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March 15th, 2007, 12:27
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
As for being cynical, I think it's just realistic. And I'm not offering a solution - I don't know there is one. Why should a seller lose money discounting or giving stuff away to make the value appear better? You can't beat free. At the end of the day, the beancounters will do a cost/benefit analysis and if reducing the price gets enough additional buyers, they'll do it. If not, they won't.
Ahh, I think we will not find common ground here. I my opinion your approach to the problem is just too simple. I mean, we always reduce the whole topic to piracy, but I doubt that's covers it all. Take quality for example. Will better quality keep people from pirating? In my opinion it might keep some people from pirating, but certainly not the majority. But if you're asking me if quality helps to sell the product to those people that are willing to buy it, then I'll have to give you a definite - yes! If you release a high quality game then it will still be pirated, no doubt about it, but it will probably also sell more copies.

You're saying, "you can't beat free." That depends. Some people will always choose the cheap alternative, sure. But I'm fairly sure that quite some people are willing to pay for a product if the offer is good.
And if you look at given realities you'll see that these offers exist, there are just too few of them. Just to give you a few examples. Look at games like Half-Life/HL 2 and Neverwinter Nights/NWN2.
These franchises sold quite some copies. And, surprise, surprise, both products are/were supported over a very long time span. Both companies offer additional services to keep up the attractivity of their products (there are other examples - think about Blizzard and their games). Have a look at Valve's Steam. When Steam was announced everyone said that customers would not accept it. Well, obviously they did, since from what you read on the internet about 25% of all copies sold were sold via Steam. And Steam dstribution is significantly more profitable than retail.
Of course these games were also pirated. But they still sold a nice bunch of copies.

I'm not saying the market isn't changing. But as markets are changing the ones that act on these markets have to change. That concerns players as much as developers, and publishers alike. Online play becomes more and more popular, so why not use that? I'm thinking of… let's say account-based single player games, that need a permanent internet connection. I know, a lot of people would cry out "never!!!" in the beginning, and would later on buy the game anyway. It all depends on the offer that is made. You could for example let the player choose between a version of the game that runs offline and one that needs to have permanent internet access to work. If the customer takes the one with permanent internet access, he will get new episodic content once in a while (Bioware's permium models were a bit like that, I guess). Something like that.
I'm sure these games would still be pirated, but to a lower degree.

As players become more demanding, developers and publishers can demand more from them. We deliver you improved service, but therefore you have to be online - for example. That is why the quality argument DOES play a role, not because it keeps people from pirating, but because it gives credibility to game developers, and publishers.

And if you look at other markets this is a well established, everyday thing. Companies demand from their customers much more than they did 30 years ago. Customers usually have to know alot more about products in general, but on the other hand the industry offers highly customized products. True, quite a few industrial branches do not have the problem of piracy, but they have other problems, like that of customer retention, which is very similar to what we're talking about here.
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