Smart's complaint about the retail price strikes me as bizarre. Often, when best selling games are talked up (The Sims, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, etc.) what is never mentioned in conjunction with those games is the average per-unit selling price. On one occasion I spotted "The Sims" on a WalMart software shelf for $14.95, brand new, and from that point on I've never had any doubt whatever as to why "The Sims" has sold so well (read: in such high volumes), nor do I have a problem understanding it with other $15-$20 games.
To coin a phrase, "It's the price, stupid"...:) The simple fact is that for average folks checking out computer games $15-$20 games are much more attractive than $50-$60 games, especially when an average shopper thinks--"Look, I can buy these THREE games for the same price that ONE game costs--what a deal!" And there you have shopping psychology in a nutshell. I have been waiting for a long, long time for the major software publishers to figure this out, and to figure out that selling software at such low prices often ensures phenominal sales in terms of volume, and that low prices are their best possible defense against piracy, both casual and organized. I'm still waiting, and DS seems particularly dense on the subject.
I've spent $50 before on games that I would class as "real stinkers," and have learned the hard way that paying more for a computer game is no guarantee of anything, and that paying less does not guarantee inferiority. As far as I know, there is no law written anywhere that states a "good computer game must cost at least $40." It's too bad that people think about it like this--bad for both customers and publishers because the idea is so limiting.
When we hear, for instance, that "Myst has sold X million copies" (I've seen 5-7 million inserted here), you can take to the bank the fact that great majority of those copies were not sold at the $40-$50 price, but rather for well under $20, many at the $10-dollar level in bargain bins, and many bundled with other software for less. Also keep in mind the $10 bargain bin pricing is what the retailer is selling it for, and not necessarily what the retailer paid the publisher for it.
Just a few weeks ago I bought M$'s Dungeon Siege LoA expansion pack for $24.95 at Best Buy's, and it included two games--the original, engine-updated Dungeon Siege KoE along with the LoA expansion, and if you were new to Dungeon Siege that works out to $12.50 per game! And even if you only consider it an expansion to the original game, it was still priced only $5 higher than what DS is complaining about. And LoA is in every sense a high-quality product--played it through in 40-some hours (took my time) and never crashed once. It should sell very well at this price point.
I hate to say it, but Smart's worry about this, stated publicly as he has done, doesn't bode well for the game Dream Catcher is trying to sell. It sounds like he's worried that the up front money won't be enough and he fears that the game sales will decline rapidly once people find out about it--and so he's peeved because he doesn't think he'll make enough money before interest in the game drys up. I mean, if it was a really good game and Smart knew it I assume he'd be dancing in the aisles at such an intelligent decision on the part of his publisher, since good games at that price point sell millions of copies. I am sure his publisher has grown fonder of Smart over this incident...:) (Heh...:))
Edit:typosThis comment was edited on Jan 30, 16:13.
It is well known universally that I do not make mistakes--so, if you should happen across an error in that which I have written, please be assured that *I* did not write it!...:)