Why Games Will Only Get Cheaper

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Why Games Will Only Get Cheaper

Do you remember how much games used to cost? No? Well, they're only getting cheaper.

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My only dissent here is that current network infrastructure does not allow rapid installs of games and the actual size of video games are skyrocketing to multiple tens of GBs per game (Uncharted 3 was 40GB and that's on a current gen console). Steam is seriously helping this with a persistent library that allows uninstalling and reinstalling but the fact remains that US internet speeds are too slow and foreign data caps are too low to make this kind of thing viable or convenient. It will be and on that day I'll be cool with it. Until then, this is significantly less convenient for me than driving to a store, buying a disk, driving back, and slapping it into the system to play.

I feel like the ps4 and XBO have helped with this to allow background installs and installs overnight when my console would usually be off. So maybe it's not as bad.

Regardless, even though I buy my games new or digitally and never sell them/trade them anyways (so this will benefit me), i'm not willing to shove other's rights aside and say that it's ok to take away the right of first sale. I believe a major problem with the industry is that they over budget and then blame pirates for raking in less. I don't think the answer is to impose anti-consumer practices on us just because they think their little RPG should make COD money if they just shove enough in it. That's not our fault. Their forecasting/market research department was doing meth and that can't be our responsibility. You produce a product within a reasonable budget that gives you the desired amount of profit if possible. If you cannot do so then you don't make the product. It's market driven, not company driven like they try to make it be.

So I think the answer shouldn't be making everyone buy retail. We're just creating a perpetually inflating system like insurance causes in other markets. If companies don't understand budgeting then they don't deserve to remain companies.

Nice read. You've made some interesting remarks in the article and although I don't really like DRM and games saved in cloud, it's true that it's going to happen eventually, no matter what happens. The only thing the industry has to keep in mind is that if these kind of practices are introduced, it has to have some kind of benefit. I personally like steam because at the cost of that all my games are DRM protected, I get a hub where I can join discussions in the community section, chat and play with friends and find games I wouldn't have known about otherwise.

Everything is always in motion and change is the natural way of life. We can't do much about. All we can do is just accept it and hope it turns out for the best.

The growing popularity of middleware engines has also helped keep development costs in check, but not enough to compensate for other skyrocketing costs involved in game development.

More and more I think indie devs are going to force big gaming's hand. Games like Super Meat Boy and Minecraft were made on astonishingly low budgets, and yet still manage to make far more money than high-budget games like Tomb Raider, which sold amazingly and still lost money. I think devs are pretty much going to have to start doing two things:

1. Scaling back their games to save money
2. Finding ways to make the most of the money they do spend

So much goes into things like environments and assets, and I'm sure this could be made more efficient. It baffles me that developers are hardly looking into ways to more quickly and cheaply create assets. Black mesa had a really nifty Face Creation System which "allows there to be a wide variety of faces with very little work but high visual fidelity." It saved the developers a significant amount of time, and is exactly the sort of tool bigger companies should be looking into making in order to keep development costs from ballooning out of control. The fact of the matter is, so much of the cost of AAA games comes not from the amount of content, but the inefficiency with which that content was made.

P.S. Thanks

My problem is that console online stores have no competition. At least with computer games you can go to steam, or amazon, or origins, or get games directly from developers, or get them in humble indie bundles etc. Same thing with movies and music, you have itunes, pandora, netflix, amazon blah blah etc. On consoles you only have one marketplace where you can buy stuff. With one marketplace you have no competition (except for buying the other console) which is not enough to keep prices low and in check.

Stop sayng digital is the salvation. Can I buy games digital through other store that is not PSN or Xbox Live on console? I don't think so. Then tell me how a monopoly per platform will make the market drop prices?!

Also games did not got cheaper they got more content. Even if these means repetition (Boderlands, CoD, GoW both). Also this is why a mildly succesful game gets a sequel you can diminish cost in a second iteration as a great deal of what was developed in the previous title can and will be used again.

Chris Rio:
It'll suck at first, but so did Steam. Let's find the silver lining here. Sure we might not be swapping games with friends the same way in 10 years, but you should be glad GTA V isn't gonna cost you a Benjamin-and-a-half.

This right here. Everything has growing pains, but since it is inevitable we need to change the discussion from "This is going to suck" to the flipside of "Let's see how we can make it better." Better yet, if we work really hard at this discussion IN A TACTFUL, USEFUL MANNER, then when it finally does arrive perhaps we can skip/avoid those first years of everything stinking in the first place.

If it's between giving up ownership of games, or making publishers have more realistic ideas of how well their games will sell in a market where people are capable of doing what they want with a product they sell, then I don't see why I have to be the one to compromise. Just because iTunes exists doesn't mean that CD's don't exist anymore. Just because Netflix exists doesn't mean DVD's are gone. A digital option is fine, but I don't see the appeal in forgoing all physical media just so that publishers can stop people from selling their games when they get tired of them, or the game turns out to be crap.

Actually you made a fundamental error in your comparison: Sonic 2 may have cost $75 but keep in mind Sonic 2 was a cartridge with integrated memory, and stuff that actually had a an assemble process and shipping of said packaged unit was naturally more expensive. As opposed to say these days where at best games are stamped onto $1 discs. and charged $60.

Games will get cheaper when people stop buying games for $60 or $50 nuff said. What about development costs? what about them. See this is the downside of upping technology. The more high end the console the more specialized labour you need and the more time you need to pay the specialized labour for.

Covarr:
The growing popularity of middleware engines has also helped keep development costs in check, but not enough to compensate for other skyrocketing costs involved in game development.

More and more I think indie devs are going to force big gaming's hand. Games like Super Meat Boy and Minecraft were made on astonishingly low budgets, and yet still manage to make far more money than high-budget games like Tomb Raider, which sold amazingly and still lost money. I think devs are pretty much going to have to start doing two things:

This is true, and keep in mind, there's also the ressurgence of older titles for earlier eras. GoG has mad an impressive business model based on giving people access to bygone classics. Gaming options are widening.

So much goes into things like environments and assets, and I'm sure this could be made more efficient. It baffles me that developers are hardly looking into ways to more quickly and cheaply create assets. Black mesa had a really nifty Face Creation System which "allows there to be a wide variety of faces with very little work but high visual fidelity." It saved the developers a significant amount of time, and is exactly the sort of tool bigger companies should be looking into making in order to keep development costs from ballooning out of control. The fact of the matter is, so much of the cost of AAA games comes not from the amount of content, but the inefficiency with which that content was made.

Actually that's not as easy as you'd think. See assets aren't always portable between engines and it's not feasible to base all your games on the same engine. There is actually a lot of efficiency but a lot of the time is literally in the polish required. In short, making HD games with motion capture animation and realistic face bump shaders you amd scatter diffuse lighting reqauires money. More or less each feature/layer of tech requires at least 1 extra person and another set of billable man hours.

This is why games are big on DLC these days since it allows thm to scrape cash and reuse the same assets they used in the original.

STill it boils down to. The companies will charge as much as they think they can get away with. if people buy games for $60 on launch day they have no reason to sell in for $40 on launch day. Do they?

BigTuk:
Actually you made a fundamental error in your comparison: Sonic 2 may have cost $75 but keep in mind Sonic 2 was a cartridge with integrated memory, and stuff that actually had a an assemble process and shipping of said packaged unit was naturally more expensive. As opposed to say these days where at best games are stamped onto $1 discs. and charged $60.

Games will get cheaper when people stop buying games for $60 or $50 nuff said. What about development costs? what about them. See this is the downside of upping technology. The more high end the console the more specialized labour you need and the more time you need to pay the specialized labour for.

Covarr:
The growing popularity of middleware engines has also helped keep development costs in check, but not enough to compensate for other skyrocketing costs involved in game development.

More and more I think indie devs are going to force big gaming's hand. Games like Super Meat Boy and Minecraft were made on astonishingly low budgets, and yet still manage to make far more money than high-budget games like Tomb Raider, which sold amazingly and still lost money. I think devs are pretty much going to have to start doing two things:

This is true, and keep in mind, there's also the ressurgence of older titles for earlier eras. GoG has mad an impressive business model based on giving people access to bygone classics. Gaming options are widening.

So much goes into things like environments and assets, and I'm sure this could be made more efficient. It baffles me that developers are hardly looking into ways to more quickly and cheaply create assets. Black mesa had a really nifty Face Creation System which "allows there to be a wide variety of faces with very little work but high visual fidelity." It saved the developers a significant amount of time, and is exactly the sort of tool bigger companies should be looking into making in order to keep development costs from ballooning out of control. The fact of the matter is, so much of the cost of AAA games comes not from the amount of content, but the inefficiency with which that content was made.

Actually that's not as easy as you'd think. See assets aren't always portable between engines and it's not feasible to base all your games on the same engine. There is actually a lot of efficiency but a lot of the time is literally in the polish required. In short, making HD games with motion capture animation and realistic face bump shaders you amd scatter diffuse lighting reqauires money. More or less each feature/layer of tech requires at least 1 extra person and another set of billable man hours.

This is why games are big on DLC these days since it allows thm to scrape cash and reuse the same assets they used in the original.

STill it boils down to. The companies will charge as much as they think they can get away with. if people buy games for $60 on launch day they have no reason to sell in for $40 on launch day. Do they?

Thank you. I couldn't even get past the first page of this article, because the old "games are cheap because inflation hurr durr" BS really pisses me off. Not only are individual copies cheaper to make than they were back then by an order of magnitude, not only are more people buying than ever before -- also by an order of magnitude -- but wages are down compared to inflation. $60 today may buy a smaller amount of goods than it did 20 years ago, but it also accounts for /more/ of an average person's money. We're in the middle of a recession (really it's a depression but nobody is willing to admit it), these aren't the boom years of the 90's anymore.

And you know what? Game budgets are low for what they are. An average blockbuster movie costs between 2 and 4 times what an /expensive/ AAA game costs. Yet they make their money back and then some on much smaller increments of cash, because they're priced low enough that pretty much anyone can afford to buy a DVD or go to the movies. That's how games should be. People occasionally try to excuse it by saying they're a luxury product, but we're not talking a caviar and champagne luxury, we're talking beer and pretzels.

People always cherry-pick their numbers from the early 90s and then adjust them for inflation as "proof" that the market has always been dropping in price, but the reality of the situation is that they've been steadily increasing on most games. Games in "the olden days" varied much more greatly in price because of the medium they were using, as bigger games required more chips in their cartridges which required a higher cost. But the "standard" game was relatively inexpensive. As the "Big Three" all swapped over to CD-style storage and everyone started shuffling towards the "same" relative design, the prices began to level off and steady themselves because developers no longer had to build their games three different ways to make them work for each system. Compare the range of prices on, say, the NES to those of the Wii and you'd find that it's a much smaller range of values. It's a relatively weak argument to compare to prices in the 90s because everyone was using such vastly different media for their games.

Not to mention that adjusting for inflation is a fallacy in and of itself, as it implies that games have been dropping in price when in reality, they've just been increasing at a rate that's much slower than the rate of inflation on money. That doesn't mean "they got cheaper", it means they didn't grow in price as fast as inflation did. In fact, electronics generally tend towards the opposite of standard inflation trends (they appear to "drop" in price over time using inflation, when in actuality they're still roughly the same price they were before, or at times priced even higher), so using inflation as a basis for your argument is a fallacy by the grounds that standard inflation doesn't apply to a non-standard product like electronics. I'm betting if you plug food costs into an inflation calculator, they're higher now than ever before.

This "games are getting cheaper" argument keeps getting trotted out on a regular basis without any actual thought put into it from a practical standpoint. Yes, after inflation, a game that costs $50 from the N64 days can be made to look like it "cost more" than today's $60 games, but that's being somewhat dishonest with the numbers. A larger percentage of our money goes towards essentials (which have grown much faster than the rate of inflation), leaving less discretionary income. Thus, retailers have had to increase their prices at a slower rate to make their products more marketable and available to a wider audience. On top of this, pricing has tended only to change after the introduction of a new generation, which means every couple of years....whereas pricing on other products generally change whenever they want or need to.

Pricing isn't dropping, from a practical standpoint. It's just increasing at a much slower rate than most other products, so as a result, the hobby has become more affordable than it used to be.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

Any time data is adjusted by a percentage (such as inflation rate), it's just being manipulated to provide a biased result. Adjusting any objective unit of data (such as dollars, employees per month, or meters per second squared) by a unitless modifier (such as a percentage) invalidates the accuracy of that data.

I hate this notion of "Hey everything is switching over to downloads and DRM but at least its cheaper!" I would rather pay more for physical content that doesn't need to be stored on a hard drive and can be passed around with ease than pay less for a convenient but ultimately limited format. Unless more games and services go the way of GoG, then I'll be changing my tone

MinionJoe:
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

True words. Don't listen to a statistic unless you understand the sauce source material

Chris Rio:
Take a look at this old ad. Although I would totally pay $75 for Sonic 2 even today, our generation is spoiled. We are getting way better games for way less money. Despite what some say, our favorite hobby is cheaper now than it's ever been in history.

You know what? No.

I'm sick and tired of people incorrectly referring to inflation adjustment because the major problem with using inflation rates to make statements about average consumer costs is even if real-world dollars 20 years ago were worth more than real-world dollars today, that doesn't mean real-world income has grown at the same rate.

According to the CBO, growth in real after-tax income was less than 50% for about 80% of Americans from 1979 to 2007. That means inflation is driving down the value of the dollar faster than income has increased to compensate, and this is just based on income growth prior to the recession of 2008 that is still affecting global growth to this day.

Think about that before you call the current generation spoiled based off an arbitrary set of statistics.

The games are indeed getting cheaper, correct.

Though if you try to compare playtime / money you will get quite different results. I don't know if it's just me, but for most newer games I'm totally satisfied with a single playthrough.
Yet I am still digging up some of my good old games to play them again, and that's meaning like the 3rd, 4th, 5th time.

In addition to that, so many newer games are said to have a playtime of maybe 10-20 hours (for single player stuffs). Being someone who is playing for >20years by now, and even considering I always try to play at least at above medium difficulty, I have yet to see a game where I actually manage to reach the said time. Might be just a feeling there, but I'd say that older games used to occupy me just for more time. Difficulty is just too low for most games so you never have to play anything multiple times until you make it...

Just as example, compare Starcraft 1 and Starcraft 2. (Multiplayer excluded, same for both)
First part had 3 full campaigns, Broodwar had another 3 full campaigns.
Starcraft 2 has 1 campaign for each part. Which is, if you are positive, maybe half.

So I would have to double the price for SC2 to be on par with SC1 and then it's not cheaper any more.

Just one example, but from my point of view this can be transfered to really many games...

Orekoya:

Chris Rio:
Take a look at this old ad. Although I would totally pay $75 for Sonic 2 even today, our generation is spoiled. We are getting way better games for way less money. Despite what some say, our favorite hobby is cheaper now than it's ever been in history.

According to the CBO, growth in real after-tax income was less than 50% for about 80% of Americans between 1979 and 2007. That means inflation is driving down the value of the dollar faster than income has increased to compensate, and this is just based on income growth before the recession.

Think about that before you call the current generation spoiled.

Seconded. People keep making this weird claim that game prices haven't kept up with inflation, while ignoring the fact that neither have wages. Inflation is only a general metric, but it doesn't account for situational factors.

Also, on what basis does the author make the claim that prices will actually go down if the First Sale concept is removed? Last time I checked, Steam sells games, especially new releases, for roughly the same price as physical copies, despite having all the advantages of digital distribution. They do some pretty awesome sales regularly, but that's not consistently lower prices by any means.

In conclusion, the day gaming is based on subscription services is the day I stop playing games. Also, can we stop using analogies involving cars? They're not comparable products.

Chris Rio:

Do you remember how much games used to cost? No? Well, they're only getting cheaper.

Do you remember the last time Wages Increased for the Middle and Lower Class? Oh wait that wasn't even in your life time. They've been flat for a long time now.

You remember when gas cost 1.50? I do, but that was a long time ago.

Game prices have gone up, not down. Games aren't apart of the inflation calculation. Stop abusing basic economics to justify #$%ing the consumer.

So many problems here...

Consumers demand more substance from the newest games, but aren't willing to pay more for the base product.

Substance is not what we're getting from all of that extra money being spent. What we're getting is "cinematic" gameplay, which is the reliance on scripted sequences, voice acting, motion capture, and constant cutscenes over substantive mechanics and gameplay.

Baldur's Gate had more substance than a dozen Call of Dutys and cost far, far less to make.

For example, it's assumed that when you buy a brand new car, you will be able to recoup some of that money later when you sell it used, unless you're the type to buy a new car and then drive it until it melts into a pile of rusty goo. Because of that understanding, the dealership is able to charge you more without ripping you off. Well, they probably still rip you off, but you get what I mean. A used game is an asset the same as a used car.

Car dealerships aren't charging people any extra because of the car's resale value. Prices in a competitive market are driven lower until the point where the profits being made by the competitors is no longer enticing enough to bring new competitors to the market, and where the existing competitors start valuing profit margins per sale over trying to grab more market share.

So think about it this way: If you didn't care about keeping a collection and had the spare time, you could easily play brand new games for a fraction of the cost. Buy it new for $60, sell it used for $30 in a couple weeks. Even Gamestop will pay you that much, or more, soon after release, and they once offered me a quarter for the one sports game I ever bought. As the "new" price of the game goes down, so does the proportional "used" price, because the used amount is always included in the price. There's an assumed value that's getting tacked on.

Again, that's not how pricing works at all. Publishers seek to place themselves on the most advantageous spot on the demand curve, where the increased margin for raising the price no longer offsets the decreased number of sales, and the increased number of sales would no longer offset the decrease in margins for lowering the price. How used game sales interact with that demand curve is far more complex than you seem to understand.

Having used copies for sale puts new copies into competition with them. The higher the industry prices its games, the more likely people are to go for used for a discount, and the more likely they are to re-sell them in order to recoup costs. People who are willing to pay $60 for a game but who buy used because they value the extra $5 they save over having a new copy would be forced to buy new if used game sales went away.

Meanwhile, used games existing isn't holding publishers back from lowering prices to try to increase volume. Used game sales are limited by two things- availability of used copies, and people's desire to simply have a new copy. Reducing new prices would decrease used prices, therefore allowing people who weren't buying at the higher price to absorb the stock of used games. People who buy new would but didn't want to buy at the higher price will now buy at the lower price.

Used games affect the publisher's current chosen spot on the demand curve in both negative and positive ways. You can't just subtract the resale value from the price of a new game, call it the new spot on the curve, and have any idea what you're talking about.

So we have no more used games, and the prices go down. What if we go all digital? Well, we can look at the PC market to see that this has already resulted in huge price cuts. Without boxes and shipping, publishers have the freedom to cut out a lot of the middleman costs and provide the savings to you. Obviously, Steam represents the epitome of the "I'll just buy this because it's so cheap, even though I'll never play it" style of marketing. But we are starting to see the fruition of new download services like Gamefly and Origin, whose competition will further reduce prices. Since you can't really resell digital games, the resale value is also eliminated from the price

Low prices on Steam are the result of something called "Price Discrimination". Publishers want to sell each copy of their game for the highest price that each buyer is willing to pay. Since they can't read minds, they resort to lowering prices as the game gets older. People who really wanted the game buy when the game is released, since they're willing to pay $60. People who don't care much about the game wait until it's $5 on Steam. There's a good reason they're not starting off at $5- they'd be leaving too much money on the table, and wouldn't be making enough revenue to keep the lights on.

The important thing here is that there's nothing stopping digital versions from being sold for $5 while boxed copies are still on the shelf selling for $30. Retail can only go so low, but its existence -along with the existence of used games that come along with it- aren't holding back publishers from going to those prices for digital. In fact, they make it easier- since some people value box copies, it's a perfect discriminator to get some people to pay $30 for a game while others are only paying $5.

Eliminating boxed copies would only hamper publishers' ability to engage in price discrimination, therefore lessening the chance you'll see a game for sale for $5 on Steam nearly as fast.

In my honest opinion gamers are the worst kind of conservatives, one day there will be a better cheaper way of producing and distributing games at a better price, and it will still take us forever to adapt to it because we feel too entitled for what is essentially a luxury hobby.

The one thing running through my head throughout the article:

You're being naive. Your logic only works in magical christmas land where your logic is the only one that exists.

Games haven't gotten cheaper. I still remember when new AAA PC games went up by 10$ to match the console's price-point. It wasn't that long ago. Citing rising development costs, they said that 50$ was untenable. The only ways new AAA games as a whole will get cheaper is if either the industry conspired to make them cheaper on the console, thus forcing the PC to follow suit (as much as it hurts my PC-gamer heart to say that); or if there becomes some wide-spread bridge between indie and AAA with price-points around 35-40$.

Nice read, but you're just plain wrong when you say that games will get cheaper without the used market. When you buy their console, you are their captive audience. Why would they reduce the base prices of their games just because you can't trade them in anymore?

It's not going to matter to them that the premium you once paid to effectively remunerate them for future resales of your used copy is no longer necessary. Unless they are MADE to reduce their prices after closing the used market with their next consoles, they JUST WON'T. And it really is as simple as that.

Ethics won't even come into it. Prices will not drop unless sales significantly decrease. And sales won't decrease, because the fact of the matter is that no matter how many swear blind that they wouldn't submit, no matter how many swear blind that they couldn't possibly afford it... People would complain a lot, and then do what they always do no matter how poor they are: they'll find the money for their entertainment, cutting corners wherever they have to.

"The destitute can still drink"

I'll bet anything you like. When the used market is crushed on consoles (next gen), base prices for games will stay the same or go up. AND they won't be more complete. You'll still have masses of DLC, season passes, all that noise.

balfore:
In my honest opinion gamers are the worst kind of conservatives, one day there will be a better cheaper way of producing and distributing games at a better price, and it will still take us forever to adapt to it because we feel too entitled for what is essentially a luxury hobby.

No, we'll balk because we don't want to pay champagne and caviar prices for a beer and pretzel "luxury," and we'll balk because we happen to like our ownership rights, thank you very much. That's not being conservative, it's holding up your end of the market as a consumer instead of letting the producers get away with acting like they hold all the cards. At the end of the day, it's about not being a pushover, which is something that, sadly, way too many gamers are. Videogame companies get away with crap on a daily basis that would cause riots if any other industry tried it.

You're a bit naive when it comes to corporate realities. You're essentially arguing that lack of competition and me giving up my rights while companies retain theirs will lead to lower prices. Because after all, no time a person has given up rights has the situation ever been exploited. Nor has a company ever exploited monopolistic activities to control their profit margin to the detriment of the customer. Historical evidence proves your argument wrong. Heck, today's IGN headlines prove your argument wrong.

Competitive business leads to lower prices and less exploitative polices. The rights of both parties in an agreement insure that both parties play fairly. Giving up either of these two things results in higher prices, lower quality products, and generally abusive behavior towards the customer. Not the other way around.

Ben Kuchera made almost exactly the same argument when he claimed that the XBox One killing off the used games market was a good thing on Penny Arcade.

Can we spare some time and presume that all the much-deserved scorn that article received also falls on this one?

The ill-conceived idea that game companies give a tinker's damn about a nebulous kind of "value to customers" that never makes a blip on their profit sheets and will pass that on as savings to customers was a far-fetched fantasy then, and it still is.

Likewise the idea that a future with a game industry nearly identical to our present one, only with a magical digital distribution system in place of physical disks, is "inevitable". Stop using that word. It does not mean what you think it means. And if you believe the creation of an expensive system to sell Blu-Ray sized downloads to the limited market that has access to that kind of bandwidth is "inevitable", you're not using the same definition as anyone else.

Here's the metaphor I tend to haul out: movies. They hiked up the price of popcorn, and your ticket got more expensive. They started showing slide shows of ads before movies, and your ticket got more expensive. Then they started showing ads for cars and phone service during the time that used to be trailers, and your ticket got more expensive. Then they gave up on the slide shows and just started blasting your pre-movie conversations with looping video advertisements, and your tickets got more expensive.

Oh, and somewhere along the way, your theater probably replaced reel-to-reel film projector with a digital system!

No points for guessing what your ticket price did in response.

Yes, games are probably under-priced for their skyrocketing development and advertising budgets. Yes, that's a problem. No, digital is not the panacea to that problem. No, I'm not going to "Oh, it's just the way of the world, tra la la" my way along in response to whatever bullshit the companies come up with to prop up their failing market model.

Games will get cheaper when there are fewer people who require a paycheck involved in their creation. That's as close to an inevitability as anyone is going to get. Anything else is speculation, and probably speculation ignoring at least two major hurdles between reality and their vision. And should be treated as such.

Hey guys, thanks for reading my words. I've read through every post here and I'll try to respond to what I can.

Firstly, I don't know where in the text I said "I CAN"T WAIT UNTIL THIS HAPPENS!" but that's not what I'm saying at all. It appears some people took my speculation as me cheerleading for publishers, which is not at all what I meant it as. This is just me saying, look, we are probably going to lose some control over our content in the future, so here's the silver lining.

A few people argued that it's the developers fault that this is happening, which is actually one of my points and I said it right in the article. In fact, most of my blame is placed on devs and pubs pushing costs so high that they are FORCED to look for other means of revenue. But I think most people admit that they would also like the best bang for their buck. Would you rather get Skyrim or Assassin's Creed for the same price? Even with the multiplayer, I'd argue you get way more hours-per-dollar with Elder Scrolls.

I think the car comparison is correct (hopefully, since I wrote it). Obviously it's not an exact metaphor, but I was trying to make a point that when the seller knows that you can resell something, they are able to get more for it. Don't you agree that if secondary car markets were illegal that the market wouldn't allow you to charge someone $20,000 for a new car? Games have a resell price built it. No one would pay $60 if they knew they couldn't get cash for a game at any time either at GameStop or online.

I will concede the part about wages stagnating. I'm not an economist and I don't really have a good counter-argument other than the fact that even if game prices as a percentage of wages have been the same (or even going up), I can't believe that someone would pay the same price now for that style game. Most of our Indie/arcade style games now are what the main games were back then, and they are usually a fourth of the price as a "full" release. I still think IN GENERAL you are getting more for your money NOW more than ever, it doesn't really have anything to do with the quality of the game or the features that publishers think you want and such.

Anyway, I appreciate your opinions, and really that's all this article is supposed to be. I'm a gamer too, so why would I want all this crap to happen? It came within a hair of happening, do not think for a second that they've given up.

Thanks!

I also can't buy that games would get cheaper. Like, at all. Big game companies get big from mainly being corporate, including all of the shit practices that corporations attempt and succeed at pulling. They now compete against each other more than they compete against the times; video gaming is a technology field; there will always be the reach for optimization, and we'll be among the quickest to adapt. Get rid of the bullshit big-business practices, then we'll be fine (hell, then we MIGHT get some cheaper games).

Consumers demand more substance from the newest games, but aren't willing to pay more for the base product.

Really? I don't know what I've demanded more of , or even how I've demanded some of the games we continue to get. Then again, I was always under the impression big companies only hear in the language of my wallet opening or shutting. But if there's another way, you got me!

An interesting perspective that is almost exactly backwards from the realities that gamers are being bludgeoned with daily, this includes their wallets. First the development costs are not directly related to the quality, value, fun or resale. They reflect the disproportionate costs of the hyper increase of graphic quality. Second, the corporate suit mentality that produce the vile creatures that attach themselves to this business of which Bobby The Kotick from Activision Blizzard is the prime example. A horrible individual that is the nearly the ultimate depiction of greed and zero redeemable features. The problem with an industry lead by such is the values you assume are inverted. The value to the gamer is the Least Important while the return to the Suits is the only value the corporation is concerned with.

The concept that the resale value is built into the price of a car is not valid, nor has it ever been. The process of pricing any product does not include the resale value. The enabling the purchase of a vehicle, house, stock or game that is beyond their current cash is between them and their credit solution. Including the resale value is done by the customer, not the manufacturer, and it is one that can lead to financial disaster.

The world is still in an economic malaise. Disposable income is not higher and it has less value. Fuel is higher, food is higher as is almost everything associated with the cost of living. The truth of inflation is lost on the consumer when their isn't more money left over at the end of month and they are more concerned if they will be working the next.

A truly bizarre article that applies assumptions with no basis in fact to float the concept that games that have shorter play times, larger storage requirements, dramatically higher costs are actually better for the customer while, in actual fact, are a sign that the customer, the one paying for this effort, are getting less.

The only valid conclusion is that PR from some of these firms have convinced one person, the author, that they are providing more to the customer when all they have provided is PR.

Ipsen:

Really? I don't know what I've demanded more of , or even how I've demanded some of the games we continue to get. Then again, I was always under the impression big companies only hear in the language of my wallet opening or shutting. But if there's another way, you got me!

Right. Not you personally, but when publishers feel the need to throw DLC at you, it's because SOMEONE is buying it. I feel like Activision wouldn't bother releasing 4 map packs for Call of Duty unless they made money. I'm obviously talking about the whole market, not just you.

Chris Rio:
Hey guys, thanks for reading my words. I've read through every post here and I'll try to respond to what I can.

Firstly, I don't know where in the text I said "I CAN"T WAIT UNTIL THIS HAPPENS!" but that's not what I'm saying at all. It appears some people took my speculation as me cheerleading for publishers, which is not at all what I meant it as. This is just me saying, look, we are probably going to lose some control over our content in the future, so here's the silver lining.

A few people argued that it's the developers fault that this is happening, which is actually one of my points and I said it right in the article. In fact, most of my blame is placed on devs and pubs pushing costs so high that they are FORCED to look for other means of revenue. But I think most people admit that they would also like the best bang for their buck. Would you rather get Skyrim or Assassin's Creed for the same price? Even with the multiplayer, I'd argue you get way more hours-per-dollar with Elder Scrolls.

I think the car comparison is correct (hopefully, since I wrote it). Obviously it's not an exact metaphor, but I was trying to make a point that when the seller knows that you can resell something, they are able to get more for it. Don't you agree that if secondary car markets were illegal that the market wouldn't allow you to charge someone $20,000 for a new car? Games have a resell price built it. No one would pay $60 if they knew they couldn't get cash for a game at any time either at GameStop or online.

I will concede the part about wages stagnating. I'm not an economist and I don't really have a good counter-argument other than the fact that even if game prices as a percentage of wages have been the same (or even going up), I can't believe that someone would pay the same price now for that style game. Most of our Indie/arcade style games now are what the main games were back then, and they are usually a fourth of the price as a "full" release. I still think IN GENERAL you are getting more for your money NOW more than ever, it doesn't really have anything to do with the quality of the game or the features that publishers think you want and such.

Anyway, I appreciate your opinions, and really that's all this article is supposed to be. I'm a gamer too, so why would I want all this crap to happen? It came within a hair of happening, do not think for a second that they've given up.

Thanks!

Responded like a gentleman. +10, sir.

I dunno, I'm of the opinion we have to draw the line for control somewhere, and somewhere pretty close to how things are now. Adam Sessler stated this in one of his Sessler's Somethings a couple months back, but as far as 'gamers' go in terms of influence in this hobby, we don't amount to much more than consumers.... Feel free to differ, Escapists, but I'm not comfy with that.

Having this hobby for +decade, I've come to learn we've been losing more and more control on the games we 'own' (or naggingly think we own). As IP's become more and more important in this digital age, I can understand. But the one thing that comes with the feeling you 'own' a game (such as by disk) is that you 'control' the game too (at least for me). One can feel a part of the medium, or even create in the medium by simply play (at least for me). It's one of the prime aspects I've found, as an entertainment medium, that set it apart from TV/anime or music (though music is close).

I'm going to have to disagree on the retail store part, I think they are completely unnecessary and a detriment to the feasibility of making games at a not only affordable but pallet able price. These days people know exactly which game they want to buy and no one browses or has any need of elaborate and costly displays let alone store fronts.

In order for games to become affordable for a greater portion of the market they need to trip the fat, stores need to go and publishers need to go. Publishers are an antiquated relic of a by-gone area, there is no reason why developers cannot publish their own games directly to their intended distribution networks.

Get rid of retail and get rid of publishers and the game will go on.

I really don't like it when people insist that game creators have to do X or Y because "consumers demand it." As somebody who creates things, I can tell you from experience that to remain successful, you've got to give people what they want. Not what they think they want.

This isn't some corporate doublespeak way of saying that you'll all be happy when you're plugged into the Money Matrix; what I'm saying is that "consumers demand" multiplayer and sequel after sequel. If you just listen to people and give them what they say they want, they'll completely drop off and leave you forever. There's a reason you're the creative person and they are not. Don't condescend the consumer, and don't coddle them, either; read them.

This little comparison between GTA and Street fighter just doesnt work on a very basic level.

One was mass produced ond a dvd... and one was a module wich was akin to an arcade platine. That is as if you have to build a motherboard for every game copy you produce.

Chips and all included.. in a time when mass producing capabilities werent nearly as refined as today and "globalisation" hadnt set in yet.

So the price you paid was less the programming cost and more the physical medium.

The only way to justify todays triple A budgets is the ease of creating copies via DVD medium and digital sales.. and even then the budgets are overblown to kingdom come.

So no.. games themselves are not really cheaper now... the medium they are printed on is and that is what loweres the price.

I will go out on a limb and say that you pay the same amount of money for the programming of the actual game as you used to.. you simply dont pay for the complex module structure anymore since everything is on easaly mass producable mediums now.

I mean some of those modules back then came with really expensive chips back then... star fox anyone?

Owyn_Merrilin:
Thank you. I couldn't even get past the first page of this article, because the old "games are cheap because inflation hurr durr" BS really pisses me off. Not only are individual copies cheaper to make than they were back then by an order of magnitude, not only are more people buying than ever before -- also by an order of magnitude -- but wages are down compared to inflation. $60 today may buy a smaller amount of goods than it did 20 years ago, but it also accounts for /more/ of an average person's money. We're in the middle of a recession (really it's a depression but nobody is willing to admit it), these aren't the boom years of the 90's anymore.

Thank you and every other person who pointed out that comparing prices based on inflation alone is only telling the smallest fraction of a story in which the customer isn't really better off at all. Hell, considering the fact that wages alone have stagnated in the last 10+ years, games costing $15 less when adjusted for inflation is not some massive, miraculous dip in prices. Most of us aren't making the same amount that people were 20 years ago.

Well, we can look at the PC market to see that this has already resulted in huge price cuts. Without boxes and shipping, publishers have the freedom to cut out a lot of the middleman costs and provide the savings to you.

There's one small issue, publishers have limited control over what Steam decides to charge during a sale, indie devs already complained the loss of price control.

A more relevant fact is that the lack of boxes or competition for shelf space has to this day had no impact on the price of digital games.

Also, Kesmai came at a time when when very few people owned a PC, much less had the luxury of the internet, games in those days could expect to reach the hands of an elite/hardcore few and priced accordingly, selling 5 million copies of a game was unheard of, and there is no way it would have been looked at as a failure.

Now that gaming is trying to go "mainstream," charging $60 to $75 is no way to reach a large audience, the vast majority of the american public just doesn't have the money to buy more than a few games a quarter at that price, meaning publishers are just cannibalizing each other's audience. There is a market for season passes and all that jazz, but there won't be 5 million people buying them.

Games will get cheaper, but it'll happen after the next video game crash, where the talented few survivors gather in small groups and start making appropriately budgeted indie games.

I'm sorry to say that'll still leave 80% of the remaining industry vets trying to survive on proceeds of fan-fiction commission and selling 3-D animated porn. I just don't think they'll be good for anything else, really.

Gennadios:

Games will get cheaper, but it'll happen after the next video game crash, where the talented few survivors gather in small groups and start making appropriately budgeted indie games.

else, really.

That sounds like a weird plot for a zombie apocalypse movie in the game industry....

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