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March 2nd, 2013, 18:06
Folks, there are some big things going on in the industry.

1. The average gamer does not play a game for more than 20 hours or so. Expecting them to keep paying full price for games that they only get half way through is not smart.

2. Sales lost to piracy are going to keep getting worse and worse as countries like China get more people with enough money to get into the hobby. If you set up a system to discourage piracy without hurting your sales in the West too much, you'll make a ton of money.

3. The price of games hasn't moved. EVER. Inflation keeps happening but game prices stay the same. Audiences have been getting bigger to compensate but that can't keep up for much longer (it may have already stopped with all those people going to mobile devices). Prices must go up.

Microtransactions work well with all of these.

The a la carte methods of selling games (by the hour, by the feature, whatever) let people pay only for how much they use, which is going to be great for a lot of people. The ones that are too lazy to bother getting good reviews will be getting free demos, too. (Though the people screaming about how "padded" the content is are going to go completely nuts, I'm afraid.)

The microtransactions require that you register the game with central servers so you can't pirate a game by simply hacking out the bits where the DRM resides. These will be another reason why game developers will want to make their games "always online."

As for the price, by changing the model we aren't going to be as stuck on it going up and throwing a fit. The distribution is going to get wonkey, too. All those folks with short attention spans certainly won't be paying full price but they might be paying a little money to a lot more games. All the companies are going to have to mess with the pricing models constantly for a few years. Some people will end up paying more, some less, and some will think they're paying less when they're actually paying more.
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