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Default Spiderweb Games - Why you can't have every game for a dollar

October 17th, 2011, 06:44
Well I guess it really depends on what your standards for good are. There are a lot of really fun games on the Iphone, but Iphone games can never really be as complex as PC games and will tend to be shorter too (though not always). So if an Iphone game provides me with 5 hours of fun for $1, I consider that to be a really good game. If that same game were on a PC and cost $40 I would not consider it a good game.

In a given month I'll probably find more games for the Iphone that I consider "good" then games for the PC that I consider "good". But my standards for the two are extremely different.
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October 17th, 2011, 07:47
Comparisons aside the 99cents phone game model would not work for Spiderweb. He's not making games that sell in large numbers for a low price. His audience is small so he has to get as much from them as he can.
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October 17th, 2011, 10:49
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Mike, you know this forum and the people here. Most of us are part of the PC only club. You know this. You've had a bunch of arguments with the other people here about Apple products.

I don't agree with you at all in that there are as many good games on the iPhone or iPad, but that's my opinion on this matter. I'm sure the people on the App forums have the exact opposite opinion. Put some perspective in where you are and what kind of people enjoy this forum.
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Let's at least try to stay realistic here.
Having games that are 'good or bad' doesn't equate to having something of a similar depth or breadth of experience.

There is no 'Witcher' or 'Deus Ex' on a handheld device - there never has been. But just as the DS and PSP was able to offer more than just a simplistic casual game, so are smartphones.

In 2009 I had a massive article that got a lot of attention because Apple had just made some big declarations about their gaming, and I used some economic calculations to question just how viable things were. Stuff has changed since then - there are still loads upon loads of $1 casual games - and even those are providing a better experience and value.

But the number, quality, and depth of games at $5 - 10 that are offering a more robust experience is growing rapidly, as developers see more and better returns and figure out how to make money.

And ultimately - as we well know as PC gamers, THAT is what it is all about …

— Mike
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October 17th, 2011, 11:22
An apple is a good thing, as it's healthy. So is an orange.

But it won't satisfy the hunger of anyone.

So, yeah, there are many "good" games on Smartphones and Tablets - but I've yet to experience a single game that satisfied my gaming hunger, and if I did - it would still be inferior to the same kind of game made for PC or a similarly powerful platform with a decent interface and big screen. Games like The Quest come really close to satisfying a certain kind of hunger, but I don't have to spend more than 2 minutes finding an alternative on PC that's a million times more interesting. So, it's only in times of desperation or in-between PC releases I'd be playing such a game, and I wouldn't really be happy as a gamer.

I'm not saying that has to be the case for others, but it's certainly the case for me.

It seems there are people who find entertainment in simply buying stuff and trying it out. The "pure" consumer, if you will, who will buy whatever platform regardless of the cost and will find some "need" that's fulfilled in the process. Not something I can really relate to, but I suppose these new casual/cheap games and their platforms are dreamlike to a pure consumer.

You could potentially buy a new gadget every week, and have it "stand out" in some miniscule way - based on who produced it and what games are available for it.

Must be great for the person with fire in his pocket

Personally, I find that incredibly hollow - but I can see how it could work with the right mindset.
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October 17th, 2011, 12:30
I play PC games and cellphone games in entirely different circumstances, therefore the question wether something similar but better exists for the PC is really irrelevant. It's true that there is tons and tons of shovelware of irrelevant casual games on the iPhone, but I also see innovative stuff that makes great use of e.g. the gyroscope and the touchscreen as input devices, that could not be done on a PC (ZenBound, for example). While on the PC I am pretty much a CRPG only gamer these days (partly because of interest, partly due to time constraints), I try more varied offerings on the phone, and I found enjoy some (at least to me) interesting and new approaches and game concepts that I would probably not bother with on the PC (Puzzle Quest would be an example - I would never have bought that for the PC, as I have much better RPGS still to play, but I really enjoyed playing it on the iPhone). I would certainly not argue that there is any full-scale CRPG on mobile devices that would lure me away from my PC gaming time as of yet.

And Skavenhorde - we can't even agree what a RPG is here, why shouldn't we argue over patforms
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October 17th, 2011, 14:26
True enough, but we've had this debate over and over again with the majority of the users posting here in favor of the PC over Apple.

All I ask is for some perspective on where you are at. As long as it doesn't escalate into another Apple vs. PC flamewar then whatever. I just thought I'd be a voice of reason for once before it came to that. I know how much Mike loves Apples and how much some of us hate Apples

Not me. I think they're a fun little diversion when I'm away from the computer. Like I love Fruit Ninja, but I don't get the appeal of Angry Birds. Played the stupid thing for about twenty minutes before I got bored and went back to Fruit Ninja and 100 Rogues.

BTW, anyone thinking of upgrading their ios would be best to wait. The stupid freaking update took away all my apps. My girlfriend just about had kittens. No seriously she was swearing like a sailor in Chinese……. it was scary. I tried to help, but we weren't the only ones with this problem and it seems the only solution is to download all of the apps again. Didn't have to pay for them, but still had to go to every site to get them all even though the freaking iTunes store says they are all downloaded and installed in the iPhone.

Stupid freaking iTunes store bullshit. I hate iTunes with a passion. Sorry, I just really hate that Apple forces that crap on me.

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
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October 17th, 2011, 14:46
My point has always been that people and technology are separate, and that it is.fine to discuss technology … But as soon as it becomes about trashing.people either in general or specific a line has been crossed.

In other words, I get into loads of discussions aboutbthe impact of Android fragmentation on gaming, which makes for fun debate … But I would never say something degrading about someone for buying a certain product (typing on my HTC Flyer)

Oh, and Slave … Sorry to hear about your issues! We have updated 5 devices across 3 computers Mac and PC without issue … But i have heard troubles …

— Mike
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October 17th, 2011, 14:55
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post

And Skavenhorde - we can't even agree what a RPG is here, why shouldn't we argue over patforms

Well, when I pat a cat or sheep I usually start on the back and pat it on the back. If it appears happy I also proceed to scratch it behind the ears. I think this is probably the best patform

Stupid freaking iTunes store bullshit. I hate iTunes with a passion. Sorry, I just really hate that Apple forces that crap on me.
Well, another reason to buy an android phone…….
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October 17th, 2011, 15:03
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
True enough, but we've had this debate over and over again with the majority of the users posting here in favor of the PC over Apple.
Correction. The debate is PC and Mac V phones and tablets.


BTW, anyone thinking of upgrading their ios would be best to wait. The stupid freaking update took away all my apps. My girlfriend just about had kittens. No seriously she was swearing like a sailor in Chinese……. it was scary. I tried to help, but we weren't the only ones with this problem and it seems the only solution is to download all of the apps again. Didn't have to pay for them, but still had to go to every site to get them all even though the freaking iTunes store says they are all downloaded and installed in the iPhone.
If you have a backup via iTunes on your PC, then you can simply restore them. There is restore button on the same page as upgrade.
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October 17th, 2011, 15:05
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
BTW, anyone thinking of upgrading their ios would be best to wait. The stupid freaking update took away all my apps. My girlfriend just about had kittens. No seriously she was swearing like a sailor in Chinese……. it was scary. I tried to help, but we weren't the only ones with this problem and it seems the only solution is to download all of the apps again. Didn't have to pay for them, but still had to go to every site to get them all even though the freaking iTunes store says they are all downloaded and installed in the iPhone.

Stupid freaking iTunes store bullshit. I hate iTunes with a passion. Sorry, I just really hate that Apple forces that crap on me.
It didn't delete anything for me (although I had to figure out first how to activate my library on a different computer and synchronize my iPhone with it again - because my "main" iStore computer died a few weeks ago. iTunes is indeed very strange and cryptic about how that works.)
However, it did jumble all apps about haphazardly, and my beautiful thematically sorted screen layout was completely shot. Yeah, that kinda stuff sucks.
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October 17th, 2011, 15:24
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
There is no 'Witcher' or 'Deus Ex' on a handheld device - there never has been. But just as the DS and PSP was able to offer more than just a simplistic casual game, so are smartphones.
Ahem, http://breakpoint.pl/en/games/thewitcher

And yes, I know you mean games of the quality of the Witcher PC games, not some mobile game the slaps on the IP.

Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I don't get the appeal of Angry Birds.
One thing I will say in its defense is that it really was designed around the touch controls and makes good use of them. Ever try to play it on a PC? I have. Not nearly the same experience. And can you even imagine trying to play it on a controller?

I get annoyed when games get sholved over in some half assed lazy port that has a virtual gamepad thrown up when they really need to be designed around touch controls. Just like we get annoyed at crappy consolized UIs in PC games, I think games really should be designed around a platform and its control system.

Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
My point has always been that people and technology are separate, and that it is.fine to discuss technology … But as soon as it becomes about trashing.people either in general or specific a line has been crossed.

In other words, I get into loads of discussions aboutbthe impact of Android fragmentation on gaming, which makes for fun debate … But I would never say something degrading about someone for buying a certain product (typing on my HTC Flyer)
But people get really emotionally attached to hardware and the companies that make it. It's silly, but you see it all the time and I don't even think those who are are consciously aware of the extent of it.

I read a study a while back that found that Apple fandom triggered the same areas of the brain that religion does. I totally believe it!

Anyhow, on the subject of mobile games, I do agree, as the majority here seems to, that there are good games (good being relative to the platform, its intended uses and limitations, mind you). The problem for me is often finding them seems to be like finding a needle in a haystack.

The ease of making these usually graphically simple games combined with the popularity of these devices and the relative ease of getting them up on an app market has lead to a lot of me-too-ism. It's really hard to separate out the hidden gems in those.
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October 17th, 2011, 15:29
I agree that he needs to charge a decent amount for his new games (seems he has accepted the $9.99 price point), but it seems strange to think that he'd go out of business if he didn't charge significantly more than that for his older games.

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October 17th, 2011, 16:07
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I agree that he needs to charge a decent amount for his new games (seems he has accepted the $9.99 price point), but it seems strange to think that he'd go out of business if he didn't charge significantly more than that for his older games.
I have no idea of the details of Jeff's fiscal realities, but let's look at a reality: here is someone who is successfully keeping a software business alive for 17 years to the extent that it is his sole income, and has allowed him to provide a home with transport, food and enough luxury overhead to have gaming consoles and tablets, and fully support a wife and daughter. How rare is THAT?!? (Answer - extremely rare … the odds of him being out of business are astronomical - less than 44% make it even 4 years according to a recent report ..

Another thing - I have pretty constantly argued that the reality of the situation is that it costs $50-100 MILLION to make a true 'AAA' game, and since the iPad has as much computing power available for gaming as something released just a couple of years ago … it is certainly *possible* for a developer to directly target a first run game at the iPad.

But they don't - because they want to make their money selling the games at $60 rather than fighting economies of scale at $10. So we get GameLoft clones for $10 instead - and while I like NOVA better than Halo … it is a clone.

There are some real issues in the economics of the app store (and here consider Android, Amazon, Apple and other 'A' companies inclusive) - in that they demand low pricing, yet their customers snap up more 'robust' games. Avadon remains in the top dozen or so RPGs for the iPad, which is surprising for the fleeting and fickle audience in the app store. It says there is certainly an opportunity there.

As for stuff like Angry Birds … while I 'get it', and own it on iPod Touch, iPad and Android, I don't play it all that much. I find it interesting that I can immerse myself for a few hours at a time in Deus Ex or HoMM or the Witcher … but generally never last more than 15 minutes with something like Angry Birds …

And as for tie-ins, the 'Witcher VS' I thought was pretty awful … Two Worlds II Castle Defense … definitely better.

— Mike
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October 17th, 2011, 17:49
The guy has been very successful, I don't think there is any debate about that. My question is about his pricing on old games and whether or not he is maximizing his revenue on them. He has no marginal cost on selling those games (unless someone orders a CD I guess), so the question is really at what price does the revenue max out at?

IMO (and yes, I am not a game designer as he is), when you can get his newest game via Steam for $9.99 (or even on sale for less) or on iPad for the same, its a head scratcher that you then go to his site and see his old games for $15. Now, he recently reduced the prices and his blog indicated that his attitude on pricing has changed with the new digital distribution methods available, but his prior posts on the subject matter seemed to have more to do with pride than business sense, hence I don't think you can just say "Well he's still making games, so I guess he knows best."

His main competition for new customers, IMO, outside of the iPad is GOG. If someone likes old school RPG's, there are plenty of them there that the customer probably hasn't played, but they cost significantly less than what he is charging for a comparable game. When I can get MMI-VI, Ultima IV- VI, etc. for $5.99, why would I pay $45 for one of his CD trilogies? (Unless I've played all GOG has to offer). When I can get Ps:T, BG, Arcanum, IWD, etc for $5.99 to $9.99, why would I pay $15 for Avernum I?

Now, be clear that I am not saying they all provide the exact same experience, and obviously and games like MMI-VI and U4-6 have much lower graphical qualities, so I realize there is some difference and there certainly are people that are just huge fans of his work and think his older games are worth those prices.

My question is in regards to attracting new customers. That's really what his foray into the iPad marketplace was all about.

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October 17th, 2011, 18:16
I'm probably no different from anyone here but it is ridiculous how little I'm willing to pay for a game unless it's perfectly niche to my tastes. I've never purchased a Spiderweb game but I have tried of few of his demos, I didn't purchase because the game wasn't my thing though, not because the price was too high. Part of that is I just don't have the time to learn & play games outside what I know I'll love, so I'm just wasting my money buying them. Saw Last Remnant on sale on Steam this weekend for $10, scoffed because I was thinking, "if it's $2.50 or less, I'll buy it" as I clicked through for the price. That being said, if I know I'll love a game, I have no problem spending $50 on it.

I'm working on an indie right now and have hopes and dreams of releasing it on Steam. I was figuring $20 at release but maybe I'm a dreamer and that's more than the consumer will be willing to pay. Hopefully I have the chance to find out.
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October 17th, 2011, 19:02
I have no problem paying top dollar for a new game. I've said it before, if the guys that made BG got back together and made a BGIII using the same engine and graphics, I'd prepay it at $50-60 in a heartbeat. But if they were still trying to sell BG1 at $50-60, I'd laugh at them and either not buy it or pirate it.

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October 17th, 2011, 23:13
I've come to expect a much lower price on PC games these days myself. Several years ago I wouldn't have batted an eye at paying $50 for a new game. Today it just seems like a much higher price because of all of the cheaper games available, that I sometimes even like a lot better then the AAA titles. I'll still pay it but only if it's something I know I'll like, not if it's something that feels like a risk.
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October 18th, 2011, 02:23
Am I the only one that finds this guy arrogant and condescending. I mean do we really need him to explain the simplest of business concepts. Do we really need him to tell us if you sell a lot of a game you can charge less but if you sell less you need to charge more. (oh the wisdom). I especially like the part where he explains that $1 is half of $2. (Thank you so much)

I've owned my own business for many years and have had people tell me my price is to high on occasion. So obviously what I did was run to my computer and type them a letter telling them why I had to charge so much and if they don't buy from me they must want me to be bankrupt. Or wait …no… what I did was thank them for there interest in my company, asked them to consider me for any future projects that they may have, wished them well in their current project and let them go on their marry way.

If someone doesn't buy your game it's not personal. They don't care about you. Maybe they don't think the game is good enough or they just refuse to pay that much for a phone game. I personally won't pay over $5 for a phone game. because I know I won't play it much, I don't like the user interface and most phone game don't suit my tastes. I have plenty of friends with phones packed to the gills with games and none of them want a long involved game for their phones. I don't know anyone (although i'm sure their are some.) that wants to sit on their phone for hours playing a long rpg or something.

Enough ranting. This guy just seems full of himself to me. The more I hear from him the less I want to buy his games at any price. My opinion.
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October 18th, 2011, 02:49
sakichop, people are always telling him if he just sold his games for $1 he'd make boatloads of money. Seriously. They argue with him on his blog all the time about it.

Most people do not know anything about running a company or economics which is why most companies fail sooner rather than later.

So, yes, he does need to explain that $1 is half of $2.
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October 18th, 2011, 03:05
Yep, I have to agree. You'd be VERY surprised about how few people who post about games know squat about economics and running a business.
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