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iamnsuperman

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$60 Price Point: Unhealthy Choice

The $60 price point has become the norm since the seventh generation launched. Games became increasingly more expensive to make (with going into the HD realm) and the rise of such rental and used games services meant more money is needed to be taken from the consumers to recuperate that lost revenue. But is the $60 more damaging than helpful to the game industry? In this blog I will attempt to answer this question while looking at what other industries (Film and Music) have done in similar circumstances.

Throughout this generation we have seen many game developers fall (Team Bondi, Pandemic and even the publisher THQ). The, more simplistic, reasoning behind this is they just didn’t sell enough because they were not good enough. There is more too this though. Recently, the rise of Metacritic has created a world where mid-tier games get financially destroyed. Let’s look at Homefront (THQ) and Mirror’s Edge (EA). Homefront was averagely rated at 70 on metacritic (1) and Mirror’s Edge scored around 80 (2). Homefront sold 2.6 million units by May 2011 (3) and Mirror’s Edge sold 2.5 million by June 2013 (4). Both are getting sequels but after much hassle. These are low numbers for multiplatform games and we should just put the blame on Metacritic. I propose that $60 games combined with the Metacritic crisis has caused a huge problem which could get worse over time.

The film industry had/has a very similar issue. Due to the rise of the internet, more and more people were watching films (either legally or illegally) through streaming services. The cinema companies decided the best plan was to raise the prices of films. Currently, in the UK, it is around £8 to see a film where ten years ago it was half the price. That is a big increase which the movie industry thought would work. It actually didn’t work that well as more and more people were put off going to the cinema except for big releases (5). This year’s summer flops shows the similarities between the video game industry and the film industry. After Earth, World War Z, The Lone Ranger (6) are big summer films. Yet they fell because prices were too high to justify going to see something like After Earth when other big films, such as Iron Man, were out at the same time. The gaming industry has the same issue. $60 has become a price point that means games that don’t make 85+ Metacritic sell poorly.

The film industry got around this loss by offering something different. The rise of 3D capable and IMAX cinemas have helped the film industry and the cinemas themselves get back more money from films which cost more to make. The issue is the games industry doesn’t have this safety net to fall on. Microsoft, when they announced the Xbox One, tried to combat this loss in sale by having DRM. Everyone seemed to be against the idea and Microsoft quickly retracted the idea. They failed wasn’t because we all hate DRM but because they didn’t offer anything back. They should have taken cues from the music industry.

At one point the music industry was getting killed by the internet. Downloading a file on the internet was so quick and easy that paying for a CD seemed an illogical choice. The music industry decided to introduce online downloads with DRM but (this is big difference between them and Microsoft) they decided to offer songs at a much cheaper price. Having DRM is an inconvenience but the music industry lowered the price for the inconvenience as well as bringing in more customers who would usually pirate the song. Microsoft should have followed this philosophy.

Now I am not saying Microsoft should have sold games for 69p (that is ridiculous) but the gaming industry as a whole can learn a lot from the music industry. Cutting the price makes people buy more games as they have more money to afford games that they would otherwise pass on. Too many times do I see users on N4G, talking about mid-level games, saying people should rent, buy it used or wait for the price drop because these games just do not justify paying a full $60 for it. This becomes an even bigger issue when big blockbusters come out. It is exactly the same situation to what is happening with the film industry. If the industry is not careful we could be have more blockbuster flops and more studios collapsing because of it. Mid-tier games are already dead because of the $60 price point as if it doesn’t make 85+ on Metacritic it will not sell because games are too expensive.

The $60 price point isn’t all bad as the decline in mid-tier games has created an opportunity for indie developers to thrive. But each tier could live in harmony if games cost less. We don’t want to be in the same situation as the film industry where certain types of films (games) are made because they sell the most. This results in stagnation of our high tier films (games). In the gaming world it could lead to more studios closing

Sources
1. http://www.metacritic.com/s...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...
3. http://www.gamespot.com//ne...
4. http://www.computerandvideo...
5. http://business.time.com/20...
6. http://www.movieweb.com/new...

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MotherLight1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

It is a little ridiculous. When games become more than $60 dollars a pop I seriously don't know how I will even afford them anymore. I bust my ass enough just to pay for them now.

The worst part of all of this is things just keep becoming more and more expensive but jobs are not paying people any more money, they are actually paying people less and less as time goes by.

No clue how the hell that is supposed to work out.

Pisque1903d ago

Are you kidding? The salaries are going up and up. It's called salary inflation, and is the same as inflation but for salaries.

MotherLight1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

No I am not kidding. A lot of the more "less important" jobs are paying less and less every year.

Even places like Goodwill are paying disabled workers far less than they used to. Disabled workers for fuck sakes.

That isn't the case for every job out there and you know that. Most places are paying less than minimum wage now and that is a fact. Which they shouldn't even legally be able to get away with but they are.

If people can't even find a starting job that pays enough for them to live properly how the hell can they get their life together to ever get those rare higher paying jobs you speak of. Most can't.

There is a reason unemployment is so high because no one wants to work for nothing. I don't blame them, why work for nothing just to waste your life away barely getting by.

M-M1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

Well, you need to tell me where you live then because around here jobs are scarce and the pay is much lower than it used to be.

Benchm4rk1902d ago

Try paying for them in Australia. Games coming out here were $119.95 at the start of the last gen. As the years have past retailers have had to lower there prices or offer them a bit cheaper at launch to compete with overseas prices and eBay. At the moment $89 is the average but some times we get lucky. I picked up Hitman absolution and Crysis 3 close to realease for $69.

s45gr321900d ago

Yikes that's too much for a video game but are the job salaries high over there. For I don't understand why games cost so much in Australia.

Benchm4rk1900d ago

Its been the topic of much debate here for years. Essentially we have been paying double to the US market for many years now. Reasons have varied for why we pay so much and often the goverment contradicts itself on the matter. Not to sure about salaries in other countries so I can't compare them with ours

s45gr321900d ago

Not just get paid less money for work but also less and less hours.

zerocrossing1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

Modern gaming in a nutshell... 60$ games that feel half finished, have a ton of bugs, encourage you to buy DLC and other forms of micro-transactions, and then of course the industry wonders why gamers seem so dam "entitled" well you know what maybe we are, maybe we're entitled to a freaking finished game, to not feel like we aren't getting our moneys worth unless we put more money to buying DLC, DLC that was probably content cut from the game before release!

I don't honestly care if the publishers excuse is, they need to give us reason not to sell the game or trade it when we're done playing, you know what? I don't sell or trade in "good" games, if they are really that worried just make a game we want to keep... (sigh) will it ever change?

Anyway good blog, I agree with most of the points made.

SirRidge1903d ago

Super Nintendo games were regularly $60 and couldn't do any of the things today's games do. Like use polygons.
With inflation those Super Nintendo games would cost over $100 today. Every game you buy for $60 that has at least one polygon is a steal of a deal.
Quit complaining.

zerocrossing1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

Are you serious? The graphics and mechanics of games today may have improved but just about everything else has gotten worse.

How many older games had as many game breaking bugs as we get today? more often than not the patches end up just causing new problems, not to mention the fact that originality and creativity in the mainstream is virtually non existent.

Yeah, games might have more visual flare and tighter controls, but more often than not it's just game design by committee, designed to appeal instead of challenge, made accessible and made to cater to everyone, leading to a watered down generic experience, and that's just the half of it.

So no, I really don't think we should just "quit complaining" nothing good ever came of sitting back and letting companies dictate to us how we may enjoy our entertainment.

caseh1903d ago

@SirRidge

Have to say I agree.

I recall paying £40 for Megadrive (Genesis) games back in 1991. If anything they are the same price today if not a little less in some cases.

I have no issue paying this price for games, even if some require patching on day 1 I can deal with that. rarely is it game breaking patches and its usually to iron out some glitches.

Content wise, even without the DLC games have far more content today then they EVER did back then.

s45gr321900d ago

What please tell me you are talking about NES games which like today don't offer a lot of content ; however, Playstation era prior to PS3 console games had more content than today. Go play GTA San Andrés, star ocean 2 had 80 different endings, branching paths, mind blowing puzzles that zizzle your brain, fps games with multiple paths, secret corridors, free unlockables which is now DLC that you have to pay. Did you ever played tony hawk pro skater, ssx, need for Speed underground, midnight club, mercenaries (the free roaming mercenary game were every single mission could be accomplished in multiple ways). No just no today's games have less content than Playstation era games hell mini games are gone.

ShaunCameron1902d ago

Not only that but games back then were even shorter. Maybe 4 hours at best.

s45gr321900d ago

Really go play star ocean, how about mega man or bartman. Ugh today's games have less content unless you pay for it, a lot shorter, etc etc

Chard1900d ago

In Australia, SNES games did cost $100, sometimes more! People complaining about $60 have no idea how good they have it.

s45gr321900d ago

Super Mario all stars was $20.00 plus tax, Aladdin (yes there was a Disney game for the Disney movie Aladdin) was also $20.00 plus tax, Jurassic Park was also $20.00 plus tax. My point is that back then there was no set price point meaning not every NES game cost $60.00 or $90.00 but retail stores used to compete one another let's say for example toys r us has super Mario world for $60.00 plus tax in contrast wal mart has the same game for $40.00. Now today every single console game comes out for $60.00 regardless to what retailer to go to. Also back then video game stores would let the gamer try out the game, help you fix it, recommended you some games, hell they would try to repair your console. All of that is gone. So that's why we complain we want good customer service, finished games, at prices we can afford oh wait that's what Steam does nevermind

SirRidge1900d ago

http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/st...

That is a toyrus flyer from the holiday season in 1996. Which was AFTER the N64 came out even. Can you back up the prices you're claiming in any way?

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1900d ago
Kevlar0091903d ago

While not everyone is making big budget games, I wouldn't be surprised to see certain Devs justifying universal $60 to pay for AAA budgets and advertising. $60 is the norm, we "accept it" and Devs are fine with it. It would take a major shake-up from consumers and specific Devs for price to go down. If sales decrease and Devs find they can reduce prices without losing money per sold, then it's possible they would do it then

I don't see it changing anytime soon, especially if teams get larger for Devs

TongkatAli1903d ago

Let me make this simple for you complainers who don't know wtf you're talking about. Our currency the dollar is GARBAGE, garbage so, 60$ a pop isn't that bad because they're not even making that much money back especially the Japanese and European devs.

Once they take our dollars they turn it into Yen and Euro. Back in the day the dollar was more valuable, that is why you saw a shitload of Japanese games in the PS1 and PS2 days.

zerocrossing1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

I get your point, but I think the issue is more about who actually wants to spend $60 on a game they aren't sure they'll even like? or better yet, how many games are worth the $60 price tag?

People would be more likely to take a chance on a new IP if the price of a game was more reasonable, the more new IPs we have the more variety w get, and variety is the spice of life after all. Otherwise it's just bland and generic rehashes of tired old formulas being repackaged on a yearly bases.

iamnsuperman1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

See Zerocrossing has got the main point. The issue is because games cost $60, people can all afford a much smaller amount of games than if games cost, for instance, $40 to $50 which has led stagnation because certain types of games sell much better than others as people can only afford to get a smaller amount of games. It is exactly the same as the film industry model I mention in the blog.

This model could harm the industry in the long run

Side note: It is interesting hearing everyone's point of view on this. Thank you all for your contribution.

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