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Why Didn't You Buy GSB?

"Why didnít you buy Gratuitous Space Battles?" is the question posed by Positech's Cliff Harris on Cliffskiís Blog, attempting to open another dialogue with gamers similar to his query a couple of years ago about why games are pirated. Here's a bit: "I am NOT complaining. I am NOT moaning about sales. I am NOT unhappy with sales, I am not whining or anything like it. I just like making games that people enjoy, and I donít know why the people who didnít buy it, didnít buy it. Iíd like to know. The answers may well make it a better game for everyone, if I fix those reasons (if they make sense). It will make the game attractive to current fence-sitters, better for current owners, and more sales for me and my cats."

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73. Re: Why Didn't You Buy GSB? Jun 6, 2010, 17:19 Ray Marden
My overall issues with the price are what other titles, particularly big studio releases, are going for. Just today, now that Amazon is offering Demon's Souls for $29.99 (which appears to be a new price set by Atlus?,) I just bought it for a psychological-equivalent of $9.99. Mind you, that's $20 coupon from previously purchasing SMG2, lack of any sales tax from being purchased online and my state of residence, and free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime for an "effective" out of pocket purchase of $9.99.

Looking directly at the DLC, it wasn't an outright anti-DLC reaction, but skepticism stemming from how the overall industry has adopted DLC. Obviously, I take the approach that DLC is not just a piecemeal release of a larger game (as in something that is 20% of a normal game is 20% of its normal price) or a classic "expansion pack, but a way to nickel and dime the community (10% of a normal game for 20% of its normal price, dropping features from the full game, but maintaining the full purchase price, etc.)

  • If the game is $23, are the $6 expansion packs going to offer 1/4 of the features of the new game?

  • Is this an older game? I don't know either way, but with three expansions, I would presume so. Am I getting a discount on buying this older game?

  • What if I really, really like this game? I'm still looking at all of these being parts of GSB and not GSB2, GSB3, etc. Under that mentality, if I want to buy everything, what is my real cost? That's where that $41 price tag comes up and again faces competition against the other titles I previously mentioned.

  • There is huge gray area, but again, I find the initial information lacking, especially from my previously established perspective of uninterest. I have no doubt I can hunt down information, but I need to be sold on the game before I do that. With really only knowing there are three expansions, what do they offer? Are they new ships? New gameplay? Bug fixes?

  • This is admittedly a double-edged sword and is again a direct result of my frustration with how DLC has been handled by the industry. If you tell me the three expansions are nothing new with regards to game content (essentially map packs,) why do I need them? If I just play the main game enough, won't that be good enough? If you tell me that these expansions do, in fact, offer up completely different game experiences, this ties back into my previous points. I take that as that gutted game is really $23 and the real, full game is actually $41.

  • Let's say neither case is true and it's the perfect combination of all things...which I immediately disbelieve given my feeling of being screwed by companies like BioWare ($7 for 20 minutes of gameplay? 30 minutes if you scan planets? That sucks.) This can be (is) completely unfair to you, but is the reality of how my DLC experiences have shaped my perspective.

  • Needless to say, a lot of it is psychology. But you know what, so are a lot of games. Do get the next item. Spend the get this improved upgrade. Grind this have access to this one thing. Obviously, the immediate and logical argument is the "It's optional" argument, but we are - or at least I am - almost programmed to try and get everything. I don't have to do those side quests. I don't have to rescue that person. I don't have to get the upgrades. I don't need to go for the platinum rating. But there are various reasons why I should - it's a core component of most/many games. At least some part of me wants the carrot dangling at the end of the stick...

    And let it be clear that my issues with the gameplay and the pricing are almost two separate things. Admittedly, one can trump the other in certain cases, but only when ridiculously lopsidded. Looking solely at pricing, A $15 game with $5 expansions and a $25 premium package just fit a lot better with me. But obviously that's a decrease in pricing which is a negative to you. This is a tangental item, but I find it quite interesting to see how the "Pay what you want" promotions perform when factoring in my above mean pyschology.

    But again, I'm hardly the intended demographic so disregard this in full.
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