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Op Ed

Cliffski's Blog - Indie Game pricing pressures.
There seems to be an unwritten rule developing that indie games must be under £10, preferably under $10. This is MAD. Harry Potter was written by ONE person. just ONE. It’s production costs were tiny. Does that mean you saw the harry potter books on sale for a third the price of other books? Of course not. Nobody slots books or plays into an ‘indie’ category and tries to get them cheap, ditto music. Do you pay less for an Adele album than a Queen album, because Queen had more members? That would be silly.

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24 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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24. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 13:26  Blue 
 
Wolfen wrote on May 9, 2011, 13:14:
Uhh. He works for Epic right? Last I checked those games are 50, 60+ bucks "typically".

That's CliffyB. Cliffski works for/owns/is Positech.
 
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Stephen "Blue" Heaslip
Blue's News Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, El Presidente for Life
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23. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 13:20 Slashman
 
Wolfen wrote on May 9, 2011, 13:14:
Luther wrote on May 9, 2011, 03:54:
Wolfen: he doesn't sell his games for $60. Gratuitous space battles sells for a very reasonable $20. Fact checking kids, it's easy with this newfangled internet thing!

Uhh. He works for Epic right? Last I checked those games are 50, 60+ bucks "typically".

What...? Wtf
 
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22. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 13:14 Wolfen
 
Luther wrote on May 9, 2011, 03:54:
Wolfen: he doesn't sell his games for $60. Gratuitous space battles sells for a very reasonable $20. Fact checking kids, it's easy with this newfangled internet thing!

Uhh. He works for Epic right? Last I checked those games are 50, 60+ bucks "typically".
 
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21. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 13:14 Slashman
 
In the end, it all comes down to:

If you think your games are worth more, then charge more for them.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 09:21 nin
 
Cliffy keep crying you bitch.

He's an attention whore. "Look at me! I'm independent! Look at me! I talk to the warez kids! Someone look at me!!!!!!!!!!"

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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19. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 09:20 Rilcon
 
People pay for advertising. If a game is advertised everywhere as the next big thing, with flashy graphics, CGI cutscenes and over the top voiceovers / quotes, people will magically think it's worth more. Have it advertised only on a few blogs and little known gaming sites, doesn't matter how good it is, people won't see the value.  
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18. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 08:42 CommunistHamster
 
Economics professors, your job is safe.  
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17. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 07:10 space captain
 
what a whiny little bitch  
Go forth, and kill!
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16. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 06:27 Luther
 
Oh also, one quote from the linked article that reveals his motivations more clearly:

Plus, my next game is unsustainable at £10. I can’t make my money back at that price. It has to be more expensive.

Um, so wanting to make a profit is a crime? Will you be happy only if game developers slavishly work to create your entertainment whilst not being able to afford to live themselves? Should it be a hobby and they make up the shortfall with, I don't know, accountancy or prostitution?
 
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15. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 03:54 Luther
 
Wolfen: he doesn't sell his games for $60. Gratuitous space battles sells for a very reasonable $20. Fact checking kids, it's easy with this newfangled internet thing!  
Avatar 20656
 
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14. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 00:23 Wolfen
 
Quit trying to justify your over priced 60+ dollar games.  
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13. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 00:01 Dev
 
I think he's wrong about books and music. As mentioned, there's the books that are e-book $1 prices. And as for music, as often as not, indie music is made freely available by the artist (usually asking for donations if people like it). They just as often make more money on merchandise (shirts, mugs, etc) than the actual music itself.

Oh also, one quote from the linked article that reveals his motivations more clearly:
Plus, my next game is unsustainable at £10. I can’t make my money back at that price. It has to be more expensive.
 
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12. Re: Op Ed May 9, 2011, 00:01 Bhruic
 
I don't know why he's going off about numbers. It doesn't matter how many people worked on a game. An indie game that was worked on by 20 people is going to sell for the same amount as an indie game worked on by 1 person. So why bring up the number of people that worked on something in other markets?  
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11. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 23:56 [VG]Reagle
 
Cliffy keep crying you bitch. How about we download all the Indie games and all your games for free on a torrent and pay you NOTHING. HOW ABOUT THAT BITCH??!  
Avatar 8515
 
I am MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better now.
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10. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 23:22 spindoctor
 
I'll pay 20 or 30$ for an indie game if I really feel it will be worth it. However my purchase history says that I am far more likely to buy one at 10$. Like someone mentioned earlier... volume sales at 10$ should hopefully overcome the reduced cost.

One thing Cliffski mentions is that the lower price is expected because the games are indie. I'd say another factor applying downward pressure on the price is Steam weekend deals and all other digital distribution sales these days. Because of their frequency (which basically amounts to multiple games being on sale at any given point of time), I feel that the acceptable price point for PC games in general has gone down, and this isn't just for indie games. I know many people who can and do enjoy all the latest games but only pay about half it's price (25$-30$) a mere 6 weeks after release. Steam has changed the mentality of gamers to buy games only on sale, and even the indies will get caught up in this. People will wait for a 20$ game to be discounted to 10$ before buying, thereby giving the impression that 10$ is the acceptable price point for the game.

One last point I'd like to make is that indie game development seems to have become very prominent in the last couple of years. I remember even 2-3 years ago... there were a lot of good indie games being made I'm sure, but only a few really came to prominence. This was around the time Steam and other sites started pushing indie games on a somewhat equal footing to the 'bigger' ones. Now there seem to be a lot more indie games that look interesting coming out all the time and eventually people can't or won't buy as many. As an example, I can name 3 or 4 really good indie games from 4 years ago (actually, Aquaria is the only name that comes to mind) but I can name at least 3 good indie games that came out last month. As much as I'd love to, I can't buy them all. There's this neat looking game on Xbox Live Arcade called Outland that released a few days ago... it costs 10$ and I'd like to buy it, but I just bought Limbo, Shadow Complex and Costume Quest on sale a few weeks ago and I haven't finished them, so I keep telling myself that I should at least complete 1 or 2 of them before getting any more. That means Outland and potentially any other game that releases until I finish these ones go into the 'to get later, probably on sale' queue.
 
Some of the most miserable and unhappy gamers on the planet are at Bluesnews
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9. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 20:40 Slashman
 
The problem is that getting people to try a game that has received almost no marketing or other exposure to the public, is extremely difficult.

I doubt I'd have bought Sanctum for $30, or Magicka or Trine or Revenge of the Titans.

I didn't even know about those games until very shortly before their release dates.

The lower price point of Indie games allows them to be a more tempting buy for many people.

The great thing about this(that Cliffski seems to be missing) is that any indie developer is free to set any price they want on a game. I'd welcome an experiment from him where he sets the price that he thinks his games should be sold for and see what happens.

What does he have to lose?
 
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8. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 20:01 Golwar
 
As the indies for games, there also appeared a new generation of writers selling their novels as e-books ... for less than $1.

Indies are simply new in business, trying to create fan base and make enough money for larger projects. Or people who stick to a smaller scale in general. The usual price range suits both of them.

If the number of people involved is all that matters, the relevant comparison for AAA titles would be the price of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Expensive, trying too feed all needs, rarely entertaining.
 
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7. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 19:56 Fion
 
I've personally paid more than $10 for a lot of Indie games. Amongst them Amnesia, Minecraft, Mount & Blade + 2 expansions, Braid, Titan Quest and more. A few of those are really 'borderline' indie games but they still count in my book.  
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6. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 19:40 VultureMAN
 
Content for an indie game is usually less than a gamimg company. And sometimes a fully backed game company turns out something that should only be sold for $10 because frankly that is all it's worth.


 
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5. Re: Op Ed May 8, 2011, 19:05 Flatline
 
Harry Potter is a horrible example of "indie" publishing. Rowling's books were rammed through the largest publisher machines in the world and were cranked out completely corporatized.

A better example is the chick on Amazon who is/was the #1 ebook author as far as copies sold. She sells her stories for 1-5 dollars, and outsells most other ebook offerings combined. She isn't even that good. But she's cheap, and is totally "indie".

Which proves Cliffski's point wrong.

My problem with Indies charging 60 bucks for a game is that I frequently might only play said indie game for an hour or two before moving on to other stuff. His Gratuitous Space Battles for example *maybe* got 3 hours of life out of me. And I think I paid 20 bucks for it. Not the greatest return on my money investment.
 
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