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High Price Scare Tactics

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the dirty-pool dept.

Businesses 147

GamesIndustry.biz has comments from Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, stating that he considers the recent talk about sky high game and console prices nothing but scare tactics on the part of large publishers. From the article: "'I guess they just don't have productive tools like we have,' he went on to suggest."

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147 comments

Even higher? (3, Informative)

Oen_Seneg (673357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870212)

£35 for a newly released (PC) game is already sky-high. £5 higher and its not going to sell anywhere near as well until it drops in price. I'm not as up to date on the console situation, but I believe the cost of console games is even higher in the UK.

Not that it matters, I never buy games until 6-12 months after they've been released just because of the £10-15 price drop.

Re:Even higher? (4, Insightful)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870506)

More people need to start following your lead. If you see a game that's priced out of the norm £40 for the UKers, $55-$60 for the Americans, etc...skip it.

I don't care how good the game is or how long you've been waiting. Wait until the price drops, then rush the store. We've been paying artificially high prices for games for a long time. Last year, some publishers finally got smart, and gave us discount games like Katamari Damacy, Gungrave: Overdose and the ESPN sports titles.

Reward the good companies willing to stick their neck out like that, and punish the ones just trying to stick their hands out into your wallet.

Eventually, the publishers will notice that there are pathetic sales for the games in their first weeks out of the game, and phenomenal numbers after the price drop. Then maybe they'll get it.

Maybe.

Re:Even higher? (5, Interesting)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870612)

Nah,

You gotta buy the game at that price.

If good games cost less, they would already cost less. The market is already adjusted to the optimum price to support the greatest numebr of users and the industry.

Re:Even higher? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871136)

The price hasn't changed in a long time, and there have been no attempts to change the mainstream prices significantly, so we can't possibly know if the current games price is the optimum price or not. The market is constantly growing and changing after all; most significantly, it is getting older.

Re:Even higher? (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871275)

That's just not true.

PC game prices have changed. 3 years ago PC game prices were on par with console game prices. Developers realized that they weren't selling at that price though, and now the typical PC game sells for $35 instead of $49. (Blizzard and LucasArts seem to be the exception to the rule. They must put crack in their games because people buy them at any price they stick on the box.)

This EA exec seems to forget that there's more to games than gameplay and graphics. Any two-bit hack can whip up gameplay and graphics to some extent these days. They're becoming commodity. The costs are in the content. You'd think they'd know that having just shelled out millions for NFL licenses.

Let EA raise their prices. Every other developer on the planet that lives in the real world will eat their lunch.

Re:Even higher? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871627)

When I go to wal-mart, new game prices are typically $40 to $50. And that's wal-mart! The same is true at gamestop. There hasn't been a new PC game that I wanted for $35 basically ever. Where the hell are you buying games, and what truck did they fall of of?

Re:Even higher? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871668)

Um, EB?

Check out the New Releases section of their website [ebgames.com] . There's nothing over $40 on the list. Compared to console games that all start and end at $49.99 for new releases... Wal-Mart is usually $5 less than any EB price. (Again, Blizzard and LucasArts titles excluded)

Re:Even higher? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871739)

That's interesting, I clicked on "next page" before I found a single game I consider worth buying: "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II with Bonus! Released on 2/8/2005" for $49.99. Every other game there is craptacular! Hell, one of the items is an expansion pack for The Sims 2 that costs $35 on its own! Now THAT is ridiculous. Thank you for proving my point for me. A-List games are still fifty bucks; nothing has changed since console games went down from $50-70 to $40-50.

Re:Even higher? (1)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871904)

Might it just be because February/March are usually pretty baren when it comes to A-List games?

Re:Even higher? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872187)

Sure, it could be, but the fact that the only A-List game on there is a rerelease with some "special" content and still costs $50 is a pretty strong indicator. It doesn't necessarily prove anything on its own, I admit. It does, however, support my experience.

Re:Even higher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11872272)

Why did you preface what you typed with the non-word "um"? You do realize how comment submission works? You get to form your thoughts and write them down. Then, you may look at them and correct any mistakes you may have made. Using "um" makes you look stupid or just plain rude by taking a condescending tone. Shape up or ship out.

Re:Even higher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11875017)

"Um" indicates interruption/interjection here, the person completely disagrees with the train of thought exhibited in the original post. It's another way of saying "You're wrong", usually followed by arguments that completely destroy the theory brought forth by the original poster or at least alter the proof in a significant way so that another, radically different conclusion is reached.
Is is indeed rude because it implies that the original poster is of lesser intelect for not including these arguments in first place.

Re:Even higher? (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871895)

About Blizzard and LucasArts: Blizzard has a strong history of very good games. Even the games that have issues, they do everything they can to fix them, and their most broken game in recent years, WoW, was only broken because it sold far better than they ever dared dream, not because it was an overall bad game.

LucasArt's big titles are mostly Star Wars, which is among the biggest brand names around. Time has been you could slap Star Wars on just about anything and see an increase in sales.

Trip Hawkins Mows My Lawn (5, Insightful)

King Fuckstain (864155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870691)

" More people need to start following your lead. If you see a game that's priced out of the norm £40 for the UKers, $55-$60 for the Americans, etc...skip it."
If more people waited 6-12 months to purchase a game, the length of time before the publishers dropped the price would just increase. You should be encouraging fewer people to wait 6-12 months. The more people who buy the game on the first day it is released, the faster the publisher will drop the price.
"Last year, some publishers finally got smart, and gave us discount games like Katamari Damacy, Gungrave: Overdose and the ESPN sports titles."
Bargain games are not exactly a new innovation. The only difference is that now major publishers are taking a cue from the cheapie companies and considering development costs when pricing their games.
"Reward the good companies willing to stick their neck out like that, and punish the ones just trying to stick their hands out into your wallet."
Stick their neck out? Yes. Not putting their hands into your wallet? No. The $20 price point some companies are releasing games at is merely an attempt to take a product that they don't believe will sell well at $50 and make it more of an impulse buy at $20. At the end of the day, they all want to get into your wallet and would be happy to it empty.
"Eventually, the publishers will notice that there are pathetic sales for the games in their first weeks out of the game, and phenomenal numbers after the price drop. Then maybe they'll get it."
The market functions nothing like you think it does. The companies want to meet a certain target of units moved at the $50 price point - calculated by market research. Once they believe that they've sold all the copies they're going to sell at $50, they'll lower the price. Waiting will merely lead to the company waiting longer because their research shows the game needs to sell X number of copies before they will lower the price. Look at the cost of Mac games and how long it takes for the price to be reduced on those - it's quite a long time. Then, look at the EA Sports line of games for the PC. Those are reduced in price much more quickly than the same products on the consoles because EA believes fewer people are destined to buy at the $50 price point.

Finally, a post on Slashdot telling people not to buy games is going to in no way have any impact on an international marketplace, ever. God Bless.

Re:Trip Hawkins Mows My Lawn (5, Interesting)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870946)

"If more people waited 6-12 months to purchase a game, the length of time before the publishers dropped the price would just increase. You should be encouraging fewer people to wait 6-12 months. The more people who buy the game on the first day it is released, the faster the publisher will drop the price. "

Wrong, doom3 dropped their price in less than 6 months, halflife 2 is still going for 60+, they both sold about the same in the first few weeks/months.

"Waiting will merely lead to the company waiting longer because their research shows the game needs to sell X number of copies before they will lower the price."

No waiting will ensure that they go broke if noone buys the game at their artificially inflated 50+ dollar price...

Do the math, 1 million games sold at 50 bucks, or 5 million sold at 20-30 dollars, which generates more profit?

When you make the games affordable so anyone can buy them you will reduce piracy and generate bigger interest in the game.. anyone remember this little title called Serious Sam? How about it's sequel...

----------------
I consider myself a liberal, does that count?

Re:Trip Hawkins Mows My Lawn (1)

King Fuckstain (864155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871125)

"Wrong, doom3 dropped their price in less than 6 months, halflife 2 is still going for 60+, they both sold about the same in the first few weeks/months."
This does not prove my statement "wrong", as you so boldly state. The publisher has a target number that they believe their product will sell. Apparently the publishers of Doom 3 had a lower target number than the publishers of Half Life 2 - nothing earth-shattering there. Furthermore, I've seen Half-Life 2 for $40, so your statement isn't even factually correct.
"No waiting will ensure that they go broke if noone buys the game at their artificially inflated 50+ dollar price..."
First of all, it's not artificially inflated. Why do you believe the price is artifically inflated? $50 is what the market will support. That's not an artificial inflation. Do you even know what that term means? I do not believe you do. Second of all, yes - they would go broke if "no one" bought the game at $50. The fact is, people buy games at $50.
"Do the math, 1 million games sold at 50 bucks, or 5 million sold at 20-30 dollars, which generates more profit?"
What about 3 million sold at $50 and 2 million sold at $20-30; which makes more profit? Your example is idiotic.
"When you make the games affordable so anyone can buy them you will reduce piracy and generate bigger interest in the game.. anyone remember this little title called Serious Sam? How about it's sequel..."
The prices of games are set by the publisher at a price point where they believe they can make the most profit. This price point is based on what people expect and the likelihood of people buying a game at that point and the percentage of people likely to pirate the game at that price point. Your rantings on Slashdot have a bit less weight than the research department at any major game publisher. I'd appreciate it if you were to respond with factual arguments instead of your ramblings based on no data or evidence, even anecdotal.

Re:Trip Hawkins Mows My Lawn (1)

Scott7477 (785439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872846)

The price that game developers charge has zero to do with their cost of developing games. It is primarily based on how much the marketers have calculated that parents are willing to pay to satisfy the demands of their 12-17 year old sons versus how many games they need to sell to cover the development costs of the console platform.
Since the console prices are below cost to get you to buy the system, the console maker and the game developers make it up in the prices for the individual games.

Re:Trip Hawkins Mows My Lawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871321)

Funny? Who modded this funny? Man, Slashdot blows.

Re:Trip Hawkins Mows My Lawn (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875084)

Games that don't sell as well drop in price much faster. Consider how long the Half-Life and Sims bundles stayed at the standard retail price vs. lesser known games such as Perimeter and Arena Wars. Or how quickly the price for Beyond Good & Evil dropped. The price will stay up as long as enough people buy it, at least for PC games the prices drop as demand goes down. Console games seem to do this much less, worst offender being the Gamecube which usually won't see price drops until the games hit the clearance bin or are reissued as Gamer's Choice which doesn't happen with niche titles. Kinda stupid to see the system most geared towards the kids with little cash have the highest prices...

Re:Even higher? (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871523)

I've been doing this for quite some time now. Unless it's a must have, 5-star game, I wait till it drops below $30 or even $20 if possible. Games should not cost $50 unless it was some huge game like Final Fantasy that had nearly 200 staff members. Don't give me that they won't make enough money bullshit either....look at movies. The average movie costs right around $20, yet they cost 10-100 times as much to produce than your average video game. They'll charge you as much as we let them get away with.

Re:Even higher? (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871940)

I'm not sure that this is exactly correct.
For one, there are a lot more middle men in game sales. For an average game, you have the costs of development (which is quite high for most of the newer games that sell well). Then you have the cost for the publisher, the licensing fee for the console manufacturer, and the retailer markeup.
For a movie, you basically have the cost to make the movie, which is made up with ticket sales (AFAIK there is not much of a markup on ticket prices at movie theaters, who make most of their profit on concession stand items and pre-show advertisments).

Blame simple economics. (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873455)

This is simple economics; economists would refer to this as 'price discrimination'. The basic idea is to charge everybody as much as they're willing to pay for it. Now, they can't interview you beforehand and ask 'how much are you willing to pay' like that and get a valid answer and hope to sell it to you at that price, so they do this instead. Some people are obviously willing to pay $$$$$ for a new computer game. Some aren't. So, they keep a good sky-high price for a month or two, and then drop the price down gradually so the next set of people who want it are willing to get it, until it ends up in the $5 bargain bin.

Re:Even higher? (1)

qurk (87195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874275)

I agree, theres been a lot of titles I was raring up to buy, then I noticed the price, did some budgeting...and decided to do the responsible thing. One of those times I picked up Katamari Damashi. Is story of how I picked up one of the best games in my collection.

Otherwise I am likely to buy used, or off ebay. Good for me, good for the guy who bought first, bad for the publisher.

Seriously, theres like 10 games I want real bad right now but can't afford. Y's, import Dragon Quest and Tales games, Xenosaga (should beat first tho), Star Ocean (1 and 3), and like maybe a dozen other just in the RPG genre. My next favorite genre would be shooter games...and the local stores don't even have a lot of the domestics. Heck even though we are making a case for Katamary Damashi, the local (30 miles away) store doesn't carry that for some reason, even a couple months ago, when I was gonna pick up a couple as Christmas presents.

If I remember, which I probably will, I'll pick them up if not new, then on Ebay in a few years. If not in 10 years when all these cd and dvd games are like snes roms to download.... which is pretty pathetic. Been pricing Super Famicons though. Gonna start picking up my favorites, just cause to my mind it's cool.

Still none of this money is going to the publishers, and frankly they still have the rights. Someone still owns the rights to Y's book 1 and 2 and Y's book 3 on Turbo. If they put those games out right now, for PS2, not even enhanced, for 20 bucks for both, I would be able to afford one of them at least next time, on an impulse buy, and not even feel guilty about it!

Re:Even higher? (1)

Red Moose (31712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871392)

It's not that bad. AMiga games in 1990 cost £24.99 so given inflation, it's not too shabby.

We have a lot more inflation in uroland, withnew games costing 60 or even 70.

Re:Even higher? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875126)

Games costing more than 60 Euros??? WTF... The last time I've seen that was Enter the Matrix. Or maybe some games coming with extra junk but never a plain game.

Re:Even higher? (1)

MatW (842555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874683)

Agreed why spend so much for games when you could be making better investments? I usually wait at around 6-12 months as you said before I purchase a game.

Wow. (3, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870322)

"There's no question that the graphics are going to be a huge upgrade," he commented. "You know, people are such snobs, with this 'oh, it's not about graphics' thing. That's such nonsense. It's totally about graphics. What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

Well, duh. When your pony's one trick is looking good, you're not about to go trumpeting the virtue of speedy ponies, strong ponies, or clever ponies, are you?

I mean, c'mon. Take a look at the content of Epic Games' front page navigation box:

  • Unreal Championship 2
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Unreal Championship
  • Unreal 2
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Unreal
  • Unreal Engine
  • Unreal Developer Network
  • Unreal Technology Site
  • Epic Classic Games

This is akin to the VP of 3DO saying, "Of course it's about little plastic military figurines--and anyone who says otherwise is just a jerk with a silver spoon up his ass!"

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870868)

epic megagames used to make the best games i'd ever played. titles like jill of the jungle and epic pinball will stay with me forever. not to mention the still-well-pirated jazz jackrabbit series.

one day they came out with unreal, and epic jsut stopped being so cool. shur, 3d fps games are all the rage, but unreal was just so... singular. and serious. the older epic games were friendly and fun, and had such variety even within the individual games. the only reason people really play unreal is because its the only half decent deathmatch style game for lans.

i miss the old epic games. they were epic.

Re:Wow. (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871473)

This happens pretty much anytime a company gets big. It's like once you cross some magic money line, the whole business starts going to shit. Look at Gateway and Dell...I remember 10 years ago Gateway actually making some decent PC's look at what happened to them...and the current Dell is quickly following in their footsteps.

Re:Wow. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875149)

I feel like an outsider for not pirating JJ1 or 2, I had both of them original...

Back then I remembered Epic as the company with the bad graphics and awesome music, as opposed to Apogee with their better graphics but uninteresting sound (best demonstration: Kiloblaster vs. Raptor). Too bad their newer games don't sound as good anymore. UT99 had some good tracks and the Hyperblast theme from UT2004 is awesome but the rest is mediocre...

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870870)

The problem is the games were much more playable when the graphics were shit. Now everyone (game developers) think they can substitute great graphics for gameplay when I'd rather play shitty old Thief/Thief II than HALO/DOOM III. After killing 100 aliens/monsters/whatthefuckevers it gets a bit repetitive. Programming for a living is repetitive enough, how about some innovative games?

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871015)

I'm not sure what your list is meant to imply. If you mean that Epic Games are all about the graphics, I need to tell you that not one of those games had cutting-edge graphics when it launched (UT2003 did, but it isn't on the list). Epic built their reputation with fast paced multiplayer shooters with crazily overpowered weapons and imaginative levels and gameplay modes - and for a fast multiplayer FPS you simply can't have cutting-edge graphics (play Doom 3 online if you don't believe me).

Unreal Engine 3 is a one trick pretty pony right now, certainly. But none of those games on the list are.

Re:Wow. (1)

Datasage (214357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871458)

Graphics matter in the sequal market. Why would you buy the same game if it didnt look better? Well maybe if it had a better story, but games like unreal dont have a story to start with.

But generally there is a minimum level of graphics required, whats more important is the art. Case in point EQII vs WoW. Sure EQ2 might have the better graphics engine, but it looks like crap.

Re:Wow. (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874596)

Epic is, actually, the exception. UT2k4 has the same graphics and models as UT2k3 - all the new sequel stuff is new game content - vehicles, gametypes, maps, etc. As a result, UT2k4 is the most overstuffed multiplayer game I've ever seen (outside of MMOs).

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11873673)

Actually, Unreal Championship 2 has quite an innovative approach. Sort of a FPS-meets-Fighter meme, or so I heard.

Re:Wow. (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875041)

It is all about the graphics when you want to sell the game.
Customers only care about the gameplay after they've gone through the "Oooohhhh that looks awesome" phase.

Bullshit (3, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870329)

The last thing I need is EA dictating what the rest of the video game industry's need. What EA doesn't tell you is that the $50 cazillion budget incorporates fees paid to the NFL for exclusivity player licenses. It also includes lawyer compensation expenses.

Gamers aren't fucking stupid. If only big name companies with a trillion dollar budget can make a PS3 game, this is the end of the industry as we know it.

Re:Bullshit (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870503)

I doubt high costs will scare anyone off. They'll go to their respective levels and leave it at that. If that means half-assing the graphics they'll do it. I doubt we're going to see the next gen consoles fully utilized very often. Even today some of the more risky games with lower budget have graphics that are far away from the best the system could do (e.g. Katamari Damacy), not to speak of indy games.

worth it (2, Interesting)

FzArEkTaH (865743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870342)

Hardware is expensive and good developers are expensive - also gaming is growing at such a rapid rate, even with all the expense, so they know that it will sell, and if it's a good game, well worth it in my eyes.

first biaches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11870358)

first post!

Genese, SNES games $70 (3, Insightful)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870445)

Am I the only one who remembers when Strider for Genesis was and Street Fighter II for SNES was $70? Yes, they were cartridges and you could argue now that were more expensive than CD/DVDs to produce. The best bargain has got to PC games, price usually drops in half in 6-12 months. After 18-24 months they cost $20.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (2, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870556)

Am I the only one who remembers when Strider for Genesis was and Street Fighter II for SNES was $70?

No, you're not. Fact is, video games are a better deal now than they've ever been. Not only are prices for top titles surprisingly low (even before factoring in inflation!), you're getting a ton more entertainment value out of your average title than you ever did before. A game that takes ten hours to finish is considered "very short" these days. Even just ten years ago, a game that took ten hours to finish would have been considered epic in its scope.

There are plenty of things to complain about when it comes to modern games, but frankly, cost is not one of those things...

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (2, Informative)

Knos (30446) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870763)

10 years ago, rpgs such as final fantasy VI (> 30hours) or dragon quest V (> 30 hours too) were released.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (2, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870866)

...and they were considered "epic" in scale, were they not?

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11872228)

Fix your websites.

The one you link to from /. turns text light blue when you hover over it (unreadable on the background). The whole layout is fucked up as well leaving little space for actual content. And don't FUCKING open links in new windows for me, I know better when I want to do that.

The "Games" link leads to a fucked up front page where the links are hidden if I don't scroll down (no I don't have the browser window the same size as you mister web designer). Some CSS love would take care of that.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873513)

Thanks for the constructive feedback.

I've noticed that certain browsers do wonky things when you hover over the various DIVs on the page. I've reviewed my code on numerous occasions, and I'm reasonably certain that this isn't a code problem--it's a browser problem. There's nothing in the code to tell the browser to do wonky things to the div background on a mouseover.

As you're clearly upset by websites that open new browser windows, I recommend trying a browser called Mozilla Firefox, an excellent, open-source web browser that makes it trivially easy [home.ne.jp] to stop links from opening automatically in new windows once and for all. Of course, Firefox is one of the browsers that has the "blue background" bug I mentioned earlier, but I'm hopeful that they'll hash that out before too long.

As for the need to scroll down to see the navigation buttons on magicchopstick.com, that's a fair enough complaint--but I'm not gonna fix it. Neener neener.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875301)

I have a feeling the divs are catching the :hover attribute as well. After all, div is an all-purpose element so hover support doesn't surprise me.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873370)

Well, that's one way to look at it.

Another way is that Final Fantasy VI was two games, one a combat simulation and one a rather simple "move the drama forward" game. The combat game typically lasts about a minute, longer for boss fights, and I've never played VI through, but my experience with that generation of FF is that I spend a lot of time wishing the text speed went another three or four notches higher than the highest setting. Call the combat "one game" that repeats a lot and it ain't no 30 hours.

(And before you scream bloody murder about how unfair that is, consider the full implication of the phrase "another way to look at it", as opposed to, say, "you're an idiot for thinking that, here's the God-given truth". Folks, there is a difference!)

I like RPGs. I really like RPGs. But rationally speaking, I still can't figure out how two rather crappy games, a combat simulator that is usually pathetically simple (excepting boss fights, average fights are about a minute-ish), and a rather simple, often flat-out linear drama adds up to be such good fun. I wouldn't play either one alone. (I do really like Tactics style games, but note they tend to have more meat in the combat system, although not as much as I'd like so far, and I do rather find myself wishing they'd speed up, too, so animations don't eat so much f'ing time. Advance Wars with all the animations turned off royally kicks ass, though.)

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (2, Insightful)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874488)

Playing through FF6 again, right now actually. Probably the best game I've ever played...love it. This was the game that got me to apreciate just how wonderful RPGs could be. That's all I've got to say :)

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870999)

... whereas 25 years ago, we had games like Space Invaders, that had no end. Interesting how these things evolve...

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871610)

But also remember that Street Fighter 2 in the SNES was THE game in those days. It was so superior in quality to everything else in the market, that it deserved the price.

Imagine that today, Metal Gear Solid 3 was released, and the only other games released were things like Driver 3.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11875331)

Back then the games were also harder, not as geared for the mainstream who want games where you die maybe once or twice and constantly push forward, which might come from their arcade roots where more deaths and retries meant more quarters for the owner. Harder games made you replay certain sections more often. Finishing Super Metroid with 10 hours on the clock doesn't account for all the hours you spent trying. I can get through Super Mario Land in approximately half an hour but back then I was playing the game for days and days and never made it to the end. I played Super Mario World for months! But I guess the easier games nowadays influence even normal gamers and make us expect lower difficulties, I often give up very early now and few games get many tries on hard places (Ninja Five-O, Viewtiful Joe and Perimeter are recent examples). Is ADD transmittable?

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870800)

I'm dating myself, but I remember Vic-20 games that came on cassette tape which cost nearly as much. Now I'm sure the volume was a lot lower, but that's still a hell of a price to pay for only a few kilobytes of entertainment.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871445)

"I'm dating myself,"

Well, at least for you there's some romance to it. With most of us it's just about sex...

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871520)

lol... I've never thought of it that way.

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871666)

Humously?

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11871708)

Nevermind, I just got it. Clever!

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872125)

You measure entertainment in kilobytes?!

Re:Genese, SNES games $70 (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872472)

Among other ways, yes. It would be interesting to see a comparison of development cost per KB back then vs. now. Today's games cost millions to develop and take up many megabytes of space. Back then, games cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop and take up many kilobytes of space.

Of course, there's probably little practical use of such an exercise other than to satisfy my curiosity.

I'm Trying To Spot the Difference (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870464)

"We're going to make our next generation games for only 50 per cent more than our last generation games," Rein bullishly claimed

Okay, so a last-gen $50 game costs new-gen $75. That's about what previous reports said. Odd.

Re:I'm Trying To Spot the Difference (1)

Tanmi-Daiow (802793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873508)

Rein means that development prices are going to go up 50%, e.g. if a current gen game costs $5 million to develop, a next-gen game will cost $7.5 million to develop. He doesnt mean the actual game prices will be 50% higher.

Prices haven't changed much. (1)

gimpynerd (864361) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870483)

Game prices haven't changed that awfully much in the last ten years, if anything they went down. Console prices seem to be lower. I never remember being able to buy a console for $99 like the GameCube before the next generation was released.

Re:Prices haven't changed much. (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874508)

Huh? I think I get what you're trying to saying here, but almost every successful system dropped to $99 around a year before the new generation was released...

Funny, but... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11870493)

I always thought the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and its two sequels is that the first one didn't suck.

And exactly how is saying "graphics aren't everything" snobbish? If that's how we're defining the word, here is a list of other snobbish things to say:

1 - Fashion isn't everything.
2 - Syntax isn't everything.
3 - Presentation isn't everything.
4 - Make-up isn't everything.
5 - Superficial nonsense isn't everything.

Have you ever heard anything so snobbish in your entire life?

MMORPGs are replacing them anyways (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870508)

The biggest factor preventing lots of people from playing a MMORPG is cost. Many more people try out "free trials" than go on to pay the subscription fee. Companies see a MMORPG as a big cash cow and try to keep the amount of actual development done on the game to a minimum.

Open Source MMORPG projects are starting to put control back into the hands of the RPG community. Like MUDs before them, MMORPGs will one day be run by a community of volunteers. If players choose to pay those volunteers then all the better.

The biggest thing holding this back is the creation of art: maps, character models, items, 2d graphics. There's a new project LessShift [freeartfoundation.org] to develop this art. Will you help?

Re:MMORPGs are replacing them anyways (1)

lfrandom (858433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870939)

I really doubt that MMORPGs will be run by volunteers in the future. First off, a lot of the most popular MMORPGs are based off of copyrighted works (Star Wars anyone). All of the open source MMORPGs I have seen are way scaled down versions of non-open source games.

Re:MMORPGs are replacing them anyways (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870995)

Well, obviously the MMORPGs run by volunteers will be different to the MMORPGs run by corporations. After all, you'd hope so wouldn't you? You have to actually have some experience with MUDs and some vision of the future that is beyond what is happening right now to see how different gaming will be when there are over 1000 subscription free MMORPGs to choose from. I think it will be a pretty cool time.

Re:MMORPGs are replacing them anyways (1)

lfrandom (858433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873316)

I'm not saying that it won't be a pretty cool time, I just doubt that we will get their in the near future.

Re:MMORPGs are replacing them anyways (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874686)

Crossfire [real-time.com] has been around for years. It is not a clone. The graphics aren't great, but like I said, it's been around for years. The gameplay is awesome. If you like nethack and the older Ultimas, you'll probably like this gauntlet-like MMORPG.

Fairly standard (4, Insightful)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870514)

It seems to be a fairly standard business practice these days. Make suggestions that your product could go up in price and people subconsciously start preparing to pay more. That's also why new technologies are always expensive ("it'll be expensive to start because of economics of scale but will come down in price soon", then end up with $50 games and $30+ DVDs). It works, so why shouldn't they push it a bit more?

Damien

Re:Fairly standard (1)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874560)

They're talking about publisher costs, not end-user costs. I highly doubt that prices are going to return to the highs seen in the pre-PSX days, simply because publishers don't want to price themselves out of the mainstream acceptance they've been working on for two decades.

What might happen is that bigger publishers will concentrate their funds on fewer titles at a time, or license more of their development, and by that I mean spend some money for the "keep cliffyb in hair dye and trendy t-shirts" fund.

Console Jihad (0, Troll)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870620)

Scare tactics... provided by Jee Dubya, the master.

Is it going to be a holy war of t3h games?

Kismet... wow! (5, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870900)

Everyone's commenting on the cost issue, but the full interview [gamesindustry.biz] has some really great stuff about the Unreal 3 engine. Here's a snippet regarding Kismet, the scripting environment within the engine:
I have a great quote from one of our team, actually, which describes it perfectly. He's one of our level designers who posted on a private development forum, describing what his working life is like now with Kismet.

They were talking about Unreal Engine 3, and what he said was; "Nothing to do with graphics actually - the tools just ooze creative inspiration. I've never scripted or coded in my life, but our visual scripting - which I know is not an entirely new concept - is a fucking blast to work with. I've created levels with entire mini-games in them, AI behaviours, damage systems depicting various stun events and healing, cinematics, bizarre control schemes, even physically rolling dice telling me totals based on the angle of the surfaces facing upright when the object's velocity reaches zero, which I check every 0.5 seconds."

"I've even coded a random level generator and I've needed virtually no interaction with anyone on the code side to make this work. We've had level designers implementing a fighting game in a level, a driving game with chase cam and effects, targeting systems and etc, with incredibly low learning curve. You could walk into a room in a deathmatch level and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a Dance Dance Revolution mini-game."

"Just last week a potential licensee was in-house, and described the game they wanted to build and how one of their critical game mechanics was going to work. Literally within five minutes they looked over my shoulder, I'd built that core dynamic into a level of our game. The demo went incredibly well to say the least. "

"Typically, I'll sit down with a new recruit, a designer with no scripting experience, for about two hours, and show them the basics of Kismet - how triggers work, characters, toggles, cinematic systems, conditions, variables and so on. Then I'll give them about a day to screw around with it. Within a day I'll see some absurd crap" ... Ah, I'm replacing swear words here! [laughs] "...happening in their levels that would have been an absolute nightmare to get going otherwise, even if they could describe what they were actually looking for to a programmer - and that communication would no doubt affect the outcome anyway."

"The bottom line is that engine tools dramatically affect your creative process, and our engine has been designed with far more in mind than just pretty shadows."

With all the new games requiring a dozen programmers or so, will technologies like this bring back the concept of the one or two person commercial game? Artwork is obviously still a major hurdle, but there are many places to purchase models if you need to. And, finally, anyone know if this will be available for mod developers with the next Unreal game, or only to those who fork over the big bucks for an engine license?

Re:Kismet... wow! (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872194)

Thanks for pointing this out...

I really want to slap the article poster for only pointing out the sound byte of the interview.

Unreal Engine 3 is shaping up to be a very good next-gen engine. The designers have close to 10 years of development invested in this, which is more than you can say for Source. The only company with more experience I'd say is id. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)

Re:Kismet... wow! (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872438)

The designers have close to 10 years of development invested in this, which is more than you can say for Source. The only company with more experience I'd say is id.

Then again, isn't the Source engine based upon Quake 2/3? At any rate, Unreal 3 is quite impressive. When I saw the screenshots, all I could think of was the announcer saying "Holy Shit!"

Re:Kismet... wow! (1)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874526)

Source is based on lessons learned from the HL engine (which was based on Quake with about 50 lines or so from Q2), not actual code from any preexisting engine.

Re:Kismet... wow! (2, Funny)

greyhoundpoe (802148) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873028)

"You could walk into a room in a deathmatch level and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a Dance Dance Revolution mini-game."

I sure hope they fix that bug soon.

Re:Kismet... wow! (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874646)

No. Because no matter how easy it is to make gameplay, the meat of the work is still in the content. Modelling is hard, painful, tedious work.

The competition (2, Interesting)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11870929)

If they do this, they'll have a lot of competition from the used games market. It's not just mega-collectors like me with 2000+ games for a couple dozen systems who won't pay high prices (I wait until new games go down in price anyhow), but the average punter who heads down to the used games shop and has lots of low-priced used games to choose from. Not that everybody will go for it, but a lot will.

After all, what do you think Steam is all about? It's about killing the used games market, though too little and too late.

My Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11870965)

After a new game system comes out I nefariously wait several years before purchasing it. That way I'm able to get it at a serious bargain!

I finally just got around to buying a brand new PS1 and a N64. Now I just need someone to tell me what the top 20 games are for each one.

Re:My Strategy (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11872214)

Game #1 for the N64: Conker's Bad Fud Day.
There might be a few others worth mentioning on the system, but I could never find them.

Re:My Strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11874458)

that's because you're a fucking jew. fuck you asshole.

"oh, look at me - i'm so smart, i just bought a ps1." that doesn't make you smart asshole - that makes you cheap and it's a crime that should be punishable by torture, fuckstain. goddammit, shove it up your ass you dumb fuck.

Re:My Strategy (2, Funny)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874644)

Still haven't bought a PS1 ...lol....I'm waiting for the PS2 to go down to $99 or less and just skipping it altogether ;)

With All Due Respect to Mark (2, Insightful)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871222)

Would anyone expect him to say anything else? Epic is shopping Unreal 3 around to licensees. So ... do you think we would say something like "your production budget will go through the roof" or will he say something like "our tools are going to save you money while you make big games"?

WTF? (4, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11871289)

"You know, people are such snobs, with this 'oh, it's not about graphics' thing. That's such nonsense. It's totally about graphics. What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

This is a comment from a person who obviously never actually plays the games, just looks at marketing material and screenshots.

The difference between MGS and MGS3 is mainly in the minor changes made to gameplay. Camoflage. Food. Survival. The "outdoors" world. These are mostly small, but they have a huge impact on the way you play the game. (There are also the enhancements to gameplay from MGS2, but these are also minor.)

Sure, the graphics are nice, but you could have made this game for the PSX with its crappy graphics and pretty much had the same compelling experience.

Who are you going to trust on this? Some VP from a 2nd-rate development house, or Hideo Kojima?

Graphics are nice. Gameplay is king.

Re:WTF? (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874666)

Really, I always thought the gameplay got worse with each progressive Metal Gear they released...lol

*It's not a troll, it's an opinion...

Re: High Priced Scare Tactics (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873023)

"'I guess they just don't have productive tools like we have,' he went on to suggest."

That's not a nice way to refer to your employees.

Yeah, that's right, its all about the graphics... (1)

Wraithfighter (604788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873421)

"What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!" Well, that, and: 1: A first person camera mode that allowed you to shoot enemies with great preciscion. 2: A Camoflauge system that allowed you to hide from your enemies in a more sensible way. 3: Plot. 4: Main characters (Snake to Raiden to Big Boss) 5: Persistant bodies, requiring some forethought before killing every enemy in sight. 6: Tranqualizer darts, allowing you to go through the game without killing anyone (its hard, but possible). 7: Enemy guards radioing for backup. 8: Numerous weapon changes. 9: Several improvements to melee combat. 10: Several different ways to move around (hanging from rails, for example) There are more, of course. The impact of the gameplay enhancements is shown in the Gamecube release of MGS1. Yes, the graphics are better, but many of the gameplay additions introduced in MGS2 are there, making it a different game, which shows in the fact that the FPS camera makes the game a LOT easier. Graphics are the least important aspect of video games. Otherwise, everyone would be playing War3 instead of Starcraft. Sure, its nice to have some eye candy, but you won't keep playing the game for twenty hours just to look at the pretty images. Its the bait. The gameplay is the hook.

Re:Yeah, that's right, its all about the graphics. (1)

Wraithfighter (604788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873447)

(sorry for the lack of paragraphs. Here's a paragraphed version)

"What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

Well, that, and:

1: A first person camera mode that allowed you to shoot enemies with great preciscion.

2: A Camoflauge system that allowed you to hide from your enemies in a more sensible way.

3: Plot.

4: Main characters (Snake to Raiden to Big Boss)

5: Persistant bodies, requiring some forethought before killing every enemy in sight.

6: Tranqualizer darts, allowing you to go through the game without killing anyone (its hard, but possible).

7: Enemy guards radioing for backup.

8: Numerous weapon changes.

9: Several improvements to melee combat.

10: Several different ways to move around (hanging from rails, for example)

There are more, of course.

The impact of the gameplay enhancements is shown in the Gamecube release of MGS1. Yes, the graphics are better, but many of the gameplay additions introduced in MGS2 are there, making it a different game, which shows in the fact that the FPS camera makes the game a LOT easier.

Graphics are the least important aspect of video games. Otherwise, everyone would be playing War3 instead of Starcraft. Sure, its nice to have some eye candy, but you won't keep playing the game for twenty hours just to look at the pretty images.

Its the bait. The gameplay is the hook.

Re:Yeah, that's right, its all about the graphics. (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874684)

"[Graphics are] the bait. The gameplay is the hook.

Wow...you deserve a +5 insightful just for this one line! Good job ;)

His "Not about graphics" rant is idiotic... (2, Insightful)

BTWR (540147) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873543)

From the article:

"You know, people are such snobs, with this 'oh, it's not about graphics' thing. That's such nonsense. It's totally about graphics. What's the difference between the first Metal Gear Solid and the latest Metal Gear Solid? Right, it's - wow, the graphics!"

Technically, he's right. Metal Gear Solid (PS1) is inferior graphics to MGS3: Snake Eater (PS2). But, the REAL statement should have been:

"Why did the first Metal Gear Solid sell so well? It was an amazing game and it looked great. Why is Metal Gear Solid 3 selling so well? It's an amazing game and it looks great."

Graphics are important, true. But gameplay FAR outclasses that for gamers. Why do you think Madden games sell every year? They basically look the same every year. What they tweak is the gameplay, the techniques, the challenge, etc. The graphics are hardly improved. KOTOR (xbox) and Super Smash Brothers Melee (Gamecube) weren't anything special in the graphics department (although they are both nice looking). They were amazing games, and sold accordingly.

EA and others can't really expect this... (2, Interesting)

silentbobdp (157345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11873740)

...when I know of at least one game specialty store that's getting ready to add a "value" section on their walls EXCLUSIVELY of new titles 19.99 and under.

Further, the prices for almost all the non-EA PSP launch titles have backed down from 50$ to 40$.

The writing is on the wall and game prices are going down.

And people wonder why I play old ass games (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11874855)

It's not just because my system is on the verge of being kin to dinosaurs, it's game prices. I stopped playing console games seriously, way back in 1997 roughly. Game prices are just too high. You figure a good system, even a year after launch is still $150+. That's just the console, 1 lame ass controller, no memory card and no game. That's it. Another $30 for a second controller (unless you get a really crappy third party one cheaper), another $15+ for a memory card, and [b]1[/b] game around $40+ you're looking at $250-300 for just one system, capable of 2 player games, able to save games, with 1 game. That's outrageous. I'm sorry but all that for just a single game? Not gonna do it. Now take into consideration some of the best games are not cross platform so you're more than likely going to need 2 out of whatever big 3 systems are around (or a PC version if avaible) that's another $300 down the drain. Sure people can site the GameCube as a great price machine which it is, but it's lowered price isn't cause it's sold so well in America it's just that way so Nintendo can attempt to keep up with the popularity of the PS2 and Xbox1. Also take into consideration after you drop that $300 roughly for a system that's been out a while (less you paid the $300 on release day + prices of mem card, game and 2nd controller, you're looking at $40+ for additional games that are somewhat recent. Which leads into todays prices that are rising. I am a Walmart shopper. When I was younger I thought ya know, it's a store for poor people. Cheap stuff, discounts everywhere etc Then when I was older and got jobs and saw how much games cost at big chain stores like Best Buy or EB compared to Walmart, I saw how much department retail saved on video games. That was until all of a few years ago. I can walk into Best Buy and pick up Half Life 2 for $55 roughly, Walmart? $49.95. I'm sorry but when they used to sell for $10-15 cheaper and now you're lucky if you can get $5 at Walmart of all places. Hell a better example. Before they closed all the local K-Marts here, I went in to check their prices on Half Life 2. I go to their computer games isle and theres not many recent big name titles. Not one copy of HL2. I ask a Electronics clerk if there are any copies he tells me K-Mart never sells copies. I asked him why, and he says "There's just no way to sell them. For what we'd have to sell them no one would pay for. Since we are a very discounted store, the managers didn't figure people would pay $65 for it". I mean come on, not only would it have been $65 (2+ months after release btw) at [b]K-Mart[/b] of all places, but the fact the stores new that people wouldn't pay that much and simply could not sell them tells you something here. And as such I'm a PC gamer. Hardware upgrading aside, PC games are just as bad almost. Walmart STILL want's $50+ for Half Life 2. And sure most people say wait the 6-12 months to buy it at the reduced price. Guess what within 6 months the fucking expansion will be released and you're even further behind in the game than most people. Same for any game really; by the time you wait the obligatory time for the price to drop, EVEN at discount department stores like Walmart, something else is already released you want just as much as that game you've been waiting on. Oh look HL2 dropped to $40 but look WoW is out now. Wait on WoW to drop in price (or if you can even find it in some cases) and by then the next game you're waiting on is out. I don't know about you but i refuse to fall into this endless cycle of being 1 full game behind my friends and peers. By the time you'd get to HL2 people would be onto some other game or some new expansion which you can't buy cause you just waited on HL2's price to drop. And so on and so forth. People wonder why piracy is so rampant, here's an idea don't ask us for an arm, a leg, our soul, first born child and the last 10 years off our life in exchange for a game. I just thank whatever god there may be that I do not play EA titles nor will I ever. I'd be god damned if I was going to pay $70 fucking dollars. And yes I did own SF2 for SNES back in the day when it came out. Guess what I paid around $50, at Walmart. yea back then even $50 was alot for a game but it sure as hell beat the $69.95 Best Buy wanted for it so long ago. And not to turn this into EA bashing (cause god knows I fucking hate'em) but I can't see how they honestly retain face in the public eye. I mean they expect these high prices from customers when it's [b]common knowledge they work their employees harder than colonial cotton pickers[/b]. Little Jimmy hates those corporate suits and their high prices but he has to have that new Madden NFL 2034!
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