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Prey-Loads

Triton announces preorders for the digital distribution of Prey are now being accepted and preloads of Human Head's first-person shooter will begin shortly so it will be immediately available upon the game's release date of July 11:

Pre-ordering is now available through the Triton Player for $49.95 by clicking the "Preload Prey" box. By pre-ordering you will be able to start playing Prey within minutes of the release at 12:01 a.m. on 7/11/2006. In a little over a week you will be able to start pre-loading Prey so that there will be no wait once the clock strikes midnight.

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128. Re: Sham Jul 4, 2006, 15:58 General Ego
 
No fuckin way you keep up with the latest games on <=$200 every 2-3 years. That barely covers a mid level video card at the time, much less the cpu, memory, mobo upgrade at least every 3 years. I guess it's possible if your definition of keeping up with the latest games is maintaining minimum requirements.
that's more or less the point, you CAN do it as long as the game runs

<TLDR warning - extended ramblings ahead>

as much as you guys like to make fun of Riley, he's got a point, or rather, a few - the hardware issue is one of them. A "casual" gamer does NOT need the latest computer since he can live with games that just run without crashes, instead of "run like only a 3000$ SLI machine can run it" - maybe 200 every three years is a bit low, but I can imagine it works if you adjust your expectations. I have that computer here, it grew over the course of like seven years - started out with a Duron 700 and 256 MB SDRAM with a GeForce2 MX, then I gradually replaced CPU, later the mainboard and RAM, until I replaced the video card with a cheap mainstream Radeon 9600 - I never spent more than the equivalent of 200 dollars on each upgrade, and I upgraded less than once a year. And while it might not run Oblivion very well, it can do it at a framerate I'd call playable. Then again, I don't have this "games need to run at 60fps at least, and still look good" mentality at all, I once played FAKK˛ at 10-20 fps on my aging P2-350 with GeForce2 MX, other games from this time ran accordingly and looked nowhere like the screenshots and videos implied, yet I still had fun

So, getting rid of the mantra that games have to look great to play great might help tremendously to bring our hobby to the masses, which in return could lead to less developers going belly-up - if highend engines alienate users with high hardware requirements and drives developers into bankruptcy, why not make a larger part of games into more mass-market compatible ones which employ the second-latest game engines to their fullest, instead of wasting gargantuan amounts of time, money and blood on the latest shader 3.0 engine which will run like crap on everything but the latest hardware? And by that I don't mean dumbing down the gameplay, I mean "dumbing down" the visuals to where they still look good, but don't bring Joe User's PC to a crawl no matter which settings he tries. Games like this have per definitionem a larger possible audience, how this potential of buyers can be accessed is a completely different issue (IMO it has a great deal to do with pulling games out of the "murder simulations" and "geek activity" corner which they're still in somewhat; rehashing the same stereotypes from the 90s in today's action games - eg. - doesn't help a ton, either...)

Last but not least, the actual topic here - the current pricing scheme doesn't help in any way to get more people to play games, and it surely doesn't help those who'd like to play more shorter games... While there are other factors, I know of a lot of people who simply don't buy the games they would like because they don't find them worth it because they're little more than a techdemo with some gameplay from the 90s thrown in, or because they require them to spend ten or twenty hours in front of a monitor. Pricing them accordingly to their perceived value is key, not in the eyes of the publisher or the devs, but in the eyes of the consumer. I expect the average 10$ DVD to contain a 90-150 minutes movie, the 10$ CD to provide me with 50-70 minutes of music. Yet your unified 50$ price point game can contain crap that's hardly enjoyable for anyone, or be full of intense entertainment, or something inbetween; some you'll beat in 5 hours and some in 100, some you'll play once while others you wanna play forever. In 2003, Enter the Matrix was launched for 50$, and so was KotOR - where's the fucking relation there? From your average user's viewpoint you just can't hide behind arguments like "games deserve to be that much" when Joe User buys games based on their price - it doesn't matter if you think they're worth 120$, if he only once buys 50$ of crap, he'll never buy a game for that much again without prior knowledge - 50$ just doesn't qualify for impulse buys, no matter if your ego as a game developer is hurt if a game was only 30 bucks...

The expensive movies are expensive for similar reasons why modern games cost so much - increased use of computer generated visuals. A game which, like lowcost movies, relies more on storytelling and great characters/actors can still be great. I'm also sure the guy who worked on a 200 million blockbuster worked just as hard as the guy who worked on the 40k indie movie, you don't say the blockbuster is worth more because it cost more. Yet the game industry rather bitches and moans about stupid gamers not honoring/buying their work on the latest highend game. C'mon now, give me a break. Sure you deserve your cut, you hopefully did great work on your game, but why is it personal if your game can sell more by being priced slightly less? If this is proven to not work at all, I'll shut up, but for now I just can't imagine why not even the established publishers try the low cost approach with selected games to see if a properly marketed, lower priced game wouldn't make them more money in the long run. I especially cannot understand this when I see how many games for 50$ take less than two months to get their first price cuts down to 40 or even 30 $ in B&M stores...

Digital distribution doesn't address any of these issues, of course, but it brings the opportunity to offer games to people who wouldn't pick up the box for 50 bucks in a Fry's, but who would spend 20 on a properly advertised website where they can simply download part one of a game for 10 or 20 bucks, try it, and buy the next part if they like it. That's why I think only with episodic content digital distribution makes sense if full-price games are still locked into their tried-and-true business models, no matter if you buy them from your B&M store or online. Full price games of established devs and publishers don't profit much from these platforms IMO, all such a download service can do is allow a publisher to keep a monopoly on his games' prices while saving on shipping and packaging

Cleaned from TLDR-content, I say that the combination of slightly cheaper games which the average user can expect to run on his office PC will go a long way increasing the playerbase for future games. Also, games need to get priced according to their value, a rehash of last years sports- or racing game with updated roster and slightly updated graphics doesn't deserve the same price as epic masterworks like HL2 or Oblivion which don't get a sequel for several years... Digital downloads could help if they were actually an alternative to B&M stores, but "no physical media, no box, no manual, higher price" won't gain you a lot of users I guess.


{ There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt }
This comment was edited on Jul 4, 16:10.
 
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