Positech Games Boss Calls For An End To Deep-Discount Sales

Gaijinko

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Aug 4, 2013
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Discounts like steam sales and others give me a choice, games that barely interest me and I wouldn't on a cold day in hell drop 40 to 50 quid on, I would try if they were reduced to around a tenner, that is also protection for me if it turned out I didn't like the game and/or the developer did not put enough effort into it and its full of bugs or just crap. In the end I would have only lost a tenner or so. In no case would it be better to remove that choice and protection for the customer, if your game is worth it people will pay full price for it.
 

Andy Shandy

Fucked if I know
Jun 7, 2010
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Eh, I can see where he's coming from, but as a consumer, I'm going to try and save money wherever possible.

Also, I wager that thanks to sales I've been able to play a lot more games (and found a fair few unexpected gems in the process) than I ever would paying full price for them.
 

RealRT

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Feb 28, 2014
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You know, I was really interested in that Democracy game. I'm not anymore.
First and foremost, thanks to these sales I bought games I would NEVER buy for full price because I just can't afford to spend so much on a single game.
Second, in my opinion digital games are NEVER worth the full price just because they don't even have a bloody box with manual and everything.
Third, when second-hand games cost a measly fracture of the original price because the game was out for years, paying a sixty for digital version is just silly.
 

thiosk

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I'm highly conflicted.

I love steam sales as a way to pad out my library. I do buy games on release, and I do support indie developers. I usually only go for deep discounts on AAA titles that are past their prime; for instance, I might actually play bioshock games next christmas.

What worries me is games like Project Zomboid (which if you havn't heard about, click here [http://projectzomboid.com/]. Its at a 15 buck pricepoint and contains a shitload of content. However, hit the ridiculous steam forums, and you have people bitching that its too expensive. "psh dis 3 dollar gaem"

I see two distinct markets: General, and niche. Niche gamers want their interests tailored to, and when that happens, they will often and of their own volition dump money into it. For a game like PZ, this is exactly what they're catering to, and those players tend toward voracious support.

The general market though, has more trouble with niche titles. Thats the market where the discounts have the big effect.
 

Cerebrawl

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Feb 19, 2014
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Last time I bought a game full price... I don't even remember, I've bought a few at almost-full price on small preorder discounts, like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Bioshock Infinite.

They're just not worth the money. When they drop down to $30 I'll get the ones that really interest me, like blow me away. $15 and I'll induldge in something I know I'll like but wasn't super thrilled for. $10 or less and I'll grab most decent AAAs in genres I like.

Indies are such a mixed bag, I get plenty from bundles, but occasionally I'll pay upwards of $20-30 for something that interests me enough(I got blackguards for about $20 or so during a sale while it was still in early access), usually though they're around $5.

I can't even remember what game I last paid truly full price for. Probably Baten Kaitos for the gamecube... PC though... err drawing a blank. Oh wait maybe XCOM: Apocalypse, back in '97. Hmm nah, I think I may have bought Half-life 2 at full price actually, retail in 2004, partially because I really wanted Counter-Strike: Source as well since I was an avid CS player back then. Yeah so 10 years since my last full price purchase for the PC.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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BigTuk said:
Also Sales are always good because in the end.. I may not be able to afford your game at $40 but I can certainly afford it at $10... sure you're getting 30 less than what you wanted but you're getting 10 more than you'd have gotten if I bought nothing at all.
The problem with that perspective is that I *can* afford your game at $40, but I'm not going to pay it because I know that in a month or two it'll be $10. And like it or not, game development costs money and game developers need to make money on it. The big publishers will be fine with Call of Duty and Titanfall, and the one-man indie operations will continue to survive because they have no budget, no employees and no expectations; but the mid-range, where lesser-known devs with unknown IPs need to sell a decent amount of games at a decent price in order to keep the lights on, is going to suffer. And in the long term, that's bad for us.

AnthrSolidSnake said:
Anything under 8-10 hours definitely isn't getting my $60. I'm sure they poured a lot of money in it, but it's not my problem that they didn't bother to use that money to make the game fun to play for an acceptable length of time.
But isn't that a very arbitrary definition of value? Alan Wake (to use a game I actually just finished a few days ago) was twice as long as Max Payne, and half as good. I paid $60 for Max Payne 2, $20 for Alan Wake, and there's no question in my mind that MP2 was far and away the better value.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Cerebrawl said:
They're just not worth the money. When they drop down to $30 I'll get the ones that really interest me, like blow me away. $15 and I'll induldge in something I know I'll like but wasn't super thrilled for. $10 or less and I'll grab most decent AAAs in genres I like.
Isn't this just obvious evidence of the devaluation of games? You can't get into any kind of movie theater these days for less than $10 and for that you get 90 minutes of Michael Bay's latest horseshit. And a decent triple-A game in a genre you like is worth less than that?
 

Windu23

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Aug 6, 2008
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I see a lot of people talking about what games are and aren't worth. It just makes me curious about what the common consensus says a $60 game should be to be worth that price. I think that should be the focus of the conversation first and foremost. Just what are people expecting a $60 to provide them in order to justify the price.
 

Keji Goto

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I don't really agree with him on this for a few different reasons but the biggest one is that people are going to spend money based on how much they think something is worth and how much additional funds they have. This is something developers need to keep in mind when budgeting their titles and deciding on who the target audience is going to be. If you're not delivering enough in a package to get people excited and wanting to pick it up at release or shortly after then you shouldn't be pricing your game and basing your business model around that kind of success.

This is why we've seen a number of studios go down in flames over this past gaming generations and why some studios are currently struggling to find the balance between budget and target audience. Take Capcom for example who can't seem to figure this out for the life of them. They threw millions upon millions of dollars at Resident Evil 6, it moved over five million copies, and still was a sales flop to them because they didn't budget appropriately and greatly overestimated the appeal of the Resident Evil franchise.

Developers and publishers also need to realize that just because a console is touting a 50 million user install base doesn't mean each and every one of those console owners are a potential customer nor does it mean they are an active member in the gaming world.

When creating a niche title like Democracy 3 this mindset of "We're not gonna drop below a certain price for a long time" actually closes off the title from potential customers. I personally have no experience with the franchise at all and I'm not about to spend $20, $30, $40, or more on a title in hopes that it will be what I'm looking for. Countless franchises I've been curious about and picked up a title while it was heavily discounted, loved it to death, then turned around and bought the rest of the series generating more sales for the developer than if they had just stuck to their guns on price.

There are far too many options out there to have this "We're better than heavily discounting our games" mentality because if you're not willing to do it someone else will and that someone else will happily eat up those customers. Developers also need to realize that the sales figures aren't always about the current title being sold but rather future purchases. More than a few developers have come onto my radar and have received quite a bit of support from me after I picked up a game on a Steam sale and loved it. This is about creating fans who will be exposed to your work when they might not have been.

I find this mindset to be incredibly foolish and self defeating in the long run. No not every game needs to be in the $5 to $10 range either, but the longer a game stays at a higher price the more likely it'll be competing with newer titles that have received more attention at the same price point in the minds of consumers. It boils down to "I can spend $30 on a game which came out six months ago or I can spend $30 on this new title I've been seeing plenty of."
 

Cerebrawl

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Andy Chalk said:
Cerebrawl said:
They're just not worth the money. When they drop down to $30 I'll get the ones that really interest me, like blow me away. $15 and I'll induldge in something I know I'll like but wasn't super thrilled for. $10 or less and I'll grab most decent AAAs in genres I like.
Isn't this just obvious evidence of the devaluation of games? You can't get into any kind of movie theater these days for less than $10 and for that you get 90 minutes of Michael Bay's latest horseshit. And a decent triple-A game in a genre you like is worth less than that?
Yeah unless it's awesome. Just decent isn't enough to justify more than that, I can find indies that are as good or better at that price, even without being discounted.

I've had more fun with $5(or less) roguelikes than I've had with merely decent triple As.

I seriously got more out of (individually) Dungeons of Dredmor and Sword of the Stars: The Pit than I did out of Tomb Raider.

I got all 3 of those games in the $5-10 pricerange. Oh and Tomb Raider actually gave me a physical neck pain from the subconscious strain against the camera.
 

Falterfire

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Andy Chalk said:
The problem with that perspective is that I *can* afford your game at $40, but I'm not going to pay it because I know that in a month or two it'll be $10. And like it or not, game development costs money and game developers need to make money on it. The big publishers will be fine with Call of Duty and Titanfall, and the one-man indie operations will continue to survive because they have no budget, no employees and no expectations; but the mid-range, where lesser-known devs with unknown IPs need to sell a decent amount of games at a decent price in order to keep the lights on, is going to suffer. And in the long term, that's bad for us.
That is a problem - If it's happening on a large enough scale. But without access to the numbers, it's hard to say if there really is a mass of people who actually would have bought at launch day but aren't anymore, and more importantly if those customers would spend more cumulatively than the ones who buy it on sale after launch.

That pre-launch hype train is still huge, and I still buy a number of big titles at (or even before) launch either to support the devs or just because I really want to play them. As for those indie games you fear for - If I've never heard of a game, I'm unlikely to risk $20+ on it, especially with the incredible saturation of the indie market. There are plenty of games I've bought on sale that I'd never heard of until they went 50-75% off. I'm not sure lesser-known devs with unknown IPs actually benefit from not going on sale if nobody knows they exist. If everybody who hears about your game buys it but only three people hear about it, it doesn't matter if you're selling for $15 instead of $5.
 

fozzy360

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Oct 20, 2009
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Andy Chalk said:
BigTuk said:
Also Sales are always good because in the end.. I may not be able to afford your game at $40 but I can certainly afford it at $10... sure you're getting 30 less than what you wanted but you're getting 10 more than you'd have gotten if I bought nothing at all.
The problem with that perspective is that I *can* afford your game at $40, but I'm not going to pay it because I know that in a month or two it'll be $10.
But devs aren't entitled to money that I'm not willing to fork over for whatever reason I want. As much as you may not like it, consumers aren't going to care for anything short of their concerns over how well they think their money is spent.

Personally, I go for discounts now because of how absurd the industry is for the most part. AAA games get blander and blander, costing $60 for amounts to a mediocre experience. Why pay full price for a game with pre-order DLC and a season pass when I can just wait a year for GOTY version that includes everything released thus far for the game at a much chepaer price? Consumers will always go for what's cheapest, and why shouldn't they?
 

The Hungry Samurai

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Apr 1, 2004
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Don't bash my Humble Bundles. I've been so broke lately thats where most of my new games are coming from (and wonderful, wonderful PS Plus)

If the game is quality then we will buy it. I'm going nuts at the recent flood of AAA games that I want that I won't be able to get until I've crawled out of my current financial hole, but when I'm in the black I buy about 1 or 2 games a month at retail.

We live in a world where digital distribution has chopped off the costs for developers who no longer have to worry about dealing with oh so many middle men, and preventing losses through used games. Maybe if the gaming world based its initial prices to reflect the money saved there, then there wouldn't be so much room for these CRAZY price cuts and the market would find a stable middle ground for both creators and gamers.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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If more games were like the Divinity Series or quality things like Terraria and MC, I would buy more at full price. Most are not and few and fewer AAA games like Titanfall, Guild Wars 2, Company of Heroes 2 and Skyrim that are actually worth the price are coming out means I'm going to wait. Especially in regards to shitty stability at launch. Ridiculously short games due have gutted game value not these sales.

Also just from a quick look around this Dev's games Democracy 2 and 3 are within ?4 of each other which in my opinion is not fine for a game about 6 years older than the other. The first one is a much more reasonable ?10. Although, I'd agree their latest game at normal price of ?22 and at most 50% sale is perfectly fine, just not their Democracy 2 price.
 

Cerebrawl

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One thing that's missing in this thread though:

I and many others buy many MORE games when there's sales than we'd do previously. There's been years where I only bought 1-2 games. These days I probably buy more like 30-40 games in a year, more if you count the bundled games I don't even want when I bought a bundle for 1-2 of the games in it.

Lots of people doing this means devs are actually getting a lot more money out of our pockets than before. Just piecemeal rather than in big lumps.
 

AzrealMaximillion

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Kalezian said:
so if I want a game but cant afford it, I shouldn't wait until it goes on sale or there is a price drop?


Remind me never to buy a game from this developer.
This is the same guy who went onto Reddit, Facebook and Slashdot and asked people directly why they pirate games. After the responses they got, they lowered the prices on all of their games and always have a DRM free option at the same price.

And they're a small dev that made cheaper games to begin with.


So his argument isn't an attack on people who can't afford to spend on games. It's the fact that he has already lowered his prices to appease customers but they still wait until a sale to purchase his product.

Check the Steam Forums, I know they're a headache, but there are a fair amount of people who call brand new indie titles at more than $10 "expensive". It's a problem that targets indie developers almost exclusively. Notice how you never see big publishers complain about Steam sales? They offer up pre-order bonuses that sometimes include free games. Indie devs can't compete with that. Triple A Publishers also make more on the dollar per PC copy sold through Steam than through Consoles in retail stores.

Lemme put it to you this way.
DMC from Capcom at %50 off $50 on Steam is $25. Valve gets 33% of the cut. That's $17 profit.
Democracy 3 by the devs in this article at %50 off is %12.50. Their profit is $8.30.

Now factor in the fact that most triple A games sell the most they are ever going to sell of that game in the first week. The big publishers don't feel the hit as bad as the indies do so this developer has a decent point coming from the perspective of someone who cares about his customer's input. This is why if I see an indie developer or a small-time developer with an interesting game on Steam, I'll research the game and if I like what I see, I'll buy it in the first week.

It helps them make more games way more than saying you can't afford a $15 game while ready to blow $100 on the Spring or Summer Sale.
 
Jan 10, 2013
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Andy Chalk said:
Cerebrawl said:
They're just not worth the money. When they drop down to $30 I'll get the ones that really interest me, like blow me away. $15 and I'll induldge in something I know I'll like but wasn't super thrilled for. $10 or less and I'll grab most decent AAAs in genres I like.
Isn't this just obvious evidence of the devaluation of games? You can't get into any kind of movie theater these days for less than $10 and for that you get 90 minutes of Michael Bay's latest horseshit. And a decent triple-A game in a genre you like is worth less than that?
I also don't spend money on going to the movies if I'm not absolutely sure the movie will be worth it. As you say, most Bay horseshit isn't worth it. Similarly, most EA horseshit isn't either.

I might grab either for a couple of bucks just for the fuck of of it. Just because I can.

I am under no obligation to keep developers, or the games industry as a whole chugging along. I will buy what I want at a price I find acceptable and I hope everyone else does this too. If the market can't sustain the industry, then the industry will have to change or die. Of course, like every huge industry, the games business is way too big to all go tits up at once. They will adapt and either continue to churn out games good and bad, or shift to f2p mobile game shit. Either way, I'm good.

Also, very much what Cerebrawl said up there.
 

ThunderEjjim

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Sep 24, 2013
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Did this guy seriously just go after the Humble Bundles for devaluing things? He's really going to sit there and say an organization that is for charity purposes and just happens to give away games, books, movies, and music to those that donate is a blight on the gaming industry? Really?

Also, it doesn't matter what the price you pay for a game, if it's fun and enjoyable it'll be fun and enjoyable regardless if you paid $60 or $10. I don't even want to know how many games I've bought at full price only to be disappointed and put them on the shelf to never be finished while on the opposite end of the spectrum there are tons of games I've got via Steam sales or Humble Bundles that I probably would of never considered and absolutely loved, and since I enjoyed them so much I went and bought any DLC or other game in the same series for whatever price it was at.

I'm honestly tired of hearing from all these butt-hurt developers and publishers about how enough people aren't buying their game at full price. Now, I do understand it from a business standpoint, you want the maximum amount of profits for the work you've done. I do get that, but sales are going to happen. They happen in every single medium be it games, other electronics, furniture, and food. They're a means to increase falling profits or to even liquidate merchandise that is no longer wanted or has been discontinued. Granted liquidation isn't an issue at all in digitally distributed goods such as with games from Steam, but it can still garner new interest in a game that is starting to fall in sales.

Maybe if they focused more on making their games fun and enjoyable instead of crying "Waaahhh! There are people that wait until a sale before they buy our game!" more people would be inclined to purchase it.

tl;dr: The guy is an idiot
 

Mister Chippy

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Jun 12, 2013
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Most games aren't actually worth the asking price. There are plenty of games that never go on sale, mainly VNs, that cost premium prices. I don't think they're any more valuable, I think they're rather overpriced and don't buy them. If they went on sale I might actually play them.

Also the not finishing games thing is bull. I've been failing to finish games all my life.