EA Believes That Making A Lot Of Money Is Less Important Than Keeping Games Expensive
from the really-now? dept
One of the more bizarre things that we see in the debate over “piracy” is that when we ask people what’s more important — stopping piracy or making more money — there are some who actually argue that stopping piracy is more important. I have to admit that I can’t get my head around this concept, but apparently it extends even beyond the issue of “piracy” to the issue of pricing as well. vegetaman points us to an absolutely bizarre interview with the head of EA’s Origin platform, David DeMartini, in which he’s asked by GamesIndustry.biz how he feels about Valve’s regular deep discounting of games, something we’ve discussed at length before. DeMartini is not impressed, claiming that it cheapens your intellectual property:
We won’t be doing that. Obviously they think it’s the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property. I know both sides of it, I understand it. If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price. The gamemakers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we’re not trying to be Target. We’re trying to be Nordstrom. When I say that, I mean good value – we’re trying to give you a fair price point, and occasionally there will be things that are on sale you could look for a discount, just don’t look for 75 percent off going-out-of-business sales.
Except that totally ignores the reality of the situation and suggests big trouble for the way EA does business. As Valve has made clear, when it does those deep discounts, the increase in sales greatly surpasses the revenue made prior to those discounts. That’s not a “going out of business” sale. It’s a “let’s make a hell of a lot more money” sale.
I’m honestly at a complete loss here. DeMartini literally seems to be claiming that making less money is a better business strategy because it doesn’t “cheapen your intellectual property.” Apparently the man is entirely unfamiliar with price elasticity, and how lowering your price can lead to more revenue (something which most people think is a good thing). So here’s a case where we aren’t even talking about “piracy,” but instead DeMartini’s assessment of what games must be priced at — and against what the market says is the profit maximizing price. In what world is it a smart business strategy to keep prices high if it’s guaranteed to make you less money… all because you want some perceived “value” to be higher, even if fewer people want to buy it?