-Crops said:I never quite understood the point of "Games are too expensive"Therumancer said:Hey, I'll say what I've said before:
If they want to seriously reduce piracy AND used game sales, all they need to do is lower the game prices. Make it so it's not worth the effort.
I paid fl.110,- for a new copy of Final Fantasy IX when it was released.
I paid eu.50,- for a new copy of Final Fantasy XIII when it was released.
fl.110,- = eu.49,91
So in roughly 10 years, I paid 9 cents more for the latest release.
Now, considering a yearly inflation of 1.5% to 3% is quite common and acceptable, that's a pretty good deal.
Not even taking into consideration technological advancement and increased numbers of people working on games. Or the fact that FFIX was released after the launch of the PS2, for an inferior console.
Statements like "just make games $20 and people won't pirate them" are quite disproved by things like this and don't really take the costs of making a game into consideration. People would end up pirating "because I ain't paying 20 bucks for a game that's not even HD" or whatever.
There are always excuses for piracy, there just aren't many good ones.
Well, for starters $20 was just a figure I threw out at random. The point being that the current prices are extremely high. I am well aware of the development costs involved in games, plenty of them have been thrown around. However keep in mind that even among games there can be massive differances. For example "Modern Warfare 2" set unprecedented records by costing half a billion dollars to develop and market, however it sold for the same price as games that were developed on far less money. Development budget has absolutly no effect on the pricing of games, since the industry engages in price fixing (which I comment about frequently) and has coordinated to set the price of a new video game at $60 ($50 for the PC).
Generally speaking the way things are supposed to work, at least in the US, is that companies are supposed to compete with each other. They are supposed to try and gain market support by releasing the best quality product they can, for the lowest price possible, while their competition does the same. It breeds innovation, and protects the consumers. However you don't see that in the gaming industry which is why so many companies are able to succeed while "playing it safe". Coordination also means that they can try things like intrusive DRM, because pretty much everyone is trying some variation on it, and you don't see major titles trying to undercut each other by being more conveinent. Heck, for that matter you don't see them trying to undercut each other at all, when "Modern Warfare 2" came out all the competition changed release dates, nobody decided to say "Hey, I'll sell my game for $10 less than Modern Warfare 2, and toss you extra content", followed by MW2's producers saying "hey, I'll lower my price $5 under that other guy, and give you this map pack we're working on for free!"... until both sides basically settle on the best possible deal they can offer while making a profit.
My arguement with them lowering their prices to $20 or whatever is simply that development budgets are so far irrelevent. How much a game costs to make has nothing to do with how much it sells for. However most of the people who are buying used games, or pirating, are doing so because games are expensive and $60 is a lot of money to risk. If they lower the price then those guys waiting to buy a game used for $20 a year later, might very well just buy it new because it's less of a risk. What's more it's easier than pirating a torrent and trying to get it to run properly, so a lot of pirates are going to buy the games as well for conveinence. While the industry would make less money per unit they could make it up in volume sales.
See, one arguement in defense of piracy is that all those pirated games would not be sales. Simply put nobody could afford that. However if you want some of those people to put money in your pocket, you charge what the desired market will bear.
What's more right here on The Escapist you periodically see people complaining about the price of games in various third world countries. Right now we have a guy from Romania writing about how Romanians can't afford to buy video games. We've had official articles run here on The Escapist about the economic realities of games and the third world, where a lot of the big piracy is happening, and there are few legitimate sales. Lower the prices to one third (or whatever) and you'll probably see markets appearing in these places where there were none before.
Do not misunderstand the fundemental nature of this arguement however. The above is not guaranteed to work, however it represents something the industry has not tried. Something I carefully consider when I have game companies telling me they have no choice but to load my games with DRM, mandatory online connections, and other assorted crud, and/or take games "totally digital" because they have "tried everything else".
Whining about a moral high ground doesn't work, because the industry doesn't act morally to begin with. Saying that they need to charge $60 because of development costs is BS, when it's a standard price that exists independant of development costs.
Obviously I pay $60, but I don't want to hear a song and a dance trying to justify something that can't be justified. At the same time I don't want to hear hemming and hawing about how the poor, innocent, gaming industry is being victimized by the big bad pirates, and has no choice but to inconveinence me. Neither side has a moral high ground, so I want to be left out of it. By all means, go chase the pirates, but don't harass me, the guy who is paying your $60 to begin with.
As I've said in other threads. Pirates Vs. The Game Industry, is like gang bangers fighting the mob. Differant styles of crime/immorality, but in the end their both crooks in their own way. The only real victim of the piece is me, the gamer, I just want to play my games without jumping through hoops, and otherwise be left alone. DRM, digital downloads, online connections for single player games, are *NOT* leaving me alone.. and it's especially annoying when I'm paying the guys who are basically taking a giant fish taco-stand dump on
me for doing it.