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Can $60 Games Survive?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the inflation-vs-customer-expectations dept.

Businesses 435

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

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435 comments

HotS (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347413)

I don't care, I'm still buying Heart of the Swarm when it comes out...!

Re:HotS (2, Interesting)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347449)

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

Re:HotS (0, Flamebait)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347497)

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

Re:HotS (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347775)

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

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

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

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

Re:HotS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347941)

Jesus, between the two of you...

"I think this should cost less cuz the game corporashuns make TEH HUGE PROFITZ" is not a valid reason to just take what you want. You're just a cheap asshole with busted-ass, tired old excuses. You are not entitled to anything, and this attitude isn't going to help you elsewhere (unless you're going into banking).

And companies don't make the prices what they are because they're really, really angry. They charge what they think they can on an estimated curve, using well-considered data about what the market will bear for similar games, on that platform.

Get your heads out of your asses.

Re:HotS (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39348105)

You are not entitled to anything

That's the biggest straw man I've ever seen in regards to anti-piracy arguments. I don't like piracy, but it isn't as if they're whipping the artists and forcing them to create for them. They just copy the product when it's made.

No entitlement necessary for that.

Re:HotS (4, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348095)

knowing that somebody RIPPED YOU OFF

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

Re:HotS (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347699)

That should probably cost less than $60 since it is just an add-on... although by the time it comes out, it'll probably cost $60 if you adjust for inflation

Re:HotS (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348043)

Splitting the game into 3 to tripple their profits was one of the smartest things Blizzard has done recently. They know how to make a good game, and then get you to pay a ton for it.

Re:HotS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347751)

Here here!

Re:HotS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347939)

And I will buy damn near every Legend of Zelda game that comes out, along with the system needed to play it, and any accessories required. If the system has some other good games available, yay! I'm currently at 75 hours on Skyward Sword, and not even 3/4 of the way through. So assuming a hundred hours, and two hundred dollars spent on the whole package, it's $2 an hour. Can't beat it! Even new paperback books don't get that kind of ratio.

No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347437)

And I should hope not. Look at the quality of "AAA" titles.

Also, there happen to be a lot of price points between $60 and F2P.

$60 games? Luxury! (5, Informative)

JackCorbae (693005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347473)

$60 Games? I'd LOVE to see the price drop to $60 games. Most new PC Titles in Australia debut at between $89 and $99. The collectors edition of .. .Dragon Age I think it was, was $109. $60 games ... luxury.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347501)

And the AU$ is worth more than a US$ at the current exchange rate.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347545)

And console games are regularly $120. Ten years ago, when the exchange rate was at $US0.50 - $US0.60, it made sense. it was the US price + a little overhead for the distance + exchange rate. now we're at $US1.05ish and have been for a long time without sign of dropping there's no excuse for $120. If it's $60 in the USA, it should be $60 in Australia, or maybe $65 to account for extra logistical costs.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (4, Insightful)

fiziko (97143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347855)

The same thing happened in Canada. Why don't they lower the prices? Because we're used to paying them, so they don't have to. If we stop paying artificially inflated prices for all of our media, it'll change. NOTE: I'm not advocating piracy. That won't change their minds; they'll just say we are ripping them off for the heck of it. I'm advocating that individuals do not spend money on media with prices that seem artificially inflated, and that those doing so tell the media providers that this is happening and why.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1, Redundant)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347891)

The same thing happened in Canada.

At least in Canada you can pick up games in the US - drive down for the weekend, the savings can offset the cost of gas.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (4, Informative)

fiziko (97143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347931)

That works in the extreme southern trim only. The U.S. border is an 8 hour drive from here, IF I'm speeding, and it's two tanks of gas, each at the cost of a game. Vancouver, Toronto, etc. can do that. Much of the country can't.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39348077)

At least in Canada you can pick up games in the US - drive down for the weekend, the savings can offset the cost of gas.

I live in Iqaluit, you insensitive bastard!

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347557)

Why is that? Taxes? or what?

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347637)

Opportunistic profiteering. It used to be exchange rate, but the Australian dollar has doubled in value since the $100 price was set, but the price of games has never come down in response.

Either the distributor or the publisher is pocketing the windfall, I guarantee neither the developer nor the retailer is getting any of it. If the retailer was, then competition would have brought the price down.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347765)

Huh you'd think they'd get hit with price fixing or something. Then again I'm in no way qualified to speculate on anything legal or economic in nature.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347943)

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

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347937)

Nah, it's because up until a few years ago, the Aussie dollar was only worth 50-70 US cents. The prices were thus basically equal in the US and Australia once you took into account the exchange rate.

Since the financial crisis though, the AUD has appreciated significantly against the USD (or more accurately, the value of the USD has been pummelled badly), with the result that for the last couple of years 1 AUD has been worth equal to, or more than, 1 USD. But of course game publishers and retailers aren't suddenly going to reduce the price of games by 30-40% to account for this - it benefits them to keep prices where they are and provided demand remains strong, they'll continue to charge what the market can (apparently) bear. Note that iTunes did the same thing until there was a public outcry, and recently they finally reduced iTunes prices down to the same as US prices (reflecting the fact that 1 AUD = 1 USD now).

Another factor to consider is the fact that AUD:USD is quite volatile. We might think that game companies are just being evil not reducing their prices in Australia to account for the changing exchange rate, but it is perfectly possible for the AUD to plunge very quickly back down to ~70 US cents (indeed, it fell from $1.10 to 0.90 over the course of just a few days late last year). Until there is a solid track record of the AUD holding its position near USD parity for at least a couple of years, you can see why they'd be reluctant to reduce prices (because let's face it, people won't look on them favourably if the AUD drops again and they have to RAISE prices back up...)

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347627)

Good thing that Australia is basically an insignificant market, and completely unimportant to this discussion. Fuck you, Ausfag.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347645)

Australia's game pricing is ridiculously high, but so are your salaries and thusly the cost of everything else in the store.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347881)

Its true, the average salary in Australia is AU$67,000 at the moment, and I know people on well over double that - me included. $100 is not a significant amount of money here.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347773)

Yep. We're getting ripped blind and as long as people don't force the publishing companies to explain themselves they will keep getting away with it.

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348033)

Yes and no. Almost everything costs significantly more in Australia than in the US, but Australian salaries and wages are also considerably higher for most types of job (you can make more in the US as a senior executive, sure, but for all blue collar jobs and white collar jobs in middle management or lower, i.e. the bulk of jobs that exist, Australian wages and benefits are higher ... even at the low end, AU minimum wage is over double the US minimum wage).

Plus I wouldn't bet on AUD:USD remaining near parity forever ... historically it's a very volatile exchange rate and it wouldn't be surprising if it suddenly fell off a cliff back to 70 cents or lower. I suspect that game retailers know this and think to themselves "well OK, we could reduce prices, but if/when the AUD plunges again, we'd have to hike them back up again".

Having said that, lower prices would be nice. At least we have the option of ordering games online from overseas sites if we don't want to get ripped off as much :)

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (1)

zenum (698712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347933)

What's surprising is that Australians are still buying games from brick and mortar stores, when they can get them much cheaper imported from the UK (and with less censoring!)

Re:$60 games? Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39348049)

Depends on which games you play, I play a lot of games from Valve I don't think the price would differ in Australia for that. I don't think I've ever spent more than $40 on a game, I feel bad when I spend even that much.

Move along, nothing to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347475)

It's not about tripple A games as one might be led to believe by the "buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours" blurb, Nexxon is about what economists would call CCC rated games, or as gamers would call it, iOS/facebook trash etc.

No, the new system is the salami swindle (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347483)

Here's your game, for just 10 bucks. Plus 5 bucks for the equipment that you need in level 2. Plus 7.99 for the multiplayer addon (i.e. what you actually bought the game for). For just 3 bucks a pop you get new maps. Not happy with our controller layout? For just 5 bucks you can now create your own AND store it online on our server for just 3 bucks a month. Oh, talking about it, to play online of course you have to pay 10 bucks a month to play on our secure and dedicated servers... for as long as we run them only, of course. Which will be about a year, when the 2013 edition comes out. But hey, it's only going to cost 10 bucks!

Re:No, the new system is the salami swindle (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347861)

and the obvious flipside to balance it out:

"...OR, you can just buy the WHOLE GAME with ALL the bonuses for just $60, then its yours, and you can play the whole thing whenever you want, for as long as you want."

I'll take the $60 game any day.

Re:No, the new system is the salami swindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39348001)

and the obvious flipside to balance it out:

"...OR, you can just buy the WHOLE GAME with ALL the bonuses for just $60, then its yours, and you can play the whole thing whenever you want, for as long as you want."

I'll take the $60 game any day.

That is.... until they take down the license activation servers...

Re:No, the new system is the salami swindle (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348109)

I can see where this is going. People get used to selling games chaply and selling additional content. Probably something that skips some maliciously designed, otherwise mandatory annoyance, like a long, boring and unrewarding fetch quest, and gives you the ultimate weapon/key item you want right away. Some people will buy the game and just give up playing, like about 60% of gamers usually do. And the studios will therefore think the DLC is not selling well enough, since 200k people bought the game and only 90k bought the DLC. So they figure they have to make the game more annoying and transfer more of the good stuff to the DLC. Picture it like this: Skyrm, in such system, would only cost $10, but probably look and play like Sword of Sodan unless you bought about $90 of DLC.

john c dvorak had an article in the early 90s (4, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347491)

predicting the end of the $40 computer game.

people say we are logical, and we have science, and we no longer rely on witch doctors and shamanism and we dont believe in magic.

but pundits are our shamans, and we throw bones trying to predict these things that are not only unpredictable, but dont really matter that much, but we love to do it.

something about the mysticism is there in all of us , and which part of it is good, and which is bad?

the really interesting moments when you realize you were wrong, and you were wrong for wrong reasons.

Re:john c dvorak had an article in the early 90s (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347839)

This is beyond true.

How many times in the last six months to the last two years have we read about the downfall of Apple? Or Google? Or Microsoft?

How many times have pundits been wrong on so many other topics like politics or economics? Hell the weatherman can't even figure out the weather that far in advance(I suspect though, that technology may change this).

Re:john c dvorak had an article in the early 90s (1)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347907)

the really interesting moments when you realize you were wrong, and you were wrong for wrong reasons.

If you eventually gain the perspective it takes to realize something like that, was it truly a wrong reason?

Stopped Buying Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347493)

I stopped buying them years ago!

Mass Effect 3 is $80 (2, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347509)

Yeah, you can buy it for $60, but there's a chunk of pretty critical [youtube.com] zero day DLC. Heck, Super Street Fighter II was $70 in 1995, and Phantasy Star was $80 in '84. But then again those were both commercial failures in the States...

Re:Mass Effect 3 is $80 (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347823)

That comes down to being savvy. You can buy the game and the DLC for $70 total, the Deluxe doesn't add much beyond that. On top of that, if you look around a bit you can find the base game for $50, which comes down to $60 for the game and the DLC.

Sure, it's still high, but not as outrageously high as the Digital Deluxe edition.

Re:Mass Effect 3 is $80 (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347869)

or you can wait 6-18 months and get the game for $10-$20 on sale on origin or steam if they let them sell it and the DLC is still $10.

they better (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347513)

I personally abhor multiplayer games, I need to be able to pause and be entertained when my schedule allows. I don't think being nickle and dimed to play a single player game is going to be an easy pill to swallow, look at all the anger aimed at DLC and Bioware right now for Mass Effect 3's release day DLC

yeah, well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347521)

Nexon is publishing MMOs, which doesn't have the 60$ business model; in fact, they are in the free-to-play model (free to play but buy your upgrades for the full experience).

Knowing that the pc market now represent ~5-10% of the gaming market compared to its glory days in the 90s, saying that "PC gaming has huge room to grow" equivalent of saying that "the potential at Wall Street is enormous"... after a recession.

no thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347525)

Exchange $60 games for free crap? No thank you. I like my AAA titles as they are.

Free to play will have to show balance to thrive. (2)

PrimalChrome (186162) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347537)

I expect the market to correct the model of $5 DLC for one hour of play to occur before $60 for 40 hours of play. DLC, hats, and paid content with regards to Free-To-Play will do well in the market....but there is a lot to be said for a level playing field and flat initial cost for people that play in even casual/competitive games. Knowing another player can drop $20 and get a BFG-2000 that insta-nukes his opponents may encourage griefing kiddies to play...but eventually drives away the core market.

That being said, it Riot Games has done an excellent job with balancing Free-To-Play competitive gaming with League of Legends [leagueoflegends.com].

Re:Free to play will have to show balance to thriv (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347747)

Wasn't it the BFG-9000? a BFG-2000 sounds whimpy in comparison.

$60 is expensive now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347539)

Where I live games cost $80 to $120

Only the good ones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347543)

And i'll find out if they are good by pirating them first.
(there hasnt been many good ones in the last few years)

Moral arguments aside i've just been shit out of luck way too many times now.
I have learned you can't trust reviews or any large game company.

I have adopted a corporate attitude about it all. I'm gonna pirate and theres fuck all anyone can do about it until they actually stop me.

Biased Parties (3, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347561)

This just in: Free 2 Play Publisher Says $60 Games Doomed.

Meanwhile In other news this evening, RJ Reynolds has a new study out proving that smoking is good for you and makes you look cooler.

Re:Biased Parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347969)

Well, you're not going to see a $60 game developer say their games are doomed now are you?

Death of $60 games is greatly exaggerated (4, Insightful)

flagg9483 (940242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347571)

Are you kidding? There are men out there who will pay $200 if a woman will just get naked and call him daddy for an hour. Anyone who thinks gamers won't pay $1.50/hour for a game is crazy. Hell, I pumped more than 6 quarters an hour into arcade games once a week when I was a kid, and that's back when you'd actually pick up a quarter in the street if you found one.

Inflation (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347573)

Games having been keeping up with inflation if you assume the same time goes into producing a game, but just using better technologies. Good games can be worth 60. The only thing I see ending is bad games being able to charge as much as they used to now that there is more competition thanks to Steam, X-Box Live Arcade and the like.

But then look at TF2. Valve has admitted that game hit a ceiling in profitability, and making it F2P has turned it into a real money maker. So that might be the future. Cheap game, sell hats for profit.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347579)

Why does it have to change?

Oh right. The cloud.

Meanwhile in Aus ... (2)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347585)

... games are typically $100 or even $110. I see ME3 for PC is going for just $88 ... a bargain :-/ What's that in US currency .... $93. Yeah.

It's pretty simple (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347613)

It's pretty simple. When publishers stop making fixed-price games, I stop buying their products. I won't pay a subscription fee for games I play casually (read, all games), and if you think I am going to accept yet another advertising Trojan into my house, think again.

Re:It's pretty simple (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347841)

It's pretty simple. When publishers stop making fixed-price games, I stop buying their products. I won't pay a subscription fee for games I play casually (read, all games), and if you think I am going to accept yet another advertising Trojan into my house, think again.

I think I spent £5 on a (re-relase) of monkey island (and monkey island 2) on the iphone. I missed them the first time round. I'd glady play £5 for a re-release of sam and max, and day of the tentacle, as I don't really remember them.

I don't often get a clear half hour to sit down and play a game any more. I do get the time to do it on the phone though, waiting in queues, elevators, etc. I'm still waiting to get a chance to install civ4. When I was younger I spent days playing civ 1, 2 and 3, but I just don't have the time to sit in front of a computer for long enough any more.

NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347619)

Not if they put out the content WoW has been putting out.

40 hours, whaaaaat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347625)

Daniel Kim.. what fucking world do you live in where $60 games deliver 40 hour experiences and then you can just go get another new game that does the same?

I mean, my first game was an RPG. My favorite genre is still RPG. So I'm well aware that they can. But I'm not under some illusion that such games dominate the market.. Batman, Assassin's Creed. They're like 20 hour experiences if I drag my ass a little.

Zero Day DLC (5, Insightful)

OutLawSuit (1107987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347655)

I have no problem with $60 games or even DLC. The problem I have is $60 games with zero day DLC (like Mass Effect 3). It's obvious that many developers are starting to use it to discreetly jack up the price of the core game. Then to add insult to injury, they claim it was never intended to be part of the core game despite the files already being physically on the disk.

If developers were just honest, I wouldn't have much of a problem with the practice. Instead, they're trying to play us for idiots.

Re:Zero Day DLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347837)

I beat Mass Effect 3. Now, it is bullshit when they jack up the prices for core content by releasing it as DLC.. but.. I completely missed the Prothean Squadmate in my first playthrough (I have the digital deluxe edition). And I got a good ending too, though if I had more war assets my shepard probably would have survived. Ah well.

tl;dr, the dlc is really not that important whatsoever (in the case of mass effect 3's day one DLC).

The real problem is the DLC model. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347663)

60$ wasn't an issue years ago when I knew that this would give me the full game and support for many years with some games. Then a year or two later, you could buy an expansion pack that added valuable content. These days, you buy a 60$ game where you get an "advertisement" in-game to buy a DLC if you want to do a certain quest(Dragon Age). Then you can expect all sorts of cheap DLC instead of worthy content. Our games have become digital stores for digital crap that doesn't exist, and it's perfectly fine on a free to play model, but not when you pay 60$ or more.

For those with long memories (5, Informative)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347673)

Don't forget inflation when complaining about game prices.

$60 in 2010 adjusted using the unskilled wage as an index via MeasuringWorth.com:

2005: $55.30
2000: $48.60
1995: $41.00
1990: $35.30
1985: $30.40

The CPI-based results are within $1-2 of this, if you're curious. I tried to dig up some old game prices for comparison, but this information seems hard to find. Anyone know a good source?

Re:For those with long memories (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347831)

I can't give you a good source, but I can tell you what I remember seeing.

NES games typically ran at a range of $39.99 to $45 for "premium" titles. I remember seeing Super Mario Bros. 2 going for $42 about two years after it came out.

Actually, I imagine that if you could find an old archive of K-Mart/Sears/Walmart/Babbages/etc catalogs, that'd give you a pretty good rundown. This IS the internet, there's gotta be someone out there who collected those.

Re:For those with long memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347981)

I'll back that up. Although, I can remember paying $60 for Final Fantasy 3 (FF6) when it was released. Although I remember most premium titles being at $49.99 (Zelda, SF2, etc...) ... the non-premiums were closer to $39.99.

Although I distinctly remember the first NES games (when the thing was JUST released) only being about $20 to $25... but it didn't take those games long to shoot up to the $5 dollar price range. I know Super Mario 3 wasn't $30... it was in the $45-$50 range.

The prices of games - overall - really haven't kept up much with inflation thanks to all of the competition between consoles and game publishers. And now we have deals on Steam and other digital distribution services to help keep them down (or at least fall very quickly after the initial release).

Re:For those with long memories (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347959)

I remember 10+ years ago/the CD era that PC games were more of a "standard" $50 at release (with console games being the more expensive $60 or even more in the cartridge period some years before that).

I honestly don't remember what they cost during the floppy years, I was too young and games magically appeared on 10 floppies.
The best way to find release prices pre-internet might be historical copies of catalogs (sears, service merchandise, etc).
I assume someone somewhere keeps those things.

Re:For those with long memories (1)

Petron (1771156) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347997)

Don't forget inflation when complaining about game prices.

$60 in 2010 adjusted using the unskilled wage as an index via MeasuringWorth.com:

2005: $55.30 2000: $48.60 1995: $41.00 1990: $35.30 1985: $30.40

The CPI-based results are within $1-2 of this, if you're curious. I tried to dig up some old game prices for comparison, but this information seems hard to find. Anyone know a good source?

Plus add on the price of games back then. I just did a replay of some of my old classics, and finished Space Quest 3. I bought this back 1989 (release) and I remember the first time I won it. During the closing, the game authors ask you "Do you think this game was worth $49.99?". This stuck in my memory because I first said "Yeah! it was great!"... then I started to think about it. I bought the game 2 weeks ago. Fifty bucks and I won the game in 2 weeks. I quickly changed my mind and was rather disappointed that it didn't last longer. I did end up buying the sequels, so I wasn't that disappointed. but it's something to think about.

1989 game price was $50. 2012, prices went up $10... that doesn't even cover inflation. So yes, games can survive $60 price points, and thrive.

Re:For those with long memories (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348061)

"Don't forget inflation when complaining about game prices."

Let's not forget wage stagnation. Everyone forgets about the most important thing - stagnation of wages. What matters is purchasing power and that is more complicated to calculate.

The problem is the length of the games (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347675)

When I stopped buying video games, the average game took me about 60-80 hours to finish.

My friends now regularly finish games in as little 12-15 hours.

So where I paid $40 for my games, about $0.50/hour play time at best, my friends are now paying about $2-4/hour, and that's not even ten years later.

What's unsustainable is the presumption that gamers have infinitely deep pockets, or that people don't give damn about the value for their dollar if the game is "good enough." Sooner or later, things are going to crash. And the popularity of used and "old" games in the $20 bins is starting to prove that point, as are the number of $10-20 internet games.

Remember, the industry is now competing with "App" games that sell for $1-5 each. Sure "Angry Birds" doesn't have the visceral glory of the console games, but it's fun to the people who play it and it's not costing them an arm and a leg. Expect more of the same, or a major crash in the whole gaming industry.

Re:The problem is the length of the games (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347809)

I enjoy online play and I really enjoy Plants and Zombies. I've played about the same in each. P&Z is beer, the online I play is wine. Beer will never replace wine.

Re:The problem is the length of the games (4, Insightful)

firefrei (2569069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347961)

When I stopped buying video games, the average game took me about 60-80 hours to finish.

My friends now regularly finish games in as little 12-15 hours.

So where I paid $40 for my games, about $0.50/hour play time at best, my friends are now paying about $2-4/hour, and that's not even ten years later.

Three things:

(1) Good games are generally replayable. I don't like buying games that I play only once and then shit on the shelf. A good game for me is one that has enough depth and variety that I can replay it in a number of different ways and get different outcomes. For recent titles, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one that comes to mind. I can play stealth only, or entirely non-lethal, rambo style, undetected by anyone, and so on. Or I can just take more time at exploring the world and finding hidden entrances/praxis kits. Whatever works, so long as I can keep playing the same game until I'm bored. It certainly saves me money and extends the time I can enjoy the one game.

(2) I generally don't want to take 60-80 hours to finish one game. Make a game too long and you run the risk of the player becoming a bit bored and wanting to move onto something different. This is where (1) comes in handy - a shorter game with greater replayability means you won't have to wait too long for the game to reach its conclusion, then you can replay with different tactics/a new character build. If the game was crazy long, you might end up restarting with a new build before it even ends (or worse, abandon it for something fresh).

(3) $2-4/hour, not taking into account (1) and (2) is still a lot better value than most hobbies.

Re:The problem is the length of the games (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348025)

I think this is a false dichotomy between long and short games. I want "long games" that are like Oblivion or Skyrim. They let me take what I want and leave the rest, creating my own adventures as long as I care to. I want "short games" like portal, that tell me a story and don't require the obsessiveness of a 14 year old to experience in their narrative fullness.

When I stopped buying video games, the average game took me about 60-80 hours to finish.

My friends now regularly finish games in as little 12-15 hours.

So where I paid $40 for my games, about $0.50/hour play time at best, my friends are now paying about $2-4/hour, and that's not even ten years later.

Good Cheap/Indie Games? (1)

tirefire (724526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347709)

In the past I have been less than perfect about paying for the PC games I play, mostly because $50 and even $60 games seem overpriced for what they are. But I would definitely pay a reasonable price (
Does anyone have any suggestions or links to a sort of "Gamespot of Indie Games"? I don't even know where to start.

Re:Good Cheap/Indie Games? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347779)

Just wait a year or so. Prices do come down, you know. And if you're playing single-player games like Skyrim, e.g., it won't even matter except that you won't understand all the jokes about taking an arrow in the knee.

Re:Good Cheap/Indie Games? (1)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348021)

I don't have the game, but I did see the cut scene, AND an explanation, and I still don't get all the jokes about taking an arrow in the knee.

olibgatory car analogy (1)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347713)

Q: Can $2.5M cars survive?
A: Of course, but you better be damn sure that it is of exceptional quality, and can accelerate 0-60 in 2.5 seconds.

I mush prefer the $60 option to free to play (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347791)

Though I'm a PC gamer - I own about 6 console games and usually just rent them...

Since I don't have enough time to play games like I used to and don't read magazines and so on I'm fine with buying the "game of the year" things for the games that kept their "good game" vibe long after the hype died. Heck I usually wait intil the game of year set with all the DLC has been out long enough to be half price.

But free to play ones stay free - with "micro" payments to make them actually fun often being required (especially for people who don't want to sink stupid amounts of time into them) rather than dropping to 25% of the release price.

Iphone/IPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347815)

I sure wish I could buy good, expansive, expensive RPGs for the Ipad and/or Iphone. Yes, there are a couple. But I'd pay $60 without blinking for an Ultima VII or a KOTOR or even a Fire Emblem. And I'm referring to quality and scale, not those names, although I'd sure buy a full-price port of any of the above.

So Australia will pay $130+ per game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347817)

Ever since the early 90's where Australia's exchange rate was approximately 50c per 1USD, we have been paying $90-$100 per game for anything and up until recently (past 5 years) some of those costs have reached $120AUD for those "blockbuster" AAA games.

Now, at this point I will have to explain that, sure it was fair enough for US-based game producers to charge us $90AUD simply because it would work out to ~$45USD. For those who are unaware, Australia's exchange rate is currently sitting at ~$1.05USD which is above parody for us and we are STILL paying that same $90 which was brought upon us back in the early 90's. So US-based game developers have been raking it in from us for the past 10 years as our $AUD continually increased.

Does this mean, that if these US companies are going to be charging extra per game, that here in Australia, we will also notice the effects and see our games reach the $130-$160AUD mark just because these companies think they can milk us for more?

If such a move was taken by these companies, I can add a guarantee that the piracy rate of all games will go up, because people will refuse to pay these prices for games which are continually getting worse from your major publishers.

Indie devs are where the real gaming is these days anyway, by gamers for gamers and without having to sell your house in order to afford them.

As long as there are suckers and fanboys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347819)

There will still be 60 dollar games.

I'm a Valve fan, I'll buy any Valve game as soon as it comes out, without waiting for discounts.

However, I'll wait for Bioshock Infinite (I think, it still looks really awesome & I might splurge) & I'm currently waiting for Skyrim to hit the 20 dollar mark.

Really? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347827)

Is this for real? I remember paying $50+ for NES games when they were new. Considering a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread costs twice what it did then, I can't help but scoff at this topic... yeah, $60 games will survive just fine in a world where a drink at a bar is $10 and tickets, drinks and popcorn to a movie (for 2) is well over $30.

the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39347925)

with this

"...buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It's going to have to change."

is less about the (high) cost than it is about the small amount of playing hours that that high cost provides... should be more like 100-150+ hrs for a $60 (at initial launch) game... and no farkin' 'downloadable' content (free OR $$) needed to get there, either.

It's not the price of the game that matters (1, Redundant)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347947)

I buy and play games because they are fun! What is killing the $60 games it's that they are not worth $60. They are the same game as the last one with better graphics more DRM and the same glitches. When you are playing a multiplayer game and can't kill your opponent when you sneak up behind them and empty all your rounds into their backs. They turn around and with one bullet you are dead. It's not a cheat it's a poor engine design because I've been at both ends of the experience.

And for the love of god I know it's EA DICE FROSTBITE or whatever company designed the game. Stop wasting my time with endless start up ads then proceed to load the game while I'm looking a a screen which is flashing LOADING..... I only have about one hour at a time to play. I have to earn a living in order to pay the $60 or more for the game so I don't have much time.

Get rid of DRM.

I bought a 300Gig HD because it made sense to load the games so I wouldn't have to wait for the slow DVD/BR.

I need to be able to sell the game since I can't return it if I don't like it or wish to purchase a new one.

I don't need any additional warning messages. They are already in the booklet that came with the game.

So basically the solution is: Fix the bugs. Don't waste my time. Let me play by getting out of my way. Get rid of DRM. I will gladly pay $60.

The Market Has Crashed Before (1)

deweyhewson (1323623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347951)

Games are drastically overpriced at $60. There is not a single other form of popular media, sans original art printings perhaps, that are at that level; not movie tickets, not albums, not movies, not books. And, as there is no shortage of games worth my time to choose from, I have been happy to wait for sales; I haven't paid more than $10 for a game in years.

The average casual game is priced from $1-$10 on iOS or Android, with most falling on the low end of that. One could say that those games are less evolved, or less advanced, than their console/PC equivalents, and that may be true to a point. But with the average timespan of modern games continually decreasing (seeing a AAA game with an average campaign of under 10 hours is quite common), and the only real differences becoming the higher end graphics and control scheme, that justification is rapidly losing its credibility.

If indie and casual developers can make a profit creating a game on a sub-$million budget and a retail cost of $1-10, then so can the big names. I've yet to see more than a handful of "serious" games come out over the past few years that justified its eight figure budget (or more). And when you factor in the increasing reliance on DLC to nickel-and-dime the customer for content that used to be included in the retail copy, I think more and more gamers will start to see that paying $60 for a game that offers more or less the same end experience as the $10 games simply doesn't make sense.

Publishers and developers will simply have to adapt to that; otherwise, just as the gaming market has crashed before (read: Atari), it will crash again. And no amount of hand-wringing or ranting from the big names is going to change that.

Money is on mobile (1)

paulpach (798828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39347957)

As someone who is making a game myself [blockstory.net] I can say that the money is on mobile now. There are millions of people with what are essentially portable game devices, looking for something to kill time while commuting or waiting in lines. $60 is unrealistic, but $5 have the potential to get you thousands of purchases per month if you have something decent. This is particularly good for indi developers like myself, since capital investment is small in comparison to consoles, and there is already a whole cheap infrastructure in place to sell your game.

Re:Money is on mobile (1)

kloffinger (837670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348053)

Even $5 is a lot ... on the iTunes store you can get many good games for free or $1. It would have to be a very high demand / niche item to warrant that steep a tag.

Not the end of big titles, just less of them. (1)

atticus9 (1801640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348051)

I doubt their will ever be an end to the epic expensive games, like Skyrim, but the bar will be high enough that's there just going to be fewer and fewer of them. With most game developers settling for a lower price point.

Is $60 really that ridiculous? (4, Insightful)

MindPhlux (304416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348089)

I'm sort of surprised by the comments on here. I'm approaching 30, so I grew up buying games in the 'good old days' when they were ~$20-35. But if you account for inflation, is $60 really that unreasonable? I mean, I'm not mindblowingly rich, and I am pretty stingy with my money as far as just going out and dropping a 50 bill on something - but $60 for a really good game seems pretty ok. Most of the time, the $59.95 titles will have preorder sales or whatever for $45-50, and if you can wait a couple months, you can usually score top tier games for $39.95.

I'm pretty OK with paying that amount of money for good games - they usually last more than 4-6 movies lengths of entertainment, so that seems par for course as far as entertainment goes. Of course, I never spend my money on bad games - I usually find a way to errr, preview them before committing - so maybe my game buying experience is different than that of the average consumer.

Of course they can... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39348093)

Of course they can survive when the alternative is buying a $1-10 game that you don't even know will be there in the future. What are the chances that the games I download via the Xbox live service will be available to me when I upgrade to the Xbox 3 (or whatever it will be called)? What are the chances that it will be seamless and free (as in, I can continue to play both consoles with the games on them without having to "transfer" them between the two consoles because if the first Xbox is any indication there will be various glitches that will make not all 360 games work on the Xbox 3). What are the chances that they will still be even /in/ the shop? Various games have been removed from current-gen consoles due to licensing conflicts, etc. While most of the time it allows you to re-download the games if they got deleted somehow, such a policy makes it hard for late adopters to get gems that are downloadable.

My $60 (or realistically $20-30) Xbox disks will continue to play no problem for quite a while, just like my ~30 year old NES.

There are so many stupidities with the current downloadable game market to make me unlikely to spend some serious cash on them. Of course it isn't enough to stop me spending a buck or two here and there for a few downloadable only gems, but I'm not going to be spending the cash I do on disks.
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