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Op Ed

The Castle Doctrine - Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players. Thanks GamesIndustry International.
Your fans love your games and eagerly await your next release. They want to get your game as soon as it comes out, at full price. But they are foolish to do that, because a sale is right around the corner. Even in economic terms, the extra utility of playing the game early, at release, is not big enough to offset the extra cost for most people . It makes more sense to wait, unless they love you and your work so much that they're willing to throw economic reason out the window. It's nice to have fans that love your work that much. And these are the fans that you kick in the teeth when you put your game on sale.

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22 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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22. Re: Op Ed Jan 22, 2014, 08:23 avianflu
 
Early beta release benefits the devs with consumer $$ but I dont see the compelling benefit at all for the typical game consumer.

Consumers have already figured this out -- you can see people grumbling in the steam forums and many are saying "rip off."
 
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21. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 19:35 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Yeah I pretty much got a "buy now or fuck you forever." Not exactly a sound plan by any stretch, and oddly he seems to be operating under the "Canadian Business plan." Which is "fuck you, I'll charge whatever the hell I want, keep it there, and treat you like shit--if you don't buy." Haven't gotten to the treat you like shit part yet, but I have a feeling it's coming.  
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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20. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 18:40 Yosemite Sam
 
Prez wrote on Jan 21, 2014, 12:31:
What a stupid article. Or more precisely, the point he is making is stupid. Hardcore fans want the game NOW and buy it on release at full price because the price is irrelevant. More casual or experimental players buy it on a sale. It really isn't rocket science. It certainly isn't "bad for gamers".

QFT, if anything steam sales have resurrected the PC market which is good for gamers and developers... and if anything is hurting day one purchases it's the developers who release unfinished broken shit and paid for reviewers out right lying about the product.
 
Avatar 21539
 
CIV4 MOD http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=326525
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19. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 18:03 FloorPie
 
"In other words, this is the last two weeks to get the game at 50% off (ending January 28). If you want to wait until launch on Steam, you can get it for 25% off if you buy it during the first week (ending February 4). Otherwise, the game will be full price at $16 forever after that.

Anyone feel burned by that plan?"

I wish him well in his crazy experiment. Its like the old line from real estate, "buy now or be priced out forever!"

Gamers haven't been screwed over by all the game sales unless they're dumb enough to buy games they don't play and regret it (guilty as charged there). Gamers have been screwed over by DRM schemes, half baked games, day one DLC and yearly retread cash in games like CoD, Madden NFL/NBA etc..
 
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18. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 18:00 Julio
 
Sales don't screw gamers, they benefit them substantially. Every steam user knows there's no point to buying at less than a huge discount if they can wait. GOG users anxiously await the holiday sale each year (and the few in between).

For those gamers who have no patience and budget, they can pay full price. They're not getting screwed, they're happy.

Now do sales hurt those who create games? Most likely if it's a very good game with decent awareness.
 
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17. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 17:59 Stormsinger
 
Verno wrote on Jan 21, 2014, 15:39:
... If you mean the bigger AAA houses then its a huge risk/reward thing for them and most aren't willing to do small projects like that in house, they aren't good small idea incubators.

It's a shame nobody seems to be filling that gap. Seems like there might be a workable business model in funding a variety of small projects (which are relatively cheap) looking for decent returns, rather than doing only multi-million dollar projects that can't afford to fail. Especially if the investor has some insight into what makes a decent game.

Look for my entry into the gaming-VC field after I win a lottery. Which would be much more likely to happen if I would occasionally buy a ticket.
 
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16. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 15:39 Verno
 
And he did such a good job and sold so many copies that almost no one has dared try to compete with it.

I agree with everything else you said JD but I don't think anyone is afraid to compete with it. There's a raft of upcoming games that riff on Minecraft, just took them awhile to do Kickstarters and develop the games. If you mean the bigger AAA houses then its a huge risk/reward thing for them and most aren't willing to do small projects like that in house, they aren't good small idea incubators.

On the article itself, I don't really agree with the author's premise and he seems to contradict his own advice/opinions as others pointed out already.
 
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, This War of Mine
Watching: Pioneer, Predestination, Homeland
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15. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 15:33 jdreyer
 
shade wrote on Jan 21, 2014, 12:58:
Title should be I Wish I Could Force People To Pay More For My Games - Watch Me Try!

Mojang's story isn't going to be a fair comparison to the vast majority of games. The fact that Minecraft isn't on sale just says that they are seeing plenty of sales without discounting it.

I think Minecraft is probably game of the decade for the aughts. Notch essentially created a new genre of game with it. And he did such a good job and sold so many copies that almost no one has dared try to compete with it. Is it perfect? Nope, but it has such massive penetration and appeal that no one can challenge. And look at the influence of it in games like Seven Days to Die, Starforge, and the upcoming Everquest MMO.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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14. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 15:25 jdreyer
 
Wow, where to begin.

1. Not going to discount your game? Good luck, let us know how that works out for you. </snark>

2. I did buy Minecraft during the alpha for $10. It was completely unique. It showed obvious potential. It had massive buzz and word of mouth. Castle Doctrine is no MC.

2a. From Jason's post 2 days after this article: "Yesterday, because of all this buzz, 142 people bought my game. Guess how many new people played the game yesterday? About 140." So you get massive buzz, and you only sell 142 copies? And you still think you can get away without discounting??

3. This is a MMO game. You NEED a critical mass of players for it to succeed. If you don't discount your game at some point, you won't get that critical mass and you will fail.

4. Garry's Mod has been steadily increasing in sales because it's a modular game that has been continuously improved. Ditto for MC. These kinds of games are quite unusual in that respect. CD doesn't strike me as the same kind of game.

5. Garry's Mod also benefited from the publicity during those sales to generate awareness. If you don't put your game on sale, how are you going to generate awareness?

6. I hate 8 bit games. So it better be something pretty frickin' special, like Rogue Legacy.
 
Avatar 22024
 
"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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13. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 15:02 ldonyo
 
I rarely buy games at full price. It happens, but not bloody often. I refuse to buy a game that will have DLC until the 'everything' edition comes out. The only games I buy on release are indies and cost no more than $25. I'm also staying with games from GOG as much as possible so that my wife and I can play them together without having Steam involved at all.  
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12. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:58 shade
 
Title should be I Wish I Could Force People To Pay More For My Games - Watch Me Try!

Mojang's story isn't going to be a fair comparison to the vast majority of games. The fact that Minecraft isn't on sale just says that they are seeing plenty of sales without discounting it. Trying to say you can equal this is saying you will have Call of Duty levels of success, and that's just not available to many games.

It's true that there are more people with leisure time and money than before, but there are way more decent games than before vying for those dollars. It's a zero-sum game, and if you price according to your stubborn wishes instead of the market, you will lose.
 
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11. Re: Out of the Blue Jan 21, 2014, 12:38 xmb1121
 
It strikes me as funny that he'll sell a buggy mess of code for half price when those people should be on his payroll as testers.  
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10. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:36 DG
 
I spend more money overall due to sales and there are very few games I decide to put off in order to save in the sale - I just wouldn't be buying them at all at full price. Anything good enough for full price there is a value in buying on release.

Anyway by the time the 50% sale comes around there is usually some DLC too and the total price ends up a small saving over release. I generally do not buy DLC that comes out after I have completed a single player game, there usually is not sufficient content in DLC to warrant me getting into the game again.
 
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9. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:36 jacobvandy
 
Most games are not worth full price, period. And still others that are, may not necessarily interest me enough to buy them right away. Elder Scrolls, GTA, Civilization, and a few other series are among those that I buy instantly without hesitation. There's just so much stuff to play these days, including quality free-to-plays or indies that start out really cheap, that it doesn't make sense to throw money away on more expensive games by buying them as soon as they release. (Christ, I still haven't played Arkham City, bought that full price because I really liked Asylum, then got distracted...) What happens is you wait until the game is at a price that is fair to you, which is better than them not getting a sale at all.

Pigeon wrote on Jan 21, 2014, 11:57:
If just half of the players who buy the game during a 50%-off sale would have bought the game at full price if that was their only option, we'd already have a wash. What fraction of sale-waiting players fall into this category? I suspect way more than half. The picture gets even worse for 75%-off sales.

And I suspect way less than half. I don't think its so much a matter of, 'if I only wait a few weeks I can get it for %50 less', and more a matter of buying at a perceived fair/good value. I see games that looks fun frequently, but they're not worth $60 to me. Its not even a matter of a game budget, i.e. I only have $60 to spend on games. I think people are more likely to buy 4 games for $30 each than 1 for $60.

He's an idiot. It's been proven time and time again that sales increase exponentially at lower prices. Getting the most return is now a matter of finding the butter zone of the specific curve for your game. Is it at 50%, 66%, or 75% of your original price?
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:35 Cutter
 
In other words, value is relative.
 
Avatar 25394
 
"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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7. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:31 Prez
 
What a stupid article. Or more precisely, the point he is making is stupid. Hardcore fans want the game NOW and buy it on release at full price because the price is irrelevant. More casual or experimental players buy it on a sale. It really isn't rocket science. It certainly isn't "bad for gamers".

This comment was edited on Jan 21, 2014, 15:04.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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6. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:04 harlock
 
but thats the beauty of a trickle down system! free market ftw bro! Highfive  
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5. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 12:02 eRe4s3r
 
Without sales nobody would even SEE those indy games on the steam store to begin with. hell, all of the indy games I own I only got because I only saw them when they were on sale.

That's a sale these guys would never have gotten without a.. uhm.. sale ;p
 
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4. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 11:57 Pigeon
 
If just half of the players who buy the game during a 50%-off sale would have bought the game at full price if that was their only option, we'd already have a wash. What fraction of sale-waiting players fall into this category? I suspect way more than half. The picture gets even worse for 75%-off sales.

And I suspect way less than half. I don't think its so much a matter of, 'if I only wait a few weeks I can get it for %50 less', and more a matter of buying at a perceived fair/good value. I see games that looks fun frequently, but they're not worth $60 to me. Its not even a matter of a game budget, i.e. I only have $60 to spend on games. I think people are more likely to buy 4 games for $30 each than 1 for $60.
 
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3. Re: Op Ed Jan 21, 2014, 11:25 El Pit
 
Headline: "Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players"
Right above the headline: "Join the alpha now - save 50%"

Yeah, sales are bad.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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22 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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