Games Need to Adjust.

With the current status of the economy, all sorts of things are adjusting to meet the new-found outlook that we all have.  Everything from gas prices to the price of a gallon of milk.  So why not the biggest form of entertainment and media as well?

It seems that with each generation of gaming comes price changes.  I for one understand, but do not agree.   How do you come out with a new console and charge a ridiculous amount for it and then charge more for the software too?  I can remember when games were $29.99 for my NES.  It was the good days.  I have never had a huge problem paying $59.99 or more for a new next gen game.  Now I have a different look on the situation.

We have seen so many developers shut the doors on their said operation(s) in the past 6 to 8 months. Companies like Midway have been in financial trouble for some time.  Even the mother of them all,  (EA) has had financial troubles.  Maybe it’s because of game prices.  For example, when NFS:Undercover came out it was looked at as yet another tired iteration of a boring franchise.  Even though I bought this game I had a bit of buyers’ remorse for a good week after the purchase.  EA claims that games like Undercover and Mirror’s Edge were to blame for recent layoffs in the company.  Ok, well I bet those games would have sold a lot better if they were say $49.99 instead of $59.99.

Microsoft is another.  Microsoft is cutting over 5000 jobs in the next 10 months.  All these jobs are being cut from the Entertainment division.  That includes things like the Zune and you guessed it, the 360.   Once again another example of why things need to change for the better.  The question that I wonder is simple.  Do they not make needed adjustments because they can’t or because they don’t want to let go of that extra dollar?  That being said that brings me to my next question.  What the HELL is Sony thinking?

The Ps3 may turn out to be one of the biggest failures in gaming history if Sony does not do something to turn the tides.  If you think about it you could have seen this coming a long time ago.  One of the prime reasons to have bought a Ps3 in the past was for the Blu-Ray player.  Now you can purchase a Blu-Ray player for more than half the amount that a Ps3 costs you.  Then Sony goes and takes away backwards compatibility.   They do away with all the models except the 2 most expensive.  It’s almost like they want to fail.  All I know is that it will be hard to hold a 10 year life cycle if they don’t make it to 5.

I guess the point I’m making is simple.  Now more than ever game publishers and developers need to connect with the audience that they are trying to sell to.  I know when I go to pay for a game, for just a minute I hesitate.  In the past, I would have never done that.  Now I think to myself can my money go somewhere else for a better reason?  I think that most of the time it can.  If things don’t start to change I think we may see a lot of bad things happening to the gaming industry in the next several months.

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Author: Eric Baumgardner View all posts by
I operate this site. I also have been gaming for 23 years. I am an Xbox LIVE Ambassador and an Xbox Community Xpert. Need anything find me on Twitter @junegore or email me at junegore@jgghgames.com
  • ViridianJade

    I totally agree. Price is why I refuse to buy pretty much anything gaming involved anymore. I havent bought a system since Gamecube – and I dont really plan on it either. Nor do I plan to upgrade from PS2 to PS3. Actually, to be honest, I’m most happy when I play on my Nintendo/Super Nintendo/Gameboy. I dont buy new games, cause they cost tons, and the computer games are just as bad – if they are MMOs like Wow or CoH – you have to spend a good amount to buy the game, then spend more to pay it every month. I would rather spend said money on my son.

  • ViridianJade

    I totally agree. Price is why I refuse to buy pretty much anything gaming involved anymore. I havent bought a system since Gamecube – and I dont really plan on it either. Nor do I plan to upgrade from PS2 to PS3. Actually, to be honest, I’m most happy when I play on my Nintendo/Super Nintendo/Gameboy. I dont buy new games, cause they cost tons, and the computer games are just as bad – if they are MMOs like Wow or CoH – you have to spend a good amount to buy the game, then spend more to pay it every month. I would rather spend said money on my son.

  • I agree with all of your points completely. In fact, I’ll even go further along some of the points that you’ve made:

    1. I purchase a good 75% of my console games used. Why? Because I don’t have to play them as soon as they’re released, and the price is a good 25-50% of the full retail price. The only problem for publishers is that my purchase will never show us as a sale for them. If the gaming companies came up with a model where they lowered the price of titles over time, then the total amount of sales would increase.

    2. I strongly prefer digital distribution mediums. This isn’t feasible for a console, but out of the last 20 games for the PC I have bought, maybe 1 or 2 of them were retail boxes. The rest have all been online purchases. This should be a preferable medium because there is no cost of distribution (making it a “greener” solution). Because there are no packaging costs as well, I would hope that more of the money can go directly to the publisher and developer therefore increasing their profits.

    3. Sales RULE. Steam has been having weekend deals for as long as I can remember. Just recently they had a weekend deal where Left 4 Dead was 50% off ($24.99). Steam released notes that sales increased over 3000% (30 TIMES) during that weekend. That should be a HUGE hint to game producers that games at a lower price point will sell a ton more units.

    4. Sales RULE. (Yes, this is a repeat, but it’s important). Over the holiday season, Steam had this completely nutso bonkers sale where they were selling some games for as little as $5 (I picked up Bioshock, Portal, and Space Empires 4 & 5 for a total of $18). Once games get to a low enough price point, it becomes no longer a question of whether or not you should buy it. At $5, if I get just 2 hours entertainment out of it then it is more cost effective entertainment than going to a movie.

    I don’t know what the right answer is, but perhaps some kind of scale where the price of your game drops 10% every X months or something would increase the overall attractiveness of your game. If I rented a game from GameFly, then I’m going to either keep it through them or buy a used copy at the local EB (whichever is cheaper), but neither one of those results in any more money going into the hands of the publisher.

  • I agree with all of your points completely. In fact, I’ll even go further along some of the points that you’ve made:

    1. I purchase a good 75% of my console games used. Why? Because I don’t have to play them as soon as they’re released, and the price is a good 25-50% of the full retail price. The only problem for publishers is that my purchase will never show us as a sale for them. If the gaming companies came up with a model where they lowered the price of titles over time, then the total amount of sales would increase.

    2. I strongly prefer digital distribution mediums. This isn’t feasible for a console, but out of the last 20 games for the PC I have bought, maybe 1 or 2 of them were retail boxes. The rest have all been online purchases. This should be a preferable medium because there is no cost of distribution (making it a “greener” solution). Because there are no packaging costs as well, I would hope that more of the money can go directly to the publisher and developer therefore increasing their profits.

    3. Sales RULE. Steam has been having weekend deals for as long as I can remember. Just recently they had a weekend deal where Left 4 Dead was 50% off ($24.99). Steam released notes that sales increased over 3000% (30 TIMES) during that weekend. That should be a HUGE hint to game producers that games at a lower price point will sell a ton more units.

    4. Sales RULE. (Yes, this is a repeat, but it’s important). Over the holiday season, Steam had this completely nutso bonkers sale where they were selling some games for as little as $5 (I picked up Bioshock, Portal, and Space Empires 4 & 5 for a total of $18). Once games get to a low enough price point, it becomes no longer a question of whether or not you should buy it. At $5, if I get just 2 hours entertainment out of it then it is more cost effective entertainment than going to a movie.

    I don’t know what the right answer is, but perhaps some kind of scale where the price of your game drops 10% every X months or something would increase the overall attractiveness of your game. If I rented a game from GameFly, then I’m going to either keep it through them or buy a used copy at the local EB (whichever is cheaper), but neither one of those results in any more money going into the hands of the publisher.