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?

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Companies: electronic arts, valve

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Comments on “EA Believes That Making A Lot Of Money Is Less Important Than Keeping Games Expensive”

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133 Comments
Beta (profile) says:

simple psychology

I think we’re looking at a conflict within a brain that evolved to understand the possession of tangible goods (berries, arrowheads, clothing) and also to grasp more abstract concepts (stories, skills, music, software). Any ape can grasp the first, but only human beings can grasp the second– and not all human beings are good at it(*).

When a modern person thinks about commerce in abstract things, the two mental functions come into conflict. In Mr. DeMartini’s case, it appears that the primitive thinking prevails. There is actually a grain of sense in this: if consumers think in a primitive way, a marketing campaign that plays to it can make a lot of money; what makes a Rolex better than a less expensive fine watch? Basically the fact that it’s more expensive. (This is a form of cognitive dissonance, something even birds exhibit.) It is plausible that consumers might lose respect (and desire) for games that were sold cheaply, simply because they were sold cheaply. But in this case the evidence is that most gamers don’t, in fact, think that way.

(*) Someday we’ll have to ask dolphins about it. If they’re better at any kind of thinking than we are, I’ll bet it has to do with commerce in memes.

Nick (profile) says:

It’s because, despite the proof from valve and recent indie devs, selling cheaply at high volume can actually make you more money than selling as high as possible (the current price of 60 a pop for as long as possible).

But only if you are lucky. The unfortunate trend with the price of games today, is that gamers will now only very reluctantly let go of their money if they are very sure of the sale. Thus, most of the money only goes to the big marketed games, which only get the big advertising budgets as big AAA games, which never sell for less than 60.

We’re at a place right now where a game company HAS to sell millions of a game AT this 60 a pop price point just to break even. Take the recent closure of 38 Studios, which sold a highly acclaimed new game, that sold over a million units at 60 per, but still ran out of money.

Companies are too scared to gamble with their lives by selling at a lower price point, and hoping that they sell more than double the units as a result. I think they just believe that only so many people will buy the game anyway, might as well sell it for as much as they can right off the bat.

Anonymous Coward says:

DeMartini is no fool. You are the fools.

DeMartini literally seems to be claiming that making less money is a better business strategy because it doesn’t “cheapen your intellectual property.”

And as long as such businesses can operate as a cartel using bribery to control the government, who in turn uses your hard-earned tax money to finance their enforcement of obsolete business models, nothing will change.

Do you get it yet?

Anonymous Coward says:

EA can yap all they want. All I know is that Valve is incredibly successful, but also incredibly smart: They are rumoured to be porting Steam to Linux.

Linux is starving for big budget games, and, as we’ve seen from the Humble Indie Bundles, Linux users aren’t afraid to spend lots of cash on games. This could be a huge move for Valve. As for EA, their inflexibility will be their undoing.

The Original Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Typical Salesman-speak

In the sales world they have been indoctrinated to think view at the world this way. Look at all the TV commercials that tell you that something has a value of $X but they will sell it to you in the next 15 minutes for $Y, a terrific savings of $Z!

It doesn’t matter if the item isn’t “worth” $X to me. They tell me it is. Is the latest PC video game “worth” $49.99? Maybe not if there is a similar one selling for $29.99.

Using EA’s analogy, if I can buy a pair of shoes at Target that meets my needs and feel really comfy, why would I pay double at Nordstroms? Other than the feeling of being superior than the folks who shop at Target, or heaven forbid, Walmart? Hahahaha…

lana (profile) says:

Re: Typical Salesman-speak

Look, then take your butt to Walmart. Just because you can’t afford Nordstrom doesn’t mean nobody else can. If you can’t afford EA games then go somewhere else or don’t play games. Or stick to 99 cent mobile games, but for god’s sake, stop whinning and moaning. Your complaints for “fair price” would be better directed at high food prices, or rising cost of gas, because those are essentials-we have to have food and gas.

Video games are NOT essentials, but recreation and leisure activities. Going to the movies at IMAX, or buying a Blu-Ray DVD, or a plasma TV, or a video game, or ANY of that stuff is NON-ESSENTIAL. Stop blaming entertainment companies because you can’t afford the leisure activities you want. I want to go on trip to Hawaii. We all want stuff. Just deal with it like a grown, mature adult.

Anonymous Coward says:

Profit margin ?ber alles

Actually, it appears that this executive believes that maximizing profit margins is the only way to maximizing total profit.

How else do you explain this statement and the actions of many others in the media-based industries?

The presence (and popularity) of the so-called “app” software (including games) should be adequate proof this is not the case.

Of course, if he was running things in the MPAA (Sony, Universal, et.al), he be telling them to eschew the DVD and cable/satellite markets because it would cheapen the IP…

Aaron deOliveira (profile) says:

I imagine EA still has the experience of the NFL 2k series eating their lunch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_2K

http://n4g.com/news/504781/nfl-2k13-comes-one-step-closer-to-reality-with-take-two-sales

2k was successful from 2002-2004 then they got squeezed out.

EA is ultimatly arguing the “but how do we make 100 million dollar movies/games with lower prices?”

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Well, you asked.

Until fairly recently, nearly all diamond production was controlled by a cartel.

Kind of like how most mass entertainment was before the internet.

Not really all that surprising that monopolies want to keep their prices high, even if it means somewhat lower total profits. They would rather have a stagnant market where they don’t need to compete, or one where they can ruthlessly destroy or buy out any competition that emerges, so they can sit back and continue raking in stable profits without really changing anything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, the issue comes in that selling the games at too low a price will devalue the games.

When the games are devalued, Valve will undercut all the little guys and establish a monopoly.

Then Valve will jack up the prices, because they’re the only player in town.

And there is absolutely nothing that can stop this apocalypse, other than adhering to the $60 price point. Any other approach is tantamount to suicide.

The eejit (profile) says:

DeMartini is a complete ass who may be out of a job before too long. He keeps inserting BF3 into his mouth. Remember that Steam has 9 figures worth of revenue each year.

It’s funny, because in the same interview, he talk about how Origin is playing the long-game, whereas Steam play the short-term boost. And yet….Steam paved the way for Origin: without them, there’d be no Origin to begin with.

It was amusing watching someone trash Steam for not giving fee-free service to Indies on Neoseeker, and one of the regular posters just beat them down with references and citations.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Each is in a trap. They think that creating games has to be outrageously expensive. When you invest tens of millions in a game you can’t afford to take chances, so you go with proven franchises and genres. The lack of creativity in EA games opens the doer for creative and nimble competitors. In addition, a lot of the big EA games do not translate well to mobile platforms.

izzitme101 (profile) says:

Have to say, on seeing this article in particular, a few months back i was gameless, And a ‘friend’ (1) pointed me to a couple of free to play mmo’s under ea’s belt, and a few older games that i had been looking at anyway for a bit of fun.
Obviously i went to origin first, but i dont think theres anything there more than a year old, except the battlefield stuff.
Turned out i couldn’t actually get any old ea games from anywhere, but in this case, i couldn’t even be bothered to get pirate copies, and didnt even look to see if they were available.
I looked on steam, then went to gog.com and got a couple of dead cheap older games that i remember having fun with way back when they were first released.

EA’s loss.

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re:

1. it dosnt take the kind of money EA or any of the major publishers dump into a game to make a good/amazing game, look at for example dungeon defenders, its not an AAA but its a blast…..one hell of alot of fun…..and is getting FAR better support then anything EA has put out in years.

2. this thinking is why so many titles fail… look up the game jamestown, after steam sales the game eventually became self perpetuating at full price…..despite the deep discount it was up for during steam sales.

Rikuo (profile) says:

I’m a potential customer directly affected by this jackass’s thinking. I’m in the mood to play The Sims 3, but the fact is, the damn game and all its expansions are just too expensive. This morning, I checked the price to get all of them from Amazon.co.uk and once shipping was factored in, it came to a grand total of ?315! I then went out and checked the high street, but I still came to ?200+ by buying instore.
Yeah, I love the Sims series, but I don’t love it that much. Why are expansions in the same price point as full standalone games? Why is a PC game released THREE YEARS AGO still in the ?45+ range?

Bengie says:

Well, you asked.

Carbon isotopes have a decay rate, but they decay into another form of carbon, so the diamond still remains.

Unless you’re talking about how all matter in the universe is slowly decaying, but you just have to wait trillions of years.

Not only manufactured, but even “better” than most natural ones. Not talking about “fake” diamonds either, but actual atomically perfect diamonds.

Cremate a loved one and have their carbon ashes turned into a diamond. Just costs a pretty penny.

Jeremy2020 (profile) says:

A big thing that is missed is that people like me will buy a lot of those 75% sales and never play the games. There’s a number of games (recently Crusader Kings II and its DLC) that I kinda sorta though maybe…possibly, but not really might want to play someday.

I bought it for the $13 with the DLC. It will likely sit like a hundred or so other games that I will never touch. So basically, I just gave them $13 for nothing.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

I just think it cheapens your intellectual property.

Where to go with that? I thought you sold games. And all this time I have been buying intellectual property when I thought I was buying games. Silly me.

You’d rather sell 1 100 dollar game rather than 10 20dollar games? Really?

To hell with making money as long as we dont cheapen our intellectual property. Sounds so bassakwards.

TheBuzzSaw (profile) says:

Ironic statement is ironic.

You know what else cheapens IP? Making it inaccessible. IP has far less value to me if I am unable to even obtain it. I have $60 games I stopped playing ages ago, and I have $10 games I still play all the time. Heck, I’m a huge League of Legends fan. Is its IP worth nothing because the game is free?

Honestly, EA, welcome to the world of economics.

Haywood (profile) says:

Ea has jumped the shark anyhow

I used to look forward to their new releases, now it is so ho-hum. They used to get what people wanted, now you have to like what they want. I won’t get into a lot of specifics, but Need for speed comes to mind. It used to be fun and action easily the best driving games ever. Now it is a strategy game with cars. The closest thing we have to what it used to be is the driving part of GTA.

Liz (profile) says:

Well, you asked.

I was referencing general atomic decay, yes. “Forever” is a pretty long time after all. Not sure if diamond itself decays into graphite under the right circumstances. I only found one reference to that and the site didn’t seem credible to me since it promoted creationism.

Though I don’t know how limited a resource a diamond is in reality. I read in a few sources (Scientific American comes to mind) about some star remnants being highly compressed carbon. In essence, planet sized diamonds.

Nick (profile) says:

Sure, it’s possible to make a game that is self-sustaining, but it’s not making big numbers. Seems the big companies like Activision can ONLY make games that have to make billions of dollars, and to make that, they need to sell millions of copies. To do that, they need to spend hundreds of millions on fancy graphics, hundreds of millions on advertising, hundreds of millions on franchising.

There’s just too much pressure to make a BIG splash, not a “I want to make a living” splash.

Silence8 says:

That’s funny. When I hear people talking about EA online it’s always with disdain. Whenever people talk about Valve/Gabe/Steam, it’s 99% love for the company and all it does to cater to gamers. To me having people love your company is the value.

I value a company a lot more when they don’t treat their customers like crap.

If all games are $49, you will have limited sales. Put a game on sale for a day or two at 75% off, and people will grab a copy because it’s impulse buy priced. A few days later after they’ve played it, they’re now (if the game is good) recommending it to all their friends, who many may buy it at full price, where they may not have bought it at all.

Wouldn’t you like to have 1000 people talking about your games, rather than the 10 who could afford it at regular price.

I see people tweeting, blogging etc. every time there’s a big Steam sale.

Oh, and…
3 days left on the Humble Indie Bundle! HURRY!!
https://www.humblebundle.com

Take THAT EA!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Hmm

What happened to Steam’s revenue during non-sale times? I suspect a great many people began deferring their purchases of games until sale events. Why buy something for $50 if it’s fairly likely to go on sale for 33% off in the next 90 days? I also suspect the success of the Steam sales has gone down with time. I significantly reduced my spending on Steam after realizing how many of those great bargains were never played.

I’m not sure how large the Origin store is since I will NEVER install that garbage on any machine I own. I wonder if they won’t run sales because they simply don’t have the user base and cannot make the same kind of volume promises to publishers that Steam can.

I do think there is some validity to holding firm on the price but doing so will boost piracy rates for infinite goods. If a title will be $60 no matter what then people are going to want to try it out first. “You reap what you sow,” and too many people have been burned by a publisher like EA after spending $60 on a complete turd of a game.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I haven’t paid full price for a single sims 3 expansion (nor the base game) and I have them all except the superstar one (forget the name). They are on sale everytime I turn around.

I feel your pain, and felt the same way when I went to buy them, but I waited till the next time they were on sale to pick them up.

What pissed me off even more though was not being able to buy the steam version of Pets, when it was on sale without having to rebuy the base game to play it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I haven’t paid full price for a single sims 3 expansion (nor the base game) and I have them all except the superstar one (forget the name). They are on sale everytime I turn around.

I feel your pain, and felt the same way when I went to buy them, but I waited till the next time they were on sale to pick them up.

What pissed me off even more though was not being able to buy the steam version of Pets, when it was on sale without having to rebuy the base game to play it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

EA Failure

When I say that, I mean good value – we’re trying to give you a fair price point

And obviously, they are failing at giving a fair price point. If the price point were actually “fair” (in a marketing sense), then it would already be at the point that maximizes revenue. If lowering the price increases revenue, then the price is incorrectly set.

I think where he’s getting confused is that he believes that EA gets to say what the “value” of the game is. They don’t. Only the consumers can make that call.

AndyD273 (profile) says:

Re:

You’re missing something here, and that’s different demographics.

For instance, a lot of people went out to buy Skyrim or Diablo 3 at full price ($60).

I have 2 kids and a third on the way. Between family, work, and just every day life, I have a few hours a week to play, and not a huge budget to spend.

I could set aside a little here or there to save up for New AAA Release 2012, but in reality I would be able to get one game a year. Maybe 2.

Or I can wait a year or two, read reviews and user experiences to see which ones are worth buying. Wait for all the patching and bug fixes, and then pick it up for $10 on a steam sale… That’s OK with me, because I also pick up 6-8 other games, and have enough to last me a long time.

Thanks to sales and bundles I have 20+ games that I have yet to try, and at my pace it’ll be a long time before I finish them all. And in the mean time, there will be more sales and bundles…

This is why it’s smart to do these huge sales. Lots of people will still buy it at full price, and the people that never would can pick it up late at a discount, and not have to pirate it to be able to afford it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re:

Well, the issue comes in that selling the games at too low a price will devalue the games.

This makes no sense, unless by “too low a price” you mean “at a loss”.

What is too low of a price? In my marketing classes, I was taught that the correct price is the one that maximizes revenue. This is not a judgement call, it can be computed. If Valve can cause revenue to increase by lowering the price point, then that means the price point was not correctly set in the first place.

That’s different than a sale price, where the price is intentionally set lower than where revenue would be maximized.

pointvector says:

Re:

A very valid argument. However, I only play games after they have been reviewed and scored. I don’t play anything that gets less than a 90%. So if a game gets above that, I buy it…period. You can spend a billion dollars advertising your game, but that means nothing if it’s garbage. A good game sells itself. I don’t really care what the price is, or if it’s made by a popular studio. I will say, that if a game is good, but doesn’t meet my standards, I will buy it when it goes on sale. This guy is just nuts.

Rolex can keep their products high, because it’s Rolex. If Rolex had a product that was comparitively priced with Timex, it would devalue the name of the brand. Basically because people would see that price is corelated with quality. Video games don’t work that way. A line of code doesn’t change with the price of the game.

Jeremy2020 (profile) says:

Hmm

Valve is fairly open about the success/failure of Steam. They said they made way more in the short time that Team Fortress went f2p than they did when they charged for the game and they have more people playing.

As far as revenue, Steam’s keeps going up. There are games I don’t buy like Crusader King’s II at $40, but just bought on sale for $13. The point being, I would never have purchased the game at $40 or even $30…maybe..at $20. I would have thought about it…, but $13…I bought it in an instant and I may never actually get around to playing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Reading and experiencing are two different things.

I played sims 3 longer than any single player game ever and never had those issues, but I did read about them.

Of course I didn’t buy expansions on day one, didn’t install patches the second they were available, and I keep my windows installation fresh and clean with bi monthly HDD wipes and reinstalls.

Suspicion (profile) says:

Re:

The flaw is not in the logic; it’s taking the pricing example literally. Increased revenue (due to unit volume) is not an AUTOMATIC increase in profit. The cost savings of producing something in larger quantities may be (and usually is) less than the dollars given up due to discount pricing. Example A: Build 10 units for $1 each and sell each for $10 = profit of $90. Example B: Build 20 units for $0.75 and sell each for $3 = profit of $45. I am sure there are numerous scenarios that could also prove that the right mix of cost savings versus price discounting would result in higher profits. The point of my original comment is that we need to be careful in assuming that discounting will ALWAYS result in a better business model.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Having watched the crash course on economics from Yale, I think the problems are a lot deeper. Some of the fundamental mathematical concepts in economic risk management are getting horribly misrepresented to a point where the errors in their use, screws the view of the world.

“law of large numbers” vs idiosyncratic return anyone? Normal distributions?

No thanks! I would rather recommend pure hardcore advanced statistics.

vegetaman (profile) says:

I'm confused.

Really, I am confused by this. I am a very casual gamer these days, so I pick stuff up from Steam or Amazon when they go on sale in the $5-$10 range (basically, an electronic step up from the bargain bin gaming I used to do). So apparently EA just doesn’t want my business at all, because people like me who don’t want to pay $60 for a game [and will go without, instead] would just cheapen their IP if they had to put it on sale to make us buy it — because it’d be like going out of business. Or something. How the hell does this business model even make sense with digital goods?

Michael Kohne says:

The stock market?

Perhaps the fact that they are publicly traded is swaying his thinking? Remember that most stock market players these days are after higher stock values right now, not good, solid, long term business plans. This guy may think that keeping prices higher will look better to the market, irrespective of what it does for the company even medium-term.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

This seems to be the same reasoning the music industry uses in charging such high prices for licensing that DVD’s will never be released for so many great old TV shows. When “Married with Children” was released the cost was so high for the song “Love and Marriage” that they replaced it with a kind of “sounds like” instrumental on most seasons. We are talking about a 50 year old song! They would rather charge so much that it means no sale at all than to charge a price that is market driven. On the series that are released, how many more sales would they make if prices for the DVD’s could be low enough that many more people would buy them? I remember when movies first were released to VCR the price for one film was usually $100 or more. Remember, this was 1980’s dollars! They eventually learned that few would pay that.

Anonymous Coward says:

So let me get this straight....

People who work in marketing seem to think that “having an idea” is something tremendously complex and difficult, which must deserve huge amounts of kudos and compensation.

Then again, perhaps they’re right – for people in marketing. They should talk to some engineers some time (ie the guys who actually make the stuff they sell)… as if marketing would ever talk to engineering… *sigh*

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I gave up on the base game TS3, it was a never-ending series of teeth-grinding routing problems, jaw-dropping “WHY?”s of increasing volume, and then crashes or lockups or inexplicable data loss – all right out of the box and on a comp that could easily handle it.

It’s a broke-ass game with some nice ideas in it, but not worth my time or money anymore.

YMMV.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Hypocrisy in action

Is this the same EA Origin who are currently discounting most games by 50% due to their 1st Anniversary?

Found at http://store.origin.com/store/eaapac/en_AU/home
1st Anniversary – 50% Off Storewide! 1 June 2012 to 15 June 2012.

And these are not just OLD games.. Battlefield 3 (PC) is now half price.

So does that mean the IP on Battlefield 3 etc is now cheapened by EA? Does DICE know about this? IDIOTS!

DataShade (profile) says:

Re:

I can’t find the blog entry I was looking for, but I think it was on Kill Ten Rats or maybe Player Versus Developer; someone did some data mining on achievements on Steam and found that a lot of the high-selling ‘indie’ games ended up with a low completion percentage – way lower than other games – and a pretty high rate, among bundled games, of players who never earned any of the achievements – something which is pretty much only possible if you’ve played the game less than five minutes or not at all.

So, there is something to be said for Valve training customers to buy everything even if you don’t care about it or intend to play it. That seems like something that might hurt in the long run.

Good Old Games/GOG.com, one of Steam’s few competitors, seems to have a similar viewpoint: http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/how-valve-devalued-video-games-and-why-thats-good-news-for-developers-and-p … but take that with a grain of sand because while GOG’s prices never seem to drop to the lowest of Valve’s lows, their average prices seem a bit lower than valve’s non-sale price.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Aside from the [citation needed] for your Valve-undercutting-all-the-little-guys claim (EA is one of the little guys? You serious?), your point is silly. If it ever gets to that point people will move on when the pricing for entertainment becomes too expensive. The same way people moved from music and movies to video games.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re:

also: second hand market: if i don’t like you, but want your game legit, i’m going to buy it second hand. that said, if i don’t KNOW you, i’m going to do the same thing.

on the other hand, if i know you, like you, and have the option of selling the game second hand if you’ve managed to fail, i’ll shell out full price for the new copy on release day (the fancy version if i can afford it) … and if it’s good i won’t be selling it for years (if ever) at which point someone else buys that second hand copy of your OLD stuff, decides they like it, pokes around, decides they like You if you’ve managed not to stuff up since (being evil with DRM and such counts as stuffing up) and repeats the cycle.

personal experience also tells me that the more of an oddball the game is, the better the odds are that it will be spectacular rather than merely average, provided it first passes the ‘not actually crap’ line. but these games get no marketing, and thus don’t sell so well, so get written off as no good. mean while crappy realism brown generic shooter clone 459 gets hyped to hell and back and makes heaps of sales… right up until the market is saturated…while costing a lot more to make… and pissing off the customers who actually care about how good their games are. (especially if you use DRM or strip out features…)

… …. …
yeeeeeeah, i lost my point in the middle there somewhere.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re:

you realize most of those scores come down more to how much advertising the publisher pays for than how good the game is, right?

Dynasty Warriors is decent or better, yet every iteration gets crap scores, in a large part because it’s regularly assigned to reviewers who openly admit to hating that sort of game and when that’s NOT the case it doesn’t get it’s review scores boosted (as many games do)… this would at least appear to largely because Koei/Omega-force don’t throw money and advertising at the magazines (digital and paper).

also, ever notice how none of those ratings systems ever seem to score anything below the half way mark unless it’s basically unplayable… and that’s worth 40% or equivalent?

reviews are useful, but the ‘scores’ are generally a load of crap. (and they’re usually based on pre-release versions of games, on more powerful than average or otherwise optimised machines most consumers don’t have when that’s an issue, and ignore most of the bugs because, well, it’s not the release version yet, is it?)

…. yeah, pet rant there. sorry.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re:

ehh, the first game was great if you didn’t go into it expecting your normal shooter. it was an RPG with shooter-y combat mechanics.

second one gave up a lot of what made it good to make the shooter-y bits better… which it did in such a way as to make the over all game worse AND make it harder to go back to playing the first one (drastically different controls). also, many stupid decisions with the story-line.

i never got the Mako hate…. the Mako was fun. silly physics, but fun. (climbing mountains in it particularly :D)
though it amused me when my sniper rifle with HE rounds was better at taking down the biggest geth than the Mako’s gun was. (‘course, Mako had better shields/armour/health so could actually take a hit, where a near miss would seriously mess with you on foot…)

3… i’ve heard enough about the fail of the ending and have a low enough opinion of EA that, in light of how 2 turned out, i don’t even consider parting with my money for it. it just holds no interest for me.

(HE rounds in shotguns and sniper rifles in ME1 were just all kinds of awesome. hiding in cover, Mr. Geth? nope. cover is falling and squishing you. MWAHAHAHAHA! oh, my shotgun over heated in one shot? oh well, doesn’t really matter when the Entire Room is Dead, now, does it? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!)

Chargone (profile) says:

Hmm

CKII takes a little getting used to and paradox often takes several patches to fix all the problems in their games (those things are damn complex, actually)… though it should be noted that they have a history of making sure those patches do keep coming until it’s fixed. (the original CK is an exception. stuff happened when it was in development that wasn’t their fault but left them holding the ball resulting in a rush job that Worked, but had issues they couldn’t really fix. was still fun though.)

but yeah, once you get used to it CKII is really really good. well, if you’re into the whole Grand Strategy thing at all.

fully expanded EUIII is crazy good too.

HOI3… well, i’ve not shelled out for the expansions, but i just couldn’t get into that one. they’ve added a lot of features that are awesome that have made for a more interesting game to tell stories about, and perhaps made it a better simulation… and lots of things work better… but the over all result has come out as a less fun game, for me. i’m told the expansions address some of these issues, but i’ve consistantly had other things to spend my money on rather than gambling on that one.

but yeah, point is: if you’re into Grand Stratagy, give yourself a few partial playthroughs to get a hang of the mechanics and CK2 is brilliant.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re:

price per unit of digital goods gets closer to zero the more you sell. (once you get past the initial hurdle of server load, which is a per customer thing and INCREDIBLY unlikely to make it more profitable to have less customers by itself.)

even if you sell them on physical media, the physical media in no way justify the current price points, even once you take shipping into account.

so that’s not really an issue.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re:

My point exactly. By finally reluctantly lowering the price they made probably hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. They are acting against their own and the artist’s interest. Songs that have not been hits for years are not making anyone much money. A few “best of” box sets is about it. To price them so high that they will earn nothing from DVD sales is ridiculous. Instead many will pirate marginal quality TV rips who would gladly pay for DVDs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

you seem to have rose colored glasses on, I have been on steam since day one, when it was finally forced upon us, no one liked it, we all hated it, no one wanted it, it broke our games and forced things upon people who had never actually bought the game and were playing a pirated version etc… to buy the game, or get banned, time makes you forget these things

Anonymous Coward says:

It may have something to do with the cost of support for these games. If they sell fewer copies at a higher price, then they still make a lot of revenue but don’t have to spend as much on support. If they sell tons and tons of copies at a very low price, their support costs go way up relative to the revenue they bring in.

Brent (profile) says:

Valve takes advantage of the ‘Sale Mentality’ which is ‘buy it now while its cheaper than original price’ and works b/c people believe either the product will no longer be available after the sale or that the price will return to ‘normal’ after a certain point. While it seems like the market is indicating that the sale price is the correct price point for this product (or type of product if applied to an entire industry like video games), the sale price only succeeded b/c of the initial mentality.

If the same product (or type of product, eg video games) had originally been priced at the sale price (as in video games have always been priced at $50 instead of $60), setting another sale price would produce similar results which would again indicate that the new sale price is the correct market price.

I’m not suggesting that the CEO of EA is correct but using the example of a sale price vs normal market sales doesn’t make sense. New release games that come out on Valve are the same as Target’s prices but even if they weren’t, Valve’s figures wouldn’t indicate the proper price point b/c consumers would still be buying at a discounted rate. Valve uses discounts as their competitive advantage. If game makers did lower the price by $10 and games were now $50, Valve would just offer a discount on top of that to continue to draw customers in.

In the end the only thing that matters is that the game makers can charge whatever they want for their product and if they are happy with the amount of money they are making, they will not lower their prices. The only thing that will motivate them to lower prices is if they need more sales and they believe lowered prices will achieve that. If you’re not happy with the price, don’t buy it. You could always rent it or borrow it or resort to illegal means (assuming the first two options don’t become illegal as well).

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