Jimquisition: Videogames Are A Luxury

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Treblaine:

Uh, no. He gave a graphic example of the best selling hardcare game selling way less than one of the less successful games of last year, so it's not just the sudden dropoff of casual gamers from Nintendo basically giving up for the past 18 months.

Yes, it's great on PC, but Consoles are getting utterly shafted without lube. Almost every game has huge parts of its ready-to-go content that was supposed to be in the game gutted and sold back to you, it doesn't matter if it is on the disc or not, it was supposed to be there. Xbox Live Gold membership has gone up to $60 per year.

Here is the problem. Games didn't used to Cost $60. A relatively short time ago in the days of Playstation 2 and Original Xbox they were $50 at most and $40, there has not been significant inflation since then. The $60 price point for the "next generation" was accepted as the early adopters were generally more affluent to blow $400-600 on a new console and then even have a HDTV to use it, $60 seemed "worth it".

But that was when it was small install base. Now it has gone from about 10 Million to over 100 million current-gen console owners, only now they are asked to pay $60 at an absolute minimum for every game, new. Used games, that were supposed to be a pressure release valve has totally blown off the bolts, it was supposed to be a side business so the less affluent can get a hand in, instead it has become so well established the markdowns aren't that great but VITAL not just for those in dire straits but just those on average income. Average income has actually fallen since 2005 yet games cost 20-30% more than before.

Steam sales show how sales seem to be on an asymptomatic exponent with price. A small price cut hugely increases sales above the money lost from lower price point, while a price hike crushes sales sales nullifying the extra revenue per game.

PC has some good games for a low price but consoles do not. Sony and Microsoft won't let a game like Syndicate be released on XBLA or PSN for only $20, they say they must release it on disc where when everyone else had had their say with publishers too you know it is $60 minimum plus several dollars of DLC that should be on disc (or is and is arbitrarily locked).

It's interesting the Video Games crash in 1983 didn't really affect computer gaming, it continued along on its path of steady growth. I'm worried there may be a console gaming crash caused by all the bullshit on consoles and it being sparked by a totally botched next-generation transfer. It could get out of control very quickly and like musical chairs when the music stops a lot of people are going to find themselves without chairs.

Here's the fallacy: Correlation does not equal causation. Just because prototype 2 didn't sell all that well, doesn't mean that it's because games are too expensive. He also mentions that game sales for the month of April are down, but, like his other example, it's the same fallacy.

Also: There are plenty of amazing titles on XboxLive and PSN. With some offering hundreds of hours of gameplay content

thank god, for Valve.
Giving basically two games in one for $20.
Portal 2

animehermit:

Also: There are plenty of amazing titles on XboxLive and PSN. With some offering hundreds of hours of gameplay content

Case-in-point:

http://www.vgchartz.com/article/250137/minecraft-xbox-360-edition-sells-1-million-units-in-5-days/

Not to mention, Sniper Elite V2 sold 142,000 units in its first week alone - just on the XBox 360.

The Prototype 2 point was pretty much a shot in the dark that missed.

animehermit:

Treblaine:

Uh, no. He gave a graphic example of the best selling hardcare game selling way less than one of the less successful games of last year, so it's not just the sudden dropoff of casual gamers from Nintendo basically giving up for the past 18 months.

Yes, it's great on PC, but Consoles are getting utterly shafted without lube. Almost every game has huge parts of its ready-to-go content that was supposed to be in the game gutted and sold back to you, it doesn't matter if it is on the disc or not, it was supposed to be there. Xbox Live Gold membership has gone up to $60 per year.

Here is the problem. Games didn't used to Cost $60. A relatively short time ago in the days of Playstation 2 and Original Xbox they were $50 at most and $40, there has not been significant inflation since then. The $60 price point for the "next generation" was accepted as the early adopters were generally more affluent to blow $400-600 on a new console and then even have a HDTV to use it, $60 seemed "worth it".

But that was when it was small install base. Now it has gone from about 10 Million to over 100 million current-gen console owners, only now they are asked to pay $60 at an absolute minimum for every game, new. Used games, that were supposed to be a pressure release valve has totally blown off the bolts, it was supposed to be a side business so the less affluent can get a hand in, instead it has become so well established the markdowns aren't that great but VITAL not just for those in dire straits but just those on average income. Average income has actually fallen since 2005 yet games cost 20-30% more than before.

Steam sales show how sales seem to be on an asymptomatic exponent with price. A small price cut hugely increases sales above the money lost from lower price point, while a price hike crushes sales sales nullifying the extra revenue per game.

PC has some good games for a low price but consoles do not. Sony and Microsoft won't let a game like Syndicate be released on XBLA or PSN for only $20, they say they must release it on disc where when everyone else had had their say with publishers too you know it is $60 minimum plus several dollars of DLC that should be on disc (or is and is arbitrarily locked).

It's interesting the Video Games crash in 1983 didn't really affect computer gaming, it continued along on its path of steady growth. I'm worried there may be a console gaming crash caused by all the bullshit on consoles and it being sparked by a totally botched next-generation transfer. It could get out of control very quickly and like musical chairs when the music stops a lot of people are going to find themselves without chairs.

Here's the fallacy: Correlation does not equal causation. Just because prototype 2 didn't sell all that well, doesn't mean that it's because games are too expensive. He also mentions that game sales for the month of April are down, but, like his other example, it's the same fallacy.

Also: There are plenty of amazing titles on XboxLive and PSN. With some offering hundreds of hours of gameplay content

That is a fallacy but it is not any that I used. I did not say that this correlation in itself IS causation, I made clear it was a small part in indicating it and it should be explained.

And I have explained it, how games are 20-30% more expensive, but average incomes have not become 20-30% higher. That is certainly a good case why they aren't selling so well, just because the $60 stuck with the relatively more affluent first-adopters doesn't mean it will still work with the wider audiences Xbox and PS3 are truing to reach to.

It is important to compare month to month as people spend different amounts at different times of the year (i.e. don't compare christmas tree sales of december with those of June)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18033328

There is a VERY significant drop that must be explained. What almost must be explained is the losses with companies like EA and THQ's dire straights, it seems Activision is making any reliable money on consoles with CoD. Everything developers and publishers are saying they are saying sales are not as high as they expect or want.

The FINANCIAL crisis hit in 2008, but a lot has been done to try to contain this but as collective debts rise slowly everyone is getting squeezed more and more. Food prices are up

Give me some examples from XBLA/PSN store that match games such as these for less than half (or even 1/3rd) the price of a console game:
-Trackmania 2: Canyon
-EYE Divine Cybermancy
-Magicka
-Hard Reset
-Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
-Serious Sam 3

And of course not forgetting all these:
-Team Fortress 2 (free)
-Tribes Ascend (free)
-Blacklight Retribution (free)
-Global Agenda (free)
-League of Legends (free)
-Half Life 2 Deathmatch (free)
-Trackmania Nations Forever (free)
-Quake Live (free)

Sober Thal:
Plenty of great games exist cheaper than the newest AAA titles.

About one days worth of work, for minimal wage, can get you the money for a new AAA game. (Even in Australia)

Sales are low when 'so so' games are being released.

*yawn

Cry me a river.

I still think game prices are reasonable, and I expect them to rise in the next 5 years. I hope they will be worth it. Or perhaps... dare I say it... we have to wait until the game goes down in price before we buy them?!? OMG!!

its really funny when you use one of the most paying country (australia) as a reference to "poor people". and then claim that those, you know, 4 billion people who earn less than 500 dollars a month shuld cry you a river.

Treblaine:

That is a fallacy but it is not any that I used. I did not say that this correlation in itself IS causation, I made clear it was a small part in indicating it and it should be explained.

And I have explained it, how games are 20-30% more expensive, but average incomes have not become 20-30% higher. That is certainly a good case why they aren't selling so well, just because the $60 stuck with the relatively more affluent first-adopters doesn't mean it will still work with the wider audiences Xbox and PS3 are truing to reach to.

It is important to compare month to month as people spend different amounts at different times of the year (i.e. don't compare christmas tree sales of december with those of June)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18033328

There is a VERY significant drop that must be explained. What almost must be explained is the losses with companies like EA and THQ's dire straights, it seems Activision is making any reliable money on consoles with CoD. Everything developers and publishers are saying they are saying sales are not as high as they expect or want.

The FINANCIAL crisis hit in 2008, but a lot has been done to try to contain this but as collective debts rise slowly everyone is getting squeezed more and more. Food prices are up

Give me some examples from XBLA/PSN store that match games such as these for less than half (or even 1/3rd) the price of a console game:
-Trackmania 2: Canyon
-EYE Divine Cybermancy
-Magicka
-Hard Reset
-Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
-Serious Sam 3

And of course not forgetting all these:
-Team Fortress 2 (free)
-Tribes Ascend (free)
-Blacklight Retribution (free)
-Global Agenda (free)
-League of Legends (free)
-Half Life 2 Deathmatch (free)
-Trackmania Nations Forever (free)
-Quake Live (free)

Jesus Christ dude, try to have a reply that isn't like 4 pages long.

Just because sales for games are down, doesn't mean that it's because games are too expensive. You can cite DLC or whatever you want, there's still not enough evidence to support your claim.

oh and some XBL/PSN titles that are amazing:

-Bastion
-Minecraft
-Awesomenauts
-Castle Crashers
-Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
-Journey
-Limbo
-The Walking Dead
-Dust 514 (free to play, coming soon)

This is just off the top of my head. It's also on top of the multitude of older games from previous generations that are available. On the PSN now there is pretty much every great playstation era game available for download.

Crono1973:
You can find all kinds of glitches for NES games on the internet today but the vast majority of players never personally experienced these glitches.

And again, I have to call bull.

HellsingerAngel:

Use luxury cars then. It really doesn't matter. Quick search for a Jaguar XK topless car about $72 grand last year, now $84 grand this year. So about 12 grand inflation. 2010 was $65 grand, about 7 grand inflation. So, yeah, luxury items being expensive doesn't really change, even through an incredibly unstable period. There are plenty of budget games out there that are free or play as you play to be the "regular car" market in this day and age with XBLA or PSN or free-MMOs or other similar markets.

Luxury cars are supposed to be an elite item. If that was the plan the gaming industry had, they wouldn't be trying to streamline things for mass consumption. More analogy fail.

Zachary Amaranth:

Again, I asked if he had solid proof of a working business model to keep AAA games where they are and that they'd make more money off lower prices.

No, you didn't ask, you outright dismissed him by saying he did not have one. Huge difference. In the future, keep in mind that your old posts are viewable by anyone with a clue.

So, what? Must I now state after every single sentence that this is my opinion or can I not leave that to context?

See, nobody said that. Please don't strawman me.

Could you throw some numbers around? Because books have gotten cheaper here in Canada with the parity of the dollar,

And that alone doesn't explain it?

Standard novels (paperback) only a few years ago listed at 5 or six US dollars and most ran around 400 pages. We're now paying 8-9 dollars for 300-350 page standard. There are always exceptions, especially epic fantasy or hot authors that are guaranteed to sell.

CDs & DVDs have been a stable pricing for awhile

1998-ish, when the RIAA was found guilty of price fixing and ordered to lower their prices, records averaged about 18 dollars US retail. 2008, about 22 retail. Now you can expect to pay around 25. This is why I primarily use digital or etailers. Amazon's music is usually eighteen MAX, and more often closer to 12-15 for a physical disc.

EDIT: To clarify, while Wal-Mart and the like are retailers, they heavily undercut most retail.

If you want to count Wal-Mart prices, they've still gone up steadily for the most part.

and you can only make production so efficient before you're only saving $2 off every million CDs and it's impossible to charge .0001 cent off every DVD or CD.

Yes, but since markup is the big portion and the increasing portion, that's still more or less moot.

Jeeze, what a shock.

You're the one who claimed otherwise. Please try and keep up.

Maybe because they're popular and people actually invested money into good distribution systems?

Except this is since Sony and Amazon entered the mainstream and made this a working model. Oh, and Apple. Can't forget the iTunes ebook store. But hey, blame it on infrastructure.

I know I can't really prove that, but it's food for thought.

So you're demanding facts from everyone else, but pulling arguments completely from your ass. Huh.

The point was that gamers are the only ones gripping about a digital future as unfair to them as a consumer market,

Already false.

yet music, e-books, movies and the like are all fine and dandy for some reason. So yes, actually, we are acting like a hive mind and for no damn good reason.

You mean ebooks, which offered relative freedom and a decent pricing model without attacking the used industry are okay when games which did the opposite are not? WHAT HYPOCRISY! Oh, wait.

And people STILL complain about ebooks.

Music had a fuckton of complaints until they developed a better model for it. Rather than, you know, punishing online consumers with extra hoops to jump through. That sort of demonstrates that whole model you were desperately seeking, but feel free to ignore it. People still bitch about digital music.

More importantly, the major wave of complaints didn't die down until the advent of DRM-free major distribution. iTunes going DRM free, Amazon MP3 starting up, and eMusic getting deals with the major labels for their music.

It's almost like music fans had the same problems up until they changed the model.

Movies? Just Ultraviolet alone is causing a shitstorm.

Have you ever visited an audiophile website? I'm just curious, because the bitching on one of them is proportionate to the gaming bitching on this one. Because that alone would seem to invalidate your point. There is no universal compliance outside of gaming or universal dissent within it.

Zachary Amaranth:

Music had a fuckton of complaints until they developed a better model for it. Rather than, you know, punishing online consumers with extra hoops to jump through. That sort of demonstrates that whole model you were desperately seeking, but feel free to ignore it. People still bitch about digital music.

More importantly, the major wave of complaints didn't die down until the advent of DRM-free major distribution. iTunes going DRM free, Amazon MP3 starting up, and eMusic getting deals with the major labels for their music.

It's almost like music fans had the same problems up until they changed the model.

While I generally don't side on the "games are too expensive" and the "pricing model is broken" side of things, I'm going to have to agree with this point here - newer models can be found and will be found eventually, and those are found by raising a ruckus.

Though personally I doubt there will be a change in model until the primary method of delivery is digital for AAA gaming.

animehermit:

Jesus Christ dude, try to have a reply that isn't like 4 pages long.

Just because sales for games are down, doesn't mean that it's because games are too expensive. You can cite DLC or whatever you want, there's still not enough evidence to support your claim.

oh and some XBL/PSN titles that are amazing:

-Bastion
-Minecraft
-Awesomenauts
-Castle Crashers
-Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
-Journey
-Limbo
-The Walking Dead
-Dust 514 (free to play, coming soon)

This is just off the top of my head. It's also on top of the multitude of older games from previous generations that are available. On the PSN now there is pretty much every great playstation era game available for download.

Why? Why do you say there is no evidence game prices have a part in low sales?

There is a lot of evidence that price is a major factor, lets summarise:
-comparative game price compared to wage for this time in previous generation
-The increasing cost of living in recent years (food, fuel, etc)
-The complete consistent of $60 per game and near ubiquitous extra costs in DLC of removed content, online passes and more expensive XBL Gold

How can you so easily dismiss the problem with price? All these developers saying $60 is too much for a game, then making special pleading for their game.

As to the idea that console offers competitive games:

-Bastion, Castle Crashers, ITSP, Limbo and Awesomenauts are 2D games and quite linear. How are they comparable to Team Fortress 2?
-Minecraft: 360 has gotten the 2 year old version with so many features missing
-Journey is a full 3D game but it's hardly as varied as Tribes Ascend or Global Agenda
-The Walking dead is 400MS points ($8) for only one episode about 90 minutes long. Steam sells all the episodes together at $5 each.
-Dust 514: would be nice to see some gameplay of this game that isn't intermingled with any pre-rendered anything.

You have a very comprehensive list, I think this is as slim as the picking are. You can't do much on console without spending a lot of money or abusing the used games market to the Nth degree, in a way that is unsustainable for large parts of the user base.

If you are going to cite older console games from many years ago then the same goes doubly for PC.

For less than $5:
-Serious Sam HD
-Sega genesis classic Packs
-Team Fortress Classic
-Deathmatch Classic
-All the GOG.COM games
-Xcom Series

CriticKitten:

mfeff:
It's not the same person, see above as to why.

Then you're assuming more people than the person you were quoting, which changes your sample size and thus your results considerably. :P

I whole heartily agree. Yet by using numbers from let's say Gamestop, which do track the number of a used game that are sold in any given interval of time, and uses the interest level to price the title accordingly it seems reasonable to "on some level" call something "hot" or "not". The hotter the unit, the quicker it cycles, the more transactions it generates is a decent metric to determine when and if the "new" version of the box should be reduced in price.

If it is reduced in price then it follows that the used game will be reduced in price as well.

So we are clear going forward in the discussion, and it's a good one, better than most I would say... is that the retailers buy the games in bulk on the front end.

1 million units, in and around 45-56 ish dollars depending on how the arrangement went. So if Gamestop or Shop-Mart or whatever wants to dump the price. They dump it right into what they paid for it. If they have blown through their inventory, maybe they rework the deal for X number of copies at a more advantageous price, although it (typically to my experience), has the reorder worked out before hand.

If we are talking Wally world, or Target... or KB, or Toys R' US, or Best-Buy with no real foothold in the used business, dropping the PP destroys the margin.

So to quickly address one issue is that a Gamestop has no real vested reward interest in reducing the PP on a new title unless it directly assist the used sales, which is where the profit margins are going to be.

The question then becomes, who "flinches first", the distributors, the publishers, the developers, or the audience?

The assumption as I see it here, is that there is in fact a pool of purchases at a lower PP just waiting to hand over some green. I tend to disagree and also posit that console purchasers, PC purchasers, used vs. new purchasers, and "expensive version" game purchasers, DLC purchasers are all in different pools which have overlap and flux considerably.

If one drops the price, how easily may the price be brought back up again? If it is a recession in market economy then supply side expectation is that the price reduction will be a temporary measure to capture demand. Chasing a PP all the way to the ground "if it is already collapsing" is contrary to any notion of "gathering all the nuts one can before the winter". If it is collapsing the one's who remain solvent survive and win, simply by not loosing.

There are still plenty of PC gamer's who feel 60 dollars is steep for a PC title. I do, and I find it curious as to why I have this attitude... considering that the water cooling setup I built cost more than the PC it sits on. Clearly, for me, it is not a "money" issue. There is something else going on... one that comes to mind.

-This comes back to another old grievance in that consoles where sold at a loss to the developer/publishers. The software was priced at around 60 dollars to recoup that loss over a unit life of 6-8 new titles sold over the course of the system (somewhere around 4-6 years.)

Clearly Acti-Blizzard has no vested interest or cost to recoup in my PC's... so why the price hike? Well because they could. I disagree certainly, and I have not bought any of their games since. People have though, so did it work? Did they make more off selling it higher than having of sold me a copy? I dunno, but I suspect at worst it broke even.

Price is a factor, no doubt. It could be lack of interest, same sameness, lower product quality, reused assets in sequels are excessive, hand held and phone market saturation. Dropping the price, and I will dip into a fallacy quickly, is to say "we do not believe that the value of our product is what it used to be".

A price drop will have to have a spin doctor to help it land. I suspect that the newer iterations of the PS3 and 360 will include larger HDD's, once digital distribution gets closer to reality for more of the audience, there will be a smooth reduction in price "at some point". That's just a guess, it's a maybe so maybe no deal. Although I feel stronger this is in response to "customer expectation" rather than a cash money on the table decision math.

Clearly Nintendo does not feel DD needs to be price adjusted to the box. So customer expectation is on the table and clearly, ignored for the most part... at the moment.

Also, the Torchlight series was created by former Blizzard developers. It's rather hard to argue that Torchlight 2 isn't an "authentic" clone of Diablo given that it's made by the people who made Diablo 2. To the contrary, it is THE Diablo clone.

Diablo III is the Diablo clone. TL2 is a clone as well, and it does share the same high contrast colors as WoW, the influence is clear. The intention as to what the target audience is also somewhat clear. In that light the offer for a year of WoW was not an accident. It was simply the smart move.

Diablo III gameplay is extremely tight, similar to that of SCII. Will Torchlight be in that same category? Comparing ArmA II to Battlefield 3, they are certainly similar but they are very different games. If we had a chance to sit down and play D3 and TL2 making a list as to which is what, and if the PP's reflect the production values I feel pretty confident that we could conclude some things. I suspect it will be that D3 is a little high, and TL2 is a little low. Then we could argue brand loyalty, system stability, online components, and other value added nuance.

For me, it is partly the price considering I would purchase a couple copies for use on multiple computers. If I am looking at 3 copies at 60 bucks that is a fairly high investment for some entertainment. Torchlight offers a similar experience (sorta) and at 20, it's one copy of D3... thing is I skipped D3 not because of the price, but because of it's always online component, and the rigmarole concerning a "pause" function. I don't like Acti-Blizzard, and come away not convinced.

20 bucks D3?... sure, but I don't see how anyone on supply side wins at that PP. Don't really like TL in general, but I am interested in Grim Dawn, as I liked the Titan Quest and expansion. Give me a pause in multiplayer, some alt-tab functionality, my Santa list is satisfied.

It's one of those cases where I couldn't shrug indifferently enough.

Will some people buy both? Sure, that always happens. But the tendency for gamers is to buy one over another, and if Torchlight 2 is offering people a smaller price window, players newer to the genre will reach for it rather than the high price of entry for Diablo 3.

Same style game does not make it the same game. If the audience is sufficiently convinced that one is better than the other, regardless of the truth of it, then the marketing works. Marketing is expensive and that cost if passed back into the price point. In this sense it is similar to how a luxury car is marketed. It's probably a little better, but not 3x better. You know that, I know that, but the general audience may or may not know that.

But players create new material for their favorite PC titles all the time. Mods are not something unique to Skyrim and I'm not entirely sure what gave you that impression.

Again, cool story. Having of been on plenty of mod teams since the Playstation was new, I would agree. That being said PC gamer wasn't running articles about these mods on a regular basis like they do now. It's not "my" impression, but the one that is carefully marketed to an audience. Steam works is an exceptionally powerful tool that makes mods very easy to work with. If I were to mention something that utilized a compiler or a values list from "back in the day", it was extremely inaccessible to the average Joe. Skyrim by it's design allows for a plug and play mod. That's important. ArmA II Day Z, in contrast is "fiddly" at best.

Also, the problem with this logic is that there are plenty of competitors that released months, even years prior to Skyrim that now sell for less than it does. Sooner or later, it has to bring the price down to stay competitive. What's uncertain is how soon.

What is the percentage of people that care though? I don't hear people saying Skyrim is "like" Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, I hear people saying Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is "like" Skyrim. It's an important distinction. When Jim run's a video talking about how Skyrim is the "total package", he perhaps inadvertently, just made it's price higher for longer. It's interest levels, these are indirectly accessible by the very metrics I mention at the top of this post. Now that all said, a website such as this generates it's revenue through advertisement, those cost are built into the PP of the game widget, and we are back in the cycle. Is Jim willing to take less money per show? Who flinches first?

I'm not sure what other data you require. Video game sales are down. Significantly, in fact. And it's not just last month, it's starting to become a trend. Jim highlights this simple fact in his video. It's very clear that if sales are down that much, then SOMETHING needs to be changed to reverse the trend. You can argue all you like about the causes or the ways to reverse this trend, we may or may not agree. But you most certainly cannot possibly hope to argue that the trend doesn't exist at all when the evidence clearly indicates that sales have dropped.

Not going to argue with that. Clearly sales are down. I didn't come into this thinking that they weren't. Thing is if a unit such as the collectors edition of Guild Wars 2, retail $150 dollars, with an E-bay resale of $200-230, and it is sold out... CLEARLY the market will support a high price point unit, bundled with some DLC and a plastic toy. If the director of EA sports is saying 60 dollars and a 20 dollar DLC for a particular title is working, clearly it is working. Now sales are down, but how does that reflect in the earnings statement?

As Paul Tassi says in the article, it's an aging system and it is predictable, it has a pattern, no where in this article did I see it mentioned that the price gate was too high. Let's see, Micro$lop has it's system marked down... reading further... mentions DRM and DLC, I cited that as my own personal reasons... before reading this article... so spot on... nope... no price gate on game widgets... help me out here?

Heck, I'll go ahead and call it now: we'll see slightly higher sales in May, but almost entirely due to Diablo 3's release.

Get rid of the always on DRM and Pay-to-Win scheme... offer pause functionality in multiplayer, and it would of been even better... at least 3 units better. Cause I would of bought the shit...

Math teacher, actually.

-snip

As the ninja turtle once said... "nice to meet a fellow chucker"... not a teacher but a love of math all the same.

The difference between marketing approaches or even business management approaches and micro/macro economic studies are considerable. Again I approach the issue "like" a topology problem... snarky response though... I like it!

A straight question... if you and I where in business together do you think that I would do everything in my mathematical power, including consulting yourself, to maximize our earnings potential?

Our disagreement seems to be one of a decision... lower the cost or not. I do not think that cost is the problem. I think dropping the price is a band-aide to a deeper issue. I do not think that a price drop is sustainable, and could have detrimental effects in the long run. I think there are better roads to take to build products around what customers want, and not what someone wants to sell. I think sequels should add features and not delete them. So on and so forth.

I do not know the market pool. I have not the first clue as to what has skewed and what hasn't. I also posited above that price dumping a game like Skyrim may "in fact" not even be possible due to how contracts are structured. This is the data I would need to work the issue. No data, speculation land. Can't even make an informed guess.

It is the way it is because it is the way it is.

This is the sort of thinking that has led the developers to record losses in the past month, and a significant drop in overall sales. "Our model seems to work so let's keep using it". But it's *not* working if your sales are dropping, is it? Something clearly needs to be changed.

It lead to a drop in sales, not "necessarily" revenue. Reduce game development overhead, mitigate advertising cost, increase unit price. Bang, back in the cheddar. The most expensive car on the lot, is the most profitable (typically), and it sells the least number of units (typically).

I mean really, what came out in April? Name a couple games and we can discuss the merits of each one, and or any subsequent backlash they each had. Where talking new, so it of course, must be a new release.

Nope. You seem to forget that common sense isn't that common. We're in a weaker economy than we were last decade with more families in financial strains than ever before, yet the prices are higher than ever. This is obviously not a model that should work, and it won't continue to work. Or, if it does, we might get to bear witness to the next big crash.

Here's hoping the government won't bail out the video game industry too.

These are very valid observations.

The word of the day is Luxury.

This word was "art", but it has changed... even this follows a pattern.

Now, try as I might, I am reminded... daily that common sense isn't that common... and a lot of other things that you or I may take for granted are not common. We are the exception and not the rule.

Looks like inflation to me, direct inflation. That someone should have access to a particular form of entertainment at an affordable price is suspect. There are "plenty" of cheap games. Yet, it is the "speculative" games that are being discussed in the round about way. If products go into a recessive state and one is still at one with earnings power then one is making more money than ever before, in the face of reduced sales.

It's a staring contest. Best part is, software is akin to printing money. Unfortunately it tends to have the same effect as printing money.

Treblaine:

Why? Why do you say there is no evidence game prices have a part in low sales?

There is a lot of evidence that price is a major factor, lets summarise:
-comparative game price compared to wage for this time in previous generation
-The increasing cost of living in recent years (food, fuel, etc)
-The complete consistent of $60 per game and near ubiquitous extra costs in DLC of removed content, online passes and more expensive XBL Gold

How can you so easily dismiss the problem with price? All these developers saying $60 is too much for a game, then making special pleading for their game.

You keep saying all of this, but it doesn't really mean anything, it's still doesn't mean that sales are down because games are expensive. You don't have any hard data, it's all correlation. You can't just say game sales are down ergo games are too expensive, there's still no evidence to support that the reason sales are down is price. It could be any number of different reasons ranging from advertising to the fact there weren't any decent titles coming out.

And as for cheap games: I don't know why you want to make this argument, there are better free to play and cheap titles on the PC, but that doesn't mean that there aren't cheap ways to game on consoles as well.

INB4 people who enjoy protecting the publishers (and giving them metaphoric head) jump up to blame piracy, second hand sales, and everything BUT publishers being dicks and the declining quality of games.

animehermit:

Treblaine:

Why? Why do you say there is no evidence game prices have a part in low sales?

There is a lot of evidence that price is a major factor, lets summarise:
-comparative game price compared to wage for this time in previous generation
-The increasing cost of living in recent years (food, fuel, etc)
-The complete consistent of $60 per game and near ubiquitous extra costs in DLC of removed content, online passes and more expensive XBL Gold

How can you so easily dismiss the problem with price? All these developers saying $60 is too much for a game, then making special pleading for their game.

You keep saying all of this, but it doesn't really mean anything, it's still doesn't mean that sales are down because games are expensive. You don't have any hard data, it's all correlation. You can't just say game sales are down ergo games are too expensive, there's still no evidence to support that the reason sales are down is price. It could be any number of different reasons ranging from advertising to the fact there weren't any decent titles coming out.

And as for cheap games: I don't know why you want to make this argument, there are better free to play and cheap titles on the PC, but that doesn't mean that there aren't cheap ways to game on consoles as well.

It's not "all correlation" it is explanation of correlation. I have given you hard data.

What is your explanation of this correlation? At the very least state what your problem is with my correlation.

You seem to have latched onto the phrase "Correlation is not causation" to make correlation utterly meaningless when it it supposed to mean that it ALONE is not enough.

"You can't just say game sales are down ergo games are too expensive"

That's a good thing as I don't say that. For you to imply I did is a Straw Man argument.

This video that this thread is concerning has given sources from industry experts, developers and publishers, that they say games are too expensive. And that isn't "just from reduced sales" but from their own expert opinion THEY SAY GAMES ARE TOO EXPENSIVE!!!!

I have many pieces of evidence that games are too expensive, the lower sales is just one piece of circumstantial evidence for that.

"there are better free to play and cheap titles on the PC, but that doesn't mean that there aren't cheap ways to game on consoles as well."

Nope. It is the CONTRAST between PC and console that emphasises the absence of cheap AND substantial games on consoles. Now these 2D games on XBLA and PSN, (or very spartan 3D games like Journey) are good and all but they are NOT varied, broad, deep or as fulfilling and they are priced higher than their equivalent or identical on PC. They are cheap to make as I know from experience in makign 2D games and also 3D games and narrow in scope. You really need to fork out the big money to get substantial gaming experiences on console.

I think digital retailers are slowly taking care of this issue with the expensiveness of games by opening the market to independent developers or simply less well endowed ones. It lets the consumer evaluate if his budgets permits buying a 10, 20 or 60 dollar game. Something you would not really see at Gamestop or such other game joint.

Steam and the other digital retailers show on the main page for all to see all the new releases , including the ones that would not get a good marketing campaign otherwise, and even has a menu where you can show all games under 5, 10 or 25 dollars.

Big game joints usually use product placement strategies in the store so that you only get to see the mainstream 60 dollar games unless you're willing to go out of your way, and even then they can't possibly hold the inventory to compete with an online retailer.

I think the price of games is bound to go down, and i think it will happen gradually as the quality of the indie games increase. I do not consider myself poor really, but i do consider games a luxury, last year i bought only one game at full price: Skyrim, i just couldn't wait. For the rest of my gaming, i controlled the cost by waiting for games to get a little older and the prices to be more reasonable.

Sober Thal:
About one days worth of work, for minimal wage, can get you the money for a new AAA game. (Even in Australia)

Good job missing the entire point of the video there. After all, people who only make minimum wage clearly don't have anything more important to spend their money on and thus can spend it all on expensive video games that are chock full of DRM, online passes, and cut content that the publisher will happily give you back for even more money.

Eri:

Owyn_Merrilin:
Great video. Only question: do I get a writing credit?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.374224-Games-are-a-luxury-item-So

I kid, but that is two weeks in a row where the topic has come straight from the forums. A special thanks line in the credits might be a good idea for videos like that.

Don't get your hopes up. In the years that I've been here, I've posted several topics hours, even days before they posted them as news and yet I've never once received credit. I even brought it up a time or two and said they have no obligation to do so etc.

Of course! Because after all, everyone who creates content for this site spends all of their time reading the forums here and looking for threads that they can turn into articles and videos. Seriously, where do the two of you get off thinking that the only reason people write a news article or make a video about a topic is because you posted it on a forum first? Full of yourselves much?!

HellsingerAngel:
This entire post made me smile. No snarky comments, no sarcasm, some actual analysis done. It made me smile really big and I just wanted to say thank you before I start to dig into the meat of the post.

Zom-B:
Gold is a resource and a commodity, not a product. There is also a finite amount of gold in the world, while for all intents and purposes there are an infinite number of games to be made. Your analogy doesn't work because you're comparing two things that are in no way similar. Gold has value while it is still in the earth, and becomes even more expensive once the costs to mine, transport and refine it are factored in and then again once value is added by using it to make products like jewelry and electronics.

Video games, by comparison, have little value while still "in the ground". A concept and a story are a start, but a video game doesn't have value until you can get it to consumers. Though I will grant that an intellectual property, such as an idea for a game, can have value to the right person.

I used the first thing that came to mind that would be extravagant. You're correct, it wasn't the best example I could have used because gold is a much more finite finished product than video games. However, you can take your pick on the various luxuries we as humans have created and find a similar example for commercial goods. I used luxury cars in a reply to someone else and with some quick googling was easily able to find various figures for prices on luxury cars year by year which has shown a fairly stable market, despite the total automotive market crash for the past little bit. My point was luxury items are expensive and don't fluctuate often because they're luxuries.

Zom-B:
While taste is subjective (Portal 2, DA2, Crysis 2, Bulletstorm are all less interesting to me than Amalur, SFxTekken, The Darkness 2 and Soul Caliber 5. Go figure.), most industry watchers and analysts realize that a big reason that game sales are down is because consumers are ready for a new console. It's not just your list of games.

That could be true. It might not be. The new console generations for both Microsoft and Sony are looking to be right around 2014-2015, so I don't believe game sales would slump this quickly. I could see why Xenoblade might not sell because of the early attack Nintendo is putting on but that shouldn't create a numbers decrease that's so drastic. Then again, your proposition also debunks Jim's proclamation that games sales are down because they're too expensive but rather that people don't want to invest in products that will potentially become obsolete in two to three years. I dunno, take your pick, but I do agree that maybe next year we'll start to see a slump when something more substantial about the new console generation gets shown.

Zom-B:
You know what I find interesting? In your example here, you can lump all media together, but as soon as we talk about used sales, videogames become something special that don't work the same as used books or used cars (maybe not you specifically saying that, but you get my point).

Actually, they're the exact same problem. Authors don't see the revenue from books being re-sold. Neither do car manufacturers (except maybe spare parts to fix them). It's the pawn shop policy and I think publishers need to back off in that respect. At the same time, GameStop are being total douche bags by basing their entire business model around cutting out the hand that feeds them their products. I feel bad for publishers in that respect where they do need to try and push those new games sales to get the return they'll need in order to keep publishing. the two quickest solutions to this problem are quite literally A) Go all digital -or- B) Stop giving your product to GameStop, take a massive hit to sales for a couple years while they etch out deals with places like Wal-Mart, Furutre Shop, Best Buy and small games stores and dig themselves out of a hole they never really dug (for some of the part). While option B would solve the problem much faster, it's not the more attractive option, for sure. I think pushing a digital media model would really help pricing in the industry and thus am excited to see services like Steam and Origin.

Zom-B:
Videogames, in fact, are a different beast than books or movies. They are consumed differently and purchased differently. Very few books or movies ask us to invest 100 hours, for example. Books and movies aren't interactive, either. You can't affect a movie or book like you can a game. If we agree on this point, we can't compare books, movies and games using the same criteria. Personally I would say that games and movies are luxuries, reading is and should be a right and a necessity for all people. Few things impact our lives so forcefully and positively as being able to read and then using that skill to learn about our world, communicate and enjoy our own and others imaginations.

To be honest, I think entertainment as a whole is a necessity. If we didn't have any, we'd all go crazy or do very crude things like start wars for that purpose. However, AAA games are a luxury and there are plenty of games out there running free business models as well as games that are running $10 business models. The later might not be the newest and hottest games around but they're affordable and still great games. Much like a good book or a good movie, a good game never becomes bad. If you want to game, there are opportunities to do so, so complaining that the luxury part of the system is too expensive for you is just petty greed.

Zom-B:
I would have a very hard time believing that the reason books have gone down in price- which they haven't really, in fact. see this link: http://www.theawl.com/2011/12/how-much-more-do-books-cost-today - because their production has been perfected. It is one factor, I'll grant you, for lowering prices for products, but it's not the only one. The economy plays a part, as do availability of materials, shipping costs influence final cost as well as employee wages and author salaries. To pin it on any one thing is naive. That being said, aside from a few ups and downs, book prices for new hardcovers have hovered right around $30 on average since the 50s.

So what happened to the other 1550 years books have been in circulation? When you look at media, you need to look at it from the beginning. As it stands, video games are very young right now, more than three times as young as the last big step which would be movies. In 1920, movies weren't in common circulation like video games are today and historically we're booming and on the right track compared to all other forms of media forty years from their conception. Book prices have been relatively stable in the past fifty years, yes, and I would also expect that from video games when we get there in the timeline. Unfortunately, that isn't now. We are far from perfecting the distribution methods of our medium with standard models and the digital age that looms over us isn't helping very much. We're trying to perfect something while also making a culture shift and that can be difficult. however, we're also the pioneers of this medium. We are literally making history and that is a privileged, not a right. Yes, it sucks that some games cost sixty dollars but that's sometimes the price you pay in order to enjoy the premium experience. For all others there's your Super Monday Night Combats, your TF2s, your Dofus', your League of Legends' and so on. Gaming isn't as limited as Jim makes it out to be and it's extremely frustrating when he goes off like the industry owes him something when they don't. If he doesn't like it, he should get a new hobby or luxury to indulge himself in.

Not a lot to say in response, but a couple things:

used sales. Books, automobiles and many other products have been dealing with this issue forever, basically, and regardless of what the industry or some consumers think, we all have a legal right to buy and sell items that we own, including the software license on a game disc. This is nothing new and if Gamestop wasn't providing this service, someone else would or we'd just see an increase in private transactions via craigslist and eBay, etc.

As far as publishers cutting out Gamestop in favour of other retailers, aside from the chances of that happening being vanishingly slim, both the Futureshop and the Best Buy where I live deal in used games as well. Not to the same degree, but I think that's only because Gamestop is the default stop for most people looking to trade in games. Which just goes right back to my previous comment that another retailer will quickly fill the void left by Gamestop if it ever leaves the market for some reason.

Finally, re: used sales, manufacturers and publishers have many ways of fighting them. The two biggest ones I can think of are planned obsolescence and yearly models, something that the electronics and automotive industry excel in. There's a reason that most electronics are built to last only a few years and why cars are not meant to run for 20 or 30 years, despite the fact that they could easily be made so. It's the industry's way of fighting used sales. If there's always something newer and better around the corner, consumers will want it.

I'll finish off by saying that I don't think that used sales are a problem for the industry- at least not in the way they claim it is. They are a problem, but only in that it forces the industry to think about keeping prices competitive, it forces them to think about whether they want a quick cash in on a rushed development schedule or if they want to put out a truly good game. I honestly think that the game industry is fighting used sales with the wrong tactics and are treating customers as a cash machine and not something to be dealt with respect and intelligence. If the industry put half as much effort as they do into DRM, fighting piracy and used sales and gouging customers into creating truly desirable products, from the code on the disc to the packaging to what comes with the game, they'd have far fewer problems. I can't even count how many forum posts I've read all over that place from people wanted a deluxe edition, a collectors edition, a real manual, and other in box bonus items and willing to pay more for it. Instead we get a bare bones box, a buggy game, a 2 page fold-over manual and day one DLC. Something wrong in that equation, to me.

bjj hero:

There is a difference between houses, cars and videogames. No matter how much homes and cars cost people will buy them as they are necessities. People will go into debt to own a house as they need somewhere to live, the same way you will go into debt for medical bills, food etc. Somethings you need. Games are not on that list. Houses get more and more expensive to the point where people cannot afford them and they are over priced, then prices come down.

Games are affordable, demonstrated by the millions and millions of people who buy games. As I said, the price of new titles has come down in real terms. If games were now 120 I think sales would nosedive so its hardly "moot". Games are more affordable now and interestingly more games are sold now. There is also a mix of price points for games so no one is excluded. Games are worth whatever people are willing to pay for them and they are selling pretty well at $60. You say the industry will shrink if the 60 price point doesnt change but its been there for a while and seems to be doing fine.

I agree that relatively speaking, game prices are down. However, when current economies and the expenses most people have in their lives are taken into consideration, video games look too expensive, especially if we compare the value we receive from other entertainment options. I'm not going to get into a big thing about it, but I think that the $60 price point is too much. As small as it is, I think that a simple drop to $50 for a new game would have a marked increase on game sales. I know that I would buy more games at $50 than I would at $60 and I can't be the only one.

Well, I often use the argument "games are a luxury"- but not against accusations of anti-consumerism. Jim is 100% on the money here (as usual).

No, when I say "games are a luxury" I'm using it in opposition to the selfish cunts who think the price of games is a justification for 90% of their game collection being pirated (i.e STOLEN) because they're too cheap to buy them like any decent consumer. Not too poor to afford them, just too selfish and greedy to be bothered, only to then trot out that bullshit "the game isn't worth that much!" argument in defence of their indefensible position. The game is a luxury product, you're not stealing bread to feed your starving childen- if you don't want to pay the money for it, then you have the right to complain or to simply not buy it (as Jim points out in this video) but you don't have the right to steal it.

Zachary Amaranth:
No, you didn't ask, you outright dismissed him by saying he did not have one. Huge difference. In the future, keep in mind that your old posts are viewable by anyone with a clue.

Then I guess I imagined this...

HellsingerAngel:
Can you give solid evidence that a less expensive product will provide more profit on a consistent basis within the industry, or is the reality more so that it'll sell more copies but have no real effect on the dividends? This is where your logic falls short, Mr. Sterling, in that you voice an opinion but have no real proof of the model.

Pretty sure that's asking him to give me proof. I have no idea what you could have misconstrued that into.

Zachary Amaranth:
See, nobody said that. Please don't strawman me.

No, a strawman argument is this:

Wikipedia:
Person A has position X.
Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially similar position Y. The position Y is a distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:
Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position.
Quoting an opponent's words out of context - i.e. choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent's actual intentions (see fallacy of quoting out of context).[2]
Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person's arguments - thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.[1]
Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.
Oversimplifying an opponent's argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.
Person B attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.
This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious, because attacking a distorted version of a position fails to constitute an attack on the actual position.

No one did say it. I felt it was implied and was asking you. If you didn't mean so, you just need to say "I didn't mean it like that. What I meant was (insert explanation here). What makes it apparent that you did mean it that way is that you attempt to misdirect the accusation instead of explaining yourself.

And you actually did imply that by trying to degrade my position with this:

Zachary Amaranth:
Mmm...That's either confirmation bias or teen spirit. I forget which one is the fallacy and which one is the Nirvana song.

Accusing me of confirmation bias would be saying that that statement is opinion driven, which everything is always going to have an opinion. The reason I stated it was because most people's opinions are in that train of thought concerning last year's gaming line-up. Does it fit yours exactly? Well, no, you've said as much. Did it fit a large populous of the gaming world's opinions? Well, yeah, there was a lot of talk about "was this year the year of gaming" and I think that my statement is fairly grounded in saying that last year's line-up was far better received than this year's and that had a direct impact on sales.

Zachary Amaranth:
And that alone doesn't explain it?

Not sufficiently, no. I'd also care for you not to be snarky about it. I asked because I wanted some sort of actual proof rather than you saying it's true. I'm putting my two cents out there and if you have evidence to disprove it, well, awesome, because I learn something I didn't know. Treating me like a simpleton by saying "well, isn't it obvious" just makes me think more so that you have no proof.

But then we have this:

Zachary Amaranth:
Standard novels (paperback) only a few years ago listed at 5 or six US dollars and most ran around 400 pages. We're now paying 8-9 dollars for 300-350 page standard. There are always exceptions, especially epic fantasy or hot authors that are guaranteed to sell.

You do know that has something to do with parity of your dollar, that inflation still exists, right, that some genres of books don't take exactly 400 pages to all the information inside a book and may go under or over? Even ignoring all that, has the quality of books gone down? Since when has something to be considered art been about quantity? That's sort of what we argue with games, no? That the quality of a game can sometimes outweigh the quantity presented? That's getting into subjective territory, however, and saying "X pages should always equal X dollars" would be silly. Saying books are getting more expensive should just be "prices in books have gone up" but the example you gave would account for the recent parity of the dollar and inflation, cause guess how much Canadians were paying for their books? About $5-$8 more. Now it's around $2-$5 and our dollar is roughly equal.

CDs & DVDs have been a stable pricing for awhile

Zachary Amaranth:
1998-ish, when the RIAA was found guilty of price fixing and ordered to lower their prices, records averaged about 18 dollars US retail. 2008, about 22 retail. Now you can expect to pay around 25. This is why I primarily use digital or etailers. Amazon's music is usually eighteen MAX, and more often closer to 12-15 for a physical disc.

EDIT: To clarify, while Wal-Mart and the like are retailers, they heavily undercut most retail.

If you want to count Wal-Mart prices, they've still gone up steadily for the most part.

So, this is an interesting point. Again, prices going up on goods is not uncommon. Inflation and parity tend to do that. What I want to touch on is the comment of Wal-Mart trying to undercut where they can. It's interesting to me because Wal-Mart, despite having this philosophy to grow their retail chain, still prices games at the $60 range for new releases. At best, maybe five dollars cheaper on an iffy title. So why is that? Giant industry conspiracy like the RIAA or the fact that that's actually what they have to price it at to make a decent buck off it?

Zachary Amaranth:
Yes, but since markup is the big portion and the increasing portion, that's still more or less moot.

Which is opinion. Care to enlighten me with cost figures so it can be fact because a lot of people say this but they don't have proof to back it up. From my understanding of the situation, most game companies are not willing to share those numbers, so I pretty much have to take their word for it, but if you have proof otherwise I'd love to see it.

Zachary Amaranth:
Except this is since Sony and Amazon entered the mainstream and made this a working model. Oh, and Apple. Can't forget the iTunes ebook store. But hey, blame it on infrastructure.

Exactly as you put it. Since they've entered the market, as in, they had no infrastructure to begin with in these areas. They'd need some way to cover that loss. The best way? Jack prices up a little because you're getting a premium experience. Want books for cheaper? Go get them from another party with a less premium service. Welcome to capitalism, enjoy your stay!

Except...

Current prices for The Hunger Games
eBooks.com - 21.95
booksonboard - $16.03
Barnes & Noble - $8.99
Kobo - $7.99
Sony - $5.00
Amazon - $5.00

I couldn't check Apple since I don't use their products but I think this speaks for itself. It's actually more expensive to go to a smaller website than to purchase from the bigger companies.

Zachary Amaranth:
So you're demanding facts from everyone else, but pulling arguments completely from your ass. Huh.

Well, no, it's impossible for me to prove that they're using cost to fund their infrastructure. At least I admit it. Then again, I can prove that prices are overall lower at larger eBook companies, just not that all that money they aren't taking is going to infrastructure.

Zachary Amaranth:
You mean ebooks, which offered relative freedom and a decent pricing model without attacking the used industry are okay when games which did the opposite are not? WHAT HYPOCRISY! Oh, wait.

Didn't you just complain that the pricing for eBooks has shot up and that pricing only used to be fair before the large companies got a good hold on the market, even though their prices are better? Hypocrisy indeed.

Zachary Amaranth:
Music had a fuckton of complaints until they developed a better model for it. Rather than, you know, punishing online consumers with extra hoops to jump through. That sort of demonstrates that whole model you were desperately seeking, but feel free to ignore it. People still bitch about digital music.

More importantly, the major wave of complaints didn't die down until the advent of DRM-free major distribution. iTunes going DRM free, Amazon MP3 starting up, and eMusic getting deals with the major labels for their music.

It's almost like music fans had the same problems up until they changed the model.

Movies? Just Ultraviolet alone is causing a shitstorm.

Have you ever visited an audiophile website? I'm just curious, because the bitching on one of them is proportionate to the gaming bitching on this one. Because that alone would seem to invalidate your point. There is no universal compliance outside of gaming or universal dissent within it.

I will have to concede this point, mostly because I don't care enough about other media to know what goes on. I suppose that's just bias on my part. Then again, I don't see many people calling movie-goers or music enthusiast self-entitled and whiny. Regardless, again, I don't care enough to go to these sites and listen to the complaints about stuff that really does seem as trivial as the complaints that gamers have about digital media. I've just never heard of these "massive complaints" about digital distribution in movies and games because those companies seem to understand what they're peddling.

Anyway, I've had enough of you. You just shoot your mouth off and look like you have a good argument. Your tone is condescending and you really need to get an attitude adjustment if you want to discuss and debate topics rather than spit acid at each other.

Zom-B:

Not a lot to say in response, but a couple things:

used sales. Books, automobiles and many other products have been dealing with this issue forever, basically, and regardless of what the industry or some consumers think, we all have a legal right to buy and sell items that we own, including the software license on a game disc. This is nothing new and if Gamestop wasn't providing this service, someone else would or we'd just see an increase in private transactions via craigslist and eBay, etc.

As far as publishers cutting out Gamestop in favour of other retailers, aside from the chances of that happening being vanishingly slim, both the Futureshop and the Best Buy where I live deal in used games as well. Not to the same degree, but I think that's only because Gamestop is the default stop for most people looking to trade in games. Which just goes right back to my previous comment that another retailer will quickly fill the void left by Gamestop if it ever leaves the market for some reason.

Finally, re: used sales, manufacturers and publishers have many ways of fighting them. The two biggest ones I can think of are planned obsolescence and yearly models, something that the electronics and automotive industry excel in. There's a reason that most electronics are built to last only a few years and why cars are not meant to run for 20 or 30 years, despite the fact that they could easily be made so. It's the industry's way of fighting used sales. If there's always something newer and better around the corner, consumers will want it.

I'll finish off by saying that I don't think that used sales are a problem for the industry- at least not in the way they claim it is. They are a problem, but only in that it forces the industry to think about keeping prices competitive, it forces them to think about whether they want a quick cash in on a rushed development schedule or if they want to put out a truly good game. I honestly think that the game industry is fighting used sales with the wrong tactics and are treating customers as a cash machine and not something to be dealt with respect and intelligence. If the industry put half as much effort as they do into DRM, fighting piracy and used sales and gouging customers into creating truly desirable products, from the code on the disc to the packaging to what comes with the game, they'd have far fewer problems. I can't even count how many forum posts I've read all over that place from people wanted a deluxe edition, a collectors edition, a real manual, and other in box bonus items and willing to pay more for it. Instead we get a bare bones box, a buggy game, a 2 page fold-over manual and day one DLC. Something wrong in that equation, to me.

Don't look at used games in itself as "a problem" as if it is a causative effect, but rather consider it as a symptom.

There IS a very high rate of pre-owned sales, they take up well over 50% of the shelf space in stores in every video game purveyor I have been to, and in my local purveyor it takes up 75% of the shelf space. That is a LOT for a industry where the actual game makers only make any money off of used sales.

And yet when I go into a store like HMV that is the main retailer of DVDs and music... where is the used-section for DVDs and music CD?!? None. There are NONE! DVD and music does NOT have such a huge extent of pre-owned sales even though legally it it totally a possibility.

Used sales are supposed to be a safety valve, for the inefficiencies in getting the price/demand aspects right so people can sell their old games. But

And ask everyone who buys used, EVERYONE, why they buy used video games what do they say: the price.

They do NOT find the same with music, TV shows or even films, they do not on the same scale find them so expensive that they have to make pre-owned sales 75% of sales (going by shelf space).

Games are too expensive, and rampant used market is an inevitable result. The industry is resisting as MUCH AS POSSIBLE the $60 price point, and the only way they can do this is with a huge proportion of used game sales, selling them cheap and encouraging game owners to sell their games.

Why do you think there is such rampant fanboyism with console gaming? It's not because they JUST have to justify what they buy, they must also justify WHAT THEY DON'T BUY! No way at all can the average nor even upper percentile gamer own all the games they are interested in. They also must justify what they don't want to sell to spite being constantly pressured to, they have to give up their favourite old games to get new games.

Used sales of anything are supposed to be a minor-aspect safety valve, for those poor and new in the industry, it's basically charity allowed by the industry for a small minority. But the price really isn't just a problem for the very poor, no one can justify spending $60 on as many games.

Of course, gamers have every right to sell the games they own... but in the same way everyone has the right to pawn their family silver just to pay the skyrocketing rent, WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE TO! The issue is not that they are selling their stuff, they issue is WHY they are!

Remember, when games were cartridge based in the 1980's and early 90's, games were very VERY much more niche than they are trying to be today. Video games only really took off when it went to disc based and started selling them at $30-40 per game.

The cartridge based SNES and Genesis together only sold 75 Million consoles, But when disc-based Playstation came along that alone sold 105 million units and N64 selling less than a third. The more expensive cartridge media took only 20% of the market. But the next generation, with everything disc-based and games selling for $40-50 the consoles sold topped out a 200 million video games consoles. How do you get 166% growth from the mid 1990's to mid 2000's? By the price of games.

But game prices have become a $60 standard, no one goes below it, and almost always extra costs for DLC that is clearly ripped out of what was supposed to be in the games.

Video games are not an inelastic commodity. Gasoline is quite inelastic, people need it to go about their lives and can do little to cut their consumption so will pay whatever price.

But games are elastic so if they get expensive they'll buy less, so much less that to spite being more expensive revenue goes down. And it goes the other way, as games get less expensive people are far more willing to pay and more money is spent.

bjj hero:

Games are affordable, demonstrated by the millions and millions of people who buy games. As I said, the price of new titles has come down in real terms. If games were now 120 I think sales would nosedive so its hardly "moot". Games are more affordable now and interestingly more games are sold now. There is also a mix of price points for games so no one is excluded. Games are worth whatever people are willing to pay for them and they are selling pretty well at $60. You say the industry will shrink if the 60 price point doesnt change but its been there for a while and seems to be doing fine.

Games are only more affordable compared to Cartridge games when the market was much smaller. When they moved to disc based (as they are today) the price plummeted and the industry more than doubled in size (by number of video game consoles sold per generation).

But things have changed. Average income has not gone up with inflation but to some extent has gone the other way while cost of living has increased and we are having to live with more and more debt.

Games aren't worth it as most people aren't actually buying the games for $60. Only a minority are buying games at $60, look around in an actual video games store and you'll see most of the shelf space (easily 75%) is dedicated to used games selling for well below $60! The relatively more affluent consumers buy for $60 and trade in and sell on and they sell on when they are done, except for a huge proportion of people who pay money for these games... they don't give any of the money they spend to the actual people. Or there is a constant cycle of trading in for new and then trading that in for old, only putting a bit of their money into the industry with most of it staying in retail rather than going to the actual developers (or the publishers who support them).

Stores like Amazon and Walmart may subsidise a few new games below $60 but that's a sacrifice they make to attract business so they buy other stuff in their store. It's loss leading that is limited and not comprehensive.

Games are a scarcity because the new ones cost so much that so few get into the market and Gamestop is getting rich sitting piggy in the middle selling everyone games to each other at HUGE markup, greater margins than they get selling them new. And there is a huge market now with PS3 and 360 combined making 130 million consoles yet still games like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim, MAJOR RELEASES, each struggle to sell 10 million. Arkham City only broke 5 million.

I do not think only 4% of HD console owners played Arkham City, I think only 4% bought it NEW! And then it was shared out amongst many more.

"There is also a mix of price points for games so no one is excluded."

Really? Maybe for PC gaming thanks to open competition with Steam, GOG.com and other independent purveyors, but on consoles you have two price points:

$60 = for full featured games (plus $15-60 extra for the full content sold separately)
$15 = for very limited games, linear 2D or 3D-in-2D-plane games or extremely spartan full 3D games

They are not selling pretty well at $60:

-Team Bondi closed after the "relatively" good sales (for a console game) of LA Noire, relative for consoles games
-THQ is in very dire straits
-EA reporting almost consistent losses (floating thanks to success of Old Republic on PC)
-Nintendo reports their first full-year loss
-Sony has been making a loss every year for a while now
-There is only room for one CoD in the console market right now
-Many Developers admit $60 is too much for most games

The industry can't shrink, it's starving. Parts of it are dying while a few are sitting pretty, like CoD but even with something like Skyrim it's no where near as successful as it should be, such a good and famous game yet only 6% of the actual console market bought it.

Also you must realise that on consoles the way the disc retail model works the actual people who made the game get a smaller proportion of the money than pure digital on an open platform like Windows or Mac. Notch got 100% of the money everyone paid for Minecraft, Team Bondi+their publishers got only about 40% after retailers and console-manufacturers took their cut, making about same amount of money per-sale as Minecraft.

it seems to me that the problem is too many middlemen demanding far too much.

Here's how blocking used game sales directly hurt publishers.

"Hey, that looks like a cool game I would be willing to try, but not for $60, it doesn't look THAT good. But wait, my local store will buy it back for $20, maybe I will risk $40 on it."

In that case, untradable game would mean no sale for the publisher.

What happens to that game you traded in, it's bought by someone who wasn't going to buy they retail version. They play it, love it and tell their more affluent friend about it, who buys it retail for the convenience. There's two sales that wouldn't have happened if the game were untradable. Tradability adds value to a game beyond it's initial playability. Would you buy a car if it were bound to you and couldn't be sold when you were done with it? You might, but it would have to cost a hell of a lot less money than a car with resale value, right?

JEBWrench:
Though personally I doubt there will be a change in model until the primary method of delivery is digital for AAA gaming.

That might be the case, but I think music proves it can be done otherwise.

You ARE probably right, though.

Shjade:

BreakdownBoy:
You will most likely be able to play Diablo3 offline, just with out muliplayer functions.

Unless you can point to a source saying they plan to alter D3 in the future to make this possible, I'm going to assume you're saying this out of optimism rather than likelihood.

Sorry, was speaking from SC2 experience, I did not think Blizzard was sos stupid to make a SP online only. I hate it when good people do dumb things.

Odd, I always thought that the "Videogames are a luxury" is more of an argument against piracy rather then selling things cheaper.

You don't NEED to play a certain game right at the launch, you can wait for sale or a return copy in order to play it some time after the release. So there is no actual necessity for you stealing it other then your own selfish entitlement.

Using "Videogames are a luxury so they are staying at such high prices DEAL WITH IT" just invalidates them both.

HellsingerAngel:

No one did say it. I felt it was implied and was asking you.

It was not implied. As such, you distorted my statement. That's the strawman fallacy, even if not as polarising as your Wikipedia example. Sorry honey.

Accusing me of confirmation bias would be saying that that statement is opinion driven, which everything is always going to have an opinion.

Wow. that's kinda false on every level. Confirmation bias isn't an issue of "opinion," strictly speaking, and not everything is opinion driven. One could go by statistics, for example. You know, data. Data is rarely opinion.

Not sufficiently, no. I'd also care for you not to be snarky about it.

Honey, that wasn't snark. When I'm being snarky, you'll know it. I was asking a question. For someone who keeps saying "I was asking a question" you might want to try practicing what you're preachin'.

You do know that has something to do with parity of your dollar, that inflation still exists, right,

Except you implied correlation where this does not.

that some genres of books don't take exactly 400 pages to all the information inside a book and may go under or over?

Which is nice, but those books existed before, so it's completely irrelevant.

Even ignoring all that, has the quality of books gone down? Since when has something to be considered art been about quantity? That's sort of what we argue with games, no? That the quality of a game can sometimes outweigh the quantity presented?

You're trying to shift the goalposts. It's cute, but let's try and stick with the objective things that we were actually discussing. Printing costs are increasing, so it's costing more to put out books.

"X pages should always equal X dollars" would be silly.

It would be. Thankfully, nobody's saying that.

Which is opinion.

No, it's not.

Care to enlighten me with cost figures

So you can dismiss them? Hmm. Seems pointless.

Exactly as you put it. Since they've entered the market, as in, they had no infrastructure to begin with in these areas.

Since meaning "after," not "as."

Buyt I love how you're trying to play both sides. "Prices haven't gone up, but no surprise if they have, because of reasons that don't exist and aren't true!"

Except...

Current prices for The Hunger Games
eBooks.com - 21.95
booksonboard - $16.03
Barnes & Noble - $8.99
Kobo - $7.99
Sony - $5.00
Amazon - $5.00

Yes, ONE BOOK certainly proves things wrong. Except you can find single books where the Kindle price is higher than the paperback price. Oh, maybe that's why dealing with averages and statistics are a better model than "I saw a book that was cheaper, that means there's no trend."

I have a black friend, after all.

Well, no, it's impossible for me to prove that they're using cost to fund their infrastructure. At least I admit it.

Then don't make the statement. If you demand proof when others' talk, don't make a statement and then later pull back.

Then again, I can prove that prices are overall lower at larger eBook companies, just not that all that money they aren't taking is going to infrastructure.

In one case.

I think my last post even mentioned there are exceptions.

I'm sure if you continue to look, you will offer up another demonstration of confirmation bias. You will look specifically for examples where the book is significantly cheaper.

Now, here's an interesting phenomenon: Publisher-set prices. And here's where the prices really go up. The Dresden Files series, for example, was between 5 and 6 bucks for all but the newest books until publishers started setting the prices. The publishers do not have to worry about infrastructure, BTW, since that's all on Amazon's end. All the old Dresden Files books have been raised to ten bucks, in-line with the physical books.

"But Zachary," I hear you say, "that's just an exception, lol your a hypocrite." Well, no. The "Price set by publisher" thing is incredibly common.

Incidentally, when I bough the Dresden Files paperbacks, they were 7-8 bucks new, list price. This was several years ago, when they were new. So while I'm sure you think inflation was significant enough to raise it three bucks (almost half again) asking price, older works tend to depreciate, even with inflation. This is not the only example, but it is the easiest (since I was already looking it up).

Wow. Two birds with one stone. COOL.

Didn't you just complain that the pricing for eBooks has shot up and that pricing only used to be fair before the large companies got a good hold on the market, even though their prices are better? Hypocrisy indeed.

Mmm...Lying. I like it.

I suppose that's just bias on my part.

Kinda like your whole argument.

Then again, I don't see many people calling movie-goers or music enthusiast self-entitled and whiny.

Which is just bias on your part.

rather than spit acid at each other.

Ironically, implying that both parties are doing it. And yet, you take parting shots even as you say you're done and try and pretend to be above it.

But yes, complain about my conduct. Throw stones from that glass house.

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