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September 4th, 2013, 14:03
Given how low the prices are these days, mostly due to competition, the relative cost of a game vs average salary is getting pretty crazy. Compared to income, games are probably 10-20 times cheaper than they were during the 90s.

I assume it's volume and the lack of physical copies that enables the gaming industry to still make money, but even the it must've taken some corporate stream lining to make a profit when games that take years to develop go on sale for about as much as a bottle of Coca Cola.
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September 4th, 2013, 16:15
I'm feeling good about giving ~100 bucks to several independent devs via Kickstarter. I feel that their games are shaping up to be high quality products, so I'll gladly pay full price any day. They're making the kind of product that I want to see in the future and their open development process makes them likeable and rewarding to invest in.

However, as others have said, I've bought quite a few games that I would never have bought otherwise because they were a steal during some sale.

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September 4th, 2013, 17:08
Initially, I was never a huge supporter or proponent of Steam or buying games in such a way online. To be honest I still only do so if it is my only option or if the price is just too cheap to say no to.

My habits began to slowly change after I bought a Fallout New Vegas Collectors Edition; that was my very first steam game and ever since then, especially over the summer when I have more time, I've gradually succumbed at least once or twice to nabbing something via a Steam sale.
As a consequence, that has meant more games are now filling the backlog of "not yet played" and so I've tried to establish a bit of will power to hold back buying new games in order to properly enjoy what I've already bought.

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September 4th, 2013, 17:30
The power of impulse buys can't be underestimated. I buy games all the time that are 5 bucks out so, that I would never touch at 20 or more. I think the net sum for the average game buyer is more money going out off the pocket, so it's a net plus for the industry. However I can see that it could kill a good developer that just doesn't get a lot of press or word of mouth, but then that's what steam sales, humble bundles and such are for. Add in the ability for people to pay higher amounts via kick starter if they really believe in a game and I think it's overall a good model. Much better than what we were stuck with for most of the 2000s

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September 5th, 2013, 15:34
I just found this article on Gamasutra : http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Jamie…iced_Games.php

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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September 5th, 2013, 15:41
^ time is the critical factor here, I'd say. If I get to play a game that's 'brand new', it tends to give me a bit of a fuzzy feeling. It's like having bought a gadget that's top of the line at that moment. If I buy a game months after release at full price, boy, I'm certainly not more likely to enjoy playing it, and I think I'm not alone there given the amount of nerdrage on the internetz.

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September 5th, 2013, 15:47
Haven't seen it brought up but… Piracy. Low prices help lure in purchases that would otherwise be lost to illegal downloading.
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September 11th, 2013, 14:24
I'm convinced with the current Steam distribution, Steam sales, Midweek Madness etc. the developers get way more money than before. They get money years after release for a game. Just looking at this I wouldn't say games are too cheap. There's a lot of criticism in Steam but I see many advantages. At least it changed a lot. Haha, realease dates are release dates now and not delay dates. OTOH of course unfinished stuff gets released easier, but I prefer this to ever delaying software release… Oh, this is OffT.

BTW, I wish I knew about Steams wishlist algorithm So if too many people have a game too high on their wishlist, this will probably (negatively) affect the prize… Currently I rank the games, which I really really want, a bit down.
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September 16th, 2013, 11:11
I can't claim to understand the depths and complexities of what these low prices do to the longterm market - but I do have a feeling we're overlooking the impact of DLC and the trending "games as a service" concept.

Seems to me that publishers are generating a ton of cash through relatively low-cost development of additional content available at or after release. People are clearly willing to pay extra for trivial content - so maybe that's something to consider when worrying about this.
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September 16th, 2013, 14:39
At the same time however we move further away of reusing the same engine.
If you think back to Eye of the Beholder 1,2 and 3 for example , or Ishar 1,2 and 3. In the past you re-used the whole engine, just made some tiny adjustments and put in tons of new content and released the game again for the full price.
This almost does not exist anymore today. Instead we have DLCs.
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September 16th, 2013, 14:45
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
At the same time however we move further away of reusing the same engine.
If you think back to Eye of the Beholder 1,2 and 3 for example , or Ishar 1,2 and 3. In the past you re-used the whole engine, just made some tiny adjustments and put in tons of new content and released the game again for the full price.
This almost does not exist anymore today. Instead we have DLCs.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that… If you take a company like EA - they've publicly declared that they'll be using the Frostbyte engine for everything they do now - including Dragon Age and Battlefield.

Most developers use licensed engines that they're familiar with - like the Unreal Engine.

Sure, they make a lot of changes for each sequel - but it's still the same core.

In fact, I'd argue that we're seeing more re-use today than we ever did - at least in terms of the engines. As for the assets, that's another matter.

In my opinion, publishers are much better at saving money on such things - because they have so much experience with it.

These days, for the big titles, the trick seems to be to buy the talent - establish a strong franchise using that talent - and then milk it into oblivion, until the team loses its edge and will to innovate. That's what capitalism is doing for the AAA segment.

The money is invested into marketing and production values - and they're essentially buying the audience.
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September 16th, 2013, 15:01
You're right. But still. In these games (like EOB) it's not just the engine. It's the whole game design which is taken over. You are also able to transfer your characters between the games which is something you almost exclusively encounter in DLCs / Add Ons nowadays.

But in general I agree to what you wrote first:
" People are clearly willing to pay extra for trivial content - so maybe that's something to consider when worrying about this. "

In comparison to these games you pay much more money per hour of content in todays DLCs.

Personally I am fine with both DLCs and new Games with exactly the same Engine and Game Design, as long the additional content is not ripping off the player (like in EA RPGs).
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September 17th, 2013, 09:03
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I can't claim to understand the depths and complexities of what these low prices do to the longterm market - but I do have a feeling we're overlooking the impact of DLC and the trending "games as a service" concept.
Yeah. DLC is a massive part of the "new" business model, mainly because it's an area where publishers can change the way their product is sold without the consumer really noticing.

e.g., in ~2005, only commercially successful games were treated to an expansion pack, either in box or download form (i.e., new content was developed after the game launched). By ~2010, some gamers were decrying content which would previously have been in the main game being stripped out for DLC. On the new consoles, I think it's possible that we'll see a steady stream of AAA games which are commercially successful solely because of the DLC - the main "game" being essentially little more than a demo. (And I mean this in a different way than the current F2P approach where you kind of buy "cheats" or remove "nags". I could imagine the next Rock Band being free, but with a very limited track list and loads of DLC tracks from launch.)

C'est la vie. It's not the way I'd choose to buy games, but I can see why publishers are going this way. And as a gamer, it lets you pay for of much of a game as you want to play (at least in principle).
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September 17th, 2013, 09:12
It's certainly hard to imagine that publishers aren't tempted to plan development of these new expensive games with DLC in mind - with the result being a game that's nowhere near as "complete" or wholesome as it would have been without DLC as the accepted standard.

I'm not saying they all do that - but from my point of view, it's naive to think it's not common practice by now. I don't think the actual developers have much say in this either.

It's kinda like advertising… For many, many years - consumers have accepted being lied to and deceived through marketing. It's completely ok to deceive in the name of profit.
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September 21st, 2013, 04:34
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
…I see what the $1 mentally does to the iOS appstore and the qualtiy of the games there, and I really start to be afraid that people become so used to these sale prices that fewer and fewer will buy games at full price….
The ios market has always been a very special game market. The price drop down has many reasons but many of those reasons are very specific to this market:
  • The platform pushed to smaller and more casual games ie games that could have a very low production cost.
  • The top sells list constantly updated by Apple and put in front has a bigger influence than in other market because many buyers won't be real gamers.
  • It's a market that attracted very fast small indies newcomers and build a name/trademark is important for them. It generated a practice of very low sales pushing the game in top sells and increasing a lot the number of sells.
  • Moreover right or wrong a practice of free sale during a short period got the reputation of being a strong marketing tool. It generated a muliplication of free "sales".
  • Since many years the prices are constantly recorded and you can get instant alert on games prices or check prices history of any game. So a game that did a sale has hard time to sell at a more standard price.
  • The much smaller production cost generated a very competitive market with constant flow of talented newcomers coming on the market. This was increasing the battle of sales.
There was a conjunction of characteristics of the market that contributed to the rapid drop down of prices. No market cumulates that series of conditions and if Steam could look a bit the same, it's still overall very different conditions.

So I don't think the ios game market can be used as a model for comparison, even less with the PC game market.
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September 21st, 2013, 05:21
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
And that at the sales they buy more indiscriminately, randomly, not really supporting the best, but whatever is so cheap and shiny enough that it triggers your buying impules (I know I am guilty of that).
I tempered a lot those impulse buy because I quoted that I'm not curious to play those games I bought just because of a very low sale despite a low interest. When I feel such impulse buy coming I just need remind 4 points:
  • The number of games I have and never played.
  • The number of those games bought at very cheap sales and that I didn't played longer that 30mn to 1h before to give up.
  • The number of games I bought at very cheap sales, that I never played, and that seems deadly boring when I look at my collection and wonder what I could play.
  • The number of games I don't even remember why I bought them even if it was at one buck.

So when I see a very cheap sale, I don't wonder if I want add it to my collection but I wonder if I really want to play it, or if there's a real discovery curiosity.

The example you quoted (TW Medieval 2) is typical, a good game in a great series but not the best in the series and not a genre I like that much despite the quality of the series, so nope I didn't buy any at sales, even very low.

The indie case is more problematic because there's ton, there's ton doing very cheap sales, there's ton that will just bore me, and there's ton that will stick me just few hours and much less than for the full game. But it's still a source of great discovery.

My top 3 of 2013 games I played would be just fully indie, between very low budget indie and very big indie.

Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
I really start to be afraid that people become so used to these sale prices that fewer and fewer will buy games at full price…
I think I already fit that category. But I'd temper it by arguing I stopped buy boxes since few months and new release digital have obviously a too high price in comparison of boxes.

The "problem" isn't my current back catalog, frankly just looking at it doesn't excite me much. The problem is coming from multiple points:
  • There is less and less identified games that make me curious. Recently it's been tempered by a series of turn based games not too hardcore and polishing the appeal level, and they made me do series of buys at full price or almost. But that's a change and I'm not sure this element will work as well for long.
  • I regularly notice I have troubles to identify games I find very great, so the list of sales I bought among games I enjoyed the most is growing.
  • More than once I just hadn't the time to buy the game before it gets a significant sale like 40 to 50%.
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