THQ Boss Challenges $60 Price Point

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THQ Boss Challenges $60 Price Point

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THQ's top executive questions wants to offer lower priced games with customizable DLC.

The standard price for PS3 or Xbox 360 games is $60 whether the experience lasts 5 hours or 50. That high price is what pushes consumers to purchase used games or even piracy, neither of which are good for the videogame industry as a whole. The CEO of publisher THQ, Brian Farrell, said that he is experimenting with breaking from the $60 standard for AAA games by offering the racing game MX vs. ATV Alive for $40, and then supporting it with an aggressive DLC schedule. Farrell has seen the success of the free-to-play business model in casual games like FarmVille and MMOs like LOTRO and thinks he can adapt that concept to the console market.

"With MX vs. ATV Alive, we are experimenting with delivering a customizable experience for the player in a brand new pricing model," Farrell said. "It's an innovative concept based on what we've seen in the free-to-play markets. We're delivering a premium game experience at an SRP of $39.99 in order to drive the installed base of users, and then digitally delivering over 100 pieces of downloadable content and an in-game store for micro-transactions, allowing the gamer to customize their experience and pay for the modes that they want to play."

Farrell made it clear that the $40 game isn't gimped at all, but the player can invest more in the kind of game he wants to play. "Fans will soon see that the lower price does not mean a lesser product. MX vs. ATV: Alive has an extensive selection of tracks, vehicles, game modes, gear and much more to keep gamers engaged," he said. "For example, the Motoclub shop in MX vs. ATV: Alive - the in-game store will allow players to purchase content from inside the game rather than having to purchase it through the Xbox LIVE marketplace. I think it is a great example of how a triple A console game can participate in the micro-transaction model."

The idea of only paying for the modes that you want has some merit. If you're like me, and you couldn't care a whit about playing online, it's sometimes frustrating when the single-player experience seems short-changed. I won't buy shooters now unless I know the campaign is worth my time, but if I could purchase just that portion without handing over the full 60 bucks, I might think again.

The converse is also true, people who only play against other people online might be more likely to try a new title if they could drop less money on just that part of the game. I could then see those people being more inclined to buy map packs, or other multiplayer modes.

What do you guys think? Are microtransactions like what Farrell is proposing for MX vs. ATV: Alive the future of console games?

Source: Forbes

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Greg Tito:

What do you guys think? Are microtransactions like what Farrell is proposing for MX vs. ATV: Alive the future of console games?

I sure HOPE so Greg!

As there are definitely many games that are not worth $60, this is a great idea.
Unfortunately after a few publishers do it with some success, EA, Capcom, & Activision will start selling $40 demos where the bulk of the game is from DLC.
I might have actually bought MvC 3 for $40.

full 100% support. No question.

I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

I say make the FPS games less, but make you pay more for multiplayer.

Where do I sign?

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

I'm a perfectionist, I'd like my products completed and bug-free.

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

No, I think he wants expansions...or sequels, or an environment where developers can't go "we'll give it as a DLC later on".

Traun:

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

No, I think he wants expansions...or equals.

Yes! Polished expansions are a huge yes in my book! It's a fact that DLC never improved the gaming experience I've got from a game. I consider it a huge bottomless pit of low-quality gaming experiences.

Art Axiv:

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

I'm a perfectionist, I'd like my products completed and bug-free.

I believe you need to find a new hobby then... there never has, and never will be a Bug-free game. At least, until we make computers powerful enough to design their own games....

Depends on how gimped the game actually is for $40. With a disc-based release, you have to have something on the disc to justify that initial investment. With a downloadable title, you could create a "shell" of sorts as the main item you need to download (possibly free), and then add on the single and multiplayer modes as needed. A disc-based release might not work so well with this, but what the heck? Give it a try.

Braedan:

Art Axiv:

Jaranja:

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

I'm a perfectionist, I'd like my products completed and bug-free.

I believe you need to find a new hobby then... there never has, and never will be a Bug-free game. At least, until we make computers powerful enough to design their own games....

I put bugs in three categories: The ones that break the game, the ones you can't see unless you really look for them and the funny ones. I can live with the latter ones, but the first type just does it for me.

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

They either can make DLC or the publisher can fire a chunk of the studio after the game reaches content complete.

OT: I for one would love cheaper games. However I know for a fact that other publishers(EA, Activision, most likely Ubisoft) would cock it up.

What I posted on Facebook about this 3 months ago:
"Apparently, THQ thinks that "the future of gaming" is releasing a deliberately unfinished game at a lower price point and completing it through DLC. That is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard. If I buy a game, it better well be a FULL game."
Pretty much my opinion now.

Irridium:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

They either can make DLC or the publisher can fire a chunk of the studio after the game reaches content complete.

Or they could redirect them to work on another project...like they did for decades and are still doing so.

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

That's funny, so all my free campaigns for Left for Dead must have occurred in my imagination then? ;)

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

Why not? Nexon's line of free-to-play games have been getting new content on a near monthly basis for no money at all.

Traun:

Irridium:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

They either can make DLC or the publisher can fire a chunk of the studio after the game reaches content complete.

Or they could redirect them to work on another project...like they did for decades and are still doing so.

That would require the game they just worked on to be a success. Which is something thats not easily predictable.

Hm...if done correctly, this could be a very good idea. Developers have to keep up on the promise of the DLC though.

This is EXACTLY what I hoped gaming would be doing. I feel like DLC needs to be more used, and this, if you think about it, helps the company more. It means that if they offer the 10 DLC updates at $5 US a pop, they're making $50 straight to them, meaning they get more money, thus making them a possibly profit even if people buy the game used.

Thank you, THQ, for finally pushing innovation in pricing :D

It's clear that this is good news for everyone. If I'm interested only in the Modern Warfare storyline I shouldn't have to be forced to buy the multiplayer portion for which I need to buy Live Gold anyway. I just really wish they do this with Saints Row 3.

Depends on the value of the DLC to make it worth my investment. If some customizations are built better than others, then the busted ones are a waste of money.

Though this seems to me like a situation that Yahtzee would be against. He doesn't like getting locked out of content by morality gauges, and having multiple DLCs like this to customize the experience just locks out more content. And if you buy them all, you're paying just as much as the 60$ retail if not more.

Irridium:

Traun:

Irridium:

They either can make DLC or the publisher can fire a chunk of the studio after the game reaches content complete.

Or they could redirect them to work on another project...like they did for decades and are still doing so.

That would require the game they just worked on to be a success. Which is something thats not easily predictable.

Usually a work on an expansion starts somewhere around 1-2 weeks to a month before release. Not to mention that a lot of work is done by outside studios hired for specific task, so they work on part-by-part basis. Not to mention that they don't have to work on a sequal...or with the same studio (part of the CoD team may be redirected to work on Guitar Hero).

They've been doing it for decades, believe it or not there was a time when studios did fine without DLC.

Quality games for low prices, sounds to good to be true.

Art Axiv:

Braedan:

Art Axiv:

I'm a perfectionist, I'd like my products completed and bug-free.

I believe you need to find a new hobby then... there never has, and never will be a Bug-free game. At least, until we make computers powerful enough to design their own games....

I put bugs in three categories: The ones that break the game, the ones you can't see unless you really look for them and the funny ones. I can live with the latter ones, but the first type just does it for me.

Ok, I understand now. Agreed, no game should have to be patched to be completed. While some may accidentally slip through, it's happening at a worrying rate lately. I completely stopped New Vegas only 3 or 4 hours in...

I just want to stop making little shit trickles of DLC and start going back to making proper expansions.

Traun:

Irridium:

Traun:

Or they could redirect them to work on another project...like they did for decades and are still doing so.

That would require the game they just worked on to be a success. Which is something thats not easily predictable.

Usually a work on an expansion starts somewhere around 1-2 weeks to a month before release. Not to mention that a lot of work is done by outside studios hired for specific task, so they work on part-by-part basis. Not to mention that they don't have to work on a sequal...or with the same studio (part of the CoD team may be redirected to work on Guitar Hero).

They've been doing it for decades, believe it or not there was a time when studios did fine without DLC.

Yes, there was a time when developers did fine without DLC. But that was before budgets ballooned into the $20,000,000 to $50,000,000 range, where one flop could mean the end of a developer.

I really hope this is a successful strategy for them. I think it's a great business model for the gaming industry.

Irridium:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

They either can make DLC or the publisher can fire a chunk of the studio after the game reaches content complete.

OT: I for one would love cheaper games. However I know for a fact that other publishers(EA, Activision, most likely Ubisoft) would cock it up.

Or they can put the talent they have gathered into a development cycle of a new IP; I'm sympathizing with the developers, since they don't make the bad business decisions to publish often unfinished *items* but this does not mean that the quality standards are meant to be low for DLC. Also, you made it sound along the lines:

Publisher: "Buy the DLC or the Devs get it!"
Customer: "Alright, alright, put your pen away, you dont have to sign that management decision you have there.."

This is not how free market should work. And it's not something I support. I support quality, not harassment on both of the ends of the "supply chain". The DLC business model gets out of hand now. If its the digital purchase the publishers (or even developers?) want, just keep improving the digital stores and cloud computing while moving away from ordinary retail. I'd never buy a game to "customize" it with DLC. I find the idea atrociously frustrating. It's the same thing like buying a game just to see a in-game cash shop. Imagine Guildwars with a cash-shop in it, this is how I see it. Bad, is rather politely said.

Braedan:

Ok, I understand now. Agreed, no game should have to be patched to be completed. While some may accidentally slip through, it's happening at a worrying rate lately. I completely stopped New Vegas only 3 or 4 hours in...

Exactly, no game should be complete only if you buy DLC. That's more like a DLGP model - Downloadable Game Part model. Call me old-fashioned but this is how I see it. Customers first.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
What I posted on Facebook about this 3 months ago:
"Apparently, THQ thinks that "the future of gaming" is releasing a deliberately unfinished game at a lower price point and completing it through DLC. That is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard. If I buy a game, it better well be a FULL game."
Pretty much my opinion now.

So lemme get this straight...Let's just leave out the fact that you may try something you don't like and actually like it, but if you bought Portal 2 only for the campaign and didn't want to bother with the multiplayer, and you knew no one who'd want it (Very specific circumstance, yes), then Valve would've wasted time on it for nothing?

My point is that the devs are making you pay the full price for a game they worked entirely on, even if you don't play something; in this case you're paying for the main game and then you can add in whatever you want when you pay for it. I've never played any type of dirt bike game like this, but I support their idea of making games cheaper.

Glademaster:
I just want to stop making little shit trickles of DLC and start going back to making proper expansions.

And where's the money for said "proper expansion" going to come from? You gonna pay for it? The game has to be successful for an expansion to be made. If this model fails, then THQ could be suffering a major loss.

I approve of such a system, though I would push for a lower base point for certain games (namely shooters) around the ballpark of $30 and have to pay for more multi maps or features

This has the potential to be good, and if implemented correctly, it can be a good leap in innovation. The question comes up as to what should be offered for the $40? Are you given just the multi-player and then asked to buy the single player, or vise versa? Are both options given at the $40, but only on a very basic level, and so you buy what you want from there? Is the game actually complete in its offering of both multi and single player and if you want more of one type over the other you just buy it?

This can either be a great way to customize the player experience while still generating a profit (maybe even a bigger profit) while not ripping off the player from having a complete gaming experience, but it can just be another form of price gouging. We will have to wait and see. Still, it sounds like an idea I could get behind.

meepop:
snip

You assume I play games with multiplayer. I'm a RPG guy. That "main campaign" is the entire game for me. So this would make no sense for me.

Jaranja:

Art Axiv:
I wish there wouldn't be DLC.

So you want continual updates for free? Not going to happen.

maybe he wants a solid game and not have to have the DLC to finish the story or get the best cars.

Besides thats a crappy game so I can see why he would try it on that.40 bucks to buy it then 5 bucks here for some new bikes, 10 bucks here for 5 new maps another 5 bucks for even more new bikes.And what do you know??? they got their 60$ out of you anyway.Just may have took them 1 month or two longer.

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