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

Flames66

New member
Aug 22, 2009
2,311
0
0
Andy Chalk said:
They create the perception that games are only worth $5 or $10, which in turn encourages gamers to ignore them at launch and walk away from them the moment they run into difficulty, rather than persevering and finishing them.
But, they are only worth that. Items are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. I am not willing to pay more than £10 for a single game.
 

Ukomba

New member
Oct 14, 2010
1,528
0
0
This is just a variation of the used game complaint.

That said, He's right in a way. For example, Skyrim should not be discounted down to $5 any more. it should just BE $5.
 

Norix596

New member
Nov 2, 2010
442
0
0
Products are worth what people are willing and able to pay for them. Producers may not LIKE that the $60 price fixing across industry is weakened when people become accustomed to playing less but that is the case and they're not going to win ANY sympathy argument by saying we should be paying more.
 

templar1138a

New member
Dec 1, 2010
894
0
0
Oh boo-hoo. Sixty bucks is a seriously inflated price for a game that's on a physical disc, let alone a digital copy.

I rarely buy games anymore because the new ones tend to not interest me and when it comes to the old ones, I either have them already or I'm still waiting for them to get below ten bucks. The MOST I'm willing to spend on a game is thirty, and that's only if detailed reviews have outlined favorable elements. The last time I bought a game on Day One was X: Rebirth, and I was really pissed when I discovered that I couldn't fly different ships. Never making that mistake again.
 

EvilRoy

The face I make when I see unguarded pie.
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
1,555
183
68
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?
The movie example is my favorite, because I think its a reasonably good parallel.

I paid $60 for The Darkness 2, a solidly OK game that provided me with about 4-5 hours of entertainment. For 60 dollars at my local theater, I could attend two operas lasting a total of 6 hours (roughly) or 6 movies for a total of 9 hours (also roughly). In both cases I actually have money left over for bus fare.

So for the same amount of money I could experience 2 pieces of entertainment that are nearly guaranteed to be excellent - if only because they can't afford to show a 'bad' opera at the theaters where I live - or I could experience 6 individual pieces of entertainment that probably average out to 'OK' over 9 hours.

So its a pretty easy cost/benefit ratio for me. If I don't think you can provide a really good experience for at a minimum of 4 hours or a fairly OK experience for a minimum of 7 hours, then your game probably isn't worth $60. I haven't devalued a game by making this judgement, I've just placed a value to it. The existence of deep sales lets me produce a finer cost/benefit for games I would have simply written off before.
 
Jan 10, 2013
31
0
0
EvilRoy said:
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?
The movie example is my favorite, because I think its a reasonably good parallel.

I paid $60 for The Darkness 2, a solidly OK game that provided me with about 4-5 hours of entertainment. For 60 dollars at my local theater, I could attend two operas lasting a total of 6 hours (roughly) or 6 movies for a total of 9 hours (also roughly). In both cases I actually have money left over for bus fare.

So for the same amount of money I could experience 2 pieces of entertainment that are nearly guaranteed to be excellent - if only because they can't afford to show a 'bad' opera at the theaters where I live - or I could experience 6 individual pieces of entertainment that probably average out to 'OK' over 9 hours.

So its a pretty easy cost/benefit ratio for me. If I don't think you can provide a really good experience for at a minimum of 4 hours or a fairly OK experience for a minimum of 7 hours, then your game probably isn't worth $60. I haven't devalued a game by making this judgement, I've just placed a value to it. The existence of deep sales lets me produce a finer cost/benefit for games I would have simply written off before.
Tying into this. When I was working as a bartender to pay my bills while attending university, I made a whopping 7-9 ? an hour, fixed wage. Counting tips, it might have been between between 10 and 30? depending on the day and bar, but on average, and considering that tips don't count towards retirement money or anything else, I'd say that the pay might have been average to good in the short term, but definitely nothing to write home about. A 50?-60? game I'd have to have worked (at worst) between 7 and 9 hours for to even be able to afford it, isn't fucking worth it, if I can't get more time of enjoyment out of it than I put work into it. I can eat for a week or so for that kind of money. I don't give a fuck how good you think your games are, they are never as good as a week of food.
Basically, if I can't get more than an hour of enjoyment out of one hour of work, every dev - starving indie or megacorp - can go suck a fuck for all I care.
 

Clankenbeard

Clerical Error
Mar 29, 2009
544
0
0
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?
The same option is still there for the movie theaters. How many times have people said "I'll wait and rent this on DVD' if they feel the movie isn't good enough to pony up full price for? The movie makers are still happy to get revenue from online rentals. In fact, they are now "discounting" to DVD release at an alarming rate of roughly 4-months from wide-screen release.

I see your point. "Telling people that they can get it for less later means that the game creators get less revenue." This has some validity. But I still see the added benefit of a Steam sale as making more sales with virtually no additional overhead--thanks to electronic distribution. There have been many titles that I purchased (and loved) on Steam at a discount that I NEVER would have tried without that sale. And Steam doesn't just jump straight into those discounts. They increase the percent off slowly over time in an attempt to get the creators as much as possible.

"We will never discount below 50%--ever." Well, what if that doubled your overall game revenue in a weekend and cost you nothing? Dammit, twice as many people have your game and can recommned it to their friends. This is terrible!

The pros outweigh the cons in my book. Thank you Steam and Humble Bundle sales for Borderlands 2, Saints Row 3, Skyrim, Portal, the Half Life Bundle, World of Goo, Torchlight, Braid, and a TellTale Bundle.

This reminds me of the old joke:
Man: Will you sleep with me for a million dollars?
Woman: Yes.
Man: Will you sleep with me for ten dollars?
Woman: NO! What kind of girl do you think I am?!?!
Man: We've established that. Now, we're just haggling over price.
 

weirdee

Swamp Weather Balloon Gas
Apr 11, 2011
2,634
0
0
If you want to point any fingers, point some at AAA for devaluing their own games while fleecing their customers. Most indie titles are already at reasonable prices, so the main reason I wait for a sale is because another AAA game thinks they're worth 60 dollars PLUS a stupidity tax for paying out of proportion prices for DLC.

btw, that also makes the concluding statement in this article false, because AAA is often the most frequent visitor to the Discount GotY booth.
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

New member
Apr 2, 2008
1,163
0
0
Twattycake_Fancypant said:
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.
Well that's the thing.

I don't agree with the generalisation in the last paragraph totally, but you absolutely have a point. Game journalism has got to the point where websites like IGN are publishing stuff like hype pieces about "Why you should be excited about [insert overhyped AAA game that doesn't even have a playable demo released yet]." I'm glad that "The Escapist" hasn't got to this point at least, however it HAS got to the point where blatantly unfinished or flawed games are being given glowing reviews (just as "Pearl Harbour" got five-star reviews from several major movie magazines when it first came out. Yep, the Michael Bay factor.) I bought one £40 game (the British equivalent of your $60 price point). I won't even go into the subject of THAT game again - lord knows I've bitched about it enough on this forum already - but suffice to say, it wasn't worth the £40 that I paid for it. Not by a long shot.

The net result: I now find it very hard to trust professional games reviewers. Why should I? The only "reviews" that I thought gave a fair appraisal of that game's strengths and weaknesses came from amateurs on YouTube! I don't spend that kind of money on games very often, and when I do it's generally for epic RPGs like "Fallout" or "The Elder Scrolls". But not JUST them - I paid thirty quid for the original "Bioshock" and I think it was worth every penny.

The result of my "infinite" experience (oops) is that I've suffered some serious buyer's remorse. It simply wasn't worth the money that I paid for it, going on the entirely reasonable measurement of "how it compared to other games I'd bought at the same price". What do you think I'm going to do when the next AAA game comes out, even if it gets excellent reviews? I'm sure as heck not gonna buy it on release. Not even if all the professional critics say it's the best game ever made, because you know what? I can't trust them any more.

So that's why, as a consumer who's paid full-price for AAA games in the past, I've become more and more sceptical of doing so recently. You want me to go back to paying those extra pounds? Fix this awful hype-driven ratings system that we seem to have now instead of actual critical analysis. 'Cause if I'm going to spend the same money that can feed me for one-and-a-half weeks on a videogame instead, I need some damn good justification for doing so.
 

Flames66

New member
Aug 22, 2009
2,311
0
0
AzrealMaximillion said:
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.
They still wait until a sale because they don't feel his product is worth the price he is asking.

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".
I would call £6 (rough conversion) expensive for an indie game considering the level of depth and the amount of play I have had from them in the past. I would call anything over £10 expensive for any game.
 

Playbahnosh

New member
Dec 12, 2007
606
0
0
Maybe I come from a different background (barely-post-iron-curtain era Central Europe), but I never associated a game's intrinsic value with it's price tag. Maybe that's why I don't really understand the problem here.

As I see it, putting a game on sale months or even years after it's release does one thing: generate extra sales and interest in a game it wouldn't have gotten without it. Chances are, everyone who wanted to play the game that badly bought it on launch. Even those who were cautious and waited for reviews and gameplay footage to decide (or waited for patches after a rocky launch) and wanted it, bought the game soon after. That means everyone who was a potential buyer bought the game in the first few months after it's out. Those who didn't, either a. didn't have the money for it, or b. wasn't interested enough to buy it at all.

What a Steam Sale (for example) does, is trying to mine into these latter two categories. People with little disposable income may pick up a discounted title they couldn't have possibly afforded at full price. With the new influx of players, a good amount of new buzz is generated, which (coupled with the discount) might turn even originally uninterested people to give the title a shot. The important thing to take away from this is, that these sales wouldn't have happened without the discount. To the publishers and devs, this is basically free money they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. To the players, this is a (hopefully) good game and hours of fun they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Win-win, right?

Also, in this new age of no demos, fake adverts and bullshots, at the "deep-sale" price buying a game is much less of a gamble. So the people who were on the fence to buy it around launch and ultimately decided against it for some reason, might try the game after all on the smaller price point. If they don't like it, it's not a painful lesson in consumerism (pre-ordered Colonial Marines? Ouch!). But if they do like it after all, they might even buy some DLC or the next installment of the game at launch. It's still a win-win!

Again, maybe it's just me, but from what I can tell, Mr. Harris says, that buying a game at anything less than $60 (or whatever it's launch price is) decreases our appreciation of said title, regardless of our enjoyment of the game itself. I honestly think that's a load of BS. If anything, a higher price point makes us enjoy the game less, because the higher the price, the less we let go and enjoy, and the more we want to desperately derive our money's worth of fun from it. And that translates straight into Buyer's Remorse [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buyer%27s_remorse] and/or Post-purchase Rationalization [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization]. None of which is a good thing when we are talking about having fun with something.

Now, it's true what Mr. Harris said, that some people won't buy a title at full price simply because they'll wait until the "inevitable deep-sale" somewhere along the road, but there are few problems with this. First, those sales happen only after a long time after release (many months or even years). As it's been said before, those who had the disposable income and/or wanted it badly enough, already got the game from somewhere by then. These "coasters" that Mr. Harris points to are the exact two groups of people these sales are targeted at. It's a false assumption, that these sales will turn prospective buyers into "coasters". Have you ever heard "Oh boy, this awesome game I really want to play comes out today! Let's wait a year for the deep-sale so I can play it!"?. Don't think so.

All in all, I think Mr. Harris is talking nonsense and doesn't see the big picture.
 

martyrdrebel27

New member
Feb 16, 2009
1,320
0
0
Andy Chalk said:
I'm inclined to agree, both that the ongoing tumult of big sales has seriously devalued all but a very few elite triple-A releases
mr. chalk, you seem to say something quite different here...
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/117725-Origin-Boss-Says-Steam-Sales-Cheapen-Intellectual-Property

"The reaction to DeMartini's comments thus far has been almost universally derisive, and while my initial intent was to play devil's advocate on his behalf, I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't even figure out how to do it, really; the drive to bottom-line pricing can be damaging to conventional retail markets, where big-box stores can use their clout to muscle out smaller, independent outfits, but the digital marketplace, with virtual product and effectively zero distribution costs, is something entirely different."

when EA made the same argument, so why is it now true that sales devalue IP? unless there's some nuance i'm missing, these seem to be in direct contradiction.
 

weirdee

Swamp Weather Balloon Gas
Apr 11, 2011
2,634
0
0
As an addendum, almost every game I have purchased on sale in Steam has not really convinced me that they were worth full retail pricing, but at the same time, you can't really put a price on feeling smug about being right about it, unless you count the wasted potential that game had.
 
Jan 10, 2013
31
0
0
weirdguy said:
As an addendum, almost every game I have purchased on sale in Steam has not really convinced me that they were worth full retail pricing, but at the same time, you can't really put a price on feeling smug about being right about it, unless you count the wasted potential that game had.
Meh. Some would have been worth more than the price I paid, most were fine, some just represent wasted money.

Andy Chalk, on a somewhat different note, not related to the topic. Is it possible that you worked for the RDFRS foundation once?
 

Infernal Lawyer

New member
Jan 28, 2013
611
0
0
As has been said, the problem is that a lot of games simply aren't worth the price point. Mind, my library is so saturated right now that I know I can handle not buying a game I really want on launch because I've probably got another three I haven't touched yet.
 

Jesse Ron

New member
Nov 24, 2013
3
0
0
As everyone has already said. Paying $60 for most games that come out is totally not worth the money or the time. Most games are made as cash grabs now-a-days. Online sales promised that gamers could buy the games they want without having to pay top store dollar. By not having to make the physical materials for the game, but those games are still top dollar online also. I am not going to buy a game I don't like for $60 no matter where it is, but if that same game came to me at a lower price. I would certainly have a look, and maybe be pleasantly surprised. I still pay top dollar for the games that I think are worth it to me. Others will pay top dollar if they think they are worth it to them also. Besides, not everyone has the ability to just go out and buy any game they like. I have been forced to go my life not playing a game, simply because I couldn't afford to buy it. So yes, when there is a sale, I will jump all up on it. Don't discriminate against people who can't afford a game at full price.

Would you get mad at someone buying food or clothes at a discount? When you can't afford a TV, or a car, or anything that you couldn't normally afford, and then buy it on sale. Did you rip someone off? No, sale are there to get people to buy things they don't normally buy. $5 off, I don't think so, but $20 off a game, F'in eh rights! Developers should be glad for the sales they are getting, not the ones they think they should get. Otherwise they will be very disappointed to find that no one wants their game after a few months and a simple price drop could boost their sales. Besides, the games that go on sale are there because no one was buying them anyways.

P.S. The Humble Bundle is for charity, are you saying you hate charity? Is charity a bad thing now? Are you telling me that these sales are hurting people? That tells me that you are not a nice person. You seem like one of the rich greedy people who's advice to poor people is that they "stop being poor".
 

Colt47

New member
Oct 31, 2012
1,065
0
0
The part the guy isn't taking into account is that about 90% of the games that go on steep sales aren't very good, or are games that are already owned by a ton of players and are proven classics, like Counter Strike. Discount sales feel more like a replacement (and a poor one) of the game rental industry thanks to the fact that DRM practices make game rental a mixed bag.
 

Shamanic Rhythm

New member
Dec 6, 2009
1,653
0
0
Oh hey, it's this argument again.

They create the perception that games are only worth $5 or $10
To individual consumers, some of them may only be worth that much. Or are you saying you're against free market economics? Funny stance for someone who publishes the game 'Democracy' ;)
which in turn encourages gamers to ignore them at launch
Is there any reason why that's a problem other than because you'll get less money for them?
and walk away from them the moment they run into difficulty, rather than persevering and finishing them.
This one is bullshit. I paid three dollars for Faster Than Light, a 70% discount, and I persevered. I kept playing despite flying ships that never found extra weapons, got boarded by FIVE mantis at once, had a missile knock out my teleported while all my guys were on the enemy ship, etc... why? Because it's a good game.
They also commodify games,
Because we all know right now they're not a commodity. Fascinating.
making purchase decisions about price rather than quality,
Again with this straw man. It's about price to quality ratio.
with the knock-off effect of "handing power" to people who run the sales as opposed to those who actually make the games.
And yet he goes on to admit that, presumably because of his own decision, his game has never been discounted below 50%. Sounds like he retains more than enough power.