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

Lunar Templar

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SOME games are worth more then 10-15 bucks, this is true. The problem is far to many games these days lack the content worth of a full $60 price tag.

That and I find the best games of late are almost all inde games, so I rarely pay more then 10-15 anyway, but thats just me and my 'Indes are the only ones making the games I wanna play' talking. (which isn't 1005 true cause I <3 me some MGR and Dark Souls)
 

Doom972

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Most games ARE worth $5/$10. The best of them are worth $20. With digital distribution eliminating most of the publishing costs and making games available to a wider audience, I don't see why games should cost more than that.

We, the consumers, can decide what a game is worth for us by waiting for it to be at the right price, and I don't see anything wrong with it.
 

Zeldias

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Wouldn't it make sense, then, to stratify your pricing structure? If you're seeing people are more hesitant to go all in on the typical industry price, why not seek to have a stable of games that range from the $10 set of more easily impulse-bought and the $40 and up buys that tend to cause more hesitance to purchasing?

Seems like the sales aren't so much the problem as the price structure that a studios use. It could hollow out the industry as others have said, but I thought the point of all this shitty capitalism was that people would get wise to this shit and figure out ways to survive that end up benefiting the consumer, not make blog posts crying that people don't buy your shit unless it's half off.

It seems that with shit like this the problem is always consumer behavior, and not company action. "Blah blah, sales are bad because they hurt me!" Then make a move and work it so you don't have to rely on sales so much or figure out something else. Don't be mad at me for taking advantage of a system that benefits my wallet at your expense. Aren't you trying to do the opposite here?
 

FancyNick

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I've bought games I was only faintly interested in due to sales. I would never have bought the games otherwise, that developer would have not gotten their money. Valve realized this awhile ago, the money you make on the increased sales of a product on sale outweighs the money you would have made by the few people buying it at full price. I don't have the money to go buying all my games day one, I have a budget. Thanks to these sales however, I get my games and the developer gets my money.
 

Ticklefist

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It took me 400 some odd Steam games to realize that I have this problem. I've now reverted back to where I'm only buying physical copies, where my desire to play the game is the primary factor. No more ever-expanding queue of $5-10 purchases.
 

Baresark

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Ugh, not this shit again. The only reason my Steam library is so big and I own all of those games is because of sales. In other words, I would never have bought the vast majority of those games at all. If I want a game, I buy it when it comes out new. I even often times participate in that most evil of practices, the dreaded PRE-ORDER. But, many games I do not want right off the bat. Take Bioshock Infinite for example. It was a fine a game. I liked it for the most part, though the shooting was awful boring sometimes. But, it didn't carry on and it did have a pretty damn good story. But, I bought it on sale, not because I didn't think it was worth full price, but because that game was not something I was interested in playing when it came out. The actual issue here is that after the first month, you don't hear about games much. Publishers are under the impression that only the first month or so of sales matter. So, they actually ignore games after that period, which makes consumers forget about them. You only see ads for a game for like a month, then the publisher moves on and then so do people.

Sales bring them back into the consumer consciousness. That is why I bought Bioshock Infinite. I basically rediscovered it as a thing and then happened to be in the mood to play an FPS with a strong story. If it were $5, but I didn't want to play it, I still wouldn't buy it.

The flaw in his entire argument is that he thinks the value of games are intrinsic, and they are not. He talks about commodifying games, but commodities have an intrinsic value. Games do not. You can set an MSRP, but the "s" in there stands for suggested. Games do not have inherent value. And as such, making and selling a game is risk. Some games do well, others do poorly. A sale is a chance for a game that didn't sell well to make more money, move more units, and end up in the hands of the consumer. And a sale is a chance for a game that did sell well to move even more units.

Look at the recent story about Tomb Raider. After all that bullshit about it not performing well, it has more than made it's money back and sold over 6 Million units. That is a success story. I bought that one the first week myself. That game was fun as hell to play, even though the story was a bit contrived. Square Enix basically abandoned the game after the first month. Sales brought it back and it turned it into a success.

Many of his statements are just nonsense. Maybe the endorphin rush for him is spending money, but it's not for me and everyone I know. Trust me, if we were more dishonest, we would literally just steal the games we want. That said, it brings up another great point. Piracy is super fuckin' easy. PC's, 360's, PS3's.... all easy to steal games for. Shit, console releases are leaked sometimes a month or more in advance. Yet, many many people still buy games when stealing them is the easiest thing to do. They buy games in the millions still. I'm rambling, I'm tired, I have said my piece. So PEACE!

Edit: Also, this guys company makes a spreadsheet with GUI and calls it a game. Imagine that people might not think it's worth $25. The thing is... if he was selling it for 99 cents I would not buy it because it doesn't look fun. Not for me anyway. Never been on sale for more than 50% off.. that's fine, don't ever put it on sale. No matter which route he takes, it will not end up in my library.
 

Snacuum

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I think the real issue here isn't these sales, but the amount of games being made available. I'm not saying that more games being released is a bad thing, but for savvy gamers who spend a lot of time playing games and a lot of time considering their value (including the possibility of bargains)it's just not surprising that these days we go for the cheap.

20 years ago there was only enough games coming out each year that maybe there would be like 3 - 5 games that a gamer would think "yeah I'd buy that". Paying $40 or more for those games wasn't a hard choice.
Now it's hard not to get up each day and browse the news of upcoming releases and adding another interesting looking game to the pile. So when it finally comes time to buy some of them, it's practically impossible to justify that much cash for the games we want.

So we wait. A lot of us have more patience than AAA publishers with their launch-day hype would have us believe. Eventually it becomes possible to have our cake and eat it too.
 

Andy Chalk

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martyrdrebel27 said:
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.
It is nuanced! And I'm also not entirely for or against either position, to be honest. A lot of you guys have made very good, very reasonable arguments against Harris' comments; I like in particular the one noting that while we may be paying a lot less per game, we're buying a lot more games overall, so the scales essentially balance.

But I'll also point out that I said in the Origin case that I understood DeMartini's position, but I didn't think it was realistic to expect gamers as a whole to go along with it. That's basically what I said here, too: "that the ongoing tumult of big sales has seriously devalued all but a very few elite triple-A releases, and that there's likely nothing to be done about it." I don't necessarily think Harris is "right," I just think he's coming from a valid position - the prevalence of Steam sales and the like have impacted our opinion of what constitutes a fair price for a game - and it's something I think is worth further discussion.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Twattycake_Fancypant said:
Andy Chalk, on a somewhat different note, not related to the topic. Is it possible that you worked for the RDFRS foundation once?
Nope. Never heard of it before today.
 

RevRaptor

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Sales are hurting new release sales? Riggght.
So they release a new game for $120 to $140 dollars and are then surprised no one buys it until it goes on sale.
Not to mention that game publishers and developers reward us for waiting to buy their games by releasing complete editions a few months later for half the price and with a lot of extra content thrown in for free.

for example. I got Deus Ex: HR for the xbox not too long after it came out for about $70, Kinda wishing I hadn't though. The Director's Cut looks way better but at a retail release of $120 there is no bloody way I'm buying it until it goes on special. I just can't justify spending more than 20 bucks to get the better version, seeing as I have already spent $70 on the game, Really should have waited before buying that one :/
 

Andy Chalk

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Ultratwinkie said:
10$ = 90 minutes.

60$ = 4 hours of gameplay. 15$ to the hour.

Its not proportionate. At all. Not to mention that most AAAs have no replay value at all. The oblivions and the fallouts are way too far between to be the norm.
Come on, realistically you're going to get a lot more than four hours out of a game. There will be exceptions but the majority are going to serve up much more than that.

And the argument isn't just about triple-A, it's about everything. In fact, it's only the true triple-A franchises - Call of Duty, GTA, maybe BioShock or Titanfall - that are immune to the effect. It's mid-market and indie devs who will suffer the most for it (if suffering is in fact happening).
 

Andy Chalk

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RevRaptor said:
So they release a new game for $120 to $140 dollars and are then surprised no one buys it until it goes on sale.
What game costs $140? Big-ass collectors editions aside, of course.
 

martyrdrebel27

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Andy Chalk said:
martyrdrebel27 said:
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.
It is nuanced! And I'm also not entirely for or against either position, to be honest. A lot of you guys have made very good, very reasonable arguments against Harris' comments; I like in particular the one noting that while we may be paying a lot less per game, we're buying a lot more games overall, so the scales essentially balance.

But I'll also point out that I said in the Origin case that I understood DeMartini's position, but I didn't think it was realistic to expect gamers as a whole to go along with it. That's basically what I said here, too: "that the ongoing tumult of big sales has seriously devalued all but a very few elite triple-A releases, and that there's likely nothing to be done about it." I don't necessarily think Harris is "right," I just think he's coming from a valid position - the prevalence of Steam sales and the like have impacted our opinion of what constitutes a fair price for a game - and it's something I think is worth further discussion.
that's exactly what i was hoping for, thank you for the reply. i knew somewhere within that confusion, there was an area where both statements could coexist without contradicting each other. i guess it just felt like in the part i quoted from the EA article, it felt more absolute. i interpreted it as "i want to play the devil's advocate, but he is dead wrong." without really noticing that you never assessed whether he was right or wrong, but rather just noted that the gaming community wouldn't go with it. which i guess i thought was so obvious that i never considered it, if that makes sense. it makes sense in my headmeat, but i don't know if it's wording on the typingbox in the way i want it to.
 

docsax

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I'm flat out completely unwilling to drop more than $30 at the absolute most for a video game. I cannot in any way justify that kind of expenditure on something as trivial as a game. So, yes, when deep discount sales happen, I'm far more likely to buy bigger titles than I would be pre-discount. What he's really saying when he claims discounts "devalue" a game is that it puts it in the reach of the middle class and below, since if you can afford $60 on a title at launch, then you really have no idea what money problems or hardship look like.
 

RevRaptor

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Andy Chalk said:
RevRaptor said:
So they release a new game for $120 to $140 dollars and are then surprised no one buys it until it goes on sale.
What game costs $140? Big-ass collectors editions aside, of course.
https://www.ebgames.co.nz/xbox-one-162715-Destiny-Xbox-One - That ones $130,
and the big ass collectors editions usally go for $160 to $400
like this one http://www.mightyape.co.nz/product/Call-of-Duty-Ghosts-Prestige-Edition/21592895

Man I bloody hate NZ game prices . Is why I usually order most of my games from the Uk, unless there?s a good sale on of course.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Sep 10, 2008
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Baresark said:
Look at the recent story about Tomb Raider. After all that bullshit about it not performing well, it has more than made it's money back and sold over 6 Million units. That is a success story. I bought that one the first week myself. That game was fun as hell to play, even though the story was a bit contrived. Square Enix basically abandoned the game after the first month. Sales brought it back and it turned it into a success.
I will have to disagree with you on Tomb Raider, it seems everyone forgets it was re-released on 8th generation nearly a year after its initial release, essentially 'double dipping.'

But most of your post is spot-on, except that for me I was slightly interested in in Democracy 3... Until this article of course.

Andy Chalk said:
RevRaptor said:
So they release a new game for $120 to $140 dollars and are then surprised no one buys it until it goes on sale.
What game costs $140? Big-ass collectors editions aside, of course.
Depends on where you live, EB Games (a part of Gamestop) has the gall to sell COD: Ghosts (for the PS4) at a whopping $132 NZD new.

JB Hi-Fi has a more reasonable price of $112, but that is a rather large amount for a single new copy of a standard edition current-gen console game.

https://www.ebgames.co.nz/ps4-163765-Call-of-Duty-Ghosts-PlayStation-4

http://shop.jbhifi.co.nz/Product/75362/PS4-CALL-OF-DUTY:-GHOSTS
 

Mezahmay

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I'll try not to retread certain points as a poor college student who wouldn't be gaming at all without sales and indie developers, but this is an issue I've been seeing in places like Jimquisition where massive AAA projects still "fail" despite having massive sales figures. Perhaps the issue stems from an extended period of games being overvalued, and now that the US population has been dealing with financial issues for so long it's just difficult to justify "full price" for games.

Blizzard has been bleeding WoW subscriptions lately, CoD sales have been seeing diminishing returns iirc, etc. Looks like we're going to be in for an interesting period of change for the game industry. Maybe developments like Unreal Engine 4 and CryEngine having such a cheap licensing fee will allow for more "middle class" studios similar to the Industrial Revolution allowing a stable middle class to form due to cheap, available goods.
 

Slegiar Dryke

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Twattycake_Fancypant said:
I say it's because you had no other choice. At full price, unless you or your parents were/are earning well above average, it's either play what few games you can afford per year, or play nothing at all and hate yourself for the money (or Christmas wishes) you wasted on that shit game you got.

Incidentally, that's why Ocarina of Time, or the Goldeneye game on the N64 are held in such high regard. They were nice enough games and we didn't usually have that much else to steal their spotlight. I know for a fact that I would have had the time for loads of other games. I couldn't get them, though. Crimbo and birthday only came around once a year, after all. So I played the absolute pants off of them. It takes a lot for a game to get gushing reviews from me these days. OoT got a free pass in comparison.
Oh I had every single choice. my parents haven't bought me a game in over 8 years, anything I get, I get myself. plus, honestly...there's not that many good games that come out lately, so "only able to afford a few" doesn't factor into things, at least for me. However notice I never said, despite this realization, that I myself am immune to the "Sales pitch" of such a cheap deal. What I was trying to say though is that, it doesn't matter whether you get the game cheap or full price, whether you were waiting for it or not. To me it feels like that act of buying it at an insanely cheaper price than normal, instills much less lockdown interest in the game, because you're not giving up much for what (you hope) will be a great experience, and thus there isn't as much of a subconscious thought about getting value for the money you paid. I get how it kinda sounds silly, "pay more so you'll feel better", and maybe its just me....but again....just my thoughts..
 

Snotnarok

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"Devalues the game" ? and "They create the perception that games are only worth $5 or $10, which in turn encourages gamers to ignore them at launch..."

Problem is pub/dev launch (almost) every game with the perception that they're worth 60 dollars, then they put out DLC, then they drop a GoTY edition for 60 with all the DLC to make the early adopters spend more money than the late adopters instead of giving discounts to early adopters to try and even it out. So there's not much point in early buys when those who do have to spend more, unless they do it via sale.

Or how about every dev/pub that kicks out an unfinished/shitty game for again 60 bucks in the attempt to make some earnings back at the cost of ignorant people's wallets? Games which cannot be returned or swapped, it's just- too bad you fell for our trap!

People will buy games at what they value them and not having sales isn't going to change that. It's why people buy used games on consoles and why PC people buy humble bundles and steam sales- there's no other options and no one is looking to spend $60 on every game ....especially not with the flood of games released 2-6 years ago on console that have been getting kicked to PC as of late.