Indie games at $20 or more, is it too high?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by GaiaDreamCreation, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. GaiaDreamCreation

    Indie Author

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    I've just read this article below mentioning that Indie games should be cheaper.

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-07-29-indie-games-should-be-cheaper-zeboyd

    This is about the price point of Indie games. I don't necessarily agree with the fact that Indie games should be cheaper, but there's a reality behind this. Related to the article, here's what I think.

    I agree that cheaper games:
    - are more likely to sell more units. Maybe more revenues depending on the price point.
    - create more satisfied customers.

    I also think that cheaper games:
    - will require more support per client. If you sell more copies, it means more support. Let's say that you sell more copies for the same amount of revenue, you still have to spend more time doing support.

    The dirty truth about the gaming industry:
    - It's more competitive than ever. Developers try to lower their price to compete and sell their games.
    - Gamers expect to pay a few dollars per games. This happens on Steam with the huge discount being offered.
    - Many developers do not break even with their games, even when the prices are relatively cheap.
    - Game prices are getting lower and the inflation is increasing. It's not going to help anyone pay their bills, unless they sell more copies to compensate.

    It's a reality we have to accept. This is probably just confirming what I have been thinking for years. To be successful, create games quickly on a low budget, release often, and sell at a low price. The point is to sell more games at lower prices than selling one huge game at a higher price. What do you think about the trends of Indie game's prices and the article mentioned above?
     
  2. ManuTOO

    Original Member

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    GaiaDreamCreation,
    I think you got your analysis right.
    I'd add :
    - $20 was the standard price for Indie games 10 years ago, before the rush to low prices
    - a lot of games won't extend their market by much when lowering their prices
    - higher start price creates perceived value in the eyes of the customers and thus sales might be more effective ; ie: I might jump on a $20 at 75% off, feeling I'd be saving $15, but would think a $5 at 75% is a bad game desperate to get some sales and not care about saving $3.75...
     
  3. GaiaDreamCreation

    Indie Author

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    ManuTOO, I also agree with your position. I still find hard to determine what's a good price or precisely the price point. The magic price of $20 isn't what it used to be. I remember seeing casual games (not Indie, casual!) in the genre of Bejewel being priced higher than $20.

    If you sell on Steam a $10 game, you're going to get about $7 per copy. Depending on your team size, personal life expanses and company expanses, you can make the calculation of what it takes to break even. It requires a lot of copies per day. Most games are not even close.

    Furthermore, after some analysis on Steam, I've come to the conclusion that games that seem to make good money use DLC. I see it as the Free-to-Play model. For example, you offer a game relatively cheap (free or at $10) and you sell a variety of packages to your biggest fans. Quite often, the price of all the DLC is more than the price of the game itself. This is probably a good way to compete on the price and make good money. The F2P model showed that something like 1% of players are going to spend like crazy on your game and the rest is more likely not to pay a lot or pay at all.

    At the end, for the F2P model, it's not the price of the game that counts, but the "average" price of the game (that includes the DLC). This is how we keep a good price on each copy. However, the average price is not per copy anymore, but distributed on a segmented market.
     
  4. ironbelly

    ironbelly New Member

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    I always believe that low price = perceived low quality. I say price your game what you think its worth, if that's 20 bucks then its 20 bucks. Always go higher and lower it later if you need to. You wont stand out by having a dollar game anymore, that ship has sailed :)
     
  5. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    You won't see success if you approach this question from a POV of "I need to make back my dev. costs and thus need to sell 5K copies at $20". Think about the question from the users POV.

    What experience are you delivering? Is that experience, in todays saturated market, going to attract players if you attach a price to it? If you don't attach an upfront price to it can you monetize in other ways?

    I don't see a lot of indies making compelling games that I would pay $20 for. OTOH I've played a ton of Triple A in the past year - which is free - and if they had some kind of back end for selling me new maps at a couple of bucks a pop then they could get money from me over and over. If their online match making was simpler then I'd happily pay for tournaments and/or wagering. Would I have bought this game that I've enjoyed for many hours if it had cost $20? Not a chance. It doesn't look exceptional and there are lots and lots of strategy titles that may or may not be as fun but which look better and are less than $20. There are too many great games with budgets of millions of dollars from AAA developers that I can have for < $10. That being the case you need to think about what the user will see (blurb, screenshots, demo, videos) and ask yourself, if you were the end user, would you give that title the time of day if it had the additional burden of a $20 price tag?
     
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  6. Zevus

    Zevus New Member

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    Something I'm curious about, by agreeing to put your game on the Steam platform, are you essentially 'forced' into the regional pricing?

    It would seem to me that as the vast majority of indie titles are niche products and that you'd be better off selling them all at e.g. $9.95, €8.95, £6.49 and so on (based roughly on current exchange prices, w/ the conventional .95, .99, .49, etc).

    Best example I can think of would be some niche anime title, like a visual novel (or breaking it down even further, the very niche 'otome visual novel').

    I doubt you'd have Russians, Brazilians, & whomever else rushing to pirate (or simply not buy) it over a $9.95 equiv pricing, vs the 50-70% off they usually get... also with the assumption that people interested in that type of title are probably in a higher demographic than the average on Steam, for their respective countries.

    Also have to consider the marketplace, for some genres (with good/creative artwork) it can be quite lucrative. Mainly anime or sci-fi titles, I suppose, though Port Royale 3 did itself a favor with the :weed: emoticon.

    Wouldn't be surprised if some of those titles make more from the marketplace than they do from game sales (Sakura Spirit, Vanguard Princess, Shan Gui come to mind.... or for a non-anime, Gearcrack Arena, which has been on sale for under .15 cents some dozen times).
     
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  7. TamaraRyan

    TamaraRyan New Member

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    I agree that a higher price point is perceived as a higher quality game. This can also help you get higher rated reviews I believe. The people who are willing to spend more on your game are probably the type that are going to stick around longer. If you price it too low, you most likely will get a bunch of people buying the game, and then dropping it a few days later. Sometimes people buy games just because "Hey, it's only $3, why not?". Those people might not even be your target audience. And then, you get reviews like "it was stupid".

    I think it's important to build a loyal fanbase that will appreciate all aspects of your game. They are the ones that will see the true value of your work.
     
  8. ManuTOO

    Original Member

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    No, but Steam has the final word on the pricing. I guess it's mainly to avoid abuse & too fast price changes (eg: your normal price is $20 and then you raise it to $40 just before a 75% sale to provide a false sense of higher saving to the customers).
     
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  9. Kouros Prime

    Kouros Prime New Member

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    Or you could sell a huge game for a low price. The more generous you are, the more you're going to gain loyalty. At the very least starting out, it seems to me that you'd do better to first build a fanbase and then try and get money out of it. I mean I've only really seen this done with other mediums such as webcomics. For instance Homestuck, by andrew hussie. Although he has been making a game based on Homestuck too, due to all the revenue and shit he got from selling Homestuck Merch. Just look at fuckin Undertale. That game was made in MS paint and everybody loves it. What you wanna do to guarantee profits, is to first make sure people love your shit in the first place. I mean make these people literally LOVE you and your work.

    Another big example to go by is Tech N9ne, simply because he is the number 1 pioneer in independent music industry. His record label is on par with big mainstream record labels. He got where he is thanks to his fans. Gain and appeal to, the fans. There's an audience out there for almost anything, you gotta try and find those people and make them loyal to you.
     
  10. ZjnMater1991

    ZjnMater1991 New Member

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    This game is not fun you earn both money Oh dear I'll join it anyway
     

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