What gamers think is the right price

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by cliffski, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    I recently blog posted about whether or not $19.95 was the right pre-order beta price for gratuitous space battles.
    There were 46 replies ( so far) and they probably make for interesting reading from anyone thinking about what a decent price is for an indie game.
    the comments are here:

    http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/?p=305

    Obviously these are people reading my blog, so they are already pretty keen on the game before its done, but I think it's still interesting how few people are aghast at the idea of paying $20 for a game.
    It's become the trend here to assume that anyone would be amd to charge more than $6.99 for a game these days, and although that might sadly be true with a match 3 or hidden object game now, I'm not sure it's true for all genres and all games.
    I'm aiming at $19.95 pre-order and maybe $22.95 once it's properly finished and released.
     
  2. JoKa

    Indie Author

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    Glad to read these comments! Very promising and nice to see there's quite some audience who's willing to pay for hard work.
     
  3. Colm

    Colm New Member

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    Saw the discussion, pretty interesting alright.

    I'd be inclined to push the regular price upwards a bit. There's very little difference between $23 and say $25 or even $28 - they are all in the same 'mental bracket' and I think almost everyone who's willing to buy at $23 would still buy at the other two. It would also make your $20 preorder a bigger discount and make those buyers happier.

    Naturally you have actual experience in pricing your games but still I think for GSB you can command a slightly higher price. I assume your previous titles started at $23 and then got discounted later on?
     
  4. cliffski

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    yes they did, although Democracy 2 is still $19.95 even today, and sells ok (although not as well as it used to).
    Right now there is a lot of downward pressure on games prices. I'll decide the final price once I get beta feedback. the game might suck, and I'll have to sell it for 50 cents :D
     
  5. linchear

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    Judging by the screenshots and videos of your game, $20 looks to be an excellent bargain. $7 just seems ridiculous for that amount of quality and work.
     
  6. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    I've been crying over this same topic for weeks now. I've been so dismayed by dropping prices (even for triple-A titles) that I was seriously considering moving over to ad-based revenue (don't worry, those evony ads scared me off).

    It ticks me off that people want to buy our games for the cost of a hamburger at a local grill. I've spent the last year building up a 3D engine, implementing classes for linear algebra, physics, etc., and now I have to sell it at the same cost as it takes for an acne ridden teenager to flop a meat patty onto a bun (no offense to any acne ridden teenagers who read this).

    My games may never make it over the $20 mark, but dang it, if anyone is going to sell their games closer to what they're worth, it's going to be Cliffski!

    Now, with all that said... if you want to sell your games and compete against the $15 triple-A titles available on Steam, you may have to lower your price. :(
     
  7. JGOware

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    Depends on the game, how it's published, marketed, etc, etc. But if I was Cliffski I'd do the same thing. No reason to low ball the price on any of his games.

    Now.....once Cliffski releases "Gratuitous Bejewled Solitaire" that's when it will be interesting to see if $19.95 still flies. ;) lol..
     
    #7 JGOware, Aug 26, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  8. DFG

    DFG
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    I think the more stories of games selling well at the higher price will get industry attention and start bringing prices back up.

    There is already one major player this is bringing prices of self-published/developed games back up.
     
  9. Jack Norton

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    If I was in you, and until you have the game in exclusive to your site, I would price GSB at $24.99 !
     
  10. ragdollsoft

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    I like $19.95, many gamers are still used to that price.

    $22.95 sucks, it seems you're begging for 3 more dollars.

    $29.95 is doable but you must have some amazing stuff and lots of content (i.e. Wolfire's Overgrowth).
     
  11. RoadMaster

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    Considering the types of posts you make on your blog, I'd actually assume that many, if not most, of your readers are also game devs, or if they are already acquainted with your work, will follow your pattern of higher price points. Go ask the same kind of question on a big games blog, throwing in a few statements about DSiWare, PSPGo, iPhone store, and XBLIG and I think you'd see a price point that hovers between $1 and $5. Go somewhere like Newgrounds and your answer might be "free!". The audience here is highly lead by being your audience, and by being told what you think is a good intended price before they gave their own responses.
     
  12. gutripper

    gutripper New Member

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    I agree with what Roadmaster says. The advent of the AppStore, XBLIG, etc and the message in the mainstream media about bedroom developers making hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few weeks work (even though they are rare expections) have IMO done a lot to lower the perceived value of games, and lower what "the masses" expect to pay. Not to mention the huge increase in supply!

    GSB doesn't seem to me to be a mass-market "disposable" impulse-buy type game, so the audience will buy it based on a love of the subject matter (space battles!) and will tolerate a higher price (like the $20 being proposed). I guess there is a difference between "gamers" and the mass of people buying cheap disposable "toys" and shovelware on these new services.
     
  13. zoombapup

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    From all of the marketing texts I've read, it appears that price is pretty irrelevent, it is more "percieved value" that is important. By that I mean that the availability of a thing, the exclusiveness, the percieved value of its form and function.

    For example, diamonds are dug up from the ground. Coal is dub up from the ground. Why are diamonds and coal not the same price? Because one has more utility. One is rarer. One has a lower percieved value etc.

    You wouldnt expect to pay the same for a "brand" pair of Jeans, as you would a knock-off of the same name. Or even a lesser brand. But the fact is that those lesser brands might be made in the exact same factory as the "brand" pair.

    So if GSB has a high percieved value to its target audience, then it could (and probably should) carry a higher price point. If you accept lower price points, you are accepting that your product has no added value. Which for many indie games isnt true. Lets face it, nobody is doing a game like GSB other than Cliff. So if you really want to play a game like it, you pay his price.

    What if that higher price point included a plastic model of a spaceship? Or a large scale map of the universe according to GSB? Or a subscription to a play by email campaign?

    Add value and keep your prices higher. Thats my plan.
     
  14. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Exactly. Pricing represents value, and value is emotional. The only "right" price is the one that's optimal for your market.

    The latest GeForce card costs hundreds of dollars. The latest Quadro card costs thousands of dollars. The hardware is basically the same for both cards. The only difference is that one is targeted at the consumer market, and the other is targeted at the professional market.
     
  15. ChrisP

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    I'm willing to bet it won't matter. Which of those $15 "AAA" games has as much originality and raw space-explosiony appeal as GSB?

    I'd be tempted to go above $22.95 as a final price. It's pretty good as-is though.
     
  16. cliffski

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    you cannot compare entertainment products in this way, they are not identical fruits.
    You could make monkfish one fifth the price of cod, and I'd still eat cod, because I liek cod and dont like monkfish.

    You could reduce the price of World Of Warcraft to $0.0001 a month and charge me $1 an hour to play Company Of heroes and I'd still only play Company Of Heroes.

    People want to play what they want to play. The fact that stuff they don't want to play is cheaper is irrelevant.
     
  17. Game Producer

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    It's also about ownership: the more you've paid about something, the more you value it. (who wants to admit they did a bad decision buying something "too expensive", thus they gotta defend their purchase :D )

    Great comments... is this player audience? (Or developers saying "sounds like the right price")
     
  18. Merx

    Indie Author

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    So how much would you say I should market mmjChallenge for a Mah-Jongg game built for speed?

    mmjChallenge.com

    I was thinking of going for $19.95 as I paid more than that for the sound and images not to mention all the time I spent making it!

    Admittedly I had a mah-jongg 'game engine' up an running in a couple of days but drawing and building and testing all the supporting screens takes time!

    One sale at 19.95 is worth 10 at 1.99! :)

    And I can afford to buy a copy of GSB ;o)
     
    #18 Merx, Aug 27, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  19. GaiaDreamCreation

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    Thanks Cliff for the information. It is good to see clearer about the price trend. The casual gaming prices got lower probably because there are a lot of clones like these match-tree games. Probably, many of us making unique games were desperate to have to drop our prices. For me $20 is still a good price for a game with a log of game play. I am far less tempted to lower my prices.
     
  20. vbovio

    vbovio New Member

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    Hey Cliff, you are like "master yoda" of the indie devs, you make high quality games, truly original, and successful, so definitely your game should be $20 minimum, I think between $25 - $30 for the final release price.. just my "padawan's" 2 cents.. :)
     

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