GOG Boss: "Heavy Discounts Are Bad for Gamers"

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GOG Boss: "Heavy Discounts Are Bad for Gamers"

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Who doesn't like cheap games? Good Old Games' Guillaume Rambourg, apparently.

According to Rambourg, GOG's managing director, big discounts, while good for gamer's wallets, aren't good for the gaming industry.

"Heavy discounts are bad for gamers," he told Rock Paper Shotgun. "If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn't want just because it's on sale, they're being trained to make bad purchases, and they're also learning that games aren't valuable. We all know gamers who spend more every month on games than they want to, just because there were too many games that were discounted too deeply. That's not good for anyone."

I can certainly attest to the existence of "Steam shame:" that awful sinking feeling you get when you wake up next to a less than attractive game you wouldn't have dreamed of purchasing if it hadn't been 80% off at the time.

Rambourg argues that instead of using ludicrous discounts to shift games regardless of quality, retailers should instead focus on providing fair initial prices.

"We provide a lot of value in our games that goes beyond just the price," he continued. "This is one of the key ways we fight against piracy, after all: providing gamers with more value than a pirate does. We actually generate more than half of our revenue from full-price sales, simply because we keep our prices reasonable in the first place. Our average sale tends to be around 40% - 50% off; that's plenty of incentive to pick up a game if you're interested or if you just think you might like to try it because you're not sure about the game, but not some crazy 75% or 85% discount that damages the long-term value of a game."

While there's a fair degree of anecdotal evidence to support Rambourg's view - no discussion of an indie game can go more than a page without some self-ordained minister of frugality declaring that everyone should wait for the game to feature in an indie bundle - I've never seen any hard numbers to back it up. If discounted sales are truly cutting into their full-priced counterparts, enough to cancel out the benefit of increased sales overall, then it stands to reason that publishers would simply stop offering them.

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Didn't steam release some numbers saying profits increased often to 1200% when a game went on sale? How are sales hurting anyone? I do agree however that game companies need to stop pounding out games for 60+ dollars when they last no more than 4-6 hours and have no replayability.

Grey Carter:
Rambourg argues that instead of using ludicrous discounts to shift games regardless of quality, retailers should instead focus on providing fair initial prices.

Yeah but that would require publishers and developers to acknowledge just how crappy their precious pet projects are. More likely they'll just accuse distributors of "not selling their games properly"

...

OH WAIT!

DVS BSTrD:
they'll just accuse distributors of "not selling their games properly"!

It's piracy's fault. Damn those pirates. Damn them all to Sweden.

This from some manager at a site that had Fallout among others discounted 100% not too long ago...

As nice as sales are, I can agree with him on the "fair initial prices". Some games are just to expensive on release. Also, fortunately, I'm not one of those people who buys things on sale for the sake of it being cheap.

Developer Logic:

Create Game:

Game sells well? MILK IT TO THE BONE!

Game does not sell well:

Was it on PC? Yes: PIRACY!

Not on PC: USED GAMES!

Rinse and repeat.

Andy of Comix Inc:

DVS BSTrD:
they'll just accuse distributors of "not selling their games properly"!

It's piracy's fault. Damn those pirates. Damn them all to Sweden.

*read this perfectly in Professor Farnsworth's voice*

Snotnarok:
Didn't steam release some numbers saying profits increased often to 1200% when a game went on sale? How are sales hurting anyone? I do agree however that game companies need to stop pounding out games for 60+ dollars when they last no more than 4-6 hours and have no replayability.

They also need to stop releasing the digital copies for the full $60 price tag you'd see at the store. Frankly if I'm buying a game digitally I expect it to be somewhere in the $30-$40 price range for high profile titles (seriously, I am not paying $60 for a digital copy of Kingdoms of Amalur unless it comes with all the DLC) with it decreasing from there for niche genres and indie games.

DaHero:
Developer Logic:

Create Game:

Game sells well? MILK IT TO THE BONE!

Game does not sell well:

Was it on PC? Yes: PIRACY!

Not on PC: USED GAMES AND PIRACY!

Rinse and repeat.

Fix't. Why do people think piracy simply doesn't apply to consoles?

1. Release bad game
2. Have it on sale
3. ????
4. PROFIT

Welcome to the business.

I don't see this as a bad thing for a series of reasons:

-Everybody loves a sale. Don't lie to yourself.
-It's just a way to make more money. Maybe it sucks, but such is life. Of course developers or whatever wanna make the most profit out of their games, no matter how good or bad they are. So hey, if their game is selling more now that's its just $10 compared to when it was released for $60, then that's awesome.
-It gives us a chance to try out new games. If you look at this positively, you probably wouldn't touch a game that you've never heard of before unless it was on sale. By doing so, you're allowing yourself to expand your knowledge and tastes. If you like the game, then awesome, another game/genre to add to your 'likes' list. If you don't like it, then well, at least now you know.

Personally, I would have never bought games like The Orange Box, The Bouncer, MW2 (Not a big fan of CoD, but this one was alright, I guess), White Knight Chronicles, Castlevania and Batman. Some of those games are awesome. Others not so much. But just having the power of being able to say "Yes, I've played that game and this is why it sucks" is good enough for me.

I do kind of agree, steam sales at least in my case have led me to change my purchasing habits.
Why bother to unloaded my money on a game that just came out when a month or two down the line it is going to be a good chunk cheaper. Game releases Sept/Oct/Nov you know its going to be heavily discounted for the Steam Winter Sale. Games from the other months the Summer Sale or some random event like Halloween Sales.
Sure you're unloading a huge volume of games during sales but if you're training gamers to expect discounts to happen so near release you're essentially telling them that the game just isn't ever worth buying at full price.
Hell even the indie bundles have done this, I drop $15 on an indie game, oh look it is in an indie bundle which I can pick up for whatever price I want. Another example Dungeon Defenders, I bought it right when it came out, like 2 weeks later it was over half off on steam, I was pretty pissed.

Weekend just past, GOG.com ran a 50% off on all Interplay titles (good and bad). When you clicked on the advert on the site or in the newsletter, it took you to the checkout with every single Interlplay title already selected.

Considering the prices are already cheap, the implication is that you're getting a great deal to you realise you'd spend over $100 on a handful of games (most of which suck). I'd say thats far worse than offering me a newly released title at 70% off!

He actually makes some fair points here. I don't agree with everything, but he's certainly given me a lot to think of. Especially since I have a lot of games I doubt I'll ever play more than once or twice.

KeyMaster45:

Snotnarok:
Didn't steam release some numbers saying profits increased often to 1200% when a game went on sale? How are sales hurting anyone? I do agree however that game companies need to stop pounding out games for 60+ dollars when they last no more than 4-6 hours and have no replayability.

They also need to stop releasing the digital copies for the full $60 price tag you'd see at the store. Frankly if I'm buying a game digitally I expect it to be somewhere in the $30-$40 price range for high profile titles (seriously, I am not paying $60 for a digital copy of Kingdoms of Amalur unless it comes with all the DLC) with it decreasing from there for niche genres and indie games.

Well, Xbox is even more guilty of that with their digital releases. They launched the digital download service with Halo 3, which was quite old at that time. And for convienance purposes it was 'slightly' more expensive than the store copies.

Digtial: 60
Store: 20
Used: 12

Used games are hurting their sales! Not Microsofts shitty prices! Don't you dare accuse them! :U

Sounds to me like this guy assumes that everyone is a idiot who is incapable of managing their own money and having a backhanded dig at GOGs competitor Steam while hes at it.

KeyMaster45:

Snotnarok:
Didn't steam release some numbers saying profits increased often to 1200% when a game went on sale? How are sales hurting anyone? I do agree however that game companies need to stop pounding out games for 60+ dollars when they last no more than 4-6 hours and have no replayability.

They also need to stop releasing the digital copies for the full $60 price tag you'd see at the store. Frankly if I'm buying a game digitally I expect it to be somewhere in the $30-$40 price range for high profile titles (seriously, I am not paying $60 for a digital copy of Kingdoms of Amalur unless it comes with all the DLC) with it decreasing from there for niche genres and indie games.

If digital stores try to undercut retail stores by providing games at a cheaper base price, retailers will refuse to stock those games. And even with the rise of digital distribution, retail still rules, which is why being blacklisted by them is bad for business for publishers.

evilneko:

DaHero:
Developer Logic:

Create Game:

Game sells well? MILK IT TO THE BONE!

Game does not sell well:

Was it on PC? Yes: PIRACY!

Not on PC: USED GAMES AND PIRACY!

Rinse and repeat.

Fix't. Why do people think piracy simply doesn't apply to consoles?

You missed a key bit here, Developer Logic. We understand that piracy exists on consoles, but developers often forget. I mean, think about it; when was the last time developers whined about piracy on consoles, compared to the last time they complained about PC piracy? Me personally, I haven't seen any console piracy complaints from developers.

Does it matter as long as we are buying?
I have bought lots of games I have seen on Steam, hesitated to buy and then bought thanks to their good sales. I don't regret it, perhaps there are some sitting there unplayed but I will get round to them eventually.

If you really really want a game then you will buy it.
I paid full price for Skyrim, Beatles Rock Band, Uncharted 3, Civ 5, Mass Effect 3 so it should not hurt sales.

Congratulations mr. Rambourgh, you are a retard.

If 100 people would buy the game at full price, but 1,000 people would buy it with a 80% discount. That's extra money that you would normally not have, that is extra money right there. Money that you wouldn't normally get!

And the sales don't last very long, usually only a couple of days, it's no different than Wal-Mart which has gigantic sales from time to time. It generates publicity and attracts TONS of extra customers.

That TV I bought for 50% off, because it was last year's model, is not undervalued by me, simply because I know what it was worth and how much the initial price was. I have bought plenty of games on sale, (no matter if it was Steam or some other source) that I wouldn't have bought for the full price, because I didn't think that the game was worth it.

So instead of NOT having me as a customer, they have me as a customer. Which is always extra money in the bag.

Hmm perhaps Mr Rambourg if sales are so bad why do GOG have one every weekend? If sales are terrible why do GOG give free games. I suspect this is just away of trying to ideologically justify ending GOG's weekend sales.

I downloaded Fallout for free on GOG.com, not because it was free[1] but because I was interested to play this highly praised game.

[1] Well okay, that did weigh in the reason why.

KeyMaster45:

Snotnarok:
Didn't steam release some numbers saying profits increased often to 1200% when a game went on sale? How are sales hurting anyone? I do agree however that game companies need to stop pounding out games for 60+ dollars when they last no more than 4-6 hours and have no replayability.

They also need to stop releasing the digital copies for the full $60 price tag you'd see at the store. Frankly if I'm buying a game digitally I expect it to be somewhere in the $30-$40 price range for high profile titles (seriously, I am not paying $60 for a digital copy of Kingdoms of Amalur unless it comes with all the DLC) with it decreasing from there for niche genres and indie games.

You must be using the aussie online store.

Oh wait, $85 retail, $85 online using a shit service like Steam, whereas GOG don't price discriminate and already offer games for mere dollars, not accounting for the massive server costs that would take that up (think $1-2 per sale for a 500MB or so download).

Or using a Russian key, $30 usually, if the game's better than something from Blizzard where they keep the price perpetually high.

albino boo:
Hmm perhaps Mr Rambourg if sales are so bad why do GOG have one every weekend? If sales are terrible why do GOG give free games. I suspect this is just away of trying to ideologically justify ending GOG's weekend sales.

There is no ideology in making huge piles of cash.

He's referring to huge sales. If you can get it at 50% off, that 2/10 is going to start looking slightly better, if you can get it at 90% off, that 2 looks more like an 8 or 9. If you get it for free, well, you've got it.

The biggest problem with the market is that there are too many games out there, and a lot of them revolve around being similar to each other.

vxicepickxv:

albino boo:
Hmm perhaps Mr Rambourg if sales are so bad why do GOG have one every weekend? If sales are terrible why do GOG give free games. I suspect this is just away of trying to ideologically justify ending GOG's weekend sales.

There is no ideology in making huge piles of cash.

He's referring to huge sales. If you can get it at 50% off, that 2/10 is going to start looking slightly better, if you can get it at 90% off, that 2 looks more like an 8 or 9. If you get it for free, well, you've got it.

The biggest problem with the market is that there are too many games out there, and a lot of them revolve around being similar to each other.

Oddly enough look at the GOG site, all mention of pervious weekend sales have vanished from their news side bar. I wonder why that happened shortly after the the guy running the company said sales are bad, got me stumped.

Oh God, the pain. I'm not alone. I look at my Steam account sometimes, and say, "why on earth did I buy that". And cheer myself up with, "the game I did want to own really badly, and did buy, was $60, not $4". And said game didn't really put me back economically or much prevent me from buying games I do love.

It's the oddest sensation, though. And those game purchases do pile up.

Steam, Steam fans, why did you do this to me? ;_;

Grey Carter:
If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn't want just because it's on sale, they're being trained to make bad purchases, and they're also learning that games aren't valuable.

Bollocks. Buying anything is always a simple cost/benefit calculation. If you think something is worth 30 and it's on sale for 30 (or less) then you'll buy it. If you think it's only worth 10, then you won't buy it until it's reduced to that price. No-one is being "trained" to do anything, people are simply buying things at the price they think they're worth.

"We actually generate more than half of our revenue from full-price sales, simply because we keep our prices reasonable in the first place. Our average sale tends to be around 40% - 50% off; that's plenty of incentive to pick up a game if you're interested or if you just think you might like to try it because you're not sure about the game, but not some crazy 75% or 85% discount that damages the long-term value of a game."

Wait, what? We're talking about GOG here. Their standard price for a game is already a 90% discount. It's some pretty incredible hypocrisy to criticise people for doing what you've based your entire business model on.

It's also some pretty incredibly stupidity - the major studios generate a hell of a lot more than half their revenue from full-price sales. Discounts happen when sales have already slumped off, and are there just to squeeze out a bit more cash from the people who didn't think a game was worth the original asking price (not counting marketing in the form of pre-order discounts and introductory offers of course). An 85% discount can't damage the long-term value of a game, because by the time you're offering that sort of discount the game doesn't have a long term-value. No-one is going to buy a game that's a few years old at full price. It's a choice between a big discount and making a bit of money, or no discount and no money at all.

But how can it be a bad sale for less then 5$, it would be bad if the game mailed me a turd in a bag but even if I didnt liked the game very much that wasnt really a bad problem because I paid so little for it.

For 2$ I am expecting at least 2$ worth of fun, usually even games that I dont like can give me more then that.

Grey Carter:

"Heavy discounts are bad for gamers," he told Rock Paper Shotgun. "If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn't want just because it's on sale, they're being trained to make bad purchases, and they're also learning that games aren't valuable. We all know gamers who spend more every month on games than they want to, just because there were too many games that were discounted too deeply. That's not good for anyone."

That's a problem of a lack of selfcontrol. Even if i get games at a sale, it's usually games i wanted in the first place. I don't get much more than 1-2 games at the big steam sales.

So this guy wants games to be sold at, not at the price gamers want, but at the price they deserve?

I approve! I have loads of console games to finish before I take a crack at my Steam library. Hell I may just decide to forget that my Steam games even exist, it'd make it easier on my backlog at least XD

Sales are bad if they weren't 80% off I'd never have bought Conviction or Bulletstorm. Lord help me they are terrible games.

tthor:

Andy of Comix Inc:

DVS BSTrD:
they'll just accuse distributors of "not selling their games properly"!

It's piracy's fault. Damn those pirates. Damn them all to Sweden.

*read this perfectly in Professor Farnsworth's voice*

If anyone needs me I'll be in the piracy dome.
*canned laughter*

ash-brewster:
Sounds to me like this guy assumes that everyone is a idiot who is incapable of managing their own money and having a backhanded dig at GOGs competitor Steam while hes at it.

GoG isn't really a direct competitor, GoG has a very specific niche, so I doubt it's a dig at Steam directly. It's more of a cautionary tale for consumers, a caution in which responsibility lies in the hands of the distributor.

I stopped impulse buying on Steam a loooong time ago.

Protip:
1. Make a list of all the games you would be interested in trying out but aren't prepared to pay the full price. You should have beteween 10 and 30.
2. Wait
3. Buy them at 80% discount.
4. PROFITEROLES!!!

Snotnarok:
Didn't steam release some numbers saying profits increased often to 1200% when a game went on sale? How are sales hurting anyone? I do agree however that game companies need to stop pounding out games for 60+ dollars when they last no more than 4-6 hours and have no replayability.

Well, the revenue increased by the factor 41. So a little more.

But I also disagree. Small prices don't train us to buy stuff but allow us to take risks. A 20€ game I know jack about except that it looks interesting will look more interesting for 10€. And if I like it I also purchase upcoming products from the same developer for full price. This things allow games of small developers to gain popularity outside of the few core gamers that bought it on release and so increase the longetivity and revenue stream for the developer himself.

And well.. it gives me the possibility of having a load of games to play.

KeyMaster45:

They also need to stop releasing the digital copies for the full $60 price tag you'd see at the store. Frankly if I'm buying a game digitally I expect it to be somewhere in the $30-$40 price range for high profile titles (seriously, I am not paying $60 for a digital copy of Kingdoms of Amalur unless it comes with all the DLC) with it decreasing from there for niche genres and indie games.

*shoves you at the direction of brick&mortar stores*

And now you can say "Thank you for keeping the DD prices so high". Yes, stores like GAME are at fault here, not Steam and not even "just" the publisher. Those stores refuse to carry titles that you can get equal or cheaper in DD so publisher keep on insisting on such high prices when releasing a game on both distribution ways. Also, those stores are responsible that people in certain regions can't get some games on Steam.

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