Posted by CaptainBinky | Posted in Stuff, Useless Advice | Posted on 08-07-2013
Up there on the list of, “statements which annoy me” nestling amongst, “game development – it’s just a job” (bullshit) and, “free to play is good for games design” (LOL) is this old chestnut:
My game’s, like, $10 – that’s less than the price of a couple of beers! What on Earth are you whinging about?
The reason it annoys me is the very blinkered approach to game purchasing it takes. It’s true that if you took any one game in complete isolation and did some sort of “hours played / total cost” calculation, you’d almost always come up with a stupendously good value number. Certainly if you compared it to going to the cinema. And doubly so if what you were going to see was Prometheus.
But other games exist aside from your own, and people buy many, many games. Since nobody’s disposable income is infinite, there are always going to be many many more games that you don’t buy than games which you do. You have to pick and choose – and try to ensure that you choose wisely. So if one of those games turns out to be a turkey, the thing that makes buying it disappointing is that it has effectively booted out a better game from that set of games you buy in a year. Unless you spend more on games that year. Which would, in itself, be annoying.
So that’s fair enough to whinge about, isn’t it? It’s not about the $10, or $5, or however much the stupid game is. It’s about the other game which is also $10, or $5, or however much that they didn’t buy which might have been better – or the two games, each for half that price, which each might have been better.
There’s not a day which goes by which at some point I don’t honestly consider that maaaaybe we’re rather under-selling our own game. It is, after all, a sandbox game with potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay in it. And the price will almost certainly go up at some point since it’s been the same price for about two years now and it’s got quite a lot more in it now than it did. And I think that’s fair – particularly to those who bought in early, that they should end up with the game for a cheaper price. But at the same time it’s important to be in that impulse buy zone – that’s the zone in which you get the least amount of price whinging (aside from free stuff, obv) since those kinds of games tend to fall into the ‘games you pick up in addition to your list of games to buy’ category, in the same way that games which appear on the Steam sales, for peanuts, do.
Since managing to price your game at the perfect point for content and experience is practically impossible, it’s always better to err on the side of under-selling and over-delivering since doing the opposite is pretty disastrous.
Alternatively, you could price your game higher (flirting dangerously with the other side of that perfect zenith) and pick up that massive spike of impulse buys during a sale – having your cake and eating it too. In which case, kindly shut up when people whinge about the price of your game – whatever it costs 😉