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.