Hrm, I wonder why you can't get Bejeweled Twist using real gamepass.
Hrm, I wonder why you can't get Bejeweled Twist using real gamepass.
Also, no games are released for $6.99 so a developer will see most sales at the higher price point.
I understand these details don't change your main point but I just want to keep the facts straight even if they are minor details.
And the beat goes on...
Amazon's controversial casual game pricing 'completely unacceptable'
It does seem like "gang up on Reflexive / Amazon" time.
Sure they made a target of themselves by being the first to make the move, but this is the general direction that all portals are heading in. This is just the logical extension of all the game club discounts that other portals offer.
Is there anybody here that will be supplying Reflexive with any of their currently in development titles for <$10? Not unless they were creating a budget game already I'd say. It's one thing to leave your already developed game on their roster to see how the new price works out but it's another to add something new to it. As James said himself:
From this I hear, "I cant be bothered polishing anymore, no more polished games, down with the Polish!" No more games that look like they are worth $20 means that game quality would drop. Games are going to start to look like they are worth $7 to $10 and the casual space will begin to look like a turd. In actuality, Popcap, BFG and others have shown that more polish is needed across the board. [QUOTE=mooktown;186665]
Merscom will be and from my conversations with other casual game publishers they will be getting a lot of casual titles (cannot speak for Indie titles). With the various game clubs, our average selling price is already slightly over $7 per unit so $9.99 does not bother us at all. On a really good game, we can sell about 50k units the weekend the game is released primarily on one portal that already has a low game club price, so if Reflexive/Amazon's price cut creates a second equal opportunity, I say bring it on.
Last edited by MerscomMan; 02-14-2009 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Fixed a typo
Big Blue Bubble
Well someone pointed out that you make less money selling 3 games at discount than you did at $19.99 a year ago. However the key thing about this business is keeping your customers.
3 customers buying from your site over and over again will easily beat out a one off $19.99 purchase.
"On a really good game, we can sell about $50k units the weekend the game is released primarily on one portal."
I don't care how good your game is, or how big your company is. You can't come on here and just state 50k units in 1 weekend without giving us more information. Please show us the game, the company, the portal. Because if that's true, well...it's time to play ball.
All of which does nothing for the individual game developer. This is a system that rewards publisher only. If you release one game a year (as many a standard, small developer does) portal customer retention is meaningless. If you are not portals, you do not benefit.3 customers buying from your site over and over again will easily beat out a one off $19.99 purchase.
I'm sure that's $50,000 dollars for launch weekend. That's only about 5000 copies, which is do-able for a top-5 (top 3, really) title. But correct me if I'm wrong; Merscom isn't a developer. They're yet another middleman.
it's not *your* siteOriginally Posted by hippocoder
I have to echo zoombapup here. I plan to focus on a creative niche, price at about $25.
I'm young, stupid and I've never sold a game in my life, so my opinion doesn't really count for much. But I am coming from a different direction, both as a developer and gamer.
I'm one of the old school RPG crowd, and I hang around communities filled with those like me. From the point of view of that niche, this price change doesn't even register on the radar. There is no huge surplus of hardcore RPGs, neither from the mainstream or indies. Most of us spend years at a stretch waiting for titles, then finish them in a few months and go back to waiting. And to talking about the golden years when you could actually expect 3-4 RPGs in a year.
This niche is naturally resistant to this phenomenon because of the huge part creativity plays, and the incredible time/effort cost of these titles. Decreasing tech barriers isn't enough.
Take writing novels. You can't get much lower a barrier to entry than simply needing a computer with a word processor. Yet J.K.Rowling isn't feeling downward price pressure from the gajillion bloggers out there. Why? Because there is much more to a novel than just "technology to make it easy to write words." The creative process is a huge factor and no technology can replicate it. The flood of words on the net is no real competition to the bookstore novel. (pirated and scanned material is though, obviously)
Like books, certain types of game content don't fit the mass produced commodity model well. Despite the number of people who can write and the high penetration of PCs with word processors into that segment, the percentage of them who can produce good novels is exceedingly small and so novel prices aren't plummeting, that I've noticed at least. Likewise, the number of developers who can produce a good, story-based, hardcore RPG is tiny. The number of those who can produce them in less than 3-4 years...even smaller.
The hardcore RPG fan isn't looking at the pop-3 games and going "oh, they're $6, why isn't my 40 hour RPG the same?". Hell, yesterday was the first time I've ever visited a casual portal. And, upon seeing that "pop-3" and "hidden object" was actually treated like a genre of game (instead of, as I would categorize them, types of puzzle games), I realized this place wasn't meant for my kind and left quickly.
And like me, the other hardcore RPG fans aren't often thinking "hmm, I could buy one RPG for $30 or 6 casual titles for $5 a pop, therefore they are of similar entertainment value to me". They don't satisfy the same needs so the lower price of casual titles is little threat.
I'm a fan of fantasy novels and I also enjoy going out for dinner. Dinner out and a fantasy novel cost about the same here in SA, R100-R200 (which is pretty cheap for the middle class btw Josh, few of us balk at that price just because of note size). But if I won a lifetime pass to dine out for free at any restaurant anywhere it wouldn't satisfy or reduce my desire for fantasy novels, that kind of comparison where you treat them as equivalent units of some "generic entertainment value" and then compare prices universally just doesn't really account for the reality of diverse entertainment needs very well. Even if I can only afford R100 per month and dinner out is half the price of a book I still won't automatically choose dinner over the book each month. Because...I want to read fantasy and dinner doesn't satisfy that urge at all.
Not much use for people who make those casual types of games or who are on portals, of course. But I think a counter for this issue could actually be the opposite of making shallower, quicker games to fit the lower price level. Make them as deep and hardcore as you can, focus on a specific niche, so long as you can see a hungry market for that type of game, and sell them yourself at a higher price. If you turn your game from a commodity vying for attention with all the other similar commodities to a piece of unique and difficult art catering to a specific and hungry niche you make yourself much more resistant to undercutting of this nature.
But then you get the problem of reaching enough customers without the portals, of course. Luckily, I've found that those same niches tend to be fairly fanatical, tight-knit communities, word of mouth spreads quickly amongst them.
Hmm... after 12 pages of text I wonder...
...why this thread exist?
Stuff happens. Some games cost $9.99
Some games cost $19.99
Decide your own price.
Let's lock this thread?
Oh, and even if it does get locked, you're still wrong. Personally speaking I was never made aware of any price change until it actually happened, and I certainly got no say in whether it happened or not.
Your entire argument is about as water-tight as the Titanic.
To be fair, you COULD simply pull your titles, so you DO have the choice.
Plus this thread isnt locked
Plus, being a mod doesnt do anything particularly. We're just spam filters.
Plus.. erm.... something
www.mindflock.com - social AI-based games
GarethFouche, some of the members of this board used to make hardcore RPGs. They all said it was not worth the trouble (regardless of price), that most of the niche pirated them, and there weren't really many players in those communities who would be fine with low-budget stuff. They also had the stats to prove it when I asked. A few even considered them embarrassing
** Not including Spiderweb - They've got 15 years worth of a fanbase.
Hopefully yours turns out much better! I remember seeing about your game on rpgcodex when I was doing some research, that community might not be so likely to pirate if it comes from one of their active members.
A much better niche to use with your example is strategy war games though. There are some with very impressive sales figures! Casual RPGs too, but tough competition in them
On topic for those of you affiliating reflexive games: Are the higher conversation rates sustaining themselves?
Developer, affiliate network owner, and lover of anything cute.
Feel free to send me a PM if you have any questions you don't want to ask in public!
The comparisons with supermarkets and the like really helps to get the point across that this whole system is frakked. Imagine, if you will, that Walmart announced that all plasma screens will be half price from today and if Samsung dont like it they can 'take it or leave it'? A retailer having a 'Take it or leave it' attitude with a decision like this is not showing respect for their suppliers or their running costs or the deals they have in place elsewhere for the same product. If anything its showing utter contempt and is a signal of how they plan to treat you in future. They want you to make as little as possible while the killing they make from their product range props up their next inhouse big budget release. (talking e-tailers in general here)
Sale price halved means game budget halved and therefore game quality reduced. I'd have preferred to have seen the sale price increased to reflect the advancements games have made in recent times. That direction would improve innovation and game quality.
Comparing the $9.99 to game club prices is misinformation. Game clubs work as the customer is paying for more than one game in the long run. $9.99 as a base price does not guarantee any follow on sales at all and does not offer a benefit to the developer who values their design creation.
Last edited by mooktown; 02-14-2009 at 08:22 PM.