Not Greedy, Just Clueless

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Treblaine:

Amaror:

I actually really like the new season pass model.

But then it's painfully obvious that the whole game is going to cost you $120 ($60 + $60) and the last half is for the smallest little things.

Games generally cost less than movies to make, so WHY DO PUBLISHERS WANT TO CHARGE x15 AS MUCH!!?!?

It's like a person who sells water from a well trying to convince ten-in-a-thousand to pay $100 for a measly glass of water while another 1000 go thirsty, rather than just charging $1 each to the 1100.

It's madness when Publishers have an infinite supply of product, they can make as many copies of their game as they like.

$60 base price may not have increased much over the years. But when you got a $60 game it was expected to be a major purchase, now single-player games are usually so short with little to no replay value. Very few have any multiplayer that will hold the critical number of people to have a sustainable community. Once the number of players dips below a certain level, then those who are still playing find it harder and harder to get a match... so less play it... making it harder to get a match.

The price is wrong. Steam sale prices, those are right. Gog's multibuy deals, those are right.

Guess which ones have a larger fan base, take longer to produce, which ones last longer, and which ones require more work from the producer's end even after a release; movies or games?

As for the $60, I never found games to be exceptionally major in terms of longevity, unless you cut yourself off from new ones, beyond a month or so; maybe more if it has good multi-player. I never did mind the price though, if only because I rarely bought NEW games. I mostly went through the older, cheaper sections as a kid. Even today, $60 seems fair for an unparalleled interactive experience that no other medium of entertainment can reproduce.

Could not agree more with the original article. Bravo

Atmos Duality:
and a snip it is!

I see. That does make a lot of sense of why we see these practices. I would never play always-online games, unless they are free to play.

The best example of that is dota 2. And yes, I do purchase things for it, but that's because I'm an idiot when it comes to playing dress up.

However, it's also why I don't only use steam, but gamersgate and good old games as well. Just to make sure I don't have every PC game under the sun on steam.

Like TB said, it's a good thing that steam has competition somewhere.

Treblaine:

Amaror:

I actually really like the new season pass model.

But then it's painfully obvious that the whole game is going to cost you $120 ($60 + $60) and the last half is for the smallest little things.

Games generally cost less than movies to make, so WHY DO PUBLISHERS WANT TO CHARGE x15 AS MUCH!!?!?

It's like a person who sells water from a well trying to convince ten-in-a-thousand to pay $100 for a measly glass of water while another 1000 go thirsty, rather than just charging $1 each to the 1100.

It's madness when Publishers have an infinite supply of product, they can make as many copies of their game as they like.

$60 base price may not have increased much over the years. But when you got a $60 game it was expected to be a major purchase, now single-player games are usually so short with little to no replay value. Very few have any multiplayer that will hold the critical number of people to have a sustainable community. Once the number of players dips below a certain level, then those who are still playing find it harder and harder to get a match... so less play it... making it harder to get a match.

The price is wrong. Steam sale prices, those are right. Gog's multibuy deals, those are right.

ok, i meant more the kind of season pass that costs 10 to 15 dollars.
Then again i never buy AAA on launch date anymore, so for me it's usually 20 + 10 dollars.

albino boo:

rembrandtqeinstein:
A huge difference is that Valve is a private company and EA is public.

Public companies only care about major shareholders, employees and customers are far down the list of concern. In an ideal world decisions that harm customers and employees would punish the shareholders by decreasing the stock price. In reality stock price is mostly coupled to quarterly earning reports so anything that increases the number on the reports is fair game regardless of the long term consequences.

With a private company usually the founder is in charge and it is "his baby". Until the dollar signs take over his brain he actually has some integrity about his decisions and cares about his reputation.

About the only "good" public company I can think of is Costco but that will probably change now that the founder retired from CEO. Hopefully he will keep tabs on his successor and has influence over policy decisions.

Really, lets examine this closely. TF2 has microtransactions and did so before it went F2P. Even after TF2 went F2P valve does not provide servers, what do you think their margins are on those microtransactions? Valve is just as ruthless but less transparent.

Really, lets examine this more closely. name another Valve game that has microtransactions. Microtransactions in TF2 are completely optional, I can buy a weapon/hat/accessory, or i can craft it. For Valve it's a spice, for EA they just announced it's their new favorite plate. Also since when does valve not provide servers? what are all those Valve servers i play on?

rayen020:

albino boo:

rembrandtqeinstein:
A huge difference is that Valve is a private company and EA is public.

Public companies only care about major shareholders, employees and customers are far down the list of concern. In an ideal world decisions that harm customers and employees would punish the shareholders by decreasing the stock price. In reality stock price is mostly coupled to quarterly earning reports so anything that increases the number on the reports is fair game regardless of the long term consequences.

With a private company usually the founder is in charge and it is "his baby". Until the dollar signs take over his brain he actually has some integrity about his decisions and cares about his reputation.

About the only "good" public company I can think of is Costco but that will probably change now that the founder retired from CEO. Hopefully he will keep tabs on his successor and has influence over policy decisions.

Really, lets examine this closely. TF2 has microtransactions and did so before it went F2P. Even after TF2 went F2P valve does not provide servers, what do you think their margins are on those microtransactions? Valve is just as ruthless but less transparent.

Really, lets examine this more closely. name another Valve game that has microtransactions. Microtransactions in TF2 are completely optional, I can buy a weapon/hat/accessory, or i can craft it. For Valve it's a spice, for EA they just announced it's their new favorite plate. Also since when does valve not provide servers? what are all those Valve servers i play on?

Small but rather important point, is optional in Deadspace too. You can spend the time collecting resources and crafting the items just like TF2. Also the only game that Valve has porduced since TF2 microtransactions also has microtransactions.

albino boo:

rembrandtqeinstein:
A huge difference is that Valve is a private company and EA is public.

Public companies only care about major shareholders, employees and customers are far down the list of concern. In an ideal world decisions that harm customers and employees would punish the shareholders by decreasing the stock price. In reality stock price is mostly coupled to quarterly earning reports so anything that increases the number on the reports is fair game regardless of the long term consequences.

With a private company usually the founder is in charge and it is "his baby". Until the dollar signs take over his brain he actually has some integrity about his decisions and cares about his reputation.

About the only "good" public company I can think of is Costco but that will probably change now that the founder retired from CEO. Hopefully he will keep tabs on his successor and has influence over policy decisions.

Really, lets examine this closely. TF2 has microtransactions and did so before it went F2P. Even after TF2 went F2P valve does not provide servers, what do you think their margins are on those microtransactions? Valve is just as ruthless but less transparent.

Caring about your reputation does not impede making mad, mad money. In this case it means nothing more than that Valve is better at being greedy than EA - TF2 hats are a perfect example of this. They've managed to create microtransactions for items that people love to buy, nobody feels left out on when not paying, and have zero influence on game balance. Win-win-win.

He also is certainly right in that Valve being a private company is probably the single largest difference between them and EA - it enables them to plan long-term, and prioritise customer experience above quarterly earnings.
EA would never have been able to decide that the first iteration of Half-Life wasn't up to scratch, and completely re-do the entire game pre-launch. It would have tanked their stock prices.

Valve caring about their reputation and integrity has nothing to do with the goodness of their heart - they merely know that these things are crucial for getting your customers to throw buckets of money at you, and thank you for it afterwards.

rembrandtqeinstein:
A huge difference is that Valve is a private company and EA is public.

Public companies only care about major shareholders, employees and customers are far down the list of concern. In an ideal world decisions that harm customers and employees would punish the shareholders by decreasing the stock price. In reality stock price is mostly coupled to quarterly earning reports so anything that increases the number on the reports is fair game regardless of the long term consequences.

With a private company usually the founder is in charge and it is "his baby". Until the dollar signs take over his brain he actually has some integrity about his decisions and cares about his reputation.

About the only "good" public company I can think of is Costco but that will probably change now that the founder retired from CEO. Hopefully he will keep tabs on his successor and has influence over policy decisions.

But if the business model is poor and sales are hurt (i.e. because the customers have been driven off by awful business practices) then the shareholders won't be happy either - Valve encourages customers, EA is pushing them away.

Again, its not about greed, its about smart business and stupid, self-destructive business.

All true, but you just wait when you wake up from the Valve dream.

Like I did.

I didn't buy anything from Steam in 2 years or so with the exception of Trine 2 which I couldn't resist.

Now, any time I want to play something which I have on steam I have to start that ANNOYING, BLOATED piece of adware. You know what it is? HASSLE. And if it's a game I forgot to disable updates for, and I have to be online for some reason... Oh the joy of waiting half an hour or half a day until the 'servers are buys' error disappears.

Yeah, Apple, Valve and co. train their users really well, but that makes them even worse. Companies aren't friends of consumers. By principle. The company wants to earn as much as possible, while the consumer wants to spend as little as possible. By believing the company is your friend, you risk handing over your money and getting nothing in return.

You know what? it was like you were speaking directly to me when you said valve makes you feel like a winner as opposed to being hassled. I never thought about it that way and appreciate the insight. I buy very compulsively from both steam and GoG with no regrets and actually feel like I come out on top. It definitely works on me as evidence by my massive steam library I cannot possibly play in one lifetime!

irishda:

Treblaine:

Games generally cost less than movies to make, so WHY DO PUBLISHERS WANT TO CHARGE x15 AS MUCH!!?!?

Guess which ones have a larger fan base, take longer to produce, which ones last longer, and which ones require more work from the producer's end even after a release; movies or games?

IS that genuinely facetious or are you pointing out how similar they are.

Movies cost a lot considering the long pre-production time and extensive editing and test-marketing period. Just because the filming is only a few months doesn't mean it's quicker than for games.

The longer time games take to complete cannot account for the 8 to 15 fold price difference and much MUCH smaller game sales.

As for the $60, I never found games to be exceptionally major in terms of longevity, unless you cut yourself off from new ones, beyond a month or so; maybe more if it has good multi-player. I never did mind the price though, if only because I rarely bought NEW games. I mostly went through the older, cheaper sections as a kid. Even today, $60 seems fair for an unparalleled interactive experience that no other medium of entertainment can reproduce.

"I never did mind the price though, if only because I rarely bought NEW games."

This is the problem, you are depending on a system of so many people selling their games they bought new, this is jsut turning the idea of permanent ownership of the physical copy on its head by how it has to be resold. But that's a zero sum development, for you to get a new game you depend on someone buying your game used so they won't buy it new.

Re-sale is supposed to be a safety valve, not a fundamental component. It seems to really affecting the number of sales consoles could make.

The tie ratio for Xbox 360 is only ten, that means for every xbox 360 sold, only 10 new games have been sold. Over almost 8 years, that should be way higher, the average Xbox 360 gamer has only

We've seen in almost every other area that when games are sold for half their price from $60 to $40, they would sell in more than twice the numbers. That's the company earning more money and more people are happy getting the game. Win-win situation but the companies are too stupid, it's a kind of "greed" as they want to get as much out of each game as possibly they end up earning less.

"fair for an unparalleled interactive experience"

Games have gone from 20 hour epics to 5 hour corridor-runs. Graphics have gotten better but the gameplay has gone backwards.

And $60 is the price you get with CONSOLES.

That's not the deal you get with PC gaming, I haven't given up on all gaming for the console practices. I have given up on console gaming for the practices on consoles. I get better quality games on PC for a lower price.

Amaror:

ok, i meant more the kind of season pass that costs 10 to 15 dollars.
Then again i never buy AAA on launch date anymore, so for me it's usually 20 + 10 dollars.

But most season passes are $50 to $60, as for Battlefield 3, COD, etc.

10 to 15 dollars is more like the price of a single piece of DLC. Like for a map pack that used to be released for free and you want to know why the first map packs were released for free?

With free map-pack it meant all those who bought the game could play in the same maps and they weren't segregated by which particular map pack the happened to have bough. Also they recognised that the map packs were pretty damn simple to make, they couldn't deny how their fans were making maps of equal quality on their own in their spare time... often with brilliant innovation ins layout and style.

But the likes of COD and BF3 have shat on the idea of map=packs so badly that developers who coined the term avoid it, they are bundled in with updates and avoid the negative term.

Treblaine:

Amaror:

ok, i meant more the kind of season pass that costs 10 to 15 dollars.
Then again i never buy AAA on launch date anymore, so for me it's usually 20 + 10 dollars.

But most season passes are $50 to $60, as for Battlefield 3, COD, etc.

10 to 15 dollars is more like the price of a single piece of DLC. Like for a map pack that used to be released for free and you want to know why the first map packs were released for free?

With free map-pack it meant all those who bought the game could play in the same maps and they weren't segregated by which particular map pack the happened to have bough. Also they recognised that the map packs were pretty damn simple to make, they couldn't deny how their fans were making maps of equal quality on their own in their spare time... often with brilliant innovation ins layout and style.

But the likes of COD and BF3 have shat on the idea of map=packs so badly that developers who coined the term avoid it, they are bundled in with updates and avoid the negative term.

Maybe but i don't play COD or Battlefield 3, so i don't really care. I did say that i like the mere Concept of Season Passes more than the feeling of never having a complete game, i didn't said that Publisher's price it right. With Season Passes, Dlcs and Microtransactions it'S painfully obvious that most Publisher's have no clue whatsoever what a virtual item is worth to people (Hint: It's not so much).

Yes, I definitely agree with this. It's not the product or the price that makes the difference; it's the quality of the experience around the product that makes the difference.

Also, I'm usually in agreement with the idea that companies exist to make money. However, this article got me to rethink the statement to something that I think is more sensible: companies need to earn money to continue existing. This is very different from the preexisting notion that companies exist to make money. This statement does not set making money as the primary goal, as the preexisting notion does; instead, it only sets making money as a requirement that the company has to meet to continue operation, only. It has to somehow earn money, sufficient money, to cover all its expenses and supply its growth and expansion within the market. In contrast, the preexisting notion that companies existing to make money imposes intrinsic greed into a company's behavior, whereas this new notion does not. Instead, the new statement allows for more reasonable behavior from companies, rather than forcing near sociopathic behavior as we have come to expect from companies. It allows the company to seek alternative business models and practices that are kinder and gentler while satisfying its requirement to continue existence. Further, it allows the company to have an actual goal that is explicitly beneficial to society and not so singularly self-centered and pathological. Of course, there is nothing preventing corruption of the idea and devolving back into greedy practices; after all, such practices also may satisfy the constraint, at least until customers finally get fed up with the mistreatment. However, the key is that the notion that companies need to earn money to continue existing does not automatically imply, by necessity, greedy behavior on the part of these companies.

This is a very well-written article, and it managed to hit the nail right on the head. I couldn't entirely put my finger on why so many microtransactions bothered me before (besides thinking of them as "greedy"), but this definitely helped.

Sgt. Sykes:
All true, but you just wait when you wake up from the Valve dream.

Like I did.

I didn't buy anything from Steam in 2 years or so with the exception of Trine 2 which I couldn't resist.

Now, any time I want to play something which I have on steam I have to start that ANNOYING, BLOATED piece of adware. You know what it is? HASSLE. And if it's a game I forgot to disable updates for, and I have to be online for some reason... Oh the joy of waiting half an hour or half a day until the 'servers are buys' error disappears.

Yeah, Apple, Valve and co. train their users really well, but that makes them even worse. Companies aren't friends of consumers. By principle. The company wants to earn as much as possible, while the consumer wants to spend as little as possible. By believing the company is your friend, you risk handing over your money and getting nothing in return.

May I remind you of a few things?

1. If you were talking about the 'news' function that pops up every time steam gets turned on, fret not! It can be turned off in the settings menu. Quick and painless.

2. There is a thing called 'offline mode'. If you don't mind ticking the 'save my password' and 'log in automatically' functions in the settings, you can quickly set up steam to work offline, so screw DRM and screw those servers. It doesn't take long at all.

Just wanted to say there's no point whining over problems that can very easily be fixed.

Treblaine:

Movies cost a lot considering the long pre-production time and extensive editing and test-marketing period. Just because the filming is only a few months doesn't mean it's quicker than for games.

The longer time games take to complete cannot account for the 8 to 15 fold price difference and much MUCH smaller game sales.

When I hear about a movie that's been in production (note: PRODUCTION, not the limbo of a script or some test footage bouncing around) for roughly 14 years, then I'll concede that games take shorter time. It's true games can be rushed out within a year or less time. But honestly, the ones that are are usually the ones that are just the same game with some new gimmick. For the majority of games, the real quality ones take a long time to develop.

And yeah, I'd say "much MUCH smaller game sales" probably answers your question about why one costs more.

"I never did mind the price though, if only because I rarely bought NEW games."

This is the problem, you are depending on a system of so many people selling their games they bought new, this is jsut turning the idea of permanent ownership of the physical copy on its head by how it has to be resold. But that's a zero sum development, for you to get a new game you depend on someone buying your game used so they won't buy it new.

Re-sale is supposed to be a safety valve, not a fundamental component. It seems to really affecting the number of sales consoles could make.

The tie ratio for Xbox 360 is only ten, that means for every xbox 360 sold, only 10 new games have been sold. Over almost 8 years, that should be way higher, the average Xbox 360 gamer has only

We've seen in almost every other area that when games are sold for half their price from $60 to $40, they would sell in more than twice the numbers. That's the company earning more money and more people are happy getting the game. Win-win situation but the companies are too stupid, it's a kind of "greed" as they want to get as much out of each game as possibly they end up earning less.

And why do pools cost so much? People would be willing to buy more pools which means more money for pool guys. Win-win. But they're too stupid to be effectively greedy, so they shoot themselves in the foot trying to charge us so much to put water in a hole. It couldn't possibly be for any other reason other than "they're too dumb to charge less and get more."

Games have gone from 20 hour epics to 5 hour corridor-runs. Graphics have gotten better but the gameplay has gone backwards.

And $60 is the price you get with CONSOLES.

That's not the deal you get with PC gaming, I haven't given up on all gaming for the console practices. I have given up on console gaming for the practices on consoles. I get better quality games on PC for a lower price.

Oh good, a "master PC race" guy. Cause lord knows consoles don't have any sort of online market to buy indie games/older games for lower prices. And yes, tell me all about the stunning stone age of gameplay we find ourselves in since the glorious years of Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Games were 20 hour "epics" because graphics were not massively expensive time wasters, and the levels were the very definition of repetition. In all honesty, this is one of the greatest times ever to be a gamer, but damned if anybody around here can see that.

irishda:

When I hear about a movie that's been in production (note: PRODUCTION, not the limbo of a script or some test footage bouncing around) for roughly 14 years, then I'll concede that games take shorter time. It's true games can be rushed out within a year or less time. But honestly, the ones that are are usually the ones that are just the same game with some new gimmick. For the majority of games, the real quality ones take a long time to develop.

They still don't cost more.

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0611/why-movies-cost-so-much-to-make.aspx#axzz2NgC1eaee

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18389

You seem to be referring to Duke Nukem Forever. No. That was not being developed for 14 years. Most of that time that small team was doing precisely nothing or an hugely bone-headed moves abandoning work they had already done to start again from scratch.

And yeah, I'd say "much MUCH smaller game sales" probably answers your question about why one costs more.

You have blatantly reversed the causation.

Can't you see how high prices LOWER sales? Does the price of goods have no effect on you? How can you be ignorant of the huge pre-owned market, which is where people sell the games they bought new to subsidise buying new games and the games they sell of course mean that won't be sold new.

And why do pools cost so much? People would be willing to buy more pools which means more money for pool guys. Win-win. But they're too stupid to be effectively greedy, so they shoot themselves in the foot trying to charge us so much to put water in a hole. It couldn't possibly be for any other reason other than "they're too dumb to charge less and get more."

A pool outfitter can't make infinite copies of pools for free, and can't easily sell them directly to every household.

A game publisher can.

People clearly want to play more games than they are buying new, with this whole mess of the pre-owned business.

And yes they really are that dumb. But mainly it's conspiring factors, like how the console manufacturer's insist on a large monetary cut that makes trying to go lower than $60 untenable. But on PC, it works.

Oh good, a "master PC race" guy. Cause lord knows consoles don't have any sort of online market to buy indie games/older games for lower prices. And yes, tell me all about the stunning stone age of gameplay we find ourselves in since the glorious years of Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Games were 20 hour "epics" because graphics were not massively expensive time wasters, and the levels were the very definition of repetition. In all honesty, this is one of the greatest times ever to be a gamer, but damned if anybody around here can see that.

Oh dear, someone who doesn't get the "master PC race" joke.

I'm not talking about Indie games, I'm talking about new big budget games doing for $30-40. Bioshock Inifinite is on sale right now for 30 on Steam, that's $45.

graphics were not massively expensive time wasters

Nor are they today. Newer 3D authoring tools and animation techniques have increased productivity hugely.

You realise Valve have their fans develop models for games and it's stood up to the professionals?

http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/

and the levels were the very definition of repetition.

image

Lol. That's not true and you can't possibly back that up.

image

In all honesty, this is one of the greatest times ever to be a gamer

Honesty? How about you are honest about your experience as a qualifier for your declaring it being better than ever.

"Steam has not only sold us games we never intended to buy, but they've trained us to treat their advertisements like a reward" Oh my goodness you're so right, I never had any intention of buying Alan Wake (and its expansions) or the thief trilogy, but they were going for such a cheap price in steam sales I couldn't resist what looked like 'steals' to me, and yet there they have remained in my steam collection, uninstalled since the day I bought them (granted only a few months ago but still). I suppose its what drives bargain sale culture so strongly, the mentality that one is making a personal gain when that 'gain' was never even in the mind of the buyer in the first place.

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