Indie game price in 2011?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Karja, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Karja

    Original Member

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    Soo... I'm down to three items left on my todo list for Spandex Force: Superhero U, and the release is starting to loom on the horizon. But once again, I have no idea what to charge for the game!

    I had the same problem when releasing Wildhollow ages ago. I went for $19.99 and it worked out pretty well. Better direct sales than any of the other games. But now it's 2011 and things might have changed.

    Notes on the different prices:

    $19.99
    + More money for me, duh
    + It works for Cliffski et al
    + We should avoid price dumping
    - It's a fair amount of cash; entertainment has become cheaper and cheaper lately
    - Not a competitive price compared to most other indie offerings

    $9.99
    + Decently cheap price
    + Still struggling against the price dumping a wee bit
    - Regardless, a higher price than portals
    - Can I really sell twice as many copies at this price?

    $6.99
    + Low price equals more sales, right?
    - This is actually a pretty low price; lower than this and I'd be cutting my own throat
    - Not really defensible - indies can't compete with portal prices

    On one hand I feel that I have a puzzle game with five episodes, pretty good replayability, a lot of powers, equipment, leveling up, opponents, optional sidequests and such things to keep the player going. It should be worth a decent price. But I have a gut feeling that coughing up a $20 is a bit steep for a casual puzzle/RPG.

    Do you have any thoughts? Gah... Part of me wants to just go with $9.99, but when I look at Planet Stronghold and other games that do well at a higher price it just seems stupid. But those are more niched than this. I hope, since I was going for a somewhat more mass market appeal.
     
  2. electronicStar

    Original Member

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    I would say $9.99.
     
  3. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    If you're going to use portals then you have not much choice in matter. If instead you release at least first months/weeks directly I'd say $19.99. If I remember correctly seems not a simple match3 but something more advanced right?
     
  4. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

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    If it's long and fairly unique, I would go for $19.99.
    I still sell games at $19.99 in 2011 and they still do similar to what they did before.
     
  5. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

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    Could you offer 2 versions of your game? A basic version at $9.99 and a deluxe or collector's edition at $19.99 with more content (more levels, more powers, more options, etc). I've seen other devs do this successfully. Give the $9.99 version to the portals and keep the collector's edition unique to your own site to help drive direct sales and traffic.

    (Offer both versions, of course, from your site - a comparison between the basic version and the collector's edition will help drive sales of the more expensive version when they see what they'll get for the extra cash).
     
  6. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Yes that's a very good suggestion from GolfHacker, I'd do the same if I was in you :)
     
  7. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    I like the comparison idea to drive sales of higher priced one. Plus if you release on your own site first you can maximise sales before going to the portals.
     
  8. Armando

    Armando New Member

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    Honestly, no one can give you the right choice. That's because only your offer and your target audience can decide the optimal price point. So what CAN you do?

    You can split test prices over a few months. Once you get enough data you'll know which price point gets you the highest profit.

    I've done this with several of my products and results have almost always surprised me. Mostly the lower price point will get you a better conversion rate but your overall profits are usually better at higher price points. But sometimes it's the exact opposite and you might double your profit with even a slight price change.

    Aside from testing price I also suggest you test free bonuses and special offers.

    Good luck!
     
  9. papillon

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    Alternately, offer it at $19.99 but make a discount available if people do something (post youtube videos of themselves playing the game, post pictures of themselves in silly costumes, whatever pleases you). That lets you snare people who like feeling like they've gotten a discount as well as receiving the higher price from those willing to pay it.
     
  10. Karja

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    Dudes! (And dudettes!) You're all excellent! I wonder why it's so easy to see the light once someone else has pointed it out. Your suggestions are all very appreciated, but I think that GolfHacker put the nail on the head.

    It's a fairly (reasonably) long game, it's not a standard match-3, and I do plan on releasing it on portals. (Some) portals don't want an online element, but I've been working on online saves and a "Battle Arena" in which you can fight other players' superheroes.

    Sooo... The obvious choice is to release the "Adventure Mode" game for $9.99, but offer a collector's edition with the Battle Arena and other things for $19.99. I'll have to look into integration with social networks or other stuff, to make it even more worth the upgrade.

    I'd better give this some more thought, but I suspect that this might be the key...
     
  11. loki

    loki Guest

    be fair and dont lie to yourself. see the time and effor, and the value on your game and you will know the price.
    in the end do you care if you will make 6000 or 8000, or you care for more people and fans playing your game?
     
  12. Karja

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    Well, $6000-$8000-$12000 etc, those sums aren't worth fretting too much about. But I view this as a lesson for bigger scopes as well. If I can't maximize the profit for this game, I'll be in deep excrement if I get the chance to make either $600k or $800k depending on my choice.

    I make games because I love it, and I love when people enjoy the games. But I'm trying to learn how to be a businessman as well.
     
  13. DaveGilbert

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    $14.99 has always been the sweet spot for me. As everyone says, it depends on the game. If it's a niche product, you can get away with charging a little more.
     
  14. GaiaDreamCreation

    Indie Author

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    1.
    If you have twice the number of clients at $9.99 than $19.95, you'll have twice the amount of clients to answer when doing the support. This will take you more time. You need to do some tests with the price, but this kind of things is quite hard to measure. If the price is within a reasonable range, that should not make a difference. For a game that the player will play during many months, I don't think you will lose 50% of the buyers because the price is $19.95 instead of $9.95. For the $0.99 casual games on iPhone, it might be different.

    2.
    When fixing a price for a product, it's always good to look at the competition. It's possible that people will compare your price with your competitors. If you have a game with higher value, than it should be priced higher. Buyers are conditioned to think that a higher price means more. It's “usually” true.

    3.
    papillon” has a good point with discounts. That makes me think that in a business class I attended, the teacher said it's better to start with a higher price and lower it than increasing the price. Having a higher price allows you to make some promotions with relatively huge discounts. Many buyers buy the discounted products.
     

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