Friday, July 01, 2016

The Dollar Value of a Game

Over the years, questioning the price of video games has become a common practice. Do you remember when they use to be $39.99? I do. Those were glorious days. With the XBox and PS2, the pricing models changed and only Nintendo was willing to buck the trend for a few years by keeping games in the $39-$49 range. Overall the $59.99 price tag has stuck around and hasn't changed. And while many of us think games should be cheaper, Simon Nash at OnlySP argues that games need to be more expensive.

Ready those pitchforks.

His opinions center on two points: that we get a lot of content out of these games and they are worth more then $59.99, and the rise of development cost.

Nash overlooks the fact that a number of games are released "broken" or contain so many bugs that we pay for unfinished products, on the guise that the developer will fix it later. Paying for things you can't play - sounds like a GameStop motto. But at the rate developers are going lately, gamers are not willing to pay more for a broken product. They'll pay more for a working product, but not a broken one. It's as simple as that. If the companies can resolve those issues, then we can talk about a price increase. We can argue that the value of the games are more then what one would get out of a book, movie, or tv show. But the value is what the consumer places on it. They are not willing to spend $69 or $79 on a game, it won't sell and you'll have to discount it to a level that it's worth their time, and money.

In regards to the rising costs, there is no denying that there has been an increase with games. That's a fact in every business around the world. More consumption, higher demand, higher pricing. But the overhead costs for developing a game are still small by comparison. With digital downloads taking over the need for discs (which are still pennies on the dollar cheap to make), publishers have to produce less physical copies, which makes up part of that dent in the budget. And developers are now using more nontraditional advertising to get their product out to the masses. Such as promoting it through YouTubers (where they receive the game for free to give a play through and review on it) versus standard TV ads that can cost hundreds of thousands to produce. The viewership on a YouTuber is guaranteed compared to a TV ad.

I don't think games are in a dire need to raise their prices right now. Down the road, of course. That's part of the economic shift. But now? Nope. They are find just where they are.


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