head towards 0. The problem is, finding the audience to sell enough copies to make whatever price you set cost effective.

Re:Economies of Scale (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569871)

Exactly.

Why does Rowling need $8 a book when she makes a billion bucks?
Why does a successful rock band need $19 a CD when they make hundreds of millions?

---

More to the point of the story.

If prices are cheap, you can buy other offerings from more publishers.
If prices are high, purchasing one $50 game, means you are not purchasing 2 to 29 other games.

If you can make a good game and make $100k a year off it selling it for $1 to 200k users (1/2 going to costs and middlemen) then why do you have to squeeze out lots of other potential games by sucking up a person's entire disposable income.

The evidence is there (an absolute flood of entertainment that no one can keep up with) that the creative industry doesn't need any more encouragement to produce creative works.

Some games are niche (5, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570903)

It is not at all that simple.

My best selling game is this one:
http://www.positech.co.uk/democracy2 [positech.co.uk]
It's a very complex and in-depth political simulation game based around the idea of the interconnectedness of all aspects of government policy, and modelled using a custom-written neural network. It assumes a decent understanding of modern political issues and a willingness to not be put off by what appears (at first glance ) to be a VERY complex interface (it's actually not that complex).

In short, the game appeals to politics junkies, political science students, and people who enjoy chaos theory and complexity.

It doesn't matter HOW good it is, how polished it is, or how well I market it...if your idea of games is Halo, you will NOT enjoy it, and NOT buy it.

Many games exist in a very small, specific niche, a niche where the developer can make a living selling $22.95 games like that one. A lot of those niches are already on the borderline (mine is). Unless I can actually generate a worldwide greater interest in playing political strategy games, I can't expand my sales. So a drop in prices just means less overall revenue, and thus makes it less viable to make games like that.

If all you want is 'mainstream' games that appeal to everyone, why bother with indie games anyway? we make games for specific groups of players, not the whole market.

Good? (1)

Akzo (1079039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568049)

Theres lots of indie games released all the time. What makes you think your game is worth $40 more than everyone elses? If your game isn't selling at $5 then it's probably genuinely just not fun.

Evidence of the contrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568061)

Aren't there a bunch of Indie companies like 2DBoy and Introversion doing quite well for themselves on a $20 price point? Granted i'm sure there are companies that form, make 1 game (or worse, never get to releasing a game) before disappearing but we do have some very healthy sprouting developers.

Wolfire often point out that they're funding development of Overgrowth (which is shaping up to be a very good game at this rate) purely on preorders of said game.

I can't help but think that this race to the cheapest games is affecting only the iPhone/Android/etc games that are built in a weekend, good quality games don't feel this pinch, I recall the Rolando creaters stating that too many people on the iTunes store inflate their prices too much.

Re:Evidence of the contrary (2, Interesting)

Morlark (814687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569827)

I absolutely agree. In fact, if you're going to point out indie games that are doing well at a higher than "normal" price point, I'd have to mention Illwinter's Dominions 3. You might say that it's something of a niche game, in that it'd probably only appeal to people who already like turn-based strategy games. But within that niche, I wouldn't hesitate to say that this is the single best game I have ever played. And it's going for $55 at the moment. The game is several years old now, and they've successfully maintained sales at that price point, because, quite simply, the game really is worth it.

Most other indie games, I would never consider paying that much for. Even the ones that are fun, if they don't have any depth of gameplay or replayability value then they're not going to be worth much more than $10, maybe $15. That's why all these publishers are aiming for that low price point - because it's a reasonable one for the quality of games they sell. The games that actually are high quality will sell for what they're worth.

Just like how software should be... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568063)

'Every year, life is getting more and more expensive. Insurance. Rent. Food. And, at the same time, software is getting cheaper and cheaper, sometimes as cheap as a dollar, as we engage in a full speed race to the bottom. This is not going to help developers stay in business. This is not how a healthy industry is maintained.'"

I agree. The race to the bottom for software is not how a healthy industry is maintained. What will we do if software reaches a price point of zero?

There are no clear examples out there of how free [ubuntu.com] software [firefox.com] or applications [gmail.com] can stay in business. [safer-networking.org]

*rolls eyes*

Re:Just like how software should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568409)

Even though I am an avid Ubuntu and free software user, I disagree with your point. The makers of (good) games have a talent and skill that is more specialized then other software.
The shear number of skills and technology needed to produce a (good) game in today's environment is incredible. It is almost like producing a high budget movie. The applications you point out that are free are either not designed to bring in a profit or acquire profit from advertisement. I seriously doubt that product placement will generate enough revenue to sustain a gaming company.
It really comes down to a simple maximization problem, i.e. what is the price that should be set to maximize profit by balancing price and number of purchases?

Re:Just like how software should be... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568447)

The shear number of skills and technology needed to produce a (good) game in today's environment is incredible.

Everybody has their own idea of what a "good" game is, it doesn't take incredible skills or technology to make a fun sidescrolling platformer.

Re:Just like how software should be... (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568515)

Hate to break it to you, but those models aren't going to work for gaming. Gamers don't need support contracts, and they'll go nuts if you try to cram advertising down their throats. Just because it works for some, doesn't mean it'll work for anyone else.

Re:Just like how software should be... (3, Interesting)

Biswalt (1273170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568759)

Really gamers go nuts with advertising thrown down there throats? Played any EA sports games recently? In those games the ads even ad to the realism. You don't get a half-time report you get the Gillete Razor half-time report, since this is how it's done in the real world, it fits right in, but it's still an ad. An even better example is EA Skate 2. The ads are not only in the game on the in game billboards, they actually rotate out to feature different products or companies because EA is selling that ad space just like real ad space. It's a profitable enterprise for EA, and none of my friends has commented on it beyond "hey those are real ads." After I explain how they work, most of the people I've asked told me they thought it was cool. I agree that most gamers wouldn't play a game all plastered with ad banners (a la porn sites, and torrent sites), but real ads on the boards in EA NHL 09 only makes sense.

Re:Just like how software should be... (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569067)

I agree that they aren't intrusive when implemented correctly and casual gamers won't even notice, but there's been at least one instance where people have had a problem with ads in games. [slashdot.org] I believe it was a fairly popular title, too.

Re:Just like how software should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569453)

Really gamers go nuts with advertising thrown down there throats? Played any EA sports games recently?

No.

Re:Just like how software should be... (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569253)

Gamers don't need support contracts,

I thought that was how many of the MMORPGS work nowadays. The game client is free, but you enter into a monthly contract to access the resources on the servers.

For another example, chess is about as copyright and license free as a game can be, but the Internet Chess Club [chessclub.com] charges $60 for a 1-year membership and purports "over 200,000 memberships sold." They don't have exclusive rights over anything inherent to the game of chess, or even internet chess. I don't know if their clients are proprietary, but I know they are free and there are open source versions. What they make money off of is support they provide in form of connecting people, hosting games, information, etc.

and they'll go nuts if you try to cram advertising down their throats.

What's up with all those internet flash games?

I wouldn't say the closed source model doesn't have its own merits, but if the argument is really that it is best (for gaming or otherwise) I hope that means the government doesn't need to sweep in and save it with price floors or whatever the article is suggesting we do to fix these "non-flaws".

Re:Just like how software should be... (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569751)

Gamers don't need support contracts, and they'll go nuts if you try to cram advertising down their throats.

With some notable exceptions like quakelive.com [quakelive.com]

Re:Just like how software should be... (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568721)

None of your examples are of games [alientrap.org] . There are no [wesnoth.org] good [wz2100.net] , free [freecol.org] , fun [sourceforge.net] , games [wormux.org] .

Re:Just like how software should be... (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569085)

You know what, I've spent the last week searching for free games that run under OS X and aren't half-assed screwups, crippleware or otherwise about as entertaining as a bodged vasectomy.

I should have just come on here and announced that there was no such thing.

Re:Just like how software should be... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569959)

All of the games I listed have OS X binaries (the only machine I have with a decent GPU runs OS X). You could also take a look at the list on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] although it's a bit random. A few others I'd recommend:
  • The Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net] , if you missed Star Control 2 before it was open sourced.
  • Globulation 2 [globulation2.org] is still a bit pre-release, but the game is playable and has a lot of potential.
  • Oolite [oolite.org] is a faithful recreation of Elite, but with massively updated graphics. It's certainly not a modern game, but it's a wonderful nostalgia trip if you played the original.
  • OpenTTD [openttd.org] is an open source clone of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, which fixes a lot of the irritating misfeatures in the original while remaining totally addictive.

There are quite a lot of fun games in the list, but these are the ones I've played and remember enjoying.

Re:Just like how software should be... (3, Interesting)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569611)

I don't think most of those games turn a profit, or even that much in revenue. For full-time game developers who don't have a day job to pay the bills, they need to earn money with the games they make. Some go with ad revenue [kongregate.com] , donations [bay12games.com] , or micropayments [puzzlepirates.com] to keep their games free; others, like those from the author of TFA, prefer to charge for their games.

If you would like to play only completely free games, you're certainly welcome to. I'm willing to pay for games that I want to play, and hopefully that will encourage the developers to make more games I like.

My point is that your examples are of games that don't need to make money, which completely ignores the entire indie games market. Don't devalue games because free ones exist; examine the quality and decide if it's worth paying for.

In response to the GP, Ubuntu makes money on service contracts, Firefox on donations and corporate partnerships, and Gmail from ad impressions - analogous to micropayments, donations, and ads in games.

Re:Just like how software should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568757)

When I was a young avid gamer we paid 30 dollars for a new game. Today you pay up to 80 dollars. Even if you consider inflation that is still a lot higher.

Where is the race to the bottom? Or have I missed the memo that the top is the new bottom?

Like the old pirate proverb says:
Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.

Re:Just like how software should be... (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569149)

Maybe it's something to do with where you live, but I've never paid $80 for a game. The most I've ever paid was $70 for a collector's edition of a favorite series. They're generally $50 for me, maybe $60 for a big title. It's also possible I'm just out of the loop, but that's really beside the point. The article and summary seem to be focusing more on indie games, not the mainstream ones by EA and company that cost you $60 for a re-textured version of last year's game. (NOW WITH IMPROVED PHYSICS SO YOUR SIDEKICK'S BOOBS BOUNCE REALISTICALLY!)

Wait... maybe I would be willing to pay more for that...

Enforced low prices? (5, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568065)

iTunes doesn't set a maximum price for games, neither does Xbox Live, apparently except for those created with the XNA tools. So, the only one enforcing low prices is Amazon. Thus, calling the credibility of the summary into question, and the article for tenuous exaggeration.

Re:Enforced low prices? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569465)

Apple has in fact rejected many submissions because they arbitrarily didn't like the price.

Wrong question... (4, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568083)

It should be "Should expensive games be better".

FYI: Indie =/= Good

This is also an example of a "indie game". [fugly.com]

Also (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569211)

Part of the justification of a game's cost both in real and notional terms is the amount of work that went in to it. One of the reasons that big name titles cost a lot is that it takes a lot of people to develop them. It is quite an expensive production, on par with making a movie. Look at the credits for a game like Mass Effect some time to see how many people worked on it (remembering also the people who wrote Unreal Engine 3 on which it's based). Then play it and you can see all the work that went in to various parts of the game, the writing, the voice acting, the art, the programming, etc.

Now, compare that to a game like World of Goo that two guys knocked out in their free time.

I chose both of these titles because I feel they are both excellent at what they are supposed to be. However they show the real difference in terms of scale of effort. I'm not saying World of Goo took no effort, it certianly involved no small amount of creativity and skill, but it didn't take the massive team, and thus incur the massive cost, that Mass Effect did.

As such, it makes some sense that World of Good was like $20 at launch whereas Mass Effect was $50.

Then there's the fact that I don't think anyone is really forcing low prices on indy games. I'm not saying there aren't specific examples, however overall you are free to sell your game online for whatever price you see fit. However, if you want to charge $50-60 same as the big name games do, well then don't be surprised if people demand the same level of assets.

Again back to my World of Goo vs Mass Effect thing I own World of Goo and it was worth the $20 I spent on it. I wouldn't have gotten it for $50 though. It's a neat puzzle game, but not worth that much.

Whatever the market will bear (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568183)

Do some research, find out what people have paid for similar titles and work the stats to sort out where your optimum price point is.

Then launch with a 10% off sale. The perception of savings and a limited time offer will bring buyers out in droves.

Re:Whatever the market will bear (1)

StealthM93 (1532111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568503)

I agree... Let the marketplace work: If competition and quality are such that games are low cost (e.g., $5) then pretty soon new development will fade for lack of monetary incentive. Eventually, as supply fades and demands remains strong that will bring out new development at higher prices (high demand, low supply). Then as supply begins to exceed demand, the prices drop. It is simply the natural ebb and flow of free-market supply & demand.

A real sense of entitlement .... (0, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568247)

How Much Do I Need To Earn To Live? - Suppose your game takes a year to write and thus, counting salaries, needs to earn about $100K to break even.

If that's the case, you really need to find another job. Salaries - plural, plus other expenses for a year (employer's contribution to payroll taxes, health, etc), of $100k a year? I hope, for their sake, it's not more than 2 people ...

Oh, And a Quick Note For Those Who Disagree With Me ...

If you don't care about the people who work so hard to entertain you being able to charge a price that enables them to survive, I have no interest in what you have to say.

That's okay ... what you have to say is pretty much bullshit whining anyway.

Re:A real sense of entitlement .... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568773)

Flamebait? Only in as much as the original article is. There are an increasing number of fun open source games out there, and an even bigger number of ad-supported fun flash games. These are the competition for indie games, and increasingly for big commercial games. The market price is tending towards zero and fun games are being produced for that price. If you are making a game so fantastically good that people are willing to pay a lot for it when they could get other games for free, then feel free to charge a lot for it. Otherwise, if your costs are so high that you can't sell your product at the market rate and cover them then you are probably in the wrong business and no one will mourn your departure.

More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (-1, Troll)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568265)

Look... I'm sorry but 15 years ago games were $10-$15. Most developers use other engines to produce their games so don't give me the BS about how much a game costs to make.

So now we have very few games with good storylines or replay ability... but "really flashy". Just go to your local store and peer in the window for Xbox, Wii, etc. How many games in there would you give more than a 5/10. But they all cost the same.

This retarded arguement about indie games should cost more?!? Hell no. Indie games should cost less... in fact ALL games should cost a LOT less.

The last few games I've bought were all PC games off of steam because they were reasonably priced. If it's more than $30... you're over charging. Period. You can try to argue this with me... but everything past that mark is greed pure and simple.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (3, Interesting)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568347)

Look... I'm sorry but 15 years ago games were $10-$15.

No, they were not. $50 was the standard price for new console games since at least the mid-1980s, and still is on the Wii.

Most developers use other engines to produce their games so don't give me the BS about how much a game costs to make.

You'd be surprised at just how little difference this makes. It has been a very long time since the majority of a game's development budget went into its code.

in fact ALL games should cost a LOT less.

The last few games I've bought were all PC games off of steam because they were reasonably priced. If it's more than $30... you're over charging. Period. You can try to argue this with me... but everything past that mark is greed pure and simple.

In other words, you're just being cheap. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, as long as you're not using that as an argument to steal games, which I suspect you probably are.

If you absolutely must pay less, buy used. This will not kill you, make you any less of a gamer, or shrink your genitals.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568783)

Flamebait? This almost makes me wish I wasn't an AC so I could mod parent up.

Game prices haven't risen siginificantly since the days of the Super Nintendo, at least here in Europe.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (2, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568993)

Used is much worse for the developer than tail pricing. The developer will not benefit from a second-hand sale.

A small amount, or even just a better reputation for sales with their publisher, is probably better than the zero that a second-hand sale represents.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (2, Interesting)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570593)

Then maybe game companies should get in to the used game market. Offer to buy back their games and sell them used from an online site.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570835)

But RaigetheFury may have a point as games priced at $50-60 prices itself out of the impulse buyers, who might make a purchace if prices were lower. I have no idea if this would be enough to make up for the loss of profits per purchase, though.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (1)

Mr. Samuel (950418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568443)

If it's more than $30... you're over charging. Period. You can try to argue this with me... but everything past that mark is greed pure and simple.

So, $30 is a fixed maximum price point regardless of the costs of producing the game? In the case of a game like, say, Resident Evil 5, I doubt that the game would even break even if it launched at $30. If I'm right, that's hardly "greed".

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568481)

You kidding? If a game on the scale of Resident Evil 5 was released as a budget title, people would lap that shit up like anti-freeze at a petting zoo, and it's not like it costs any more to manufacture a copy of RE5 than it does to manufacture a copy of, for instance, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (1)

Mr. Samuel (950418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568907)

You kidding? If a game on the scale of Resident Evil 5 was released as a budget title, people would lap that shit up like anti-freeze at a petting zoo, and it's not like it costs any more to manufacture a copy of RE5 than it does to manufacture a copy of, for instance, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition.

Capcom invested millions of dollars in making Resident Evil 5, I'd wager even more than they did in making Resident Evil 4 due to the HD graphics. The cost of churning the game out at the factory is not the true cost of the game. Before a single copy is even produced, millions of dollars are on the line.

If Capcom could make more money selling the game at a higher volume with a lower price, they would. They aren't going to invest big bucks in a game unless people are willing to pay big bucks for it at the store. I'd be surprised if Capcom didn't lose money releasing the game for $30.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568971)

You act like the cost to develop is nothing. Sure the manufactuering cost will be virtually the same but RE4: Wii edition is a remake of a PS2/GC game which was a million seller. All they needed to do really was modify the GC version to use the Wii which would have been a minimal cost.

New models, programming, voice acting, script writing, level creatation, etc went into RE5 and that stuff doesn't come for free.

A lower price might have some benefit but it won't turn Re5 into the next Nintendodogs or Brain Training game.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569359)

A lower price might have some benefit but it won't turn Re5 into the next Nintendodogs

Is anyone else suddenly wishing they could groom, train, and feed zombies and walk them around town?

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (1)

American Terrorist (1494195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570815)

I wouldn't lap that shit up, as I have never played and probably never will play Resident Evil. Their potential customer base isn't infinite; I'm sure they've done a lot more research on their profit maximizing price than you have.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568905)

Look... I'm sorry but 15 years ago games were $10-$15.

Where was that imaginary land?

$50 was the standard with carts creeping up to $60-$70 in the N64 era. The PSX did bring prices down around $40 in a lot of instances and yes MS and Sony have forced prices back up to $60 in this generation.

So yes game prices have gone up in this generation for 2 of the 3 main consoles but prices were never $10-$15 15 years ago unless it was bargin bin rubbish no one wanted.

Re:More expensive? You mean LESS expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569511)

Were you born 15 years ago?

I'll go even further than 15 years ago... 27 years ago, Carnival for Colecovision was $30, Lady Bug was $35 and Zaxxon was $40. Because 27 years ago our salaries were much lower (less than half what they are now), it means games were the equivalent of being between 60 to 80 of today's dollars.

So now, go download a Colecovision emulator, download some ROM, and tell me for which of those game you'd pay $60.

The truth is games' prices have never been so low.

What rock have these guys been living under? (5, Interesting)

TOGSolid (1412915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568287)

Have they completely missed Valve's Steam pricing report on what happens when you sell good games for cheap?
At twenty to twentyfive bucks, an indy game that isn't going to have the exposure a triple A game has is going to alienate shoppers that would have otherwise bought it just for the hell of it. It's going to have to be pretty damn good and get a lot of word of mouth exposure in order to be able to reign back in lost potential customers.

Re:What rock have these guys been living under? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569153)

What are you saying? 20 is too much or too little? I know quite a few people that wont buy for under 20 because "It must be cheap crap".

Re:What rock have these guys been living under? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569723)

the Steam sale events are doing a lot to change that perception.

smaller games no longer have to wallow in the discount bins were they get ignored because of that "it must be cheap crap" vibe of said bins.

now a small puzzle game that's 5-10$ is just that...a small game that's worth checking out if you're into whatever genre/niche it fits in.

games no longer need over-the-top graphics and big budgets to enter the market.

Re:What rock have these guys been living under? (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569371)

That's a great point. I've bought several games off of Steam more or less on impulse because they were $20. The weekend sales and things can be great too, if you happen to catch something you're interested in but didn't want to spend $50 on.

Re:What rock have these guys been living under? (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570029)

Except they raised their game back up to $50 [steampowered.com] after that experiment. If it was so successful, why did they do it?

Re:What rock have these guys been living under? (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570965)

Price is not the only issue in games. There are many other issues. Games are a matter of personal preference. I don't care if you make your new RPG game $0.01, I am not interested. And if Company of heroes 2 is $80, I am still buying it on release day.

Do the maths, you need to sell a metric fuckload of copies to people on the fence at the 1 cent price point to compensate for the $79.99 you gave away to the people who really wanted the game.

Wow (1)

Mike73 (979311) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568415)

It's like that semester of Macroeconomics 101 has been pulled out of my brain and replaced with crazy.

Life is tough for a lot of people... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568495)

Life is tough for a lot of people, in good times or bad. I really don't have solutions to the problems on the developer side. But I do know you really need to have a strong brand and a strong game to charge a premium. I don't know if you can sell a lot of a more expensive product on a sob story. A poster mentioned successes over Steam where half the price sometimes sells 10x the copies. Make a solid game, find legitimate viral ways to promote the product, price it fairly for the market and I think you'll find success more often than otherwise possible.

Only if they want to fail miserably (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568529)

Indie games are already a difficult sell due to limitations in production and advertising budgets increasing prices will do nothing but throw them further into obscurity. Take the authors own company as an example, I concider myself a fairly knowledgeable gamer but I have never even heard of anything they have done.

The author seems a bit confused about XNA as well, the entire purpose of the XNA Creators Club is to give hobbyists and amateur game devs a chance at exposure. Incidently neither of his examples Braid nor World of Goo were created with XNA.

Perhaps I am alone in this but I will pay far more for imaginative and fresh titles regardless of publisher, both Braid and World of Goo fit that yet the author says they are both shallow and not worth more than the asking price. Meanwhile, at least on the suface the author appears to have recreated Ultima VII 12 times so far yet wonders why he cant sell more?

Re:Only if they want to fail miserably (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569141)

The author seems a bit confused about XNA as well, the entire purpose of the XNA Creators Club is to give hobbyists and amateur game devs a chance at exposure. Incidently neither of his examples Braid nor World of Goo were created with XNA.

/quote> He never implied they were created with XNA and that's clear by reading his article where he states that Braid charged a very reasonable $15 and the max price for XNA games is $10.

flamebait blog post is flamebait (2, Interesting)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568715)

Does this slashdot even warrant a reply? Apparently, it does, since it was brought up and a few people even seem to agree with it. Let's just hit a couple big points.

Search for 'indie game' on Google. 19 million hits. Now search for free game. 96 million hits. How much spare time do you have to play these games? Hello Mr Supply and Demand.

I don't have a clever search term for this one, but I can count on two hands every game in the last 10 years that has held my attention for more than 30 minutes. I'm including big studios here. If you'd like to earn money, earn it. If not, here's a styrofoam cup. There's the street corner.

Now, let's compare one entertainment medium to another. You can read short stories for free online or you can pay for print magazines or anthologies of known good authors. You can read comics online for free or you can pay for prints or anthologies of known good authors. You can view photos online for free or you can pay for collections from known good photographers. Sense a theme? Indie developers are, by their nature, relatively unknown. If they can peddle their wares for any amount I'd call that a winning situation.

However, the blogger is right. This is no way to maintain a healthy industry. What we don't need right now is more of these healthy industries. Not every single source of income needs to be neatly packaged and protected as an industry from now until the end of time. It's bad enough we've got ISP monopolies gouging customers, investment companies begging for CEO bonuses, an auto manufacturing industry threatening to blow itself up if it doesn't get bailed out for its screw-ups (so it can screw up some more!), and an airline industry that's beyond reproach. The industrial revolution is over. Let's come up with something better.

Indy games are not immune to market forces (1)

Mr. Samuel (950418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568777)

The author mentions XNA games and a $10 price limit. You know, I've played some of these XNA games, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say I wouldn't play a lot of them for free. That's not an insult against the XNA game developers. I wish I had the skills to create an XNA game. The games just don't compare to what a high-budget team at Electronic Arts or Capcom can do.

At gamestats.com, the "top sales" chart suggests that there is a big market for high-budget games at full price. Street Fighter 4 is around $70 Canadian, and it's apparently selling very well at a similar price in the US. One of the replies to the blog post says "Create the quality. People will seek it...Things that simply occupy our time and do not enlighten us will fall into obscurity". Exactly. But do you have the money to do it? Do you have the skills to create something special?

The problem I see with indie games is, with the exception of something very special like Braid, they just cannot compete at any price with the latest high-budget games or yesterday's high-budget games (at a "Greatest Hits" price, including the crazy deals on Steam that have already been mentioned here).

The market isn't conspiring against anybody to charge the wrong price. I suspect that the indie games that sell well are priced at market value.

(Sigh...) Again, it's supply and demand (4, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568901)

Supply and demand is an economic law. Arguing that prices should be higher than the market will bear, in an attempt to re-write that law, is foolish.

I recall a little "indie" game company that released, with little advertising, a mindless shoot-em-up by giving away much of the game and selling the full package cheaply. They made a good game, didn't charge much, and did well by it. 17 years later you can _still_ buy Wolfenstein 3D.

Re:(Sigh...) Again, it's supply and demand (0)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569131)

No, it isn't. Supply and Demand isn't applicable to software and other IP, because there is an unlimited supply.

More accurate is to say that it is a matter of Demand & Demand. Which is what drives all monopoly based industries.

Remember, Microsoft's goal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568937)

... is to make all the money themselves, with none left for anyone else.

Personally, I think all the monthly fees are too high. XBL should be no more than $1 a month, and MMOs should be somewhere between $3 and $5 a month. But the trend seems to be the other way.

Braid (2, Interesting)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568941)

As someone who just purchased (and finished) Braid this weekend, I feel that game was worth FAR more than $15. I agree though that the price point for a lot of "indie" games are about right. I don't think I'd have payed more for Audiosurf, or Peggle, or the Penny-Arcade games.

Recession (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569005)

To everyone that keeps wanting to raise prices to fair levels, please consider the R word, yon know, Recession. We are in one, well most of the western world is in one. Most people's disposable income has got rather less, not more and games are not a necessity of life.

Sure someone may invent some really super game with lots of online content (to reduce piracy) that may end up costing lots more and if people like it, they may buy it. OTOH, they may not.

Re:Recession (2, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569351)

His argument was very reasonable. He stated that their costs went up so they raised the price of their game form $25 to $28 which no negative effect.

He states that some games are worth more than others and that his problem has to do with companies like Amazon not caring about that and instead trying to force all indie titles to be cheap.

He is right. He should be able to test the market and adjust the price as he wants rather than Amazon dictating to him that it has to be cheap.

The recession isn't an excuse for everything to be cheap no more than the inflation we're experiencing is an excuse for companies to raise prices.

every year CPU's get cheaper and cheaper (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569119)

yet Intel is earning more money now than it did 15 years ago and it's expenses are also a lot higher.

every big publisher today was an indie developer/publisher 20-30 years ago and grew their business through higher sales.

these days indie publishers have distribution channels that EA and Activision didn't dream of 30 years ago. they built their business the hard way

On the other hand. . . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569151)

I was going to take issue with the original author on a couple of points here, but let's start with this:

"When I first founded Spiderweb Software, in 1994. . ."

Aaaaand I'm going to stop you right there. By 1994 the games industry had been around for well over a decade.

Going back a little further than 1994 (to 1984 in fact) the majority of the software available for home computers was sold either in specialist computer stores or via mail order.

A lot of this was created by "bedroom coders" (Indy publishers in other words). People were charging a couple of pounds at most for their titles and advertising them through the small-ads in computer magazines and newspapers.

They were usually able to earn enough money this way to make it worth while (in some cases enough to make a living at it).

As time went on a lot of these home-grown programmers were taken on by the large companies. Some indies (like Llamasoft) remained independent, others vanished into the corporate machine never to be seen again.

Shareware came on the scene much later on.

. . . .

Another bone of contention is setting an artificially high price for software. XBLA is especially guilty of this. Take a look through the Community Games catalogue.

Scary isn't it?

If this stuff was being given away for free you could imagine downloading it, but being charged money for a program that activates the force feedback on your joypad (for example). . .

This sort of thing devalues all the other software on there. After checking half a dozen demos (and finding out that they are essentially badly executed experiments that should NEVER have been released to the public) most people give up. This is a shame as it means that the good stuff that really deserves your custom vanishes under a sea of crap.

Does this mean that all software should be given away for free? Of course not. But let's face it: some of the shit out there you COULDN'T give away anyway!

Mathematics (3, Interesting)

Zarkonnen (662709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569229)

What most of the commenters seem to be ignoring is the evidence that the author is doing perfectly well selling his game for $28.

Having played (and paid for) one of them, given it took me dozens of (entertaining) hours to complete, I don't have much of a problem with that price.

I think what the post really boiled down to was:

Expect high ($30 - $60) prices for big commercial titles because they cost millions. Huge development costs divided by lots of customers result in high prices.

Expect low prices ($1 - $10) for indie games in popular genres (puzzle, etc) because there is lots of competition. Low development costs divided by lots of customers result in low prices.

But expect highish ($10 - $30) prices for indie games in niche genres, because there are simply fewer potential customers. Low(ish) development costs divided by few customers must result in highish prices, or you lose money.

Yes, there are free flash games, but point me at a free flash game in the same genre and of the depth of the author's games?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569297)

wow, ok Indie Developers make cheap games with low prices that appeal to a wide group of people usually to build a clientele. Such is not the case anymore. I'm sorry the free market was opened so much what with the XBOX and iPhone heating up. So the supply of Indie games is flooded right now. Quite crying over it, raising the price would be like shooting yourself in the foot. From his blog, "And a Quick Note For Those Who Disagree With Me ..." You mean the entire free market?? Yeah alienate them good job, I'll make sure to never buy anything you make. You're only in it for yourself.

Enforced Low Prices? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569319)

What is meant by "enforced low prices?" If it is "Microsoft requires you to charge a certain price point for XBox Live games," then, guess what, your game isn't truly indie.

That shouldn't surprise anyone, since consoles are extremely locked down and loaded with DRM. If you take the King's Penny, you play by his rules or dance a yard arm jig! Yaar!

Now, if you are trying to get on Steam or Amazon download and play, or something and they are requiring you to charge a certain price point, you have to weight whether that is worth it or not. If it isn't, it might be best to forgo those venues.

Now, if it is what I think, and that is that the guy in the article thinks indie game makers should form an indie "cartel" and agree to keep prices high.... well, I don't know if there is a good reason for me, as a customer, to agree to that. There may be one, the way price fixing on airlines in the old days meant really attractive stewardesses, but I can't think of one now.

Anyway, if you are actually an indie studio, you should set whatever price you feel like, create whatever kind of game you feel like, and find a way to sell it where you aren't beholden to the big industry players (who are not your friends). Oh, and pray to Cthulhu, Hastur and Yog-Sothoth that PC gaming continues to be an open platform.

are new games too expensive? (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569373)

When I see "used" games for sale for $54, is it time to ask if they're charging too much for new games? Hell, yes. I don't pick them up until they're $20 or less.

Re:are new games too expensive? (1)

ausekilis (1513635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569743)

I wish I could find some sort of reference for this, so someone can chime in if they actually remember the numbers. I was pretty young for the NES and SNES games, so I don't truly remember the numbers there. I also wish I could find some actual sales numbers, it would be interesting to see if NES games outsold GC games or just had a higher market percentage, for example.

  • NES games - $20-$30
  • SNES games - $30-40
  • n64/GC/Wii games - $40-50
  • ps2/xbox games - $40-50
  • ps3/xbox360 games - $50-60

I realize that development costs have gone up, but production costs should have gone down (it's a matter of cents to reproduce a DVD, perhaps a bit more for BD, but not by much I think...). If we consider the cost of production to be largely insignificant (a dollar or less), then if they chop the price down from $60 to $30, people would be much more willing to part with it and they just might sell twice as many copies.

Considering the price of ps3 games, I'm apprehensive to buy any new games, $60 is not something I part with easily, so I only have maybe 10 games for the ps3. Back when I had the SNES (and was only working for an allowance), I didn't think twice about picking up a new game for $40. Simple math, if I can buy 3 or more games for the price of 2 (or 1)... I may just go with the quantity over quality.

Re:are new games too expensive? (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570103)

I completely agree. I think the cost of games is ridiculous. The last full price PC game I bought was Civ IV (back in 2005). The last full price console game I bought was Mario Galaxy. I tend to not buy a lot of games because of both DRM concerns on the PC, and the price on any platform.

Re:are new games too expensive? (2, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27571007)

That depends, if you buy a new game for $54 and play it for 54 hours, that $1 an hour. Compare that with going bowling/drinking/skating/movies/anythingelsewhatsoever.

gaming is a dirt cheap past-time.

Episodic Content (1)

thehun101 (218731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569443)

One of the things the writer overlooks is the ability to release content in episodes. Instead of charging $30 for one game, a single adventure can be broken up and released in episodes or chapters for $10 each.

Penny Arcade and Strongbad have both successfully used this model and it also gives customers an opportunity to try a game without committing to an entire series.

This may even be good for independent developers because they would get feedback and money before completing development on the entire series.

...gamers rebelled, built a new civilization ... (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569793)

... and wrote a new constitution for themselves, the 'gamers, coders, hackers and slackers Bill of Rights'. --Article 1 -- Basic right to slack. All are free to code, game, crack, download, hack, and do any and all activities that are represented in encoded, digitized form, and transmitted from any computer or digital device to another. No government, legal entity, living entity, or virtual entity shall infringe on the right of any other to digitally slack for as much time and as long as they darn please. --Article 2 -- Economic right to slack. No infringement upon and abuse of slacking community infrastructure. No real-life activity infringing, limiting or otherwise lessening or weakening infrastructure required for slacking is to be allowed. (electronic DOSing is OK). No speculation with food (especially coffee, hops, and yeast), rent, farming, real estate, power and telecommunications. Real estate property rights are limited to the land occupied by your real-life body, your computers and digital gear, heretofore known as your home/office. The right of all citizens to lay cable and setup Central Offices, Power Distribution, digital, power, electronic, telecommunications infrastructure, schools and research centers on all public real estate is not to be infringed upon. No touching cables or equipment that aren't your own, under penalty of fixing and maintaining it for the rest of your life. --Article-3-- Education. Education on all technologies, languages, electronics, robotics, biology, physics, mechanics, power-generation and distribution technologies, digital modeling, art and sound production shall be free and compulsory. All other subjects are optional but strongly encouraged. The numbering system shall be changed to hexadecimal. --Article-4-- The internal combustion engine, printed paper, analog signals, patents and copyrights, state secrets, trade secrets, locked doors, closed meetings, are abolished. Deal with it, and figure out an alternative. Meeting for coffee and/or beer is allowed, but only with open invitation. --Article-5-- Weapons and military. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Therefore all virtual and real weapons are permitted to all citizens, including chemical, nuclear and biological. Shooting all virtual weapons is permitted and encouraged, and virtual weapon training is required by all citizens, especially the BFG-9000. Real weapons may be freely kept securely stored and to decorate any and all walls, and hand-born for shooting, cleaning, practicing, and touching freely in any place wherever there are no living entities of any kind, other than the owners/operators, within five times the primary or secondary damage range. If any real-weapon owner/operator shall shoot themselves in the foot, no citizen is permitted to offer or request assistance of any kind. You can join any militia, team, army, band, gang, guerrilla or terrorist group and go to any boot camp you want, real or virtual, especially for coffee or beer.

Scratchware Manifesto (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570277)

What do you need to fund a game? Food stamps and enough scratch to pay the electricity bill. [autofish.net]

Programming a game can be a labor of love. It can be an artistic expression that doesn't require millions of dollars, prima dona rockstar programmers, glossy ads in gaming magazines (if you can find one these days), and gouging your customers.

We've lost this ethic in computer games. The indies are doing great work, but complaining that you can't charge $60 for their game is lunacy. The primary justification that large game companies and publishers use for charging that much is that they have a large number of people working on their game, they have the cost of packaging and physical media, and they have the overhead of the retail shelf.

Costs which online-distributed indie games do not have. People see this and refuse to pay (what they perceive as) an inflated price. However, if we value the games by the innovation, fun, and experience they provide instead of their actual real cost, I'm sure indie games would come out on top.

Games for rent (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570315)

The low price of indie games has caused the developers to focus more on creating unique experiences rather than trying to push the graphics/technology envelope. It's better this way.

Furthermore, these downloadable console games are basically only available for rent, since there is no way to sell them when you are done. The prices need to be cheap since buyers don't have all the rights of someone who buys a game on disc.

A new studio game might cost $60 these days. However, not everyone buys new and keeps the game forever. I'm more likely to buy used, play for a few months, and then resell. The whole transaction costs me about the same as the full price of these "cheap" indie games.

Nobody misses an undeveloped game (1)

seanfast (980924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27570675)

Nobody ever misses a game that was never created, but people won't buy your game (that you already spent hard earned money on) if you price it higher than what they think is appropriate.

Who defines what "good" is anyway? (1)

AndrewDBarker (1532289) | more than 5 years ago | (#27571519)

One person's good can be another persons crap. I'm with DazednConfused on this, it's supply & demand. If the demand of the game meets the expectations of the product sure they can charge a little more for the game.
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