Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EA Boss Says Games Too Expensive

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the nice-of-you-to-notice dept.

The Almighty Buck 139

EA's John Riccitiello has been shaking things up at EA lately, with everything from layoffs to the purchase of BioWare. Now he's suggesting the company take some really drastic measures: make their games less expensive. "Riccitiello says the $31 billion gaming industry will suffer if it doesn't start to reevaluate its business model. Game executives at Sony, Microsoft and Activision must answer some tough questions in the coming years, like how long they can expect consumers to pay $59 for a video game. Riccitiello predicts the model will be obsolete in the next decade. 'In the next five years, we're all going to have to deal with this. In China, they're giving games away for free,' he says. 'People who benefit from the current model will need to embrace a new revenue model, or wait for others to disrupt.' As more publishers transition to making games for online distribution, Riccitiello says he expects EA will experiment with different pricing models."

cancel ×

139 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Cheap games would be nice but... (5, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203039)

If this is an excuse to release crappier games, count me out. These things are expensive to make and I'd rather own 3 or 4 good games that have been invested in than 10 games that were just pounded out by some off-shore devs.

Yes, I'm sure some troll with mod points will kill my karma by me stating the obvious.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

Rycochet (1006897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203191)

Try some of the cheap games, they can be very good - and the gameplay is what makes the game. If you really think that spending thousands of dollars on graphics makes a game then it's your choice whether to buy it or not.

One of my favorites is Darwinia (http://www.darwinia.co.uk/), the gameplay makes it pretty unique, and it costs almost nothing compared to these expensive ones.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (3, Interesting)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203423)

Try some of the cheap games, they can be very good - and the gameplay is what makes the game. If you really think that spending thousands of dollars on graphics makes a game then it's your choice whether to buy it or not.
It's not just the graphics as much as the overall immersion in the game, and larger budget production games generally do a better job. There are many things that can be short-cut in order to produce a lower budget game like physics, writing, voice acting, graphics, ect. All of these are a part of the experience and if any single one is done poorly, the overall experience can be ruined. I agree that cheaper games "can" be addictive, but if you want a true experience then I'd have to agree with GPP because fewer corners will be cut.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205087)

so if you want to deliver a Doom 3/Unreal 3 engine game then you need to simplify the parts more. I personally find that the original games are just tech demos.. and the original companies quickly go back to engine building, not game advancement. Perhaps they need to look at where they're spending money at.

The current trend is to spend the majority of the money on massive volumes of unique content for every level. Trying to fill 50 levels in one shot is a little unrealilstic. Perhaps they need to shorten AAA games into something more like serial novels. They have to be willing to barter their upfront investment in physics/animation/graphics engines on keeping people hooked on content. Myth is that most people sit and play a whole Doom 3 or Quake 4 beginning to end... those people have too much time and money... they aren't the public. The public buys Wii because the games are fun and short, you can play them ... an have a LIFE NOT playing games... games in their place and all that.

I don't think the current model of $60 then $35 "expansions" would work either, it feels like a rip-off. If each part (including the first, gotta take a risk guys) was $15 people would buy more games. To get the point down they'd have to bundle something as that's too little profit to sell in a box at retail. Perhaps selling collections or subscriptions, say hint/theme book with just a quick CD-ROM. Or sell monthly packs with 10 games that give you a serial key with 5 games.. and you can go online if you want the other 5 for more money.

The key focus is parting people from their money. People don't part with $60+ easily. They don't typically promise $15/month as subscriptions either (we don't always play, it's not worth it) on the other hand, the $10 - $15 is just about right for "disposable" income to a game for a few weekends. Throw in easy ways to play online or mod the game with friends and you'd have something. But you can't expect people to buy all the chapters either, each has to stand on it's own or new people won't join in the middle. Serial novels have been doing it for years.. that would be the model to figure out.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

Enlightenment (1073994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205845)

Well stated. Maybe if Valve were to cut down their development time (somehow!) and lower prices (this would follow from the shorter development time). They probably have the best shot at implementing something like this in the nearest future.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (2, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203935)

If this is an excuse to release crappier games, count me out. These things are expensive to make and I'd rather own 3 or 4 good games that have been invested in than 10 games that were just pounded out by some off-shore devs.

Yes, I'm sure some troll with mod points will kill my karma by me stating the obvious.

Amen. And would it kill them to make at least one or two games that aren't either about shooting-everything-that-moves, sports, or race cars?

If you can read this... 01110101 00100000 01110010 00100000 01100001 00100000 01101110 01100101 01110010 01100100

No no no. A 01100111 01100101 01100101 01101011, if you please.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203995)

what kind of games would you suggest?

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206179)

A simulation of a commercial nuclear plant would be cool, as would an updated version of WeatherWar.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (0, Offtopic)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204095)

Yeah, true. I've considered changing it, since "geek" is technically correct for most people. Though I have read otherwise:
Nerd: Has knowledge of obscure useful things (i.e. computers)
Geek: Has knowledge of obscure useless things (i.e. Star Trek ship design)
Dork: Just can't function in society and is completely retarded (e.g. Napoleon Dynamite)

That was a pretty comprehensive view, so I've decided to stick with it (though I couldn't find the web page now). What do you think? You think Geek and Nerd should switch places above, or is there some other way of looking at it? I've always wondered about this.

There was the old Geek code, which stated that geeks are just smart and not anywhere as bad as the horrible nerds, but it never specifically defined what a nerd was.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204207)

I've always (albeit with no scientific reasoning behind it) figured that Nerds are those who are socially inept, ashamed of it, and incapable of changing.

Geeks, on the other hand, are proud of it and wouldn't want to be any other way.

At any rate, from the usage I usually hear, "Nerd" is a derogatory comment, while "Geek" is a compliment. (Or maybe that's just the fellow weirdos I hang out with.)

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204671)

Neither is a compliment. It's never good to be socially retarded.

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (1)

Krozy (755542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204679)

01101110 01100101 01110010 01100100 00101100 00100000 01100100 01101111 01110010 01101011 00101100 00100000 01100111 01100101 01100101 01101011 00101100 00100000 01101000 01100001 01100011 01101011 01100101 01110010 00101100 00100000 01110111 01101000 01100001 01110100 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00101110 00100000 01110101 00100000 01110011 01101111 00100000 01101100 00110011 00110011 01110100

Re:Cheap games would be nice but... (2, Insightful)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205081)

If this is an excuse to release crappier games

It's probably more of an excuse to move towards a "game license" system like other too well known software products. No longer will you own the game, you'll only own a license to play it on your machine and you'll have to continue to pay a monthly fee to play it. Sound familiar? Games will stop being on a disc and companies will start distributing them via download play only.

After all, the resale of their games really kills them. Sure, I pay $50-60 for a game but I can turn it around for $35-45, costing me about $15 to play. So, now, they can move to a download system (all the current gen consoles have internet connection, so I cannot see the next-gen skipping it and PC's have had it forever), so you can pay $10 for a game per month or something. There's probably a lot more people who will pay $10 to play a game in one month than who will buy a $60. This concept isn't too far from the Virtual console (and Live/PS3 store, though I have no experience with those).

I don't doubt that's coming soon. How good or bad it will be, my crystal ball is too foggy. There are also other business models that can come about like micro-transactions and ad. supported games. I wouldn't doubt these new business models being tried on on consoles in not too long.

If the guy's just saying "lets lower the cost of games!" then I'm all for it, but that's not very business savvy, so I know there's a catch.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Suggested tag: itsatrap (2, Insightful)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206561)

> People who benefit from the current model will need to embrace a new revenue model, or wait for others to disrupt.

It's far more insidious than that. This is EA, the company known for (among other things) taking things that used to be standard features -- stripping them out -- then trying to sell them to you via micropayments. That is a "new revenue model". Sell the game cheap. Only it isn't the whole game. Most of the cool parts aren't there. Then you get nickeled and dimed to death buying the game that was supposed to be the game you just bought. Getting in is so easy, then you need more ... more ... more ... That would be a great new revenue model -- for EA. It's only the same model used by drug dealers :)

Or how about charging people annual fees? Instead of 'buying' the game, you're only ever renting it. Want to put 150 hours on Disgaea 7? Well, gee, that gets kind of expensive. You should have played the 30 free hours that come with it, then bought the next one. Duh!

I for one do NOT welcome our new revenue model overlords. Call me crazy, but I'll stick with the devil I know. Here is my money -- now get out of my face and let me play *my* game. I have no interest in playing a "lower" price to be allowed to rent from you. You don't get to tell me how many times I can install the game, you don't get to tell me the game's not allowed to run because I haven't paid my subscription. And take those in-game ads and shove em where the sun don't shine (anyplace in your corporate headquarters should do fine, I suspect, what with all the blood-sucking vampires working out of the facility). *

* -- Note the presence of a teensy bit of exaggeration. In-game ads make sense in some instances -- but if I ever have to eat a Whopper to heal in Final Fantasy, I'll have to break out the can o' whup-ass.

Only in China... (0, Troll)

gringer (252588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203053)

Ah, good thing they're only making free games in China. Imagine the uproar if there were free [happypenguin.org] games [linuxgames.com] available elsewhere!

Re:Only in China... (2, Funny)

FataL187 (1100851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205017)

Yes but the games from china come covered in lead pixels!!

lol (2, Insightful)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203059)

And stripping online support of expensive games to force them to buy new versions is a worse tactic. Pot kettle EA!

I never did. (2, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203087)

...how long they can expect consumers to pay $59 for a video game.

I only shop for games in the bargain bins. The most I've ever paid for a game was $10. And I save the cost of having to upgrade my machine every, what, six months.

Re:I never did. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203215)

There have been so many games coming out recently that I can't keep up with them. If a game is online multiplayer, I tend to buy it on the release day for the release price. If a game is single player or off-line only, I am more likely to wait until I can buy a used copy for half the price or a little more.

Re:I never did. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21206231)

I don't buy used but i must say that PC price drops and for the consoles platinum hits (xbox/MS), greatest hits (PS/Sony), and players choice (nintendo) are godsends. Unless I really want a game or its a great value like orange box I wait for the price drops.

Re:I never did. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206411)

I've paid $59 for a few of my games. But those were good games. Games that gave me 50+ hours of play time just to beat that. Compare that to buying a movie on DVD for $15, where even if I watch it 5 times, I sill only get 10 hours out of it. A good game should be able to give you 100 hours of play without getting bored, and without having to do repetitive stuff. What we really need to stop is having every game cost $59. I find it very disappointing that all the games cost the exact same amount, even though we all know they didn't cost the same amount to develop, or offer the same amount of enjoyment. I've seen a few cheaper titles, many on the Wii, which is great, but I think that a lot of companies haven't quite caught on yet. I have no problem buying games that aren't epic games, provided they charge the right amount for them.

Not this old trope! (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206521)

And I save the cost of having to upgrade my machine every, what, six months.
Yes yes.. very relavent to conversations FROM THE LAST DECADE. Dude.. computers don't change anywhere near as fast as they used to - I can get a machine now for $1000 dollars that will last me through the end of this decade, and probably into 2011.


I assembled my current box from parts of the old with a few upgrades - new proc and mobo, 1.5 gig of ram, and a new video card. I remember looking at this seething pile of power with a wistful sorrow - because I was leaving for a year in Europe a month later, and my box was staying home - and would be useless when I returned. When I got back - my specs were still above the recomended minimums.. fast forward another year - I'm just starting to think I may need more ram and a new graphics card - to stay way above spec.



I'll admit, I don't vigourously pursue the newest graphics card - those come out with trivial upgrades much more often - but the performance growth isn't significant. (IM~HO).

Anyway - the point is the upgrade cycle is the same as a console about 1x every 2.5 years.



-GiH

Re:Not this old trope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21207605)

I can get a machine now for $1000 dollars that will ...
Sweet screaming Jesus! Where do you live that your dollars cost you one thousand dollars?
 

Re:Not this old trope! (0)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207709)

Perhaps he works for Verizon. $1000 dollars is like $10,000,000.00 cents, right?

Stop licencing sports then (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203145)

I expect the cost of licencing NBA, FIFA, Nascar, NFL, Tiger Woods etc. far, far, far, far outweighs the costs of actual game development. Perhaps if EA wants to make a cut costs they'll relinquish their exclusive deals. Let some other company bear the weight of forking out for some exclusive franchise plough the savings into making decent titles.

Interestingly the NBA & NHL both allow multiple game franchises and probably each is better for it.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (2, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203227)

Licensing gives them far more sales than the licenses cost. If anything that's the *smartest* move they can make. Sports games, while no piece of cake to produce, have costs that are far less than, say, an RPG like Final Fantasy. How many stadiums do you have to make to satisfy your players, vs. how many entire WORLDS the RPG would need to have?

No, better spend $20M licensing + $5M producing mass-market game with millions of sales, than to spend $50M making an epic hardcore-gamer game that's going to top out a a few hundred thousand.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203263)

Licensing gives them far more sales than the licenses cost.

That may well be so, in which case why bitch about development costs when they are not the major source of expenditure?

Re:Stop licencing sports then (4, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203361)

Because not all genres are created equal. RTS games generally have lower dev costs than FPSes, due to the fact that FPS environments are scrutinized more closely, and tend to be disposable (once you've been through an area you don't go back). RPGs have the highest dev cost of all, due to players being accustomed to massive CG-quality cinematics and huge, epic storylines full of expensive voice acting, as WELL as non-recyclable maps.

I think the majority of the complaints here is that, the market's insatiable thirst for shinier graphics is ballooning the cost of content development, driving games to the edge where only "arena" based games like Sims, strategy games, and sports games, have a dev cost low enough to be profitable. HL1 was produced for a mere fraction of the cost to produce HL2, but somehow had a longer playtime. Before one blames Valve one should look at the level of workload difference between creating a scientist model in HL1, vs. the effort to do so in HL2.

One of the focuses right now for the industry is procedural content. How much can we reliably generate by machine without significantly impacting quality? Also we need to look at our toolchain, much of our tools are still too "dumb", exponentially increasing required artist hours for every extra little thing we add. The solution to our cost problem is technological - we need smarter tools that reduce man-hour cost, and we need procedural tools that can take a number of things away from humans entirely.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21206401)

No, procedural content is completely backwards. It's ok if your whole premise is about creating weird, mechanical shapes (as in Spore), but for realistic game graphics it doesn't work.

Why? Procedural graphics is really just the same concept as vector graphics or even manually drawing pixels to the screen. You're basically turning the programmer into the artist. Instead of paying an artist to draw a model, you're paying multiple programmers to come up with algorithms or brute-force pixel painting that approximates the work of the artist. This was acceptable in the vintage years of gaming when hardware was more expensive than software and graphics and animation were relatively simple (ASCII art). That's not true anymore, it doesn't make sense to put that kind of workload on the shoulders of expensive programmers when you could get the same thing from a smaller number of artists.

No amount of tooling is going to change this, as each game needs to develop its own distinct look. Unless you'd rather that all games just borrow the same premade procedural algorithms. In which case you don't need to worry about the future of games cuz it's all going to be quite boring.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207101)

You're basically turning the programmer into the artist.

Yes, artists need to be part-programmer, and likewise programmers need to be part-artist. This is already true to a lesser extent. Any self-respecting modeler will know about UVs, normals, and all the other technical jargon that's more to do with computational geometry than art itself. They are specialists at manipulating computer power for artistic means, no different than how a painter must be intimately familiar with the chemical nature of paints.

You have a limited view of procedural content. We're not talking about programs that draw textures with no artist input, nor are we talking about programs that can take "castle" and spit out a level.

Let's take a game for example - Brothers in Arms (or Call of Duty, or any other WW2 FPS out there). How many farm houses were in that game? How many hedgerows? How many stone walls and wooden fences? All of them was painstakingly and manually created. For simple things like barrels and carts we already use instanced geometry, but why can't a house be proceduralized? If you look at the common mapping tools out there, they are generic modeling tools, meant to spit out geometry and UV coordinates, along with any visibility data. These can be built upon, creating a layer that is highly customized to the game in question, allowing, for example, an artist to draw a line on the terrain and go "let there be hedgerows along this line". This is a simple concept, but it's not present in ANY world editor we have today.

No amount of tooling is going to change this, as each game needs to develop its own distinct look.

You're very right about the second part, but the first part just isn't true. I'm not talking about some pseudo-AI that can generate content for any game. No, I'm talking about parameterized geometry generation, which is the main bottleneck in level design today. Take the example I had from above, the sheer number of burnt out buildings in a WW2 shooters is immense, and takes a huge number of artist hours to create. You can create a few and instance them, but players are quite good at picking that sort of thing out. There are some VERY good ways to create burnt out buildings, smashed up furniture and all. If you look at your overall workload of creating, say, 1000 blown up buildings, it suddenly becomes advantageous to perform that procedurally.

Again, procedural does not mean lack of artistic input, nor does it mean there needs to be a programmer at the helm. There's a magical piece of software out there called Houdini that I'm personally familiar with. It's used widely in film and television effects, and it is an entirely procedural modeling/animation package - for artists. It is so ridiculously powerful that I do believe I can do the whole "proceduralize a blown up house" in a couple of days in that software, after which it's merely a matter of exporting to a format I can use.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206601)

Actually, your description of RPGs is why I quit playing them, but I'm definitely in the minority. Around the time of the Playstation, they just reached a point where the games annoyed the living shit out of me, and they didn't strike me as fun as games from the previous generation.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think there are some damn kids on my lawn.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21208199)

Well, you're not entirely alone, and the situation isn't entirely hopeless. thought Disgaea was a very refreshing departure from post-FFVII RPGs. Properly speaking, it's a tactical RPG, but the tactical RPG is really the proper successor to classic RPGs. They're games for people who thought that the idea of commanding an army of wizards, barbarians, ninjas and monsters was cool in and of itself, and made that aspect of the game take center stage instead of an obtuse, inscrutable plot.

The tricky part is that it is more difficult for a game to stand on the merit of its plot or production values than it being an actual enjoyable gaming experience. Prolific authors like Terry Pratchett and Stephen King prove that half-decent fiction can be made rapidly and reliably if you have the right writer in on your team. Basic innovation in gameplay, by contrast, is more rare - even improvement and refinement are less common than stagnation.

Re:Stop licencing sports then (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205693)

Now that is just completely untrue. It is all about the game play, it has always been all about the game play and it will always be all about the game play. Licenced content games have proved to be some of the crappiest games of all time and have demonstrated that paying for crap licence content is just throwing money away. Game play sells games beyond the first week, not licensed content, the Internet and real players opinions kill, crap, bullshit, licensed content marketing once the first players start complaining about the crap they just bought.

EA is just forecasting they are losing market share and others are gaining on them, oh yeah, and underpaid workers in china earning some many cents per hour can not afford to by $50 dollar computer games, so much for corporate mass hysteria about the profit coming from a market with a billion consumers, they ain't consumers if they can't afford to consume.

Computer games are a broad market, there is not one miraculous model, there is a very wide range of game play choices, price points, game play time, content quality, depth of multi-player experience, on line or off line, game complexity and replay ability. So the long term model is simply a depth of game types, how extensive the game library is and being able to sell a game beyond the initial first few months of release.

The other thing is of course is game studios just like movie studios will have off seasons and be looking to blame their failures on pixies at the end of the garden rather than incompetent, overpaid, corporate executives.

Not all games worth the same price. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203173)

Some games are worth $66 (with tax). Some are not. An MMO might be worth $66, even if you factor in monthly subscriptions. It's hard to justify a button masher with six hours of game play for the same price.

You can see a movie for $5. That's about $2.50 per hour of entertainment. A six hour videogame would be about $11 per hour. I just bought World War Z from Amazon and at $10, that'll give me a lot of reading entertainment at about a buck or so per hour.

Games seem disproportionately expensive. Especially as costs to produce increase and time to beat mysteriously decrease. Whatever happened to games that took forever to beat and still were a lot of fun? I don't want to sit down and beat a $66 game in a single sitting.

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (1)

reaktor (949798) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203453)

Some games are worth $66 (with tax). Some are not. An MMO might be worth $66, even if you factor in monthly subscriptions.


Maybe... But paying $60+ for a MMO with the additional continuing $15/month fee is ridiculous. I can't believe that Microsoft even charges for online play for the 360. Absurdness is an understatement here, IMO.

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (0, Redundant)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203731)

Don't forget, Microsoft now also charges $50 for online play for the **PC**, too.

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (1)

Hells (1166547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203741)

Seeing a good movie can cheer you for a day, I'm not too keen on these simplistic comparisons.

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (3, Insightful)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203745)

In those terms, my purchase of the Core Three D&D manuals was the best entertainment investment of my life.

At ~$80 for the whole package, I've had *years* of fun playing in co-op mode with my friends, every encounter was fresh, the quests were challenging and unexpected, and the monster AI dynamically adapted to my tactics.

Of course, there's the significant lag time of looking up the rules ... but at least there are no subscription fees.

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204227)

but at least there are no subscription fees.
I guess you never went to a convention then! :-P

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21204239)

Be careful what you wish for. More hours to finish and interactive doesn't necessarily make it better.

Not all hours of entertainment are equal.

There are two ways developers can make your interactive take longer to finish:

1. Add more unique entertaining content
2. Introduce repetition

Guess which costs less to do.

A better measure (and one that's unfortunately far less quantifiable) would be intensity-of-desired-emotion * hours / money. Ico (10 hours) and Shadow of the Colossus (16 hours) lose to most other games by your measure but win by mine.

Hans

Re:Not all games worth the same price. (1)

devon_halley (443986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204797)

Where are you seeing movies for $5?

Movies are at least $10 if not $14 around here.

Look who is talking (3, Insightful)

Paddo_Aus (700470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203183)

EA can afford to distrib their games for less because they just recycle the same crap from last year with a new badge and a few small incremental improvements rather than developing NEW games.

Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (4, Interesting)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203195)

game publishers? I won't spend $60 on a game. I won't spend $40 on a game. You'd be hard pressed to get me to spend $25 to play a game that has a storyline, because it's wasted money after the story is complete. I'll buy used games for far cheaper (if at all) if I'm looking to kill some time. I'm about as casual a gamer as you'll ever find, but the ever rising price of consoles and games means you've lost me as a customer. I bought a PS2 and an Xbox, both of which are gathering dust. I may break them out once a month (or far less frequently in the summer) but don't count on it. I've considered buying a Wii because it's almost affordable, but there's not a whole ton of games for it. Consider this, I would LOVE to be able to buy a console that had games priced between $15 to $20. I don't really give a squat about the graphics, I want to be entertained. You'll have a customer for life if you make that happen, as I'll be able to justify buying a game or two a week. I realize you'd be hard pressed to put out that many quality titles, so chapterize them. Break the content up over a few games and I'll buy 'em one piece at a time, but don't make them updates, each would have to be a standalone title I'd be able to pick up and play for a few hours. At those prices you'd be competing with movies, and have my attention for at least twice as long.

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203571)

I disagree COMPLETELY. Why should I pay for a game that relies entirely on users to create story? That's like buying a novel prices and getting a blank notebook.

Mad Libs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204585)

Why should I pay for a game that relies entirely on users to create story? That's like buying a novel prices and getting a blank notebook.
People buy Mad Libs books. Likewise, people buy video games that provide a framework in which to tell a story.

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (1)

Daneboy (315359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203591)

They already made a game console that'd be perfect for you. It's called a Sega Genesis... :-)

OK, I say that jokingly -- although... I recently went on a retro-trip and picked one up on eBay for like $30, and spent almost an entire day playing the original Sonic in glorious 16-bit color. I haven't had that much *fun* with a video game for a long time.

I disagree with your point about story lines, however. Sure, there's little point in re-playing a story-based game once you've finished it once -- but if finishing it that first time was fun, rewarding, and kept you entertained for maybe 30-40 hours, then I think that's pretty good. I mean, most movies are story-driven, so the same logic applies: Once you've seen it once, there's no point in doing so again, so why would anyone ever buy a movie? Answer: Because that first viewing or two is rewarding enough that they think it's worth the expense. Ditto with games.

All from me now -- Gotta go replay Master of Magic again! :-)

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203823)

I bought a PS2 and an Xbox, both of which are gathering dust.
I have both as well. The thing that really pisses me off is that new PS2 games still cost $30 to $50. On the one hand, I really am glad they still make PS2 games (as opposed to XBox games), but on the other hand, do they really expect me to pay that much for PS2 games when the PS2 is on the verge of obsolete? I keep imagining the breaking point when the PS3 has momentum and all the remaining PS2 games in stock drop to $10 - $20. But maybe that point will never come. Maybe I will never get to play GoW2. That's okay, cause I never beat GoW1.

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205971)

Look at the numbers. This year, PS2 console sales are expected to be 13 million. Total PS3 sales (to date): 6.5 million. Total XBox 360 sales (to date): 13 million. Total wii sales (to date): 13 million.

Since newer PS3s are reducing (or eliminating) PS2 compatibility, I'm wondering if Sony is going to try to split them into 2 different product lines and keep their PS2 cash cow around for as long as they can.

Try downloadable games (2, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204157)

Consider this, I would LOVE to be able to buy a console that had games priced between $15 to $20. I don't really give a squat about the graphics, I want to be entertained. You'll have a customer for life if you make that happen, as I'll be able to justify buying a game or two a week.

Have you considered downloadable games? I purchased a PS3 this summer because of the PS3 games, and was surprised about the downloadable games you can purchase at low cost from the PlayStation Network store. My fave right now is Super Rub-a-Dub [youtube.com] - I'm 35, but I love this game. But I tell people I got it for my wife. :-)

Seriously, we will sometimes play this game for a few hours at a time. Lots of fun! Most fun you can have for only $7.

They have a ton of other games on PSN that are about the same cost. Very cheap, and fun! Especially for a casual gamer like you.

And I know it's an oldie, but Spyro the Dragon [youtube.com] just appeared for sale on PSN. I bought my copy! [slashdot.org] Yeah, it's a PS1 game, but the PS3 upscales it really well - looks great on my 40" HD TV. You can play it on PS3 or PSP, and it's only $6. And it's still lots of fun!

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204525)

I would LOVE to be able to buy a console that had games priced between $15 to $20.
Try Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, Nintendo DS (some games $20, most games $30), Leapster, and soon WiiWare.

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21204631)

you can buy games for that much on the wii, there classic games for the nes are about 7 dollars to download or less depending on taxes

story games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21204861)

yeah can be annoying if they just railroad you into one type of play. Deus Ex on the other hand... multiple options and I've just finished playing it again for the umpteenth time. best money i've ever spent on a game

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21205051)

dude, you obviously dont like video games and have a very inflated sense of self importance. nobody gives a shit what you want, your so fucking tight you retain water

Re:Is this thing on? Can you hear me... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207591)

You'd be hard pressed to get me to spend $25 to play a game that has a storyline, because it's wasted money after the story is complete.

Same could be said for movies, except I find a game is a lot more replayable than a movie. Especially a good game. Especially with online content.

Recently, I spent $50 on the Orange Box. That's Portal, a short, replayable game with a story -- but despite the story, it's just fun to play, and I'm sure we'll see custom maps for it soon. It's also Team Fortress 2, a multiplayer game, though maybe not "casual".

And it's also got Half-Life 2 and Episodes 1 and 2 -- purely single-player, story-driven games. And good enough that I find them replayable.

And a demo for Peggle, an arcade, Breakout-ish game. And probably a few more -- for $50, I call it a pretty good deal.

Or, of course, you could just grab an Xbox 360, or a PC with decent Internet and maybe Steam, and only buy the cheap games. Peggle, above, is $10. Portal is $20, by itself. I think Lugaru is $20, but VERY addictive and replayable, despite being "story-driven". And of course, there are things like Geometry Wars (though I've never played it).

Break the content up over a few games and I'll buy 'em one piece at a time, but don't make them updates, each would have to be a standalone title I'd be able to pick up and play for a few hours. At those prices you'd be competing with movies, and have my attention for at least twice as long.

Star Trek, mostly, was meant to be stand-alone, with the occasional two-part. TNG is like this. I think Voyager was mostly like this -- it allowed for character development, but almost never a serious, long-term change to the ship as a whole.

And DS9 was completely different. There may have been stand-alone episodes, but as a whole, it was a bigger story.

Firefly was kind of the best of both worlds. You could jump in anywhere and have fun, but you'd get a lot more out of it watching beginning to end (including the movie).

But Firefly is rare. It's hard to be that good at any one aspect of Firefly, even assuming it's a TV show. You're wanting a game that good -- a game in which you can buy tiny pieces (for $10 or $20), such that each stands alone -- but for it to be worth it, it really should have a bigger picture.

Why do I say this? Well... DS9 is widely considered the best Star Trek series, or at least the best after TOS (because everyone loves nostalgia), just as Enterprise is widely considered the worst, assuming they even acknowledge it as Star Trek. And the most unique thing about DS9 was its story arc.

But maybe Portal is kind of what you want -- the entire game lasts probably less than 10 hours, and while the story is awesome and often hilarious, it's also completely unnecessary. I don't imagine a sequel would be worse.

Games aren't that expensive (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203233)

Games truly aren't that expensive because theres no free/open source equivalent of them. Not to mention I would rather pay $60 for a good game that has a solid gameplay rather then a $20 of a movie-rip-off game that has the gameplay of an old NES game. Next, isn't "price wars" that caused the video game market to crash? It seems that EA a main maker of mediocre games in my opinion (Just look at Madden football and the rest of their yearly sports games) could see the quality of games drop dramatically to E.T. levels? It seems that lately there hasn't been hardly any good console based games except for possibly Halo 3, games for the Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (not yet released) that seem to get people to buy them. This is supposed to be the "next generation of games" but are we going back to '83?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Game_Crash [wikipedia.org]

Three models of less expensive games (4, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203243)

1. Release games in increment bundles - you buy basic version and get expansions or pay extra for online content.

Pro: Better revenue stream for game producers. Bug fixes easier to release.
Con: Consumers feel, rightfully, that they're getting ripped off.

2. Release games with in-game ads and product placements - signs in game and t-shirt logos and decals and maybe songs and optional extras are from adversiers.

Pro: Better revenue stream for game producers. Targeted ads from game registration.
Con: Consumers may feel they are oversold.
Note: If done only to level of real world or fantasy world normal experience, without flashing vids and noisy ads, this has higher buy in from consumers and doesn't feel bad to them.

3. Release games at lower cost and take money from CEO/exec pay while not stiffing game developers.

Pro: Investors in game producing firm get same return. Developers feel not as ripped off. Games cheaper.
Con: Fantasy. Game execs will never do this and will fix things so this never happens. Better off shooting the execs dead to practice marksmanship skills for in-game experience.

Re:Three models of less expensive games (4, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203377)

Or number 4. Create Good games where people will actually pre-order and stand in line until midnight when the game is to be released. That is why Nintendo always ends up ahead in games, magazines will poke fun at the Wii, DS, GBA and Gamecube for having a lack of games but yet most of the games that are First or second party titles end up being smash hits, think about Ocarina of Time, people were willing to pay $50 for that game, even look at the Wii and how most American stores are almost always sold out of it and sometimes even Wii points! People are willing to pay full price, just don't make mediocre games (such as Tiger Woods, Madden, etc.)

Re:Three models of less expensive games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21203637)

How about #5:

Release games without extensive DRM which in the end only affects paying customer experience, as the true pirates will have a warez rip seeded shortly and be not affected by spyware/tattleware/rootkits.

This is MHO of course, but EA should follow Bioware's example with NWN1. NWN1 although its included campaigns were unremarkable, has an extremely extensible engine. The CD copy protection was removed, and uses a CD key system. Even after almost five years, people are still making modules for it.

Re:Three models of less expensive games (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205637)

Or number 4. Create Good games where people will actually pre-order and stand in line until midnight when the game is to be released.
More often then not that is "create good marketing" or "create good hype" not "create a good game".

Re:Three models of less expensive games (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206835)

I love how everyone blames executive compensation for high priced goods. $5m for a CEO in a large company is nothing. It probably wouldn't even affect EPS for a full year. The job of a CEO isn't about how many excel sheets he can go through in an hour, i'd guess a tenth of that of a normal employee. The job of the CEO is to make the right call once or twice a year, and thereby making the difference in revenue (either increasing it by 20%, or stopping it from decreasing by 20%).

CEO's aren't the reason games cost so much. Gamers demand better games. Better games take more time. You can't honestly tell me if someone released a game like the original Zelda today you'd be willing to buy it, even at $30.

The CEO is correct though. The way to grow the industry is to correctly price the lower quality games. I'd probably buy more games if the "sorta fun" ones were $20 a pop and less time to consume.

Re:Three models of less expensive games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21206889)

3. Release games at lower cost and take money from CEO/exec pay while not stiffing game developers.

Pro: Investors in game producing firm get same return. Developers feel not as ripped off. Games cheaper.
Con: Fantasy. Game execs will never do this and will fix things so this never happens. Better off shooting the execs dead to practice marksmanship skills for in-game experience.


And the board (who actually makes the decision) will never do this because it will become impossible to acquire or maintain a decent CEO. Remember what happened when Ben and Jerry's tried to stick to their guns with their policy that no one gets paid more than eight times the pay of the lowest-paid employee in the company? Yeah, that died as soon as Ben Cohen (the "Ben" of the company) resigned and they had to actually find someone to replace him.

I hate CEO overcompensation as much as anyone, but the "invisible hand" is keeping things just as they are.

cheaper games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21203271)

wow.....i never expected someone in sales/marketing for the gaming industry to say that their games are too expensive....let alone John Riccitiello.

thats like saying open source products are way too cheap....

Re:cheaper games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21203527)

mod +0 analogy epic phailz but almost funnies

So he's saying games should be immune to inflation (5, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203335)

With SNES games costing sometimes $70 when they were launched (I have no clue what NES games cost when they were released), I'm surprised video games are as "cheap" as they are. Sure, some games have a rediculously high price now, like Guitar Hero and Rock Band come to mind. But there, you're also paying for new hardware, which doesn't cost *that* much more than a typical controller, and given that they're made in smaller quantities and require more materials, it makes sense that they cost more than a typical controller.

If games cost $60-$70 for the SNES, if video games were subject to inflation, and given a modest 3% inflation rate, they would be costing between $93.48 and $109.06. Yes, I know that not all games cost $60-70 back fifteen years ago, but some very popular ones did.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (2, Insightful)

Altima(BoB) (602987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203923)

Surprised they're so 'cheap' now?

Move to the EU.

Here in Ireland, the average video game for a next generation system is 70. That's $101, almost twice the price of the average game in the US. The way I see it, instead of these executives worrying about getting Americans to spend $49 or $39 on games, why not figure out some way to get prices and release dates in the EU to less ridiculous levels? Higher taxation is a factor, true, but the average EU citizen has less spending power than the average US citizen, yet still buys a comparable amount of entertainment products. If you gave them a little more value for once, you may reap rewards greater than you would giving Americans an extra $10

(PS - I split my time between both the EU and the US, so I'm not just some grumpy European. But when people complain about prices in America such as gas, etc, I just laugh. The US is like a fantasy world when it comes to prices thanks to it being on the backs of low minimum wages and outsourcing etc)

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

Altima(BoB) (602987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203957)

By the way, that's 70 Euros.

For some reason Slashdot didn't like the Euro sign and omitted it...

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (2, Insightful)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205601)

Keep in mind though that Euro prices have VAT (that's sales tax for those unfamiliar with it) built IN to the price, and VAT can easily be 20% of the game's price or more. US prices are all quoted without tax. Some states add 5% to what you see, some add 7%, and some add zero.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203959)

Yes, it's all just a factor of inflation, there certianly aren't many other factors to consider, and you should always assume the prices you work with were not high and priced fairly.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

racerx509 (204322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204067)

Don't forget that at the time, games were stored on a more expensive rom format. Games are stored on optical media now, so yes, the price should drop

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (2, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204081)

Sure, some games have a rediculously high price now, like Guitar Hero and Rock Band come to mind. But there, you're also paying for new hardware, which doesn't cost *that* much more than a typical controller, and given that they're made in smaller quantities and require more materials, it makes sense that they cost more than a typical controller.

If you do the math, those peripherals actually cost less than a new controller. For example, I recently purchased Guitar Hero III for Xbox 360 for $90 (+ tax). If you assume the game by itself would be the usual $60, that means the wireless Les Paul guitar controller is only $30. A wireless controller from Microsoft costs around $40. Similarly with Rock Band, the bundle price for guitar + drums + mic + game is going to be $170. If you take the $60 game out of the equation, you're left with $110 for three peripherals. IMHO the breakdown for that is most likely $20 mic, $30 guitar, and $60 drums (the drums are actually very high quality for a toy). Factoring out the drums, you're paying list price or less for the other components.

If games cost $60-$70 for the SNES, if video games were subject to inflation, and given a modest 3% inflation rate, they would be costing between $93.48 and $109.06. Yes, I know that not all games cost $60-70 back fifteen years ago, but some very popular ones did.

You're comparing apples to oranges. The SNES games that cost $60+ were that expensive because of the cartridge technology. They were using bigger memory chips (SF2, Finaly Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger). When consoles moved away from cartridges, games dropped in price significantly. Final Fantasy VII was only $50 (IIRC) even thought it was bigger than FF6, because the CD format was significantly cheaper to produce (also, some of the cost moved elsewhere, since you purchased separate memory cards rather than having on-cartridge writable memory+battery). That's not to say that games shouldn't adjust for inflation, but you can't use the SNES as a starting point because it was not disk-based.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204175)

Back then, games were pretty far from their optimal price point because it was pretty much impossible to sell a good game for a good price. No, it had nothing to do with development costs, but with manufacturing costs.

A SNES era cartridge was created with custom made ROM chips that held the game, not unlike ancient arcade cabinets. The more you put on the game, the more chips you needed, and the more expensive it got. It was easy to notice by just weight! Some games also carried extra processors in them, which also increased costs. Only as CDs became the main distribution media and manufacturing costs plummeted did the game development cost even started to matter.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205747)

Yes, SNES and N64 carts cost more to manufacture than Disc based games do. It wasn't just this though- nintendo had some pretty draconian royalty policies in place as well. New games could and did cost up to $30 more than comparable PS1 games back in the day, and you can't tell me that was all just the cost of the cart itself.

But that's besides the point. What the OP was trying to point out is that since the advent of disc based games (say, 1995 or so) the cost of a AAA game has only risen 20%, from about $49.99 to $59.99.

I'll say that again. that's TWENTY PERCENT in about 12 years. Less than two percent a year- it's barely tracking the rate of inflation. Hell, it's probably LESS than the rate of inflation. Up until "next gen" the cost of gaming hadn't budged at all, and if you're still gaming on a PS2, GC, or Xbox1 it STILL hasn't.

People, the dollar is tanking. It's currently worth less than Canadian money. Imported goods are skyrocketing in cost, and even basic staples such as gas and food have doubled in cost or more. There's almost no other product you can point at that hasn't had a substantial price increase in the past twelve years, and yet somehow gamers expect the price of games to not move at all in twelve years? Seriously?

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21205319)

I don't remember paying $60-70 for SNES games... more like $30. I was a teenager buying a handful of games a year off allowance money at the time. There may have been a couple in that ballpark, but if they were all up there, I wouldn't have owned as many as I did (ActRaiser was my most expensive game and that was about $35 if memory serves).

Soon thereafter, I switched all my gaming to the PC and I can remember firing off some emails in the mid-90s complaining about games moving from the $30 to the $40 price point. I'll usually wait for games to drop under $30 before I buy now (usually buying games for $20 a year or two after they came out) unless there's something I really want. After 15 years, the Wii finally sucked me back into the console market too... I cringe a little at paying $50 for games but all of the games I've bought have been worth it (and Resident Evil 4 felt like a pretty good deal at $30). The 360 and PS3 hardware is overpriced (I just bought an Athlon 64 X2 4400, motherboard. 7600GT and 1GB RAM for less than the price of a 360, much less the PS3's price tag). I'm certainly not going to pay $60 (plus possible online fees) for the typical game for those consoles.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207195)

Aside from development costs, there's economics of scale. Compare the size of the game market today to what it was in the 80's. There are also a lot more games being made - Half Life 2 might have been a good shooter, but if Valve's asking price was $80, it would have given people second thoughts about where to spend their money.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

JoshWurzel (320371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207601)

Believe it or not, I recall getting my mother to fork over $54 for Super Mario Brothers 3 (NES, 1990). I have no idea how I did that. But the important thing is that I got it 1 day before my friend!

That's about 90 bucks in today's worthless dollars.

Re:So he's saying games should be immune to inflat (1)

RosieLovesCompanionC (1183171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207761)

I don't know whether anyone has made a mention of this yet, but in Australia we pay a flat $100-$120AUD ($92-$110USD on Nov 02) for new games that come out which, frankly, sucks. When new games are announced, the first thing we find out is whether or not they are planning to release on Steam, or if we can buy them from overseas (not always legally). If the answers to both of those is "no", then we seriously reconsider the need to buy the game. Steam has made a huge difference to the accessibility of games to people in Australia, so yay for Valve, too. $60 for the OrangeBox is fantastic value by anyone's measure, and we'd all like to see more of it.

Business model (4, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203477)

The consultant solution:

1) Look at the development costs and segment by skills required.
2) Identify those skill that can be done elsewhere for less (art, coding for example)
3) Offshore those jobs
4) Pay CEO big bonus for saving money
5) Decide to ride the gravy train as long as you can with expensive games
6) Bail out of the company stock when it become obvious you are going to start losing money
7) CEO gets new job at another company for more money
8) Consultant pockets hefty fees

Let's try to stay on topic, people (1)

HumanSockPuppet (1120535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203695)

I think some of the comments here are focusing too much on the fact that Mr. Riccitiello works for EA, and not focusing enough on the content of his statement. The fact that he works for EA has no immediate relevance to the content of his statement; a statement which is not far off the mark.

With the emergence of video game markets overseas that offer downloadable content and even entire games for free (not to mention the prevalence of modified consoles playing games downloaded from Bit Torrent), the western games distribution model is going to have to answer some significant questions on how it chooses to continue selling games. People won't shell out $60 forever when torrenting becomes a ubiquitous MO.

Re:Let's try to stay on topic, people (1)

searchr (564109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204257)

"I think some of the comments here are focusing too much on the fact that Mr. Riccitiello works for EA, and not focusing enough on the content of his statement. The fact that he works for EA has no immediate relevance to the content of his statement.."

"In China, they're giving games away for free,' he says."

Considering the appalling slave-labor work conditions in China that likely contribute to a viable give-away-free business model, and that Mr. Riccitiello works for EA, a game company notorious for working staff into the ground, high burnout rate, and low pay (including no overtime pay), I think where he works is quite relevant to the content of his statement.

Re:Let's try to stay on topic, people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21204549)

focusing too much on the fact that Mr. Riccitiello works for EA, and not focusing enough on the content of his statement

AKA Ad hominem [wikipedia.org]

I don't like fun anymore (1)

mpickut (721322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203749)

Actually, I used to love gaming on my pc, but there is no way I am spending that much money for games. Its just not worth it. You can say that its my choice not to game, and you'd be right, but I believe there are a lot of would be casual gamers like me who would buy games if they cost less.

on the contrary... (1)

smash (1351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203915)

... whilst I don't like paying more than I have to, games are not necessarily too expensive, imho.

With the caveat on that, that it has to be a decent game.

Even a decent game with flaws - for example, Neverwinter Nights 2. Is it perfect? No. However it has kept me occupied for probably 100+ hours so far. I think it was about $90 australian (tangent: now the $AU is up >90c US, why the hell are we paying so much?? :D), and if you work out the entertainment cost, it's near enough to $1/hr or less.

Try going to the movies, the pub or renting a new release DVD for that.

Other examples would be baldurs gate 1/2, Falcon: Allied Force, Ghost Recon 2, etc.

If the game will provide a decent duration of entertainment, i have no problem paying for it.

However, if (such as EA often does) they're going to release shitty games with perhaps 20 hours of play/replay value (yes, there are exceptions - eg Battlefield 1942) then I agree.

Re:on the contrary... (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206937)

tangent: now the $AU is up >90c US, why the hell are we paying so much?? :D

Because petrol is still $1.30 per litre and they have to pay for delivery somehow :(

Response comes with free sarcasm - but doesn't make it any less true. :(

Game price point nearly constant? (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21203981)

OK, so I'll admit I have a cruddy memory, but haven't the games for big-name consoles--mostly--been priced at right around $50 since the NES was released? Major commercial PC games, I'm pretty sure, have come up in price--I can't remember any solid figures, unfortunately.

If you ask me, this is a lame attempt to appeal to the "casual" gamer that's cropping up and changing the face of the video game industry. Perhaps these casual gamers, if driven by price alone, are the people who're buying all those DS-es, whose games are priced usually at around $30? If there are really so many casual gamers out there, though, then why do games that fall into the sub-AAA level fail to be wildly popular despite their bargain price point? It is obvious that casual gamers are emerging and/or being recognized more nowadays--however, you'd be hard pressed to convince me that casual gamers have the Wal-mart spendthrift mentality: "entertainment" is a purely luxury item, and I don't think anyone reasonably expects to find valu-priced entertainment that "tastes close enough" to brand-name but costs 60 cents less per 12-pack. Do people buy abridged versions of classic literature in an attempt to save money?

Re:Game price point nearly constant? (1)

mycroft822 (822167) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205039)

I am more of a "casual" reader to be honest, and I prefer to read the Cliffs Notes version of a book. They tend to cost about half of the price and take a fraction of the time to finish!

Games should be free ... (2, Funny)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204025)

and you should charge for support. No, wait a minute ...

Doing what CEOs do (1)

tooler (36824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204043)

Well, it's his job to make long-term market predictions. That's why CEOs get paid hundreds of millions of dollars. If they're wrong, the company loses a hell of a lot more.

Golden parachutes when they screw up is an entirely different story, but probably more related to how contract terms run these days to attract good people.

Here's something... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21204891)

Bad Idea + Throw lots of $$$$ at it = PROFIT!
Good Idea + Throw a little bit of $$$$ at it = MORE PROFIT!

Get it? Start with a good idea for a game, for a change. That way, you don't have to sink $50M into lighting effects and marketing, just to get people to play it.

Tetris is one of the best selling games of all time, Lumines did extremely well too. You don't have to throw millions at something just for it to be good. Obviously for more epic gameplay, you need more time and money, but even then, do you think Skies of Arcadia had 1/4 the budget the average Final Fantasy had? Honestly, SoA is a great game, and did well enough that a sequel is in the works.

EAs problem is that "throw $$$$ at bad product" is there answer to everything. Maybe they're starting to realize that, which is why we're seeing so much cynicism from them these days, but until they truly aknowledge that, no amount of bitching is going to help their profit margin.

Prime example: Portal. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207643)

$20, maybe 5-10 hours of gameplay.

So good I've played through (all the way) probably two and a half times in one weekend. Spend $50 on Orange Box, haven't played the rest of it (Ep 2), but Portal alone makes it worth it.

However, this is HARD to do, especially hard to do consistently. Event harder to make it fit in with a plot -- how many plots can a handheld portal-making device really fit into?

People will always pay a premium for a good game (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205067)

The folks at EA just don't get that a crap game will get crap sales. Everything they do appears to drive to mediocrity or down right apathy to what they produce. The golden ticket is to change their business model to produce great games.

With that in mind.... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205385)

SimCity Societies is coming out soon, and I think it looks nifty. So will they be charging me less than $50 for it, I wonder?

($50? whatever happened to the $30 game? Blah!)

Obviously, it's a trap (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21205733)

A gaming executive telling the booming games industry that it's overpricing games?

Ha ha!

This is a trap. He's up to something.

I believe the current pricing for games is accurate... you can compare it with movies, I think it's a very just analogy when you pick out the differences. The cost to develop some games is about the same as for some movies. Give or take, I've been told that before so of course correct me if I'm wrong. The sale price for a game is much higher than the ticket price for a movie, or a DVD sale. So we should probably assume that a movie will get more DVD sales/ticket sales than a game will... a pretty good assumption, despite the booming games industry, lots of people buy DVD's and go to the cinema. Some heavy assumptions, yes, but we can see how it probably all fits together.

So, why is the EA guy saying games cost too much? He is seeking to commoditise them. Of course the flagship games from EA are generally very little in terms of new cost...incremental updates to the same engine with different datafiles in the case of most of the sports titles. Imagine if you could do that with movies! Well, apart from George Lucas anyway. I can't wait for the next Star Wars re-release to see who shoots first. Perhaps EA is hunting for a price war with competitors, being the big fish in the pond, perhaps they want to loss lead some titles to gutpunch the competition before christmas.

Perhaps they're just horribly envious of Blizzard's cash cow.

Perhaps they want to make cash gouging schemes like in game ads seem more legitimate... going for the free-to-air TV model instead of the home DVD sales model.

Who knows what it could be that he's really planning? One thing is for sure, it's a trap!

Re:Obviously, it's a trap (1)

nanowired (881497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207545)

Actually, I think its because he doesn't want to admit that all his company does is A) produce formulaic Sports games, which requires no innovation B) Buy /good/ companies and hump their golden camel until its tarnished with shame and sadness C) Produce crappy games.

Free? (2, Funny)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206059)

In China, they're giving games away for free


I believe they also follow that model in Sweden [thepiratebay.org] ;)

Chess anyone? (1)

shawse (922786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206397)

This comment is so delayed that I doubt many people will read it, but I am going to post it anyway. I stopped buying video games years ago when I was a teenager. I don't have a console anymore. The last computer game I bought only runs on Windows 95/98. So what games do I play? Scrabble, Chess, Uno, Skipbo, Phase 10, Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, and the list keeps going. Do you want epic single player games? A good book or just some time day-dreaming. What do these cost? Depends on where you get them but the most I have spent is $20 for a very nice edition of Stratego. Some day I may break down and fork out the cash for Settlers of Catan or Princes of Florence. Books (from the library) and day-dreaming are free. I enjoy playing video games when I get the chance; I just don't think the enjoyment return on investment is worth the little bit of cash I have.

On another note: My last roommate had his NES and a bunch of games. I think it is amazing how much good game-play you could get out of it with so little graphics. Even though we had an xbox (or was it a play station?) available we spent much more of our time playing head-to-head Tetris II on the NES.

Of course, your mileage may vary.

Big whoop. (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206959)

Us Canadians are expected to pay $64.99 for games, and routinely have been expected to pay $69.99 as of this generation until very recently. PS2/X-Box/GCN generation consoles routinely sold games for $59.99 and no cheaper, and it looks like very soon they may actually drop us to parity with the USA on game prices, if we're lucky.

And our dollar is worth $1.05 US. Stop complaining, seriously.

As a developer, I say FINALLY (1)

TroshBogre (1133113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207145)

I love it that he's finally realizing the huge budget over producerized games are too expensive. That's good for me, the small developer. As soon as EA stops thinking that a game has to be massive to be a success, little dev houses will start getting deals from EA again. That's a good thing. For me ;)

well... (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207225)

They could start by allowing Aussies using EA direct download to download the US version of hellgate. Obviously with the Aussie dollar at 92 USC they get payed nearly twice at 89.95 AUD.

Lies (1)

Taulin (569009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207291)

These people who are proud they don't spend over $2 are lairs, or are missing out. It is an awesome feeling to have the newest stuff. To play through a game knowing very few others have done the same thing is incredible. One of the best parts of getting something is the anticipation of getting it, aka release date (for some, Christmas). The other part is playing, the next perfection playing if it is a good game. I agree with this EA guy. It is harder to buy release day games now that they are more expensive. By the time they drop in price, I have lost interest. There are other games out by then. Too many game, not enough time. Might as well spend the time with the newest, greatest game and graphics.

I personally have bought 10 games this year. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21207599)

I bought all these.

Rainbow Six: Vegas $50
Test Drive Unlimited $50
Arma: Combat Operations $50
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. $50
Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars $60
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 $50
Bioshock $50
World in Conflict $50
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars $50
The Orange Box $45
Crysis Collector's Edition $60

that's $565 dollars excluding taxes and shipping for games that I bought this year.
That's money that really was meant for other things like food. As a PC gamer, I need to pay for upgrades to my computer to even play some of these.
And, I did. I spent over $700 this year for upgrades. next year, I plan to spend another $600.

Games really are expensive. eight games is the whole cost of a high-end console these days.

I can only hope that EA isn't thinking about cutting quality or jobs in the US. The money really needs to come out of the advertising budget.
EA should invest more in the G4 network to people who don't have it. It seems like a paradox though.

I'm a gamer. I know how to download games from Internet sources. I choose to buy games instead because I want to support them. I want more games.
That said, games used to be a much better value.

You would pay $30 for a game that would include over 60 hours of epic gameplay.
EA's latest SP/MP game, though multi-player, included 6 hours of single player content.

Here, EA is my brilliant idea. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST:
take a game like MOH:Airborne. Separate it.
Offer a single-player only version. Offer a multiplayer-only version. Offer a collectors edition with both and added content. Charge the $50 for it you were going to charge.
Charge $25 for the single-player only version. Charge $35 for the multiplayer-only version due to the associated costs of services.

Everyone gets what they want. You still get paid.

I buy some EA games every year. It's not about delivering everything to everyone.

Also, get your online distribution system geared up. I prefer buying games like that. Steam is the perfect model.
I don't need to worry about discs or keys. Steam handles it all for me. And, I don't have to keep the game installed. I can uninstall it and reinstall it when I want.
I always wanted to go back and re-play old games. I never had the disc or keys after so many years. Steam has me covered.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>