More Video Game Makers Fear The Free Market And Don't Know How To Compete

from the welcome-to-market-changes dept

Here we go again. Remember a few months ago when Nintendo's President Reggie Fils-Aime was bitching about the fact that people were buying video games on mobile phones for a buck or two, rather than spending many, many multiples that for his games? Apparently, he's got friends. Epic Games president Mike Capps is playing the role of Nintendo parrot by saying the same thing:
"If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps," he continued. "How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it? They're used to 99 cents. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry."
To be fair, he admits that it's also "an exciting time for whoever picks the right path." But if he's worrying about selling $60 games, perhaps he's made it clear that he's not picking the right path. After all, time and time again we've seen that video game makers have found it to be significantly more profitable to drastically lower the prices of their games and rake in significantly higher sales.

And, of course, the same time he's complaining about pricing, we're seeing the third Humble Indie Bundle selling quite well yet again (just like the first two) using a pay what you want model, that is quite flexible, DRM free and also has a charitable component. If you want to look at who's on the right path, perhaps you should be looking at those "cheap" game makers who are so profitable and the success of things like the Humble Indie Bundles. Perhaps the problem isn't convincing anyone to buy a $60 game, but convincing yourself that $60 isn't the right price.

Then again, this is Epic Games we're talking about -- which, you may recall, was the same company who's VP scoffed at some indie gamers for talking about the importance of really connecting with their fans. So, basically, this is a company that doesn't want to connect and wants to charge super high prices. Good luck...

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:26am

    Epic has shown time and again they do not get it. As has been said on this site and others, being the "big guy" doesn't mean jack shit in times like this, where new tech has come along and changed everything. Small companies, or indie devs, who DO get it will succeed and become the "big guy", and companies like Epic will die out (bitching and moaning on their way out about how unfair it is).

    And that's good. Fuck Epic. Adios.

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  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:59am

    Ah the days when Nintendo and Epic weren't synonymous with idiots and crap...

    I miss the golden age of gaming! :'(

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Fickelbra (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:04am


    Nothing new here. Just another CEO scared by the change on the horizon. Will dollar games kill the traditional game business? No. Will it inevitably force it into a defensive position? Of course.

    What I would honestly like to see out of all this is for "dollar games" to cause a price war between traditional and mobile games. Consumers obviously win when this happens, and if new Xbox 360 games were starting to appear at the 20 - 40 dollar price point, you would see an increase in sales. I know that I for one would be a lot more inclined to purchase a game without the $60 price tag staring me in the face. New releases have to be something I am massively interested in, otherwise I just won't bother, because I know there are other games I can get that are just as fun and way easier on the wallet.

    Don't buy the "high development costs". Are games expensive to make? Sure. But at best there are only a handful of games that can really honestly claim a $60 dollar pricetag.

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  4. icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:09am

    When fast food restaurants first came out, did the formal dining restaurants get together and whine about competition? I mean, who'd pay for an expensive fancy meal if you can get a burger for under a buck?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Prashanth (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:18am

    "How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it? They're used to 99 cents."
    It's funny because this is really a call to action on their part: they need to figure out how to make a traditional game worth the money of people who are used to $1-games. Yet, somehow, they twist it into a plea for unwarranted support. How sad.

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  6. icon
    Spaceboy (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:33am

    Really? When someone makes a game that is on the same level as Call of Duty Black OPs and sells it for $.99 then they can bitch and moan about it. Not before then. Maybe they should make some $.99 games of their own that compliment their products instead of whining.

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  7. identicon
    trish, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:33am


    I hate when people blame others for their misfortune. Like people who blame their spouse or kids for their unhappiness, who don't realize they have the power to be happy if they try, and noone else can affect that. Same as companies who sell things, instead of blaming other companies for stealing and spoiling their customers, should realize that if they give people what they want, they will have tons of customers.

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  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:36am

    Who pays 99 cents? We should all get our games for free, right mikey? If developers can't make loads of money giving away games, that's their problem.

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  9. icon
    Haywood (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:39am

    IMHO any game worth $60......

    Would have 50 dollars tucked inside the wrapper.

    I've seen some really good titles go down the drain, as the newer and allegedly better versions came out.

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  10. identicon
    chuck, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:42am

    Like some others (and unlike many) here, I still play video games a LOT. That being said, I would much rather pay the $60 (or more) for a challenging 3rd gen MMO, than buy ANY of the Angry Bird crap. It's amusing yeah, but in 10 mins I am bored to death with those games. If this guys company made games that could compete with Rift, or GW2 for example he would not be bytchin'.

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  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:46am

    yeah, what's wrong with you people??? Everyone knows it costs the same to build a Ferrari as it does a Hyundai.

    oh wait...

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  12. icon
    UriGagarin (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:46am


    Got a friend who works in the computer games industry.
    Industry is the right word as its stopped being about producing a fun game but churning out a "Flavour of the month" Play-alike, or porting whatever is popular to the other platforms .

    Trouble is the 99c guys are just returning to the early 80's boom where you could buy a tape of a game that was for the Commodore or Spectrum (from the UK so they were the prevalent systems) for that price , load it and play it for weeks or months .

    The Current games companies need to go back and strip out the "ooh shiny" and get back to inventing stuff. I've probably spent more time playing Spider solitaire or bejeweled than proper games since.... oooh Thief 2.

    Not got a gaming console so I'm taking it from an old PC gamer perspective ; one that's so bored of the shiny and need to upgrade for no good reason that he's not bought a game for at least 4 years and that one got played 3 times cos it wasn't as good as the previous versions.

    I'm happy enough to replay old games (stuff like atomix, Thief 1&2 and early Mechwarrior Doom and Quake are more than enough to entertain me besides the mindless doodlings of the likes of bejeweled
    The games industry is relying on the small indies to invent new stuff that they can buyout and endlessly clone. The fact that they've bypassed them totally in new markets has completely got them foxed.
    Bring back the early players (or the any folk that get it ) and get rid of the MBA's who can only look at the bottom line spreadsheet .

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  13. icon
    Fickelbra (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 5:46am


    Aww, you're cute. Since you refer to developers in the third person, I am concluding that you aren't one.

    I'll share a secret with you....comon, closer. Closer. Ok. Take a trip down memory lane when prices hiked to 60 dollars for development costs because next-gen graphics are "so expensive". About a year after, Crysis is released, at the price point of 50 dollars. It made money. What is happening here is merely an industry evolution as people move away from high price point games and a new mainstream market is emerging.

    Also, if you're going to whine about piracy, how about you post to an article that at least talks about it troll.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    TDR, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:03am


    Speaking of GW2 and Arenenet, at least some of their devs, sadly, are still locked onto the artist-welfare version of copyright and don't understand or want to understand that that's not at all what copyright is supposed to be about. Jeremy Soule, composer of GW and GW2's music, among other things, was among the supporters of COICA. I wish Arenanet would be more forward-thinking, but they don't even allow comments on their blog because they say they can't moderate them. This blog isn't moderated, and it's no spamfest by a long shot, so their excuse doesn't hold water to me.

    Something I've wondered for a long time is how one would make an MMO without copyright. I'm sure it can be done. Are there any Creative Commons MMO's out there? And since MMO's can have quite a long lifespan if they're good enough (I think there are people that still play Evercrack, and how long has WoW been around?), how would reductions in copyright terms affect MMO's built on that artificial monopoly?

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  15. identicon
    Scott, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:16am

    Bottom of the dollar bin.

    Epic put itself into the dollar bin. Are you telling me their software can't sell because solitaire is more fun? Check your premises your doing something wrong. Everything out there can be done cheaper, nothing new about that. So Epic needs to focus on making their game more fun, and more entertaining then the $1 game. Typically the cheap games lack substance they are fun and are something to be played on a bus or subway ride. I can't remember the last time I was able to just pick up and put down gears of war. Typically you have to block out a segment of your life to become a button mashing zombie. The only thing that is holding back sales of their games are themselves. Either follow apple's lead and try to create something that people MUST HAVE or drop your prices to reflect the actual value the market assigns to your game. Not every game on the shelves with a $60 price tag is worth $60.

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  16. identicon
    Headbhang, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:22am


    Epic fail?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Luke, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:29am

    $60? No

    Funny, $60 for video games is exactly what has kept me from buying the Playstation that I want. The price needs to come down or, yes, I will keep buying Angry Birds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:29am

    Re: This!

    "Trouble is the 99c guys are just returning to the early 80's boom..."

    This is a troubling thought. Remember what happened to that gaming boom? The industry barely survived.

    Though, it may be time to shake things up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:33am


    When fast food restaurants first came out, did the formal dining restaurants get together and whine about competition?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Rich, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:34am


    That's a very interesting question. I know (or, more accurately, assume) you are being rhetorical, but I wonder if they did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Fickelbra (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:36am


    No, but that is only because formal restaurants don't have lobbyists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:38am

    It's the same old mantra

    If they came up with a game worth $60 then people would have no problem paying $60. Oh, and a protip for you, Epic: you don't get to determine if a particular game is worth $60. Your customers do that.

    I know I'm gonna drop $60 the day Skyrim comes out, and I'll be smiling during the entire transaction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Fickelbra (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Re: It's the same old mantra

    This is exactly the point; well said. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that no, most games are not even close to $60 worth of value. But, there is no real way you could put in a fair pricing system, or at least not the way the industry currently works.

    Instead, the magic of competitive enterprise is taking shape. Rather than make some manual change, we as consumers are causing the change we want through the way we consume.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    The eejit (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:45am


    They don't have to - look at Minecraft, which was so successful for an indie game, people thought the creator was money laundering. OR go look at Counterstrike. Or WoW. Blizzard sell the gamekeys for the low, low price of $20. Then you pay a fee to access their own servers.

    IF you want free games, get the Homebr4ew Channel for the Wii.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:47am

    How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it?

    Ask Crytek & 2kgames.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Rich, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re: This!

    Boy ain't that the truth! I write real-time software for a living. A while back I was looking for a change and looked into joining one of the game companies (you'd be surprised at how much the techniques uses in the two types of software overlap). Those places are run like sweatshops! Long hours, insane schedules, low pay. I felt bad for their coders.

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  27. identicon
    Michael, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 6:58am


    Yes, but they were able to stifle competition at a local level.

    In the town I grew up in, McDonalds wanted to open a location and the local merchants had a law passed that prevented it for years. Since these are brick-and-mortar locations, their impact is primarily local and local businesses can lobby in their area to stop them from entering.

    The same happens to Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and many other larger retailers when they try to open a store. They receive lots of resistance by local shops not being able to compete and complaining that they will be shut down.

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  28. icon
    Greevar (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:00am


    Logical approach? Blasphemy!

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  29. icon
    TheOldFart (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:08am

    Epic has a $60 game that's "worth it"?

    Funny, I paid $60 for pre-order of Unreal Tournament 3 back in 2007 and it wasn't even close to "worth it". I got software that has an amazingly slow and illogical menu interface. That wouldn't be as annoying if the preceding games in the series didn't have extremely fast and very logical menus, especially its immediate predecessor, Unreal Tournament 2004. The game itself was so bug ridden that within 5 to 30 minutes of play it would lock Windows XP/Vista up hard and require a reboot - no ctrl-alt-delete to get to task manager or anything, it required powering down the machine. How long did it take their $60 per game engineers to finally issue a fix? Well, they finally came out with one this year. In their tech support forums they initially claimed the issue was "hard to reproduce" and thus the delay. I offered them free use of my computer (which could repro it in less than 10 minutes) for troubleshooting purposes. They never even responded, not to an open offer in the forums or to offers sent via private message. Not even a "no thanks", just no response at all.

    So Epic says a computer killing game with agonizingly slow and stupid menu system that takes 4 or 5 years for them to patch properly is "worth it"? That must be some new use of the term that I'm not familiar with.

    The Crysis series from EA is another example of stupid done well. The first Crysis was reasonably buggy at the outset but they did fix it (mostly) A really fun game with excellent replay value. I'd happily blow $60 on the sequels... or I would have except for the fact that they put some insane DRM on it that limits the number of installs you can do before it disables itself! You can only install the game a few times and then you're done.

    As both a software engineer and casual gamer, I switch or upgrade PCs on a frequent basis. Is paying $60 for the same game every year a "good value"? Even when the repurchase is not due to OS changes or software or hardware obsolescence but simply the whim of the publisher? Not only no but f no.

    Can I download a crack for Crysis Warhead and Crysis 2? You betcha, a quick google shows a bunch of patches and tutorials on how to do it. Am I going to spend $60 to waste my time wading through all the crap to find a crack that works only to find it broken by the next bug fix for the game? Not only no but f no.

    When game developers start testing their software to the same level of quality as most other manufacturers do, they *might* be able to talk about $60 games being "worth it". When they stop the ridiculous and blatant punishment of legitimate customer without even putting a dent in the piracy of their games, then they can talk about $60 games being "worth it".

    Epic and the rest are terrified of creating an open game environment. All you have to do is try to play add-on maps in any of the games. It's generally a nightmare involving manually unzipping files into specific/different directories, starting the game with specific command line options, using the developer console to type in some obscure commands and all sorts of other crap. Want to edit or create a custom map? Welcome to hell, because that's what even the best of the map creation tools are like.

    It's obviously they want to keep all their customers locked in to content that they distribute. It's like Microsoft trying to lock customers in to using only 10 documents that they distribute with the program or a blogging site that only wants you to read the same 10 authors every time you visit the site.

    When a gaming company finally realizes that the real value of their games is more than just what they can cobble together in a limited development time and start producing open-ended games, they can talk about the initial game purchase being worth $60.

    Capps relates it to $1 apps on an iPhone. He's completely ignoring the the freaking purchase price of an iPhone! Why isn't Epic selling the game software platform equivalent to the iPhone hardware?

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  30. icon
    Wayne Borean (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:17am

    The new $60.00 games are crap

    I have a bunch of old DOS games that still play. Pool of Radiance. Curse of the Azure Bonds. Jumpman. The original Duke Nukem. Wing Commander and Wing Commander 2. Great stuff.

    The problem is that the current crop of games is shit. It can't match the classics. Sure, it's 'shiny' but it isn't fun.

    Fun is what sells games.

    My wife is an Angry Birds addict. She says it's fun. It's something she can sit down to, and blow of steam when she's ready to kill something (usually me). The current crop of mainstream computer games leaves her cold.

    If the industry doesn't bring back the 'fun' factor it's going to kill itself.


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  31. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:18am

    Re: How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it?

    "Ask Crytek & 2kgames."

    I don't know about Crytek, but ditto on the 2kgames. I dropped full price for the NBA2k11 PS3 game because it reviewed well and it was absolutely worth it. They put in the effort, made an incredible basketball game, and I rewarded them. A big part of it was listening to critiques of 2k10 and revising appropriately.

    Same thing for MLB The Show 11. I plopped down the $60 for it and, having played the game, would do so again in a heartbeat. Experience defines the value, not the cost to produce....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Greevar (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Re: Epic has a $60 game that's "worth it"?

    Your PC is even more so expensive for gaming compared to the iPhone. The hardware required to play UT3 compared to the hardware to play Angry Birds is a gap of about $500-$1000.

    Nevertheless, I agree. If they think $1 games are competing with their $60 games, then they had better offer 60 times the value of that $1 game to justify the price. Lately, I just haven't been seeing $60 worth of game out there. I think the last game I felt was really worth that $60 price tag was Morrowind. I've played quite a few games that I paid $10 or less that I really like, such as Magicka.

    The more I read about how the incumbents in the games industry just don't get it, the more I think I should be aiming for indie developers for a career. It surely won't pay as much, but that's not why I'm in to it.

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  33. icon
    Lesath (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:34am

    I do play a lot of video games but I am also very careful about which games I buy. I have 10 on reserve right now for the rest of the year and all of them at AAA+ titles. I also know they will be good with a lot of replay value to them. What this means is I rarely choose something that might be great but I don't want to get burned and feel I wasted 60 bucks.

    Do I wish games were still 50 bucks? Sure but then again when I actually do buy a game, I know what I'm getting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Bruce Ediger (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:35am

    Re: Ferrari vs Hyundai, cost to build

    The car market has a lot of price points.

    On the high end, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini can make money with hand-made high style cars. On the low end Hyundai can get by on mass-producing mass-market cars. Looks to me like there's everything in-between, too.

    But I bet both Ferrari and Hyundai management is sensitive to cost of production, they're just sensitive to different aspects.

    But the Good Ol' Car Analogy doesn't hold water. Once tooling for a car gets set up and processes figured out, time and cost to produce go to a minimum, but still quite high, value. A car is a physical good, and just raw materials have a cost. But a video game, that's a digital good. Once built, it has a near-zero cost of reproduction. In a competitive market, the cost of a good should fall to the marginal cost of production, near zero. That's simple free market economics. The marginal cost of production of a car is still large compared to a digital good.

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  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Copy'right' isn't about ensuring video game maker profitability or job security. It's about promoting the progress. That these video games don't enter the public domain (in some reasonable period of time) is atrocious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:40am

    You know, the material costs of making the physical product and getting it to stores has to be near zero per disc. Obviously theres a ton of money spent making the game that needs to be made back. But if you half the price and sell twice as many, you break even. But I'm sure they'd sell more than twice as many. We've seen this before, and I think it was a story on this site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Greg G (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 7:40am


    You know, you can avoid all the crap if you're willing to wait for these new games to become old ones, and then just get them from Good Old Games

    I've gotten a few from there, and play for hours, and none cost more than $10.

    I refuse to spend $60 on a game, even if I end up playing it for months. I remember I could get a new game for about $25 back in the good old days. If these gaming companies would drop that $60 price point to $25, $30, or maybe even $40, they'd sell a hell of a lot more units (if they strip the DRM out, as I still would refuse to buy it at $5 if it was loaded with DRM.)

    Then after they drop prices, let's then get them to stop freaking out about the used game market. As if that'll happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    carpdog (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:05am

    Accept change adapt or die

    back in the late 70's (yeah I'm that old) it cost $$ hundreds to join video clubs to have the right to rent movies. Then when you cold by them for $100, that killed off the video club. Then when you could rent them for $3 from Blockbuster that killed the movie companies from charging $100 so that price dropped to the current $20-$30. This is now the same situation with video games. The technology for the console game must kick ass over the mobile app AND cost less!! Otherwise Epic will wind up as a movie laser disc dinosaur dead in the tarpits.

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  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:11am


    I play loads of games, but I also need to pay bills and support my family. I can talk myself into buying some of the big-ticket games that come out (StarCraft2 and the like), but it's a high enough price point that unless I *know* I'm going to get a lot of value out of the game, I don't buy it; at $60, I don't take a chance on new stuff. I've also got a Steam account and an iPod, though, and I buy lots of smaller games on those -- Steam's discount pricing allows me to try out games I'm less sure of without hurting my budget a lot, and buying a $3 game like Angry Birds is the gaming equivalent of a bag of chips -- if I get a few hours of enjoyment out of it, it's not a bad deal.

    The problem the bigger publishers have is that they want to be selling at the higher price point and so they're going to need to do a lot more to convince people to pay; if they lower that even a little bit, they'd have a bigger draw. They aren't *really* competing with Angry Birds the way novelists aren't *really* competing with, I don't know, Reader's Digest.

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  40. identicon
    Fred Skoler, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:15am

    It’s not $.99: Blame Al Gore & McDonalds

    Large video game publishers are complaining that they can’t compete with $.99. Of course they can. They just need to adjust their business model.

    I am a 20 year veteran of the games industry and have witnessed much of the change being discussed first hand. I have worked as a video game publisher, developer, independent and now direct a social games company.

    The "traditional" video game industry is very much like the movie business. Only the hits really make money and when they do it can often be a windfall. If you spend a lot to develop a game, of course, you need to sell a lot to make it profitable. When you are a "traditional" publisher, the expectation from your stake-holders is that you are targeting the top of the market. You became a top publisher because you successfully navigated the waters and were fortunate enough to come to the surface with a hit on a major console. Doing this many times over is expensive and risky. The risk has gotten extreme. It costs tens of millions of dollars just to market a top selling game today. Budgets for AAA console development today start at $30 million. Because of this games cost $60.

    The truth is, the public expects "shiny" on consoles and it's less risky for a publisher to reheat and polish something old than start from scratch. So, in the “closed” world of consoles, we see a lot of graphically rich copycats with little innovation and, as game players, we feel robbed of $60.

    Something new has come to town. It’s fast, tasty and cheap. Consoles are online, have storage and can provide a shopping experience straight from the couch. Players are mobile, portable and always connected to a rich source of delicious content through the Internet ($.99 content – impulse buyer’s content).

    The online phenomenon is the true culprit, not $.99 apps. Traditional console publishers need to reinvent their business model if they want to stay relevant.

    The digital goods (fast food) model offers the console publishers what they need but they haven’t fully opened their eyes to it yet. “Modding” was an early example of how the industry started to create a business model that benefitted from reheating and seasoning what had been developed prior. Yes, this was a PC phenom, but consoles are now on the Internet.

    In the mod business model you initially sell a core game experience. Then games with modifications “mods” are released for purchase or free. The hitch is that players need to buy the original game to play the new mod.

    If AAA publishers stop to analyze what they have, they are in a great position. The next generation of consoles will be connected to a high speed network, and with robust architectures for content distribution.

    Give away the core game for $2, attract a broader audience and sell digital goods (upgraded features and compelling skins, stories, environments, characters, sounds, etc.). Players will easily spend $60 and more, but in smaller bites and the shelf life will be extended. Selling smaller pieces also gives you an understanding of what players are truly reacting to. It gives you plenty of room for innovation in marketing (E.g. time to play with pricing and limited runs on certain elements to add value).

    Bottom line: Traditional publishers need to focus on the community that plays their games and embrace the fast food metaphor. Create content the community is hungry for. Give players a taste, for almost free, and let them season it to their hearts content. Consumers will know what they are buying in every bite, taste the value and be willing to spend more to complete the feast. The difference here is that the player will be in charge of what he buys and the publisher will continue to keep the buffet stocked with tasty content.

    This model also helps you create a stronger bond with the playing community. They will be coming to you frequently and your brand will have more value.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    DannyB (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:22am

    Somebody should pass a law!


    Someone has found a way to profitably make and distribute simple games for mobile devices at a price that hurts the existing game industry?


    The existing industry is entitled to its current profits. Furthermore, it should be entitled to steadily ever increasing profits.

    We need a new law to protect the existing game industry from new market changes that threaten its profitability. Innovation is important. We must protect our innovators from new technology which makes things better and cheaper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Seeing this in the township next door where Walmart is currently renovating several consecutive spaces in one shopping center.

    The resistance was vocal, lawn signs and everything, but with so many empty retail properties around here, the twp. govt. can't say no.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    The eejit (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:10am

    Re: It’s not $.99: Blame Al Gore & McDonalds

    This is a big part of why companies like Valve are currently being successful - go and have a look at their Portal 2 trailers; they're funny, and yet also entice the viewer to go out and buy the game.

    They have a market, and their sales (Entire Civilization V set for £27.99? Yes please!) It's not the selling of games at full-price that's helping them; it's offers like the recent Potato Sack, which was chock full of independent studio games, and by tying it in to the releaseof Portal 2, they made other companies a LOT of money to aid their survival.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    Greg G (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Re: GOG

    link fixed:

    good old games

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    hmm (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:28am


    How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it? They're used to 99 cents

    Doesn't this kinda imply they're used to selling $60 games that AREN'T worth it?

    The way to sell someone a $60 game thats really worth it is to...oh, I don't know....MAKE A GAME THATS WORTH $60!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    sam sin, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:39am

    the best thing for Reggie Fils-Aime and Mike Capps to obviously do is to connect with fans; the people that buy their stuff. until they get the point that the prices charged are way too high, they can shove their games where the monkey shoves his nuts, right up their respective chutneys!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Transbot9, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:49am

    As a long time PC gamer...

    One thing I've noticed about the "rise of consoles" (AKA, when many PC gaming companies moved to the Xbox & Xbox 360) is while the number of PC games have taken a hit (at least on the shelf), the amount of quality games hasn't changed much. Granted, a number of these games are released for both PC and 360, but gone are the myrad of clones and bantha fodder. Some of the market has moved to online distribution, partially because there are greater profits and partially because physical retailers would rather devote the space to something else.

    Market forces quickly turn games that can't sell at $60 into bargain bin games. So if it doesn't make money, the price drops in increments until a retailer just wants to get rid of it. It doesn't happen as often or as quickly through online distribution, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    UriGagarin (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 10:04am

    Re: It’s not $.99: Blame Al Gore & McDonalds

    I was going to mention modding as it was one of the obvious ways to enhance value - Qauake, the Original and Best UT(tm) were fantastic for their buyable/home made add on's - one of the guys producing UT maps was so good he apparently ended up working in the industry *

    * that's rumour , Angelheart is the guy I recall - if its wrong then its the industries loss...*

    I agree , build the framework and a core of maps/scenario/story and encourage others to add and then as time goes on add more .
    There is still a good amount of Unreal tournament servers out there still, (for me. the best of the series due to it s speed and fun value) so its not all about shiny , cos players know what they want , and that is fun ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. icon
    UriGagarin (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: It’s not $.99: Blame Al Gore & McDonalds

    The important thing is not the weeks long death marches to get the phe product out - its a waste of time cos if it doesn't do well then you're fucked. small gradual uplifts either by subscription or one offs but the point is start small and build. If its good folks will stick around with games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 10:33am


    I actually looked at that slightly differently. He says that these $60 games are "really worth it."

    Well, how do you value those games at $60? If no one is willing to pay, then it's not "really" worth $60. If it was actually worth $60, people would be buying it, and you wouldn't be giving this interview.

    Which is the call to action that you described. They've got to keep trying shit until the sales happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    anymouse (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Time for the first 'parody' MMO

    World of Copycraft... Coming soon to a PC near you.

    I'm willing to license this copyrighted/trademarked idea to anyone willing to develop the actual game for only $5 bazillion dollars... I'm sure the license fee is reasonable, since it will be a parody, there will be no other required licensing costs.

    Borrow all the best concepts/ideas/storylines from the major MMO's but give them all enough of a parody twist to get around the copyright laws. While technically this should be possible, I'm sure any company trying it would still get sued out of existance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    TimothyAWiseman (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 11:07am

    This is just my personal opinion, but I do not see the phone games for a couple of bucks competing with a full scale production game on, say, a PS3.

    I buy some of both and I've never chosen one of the other or said I won't buy the PS3 game because I laid down a dollar for a game I play while waitin for the checkout counter. They serve different entertainment purposes for me.

    Now, I do see the $1 games competing with things like the nintendo DS, and I recently questioned whether I should buy a Ipod touch or the DS for my son when preparing for a long trip, but that is somewhat different.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Pips, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:30pm


    I have put more time into Angry Birds than I have put in the entire Gears franchise.

    AND I had more fun with it!

    If they lower their games to .99 more people might buy 'em.

    Just sayin'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Jay (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Epic has a $60 game that's "worth it"?

    Small nitpick:
    The epic games ceo later apologized for his comment. Epic did start out as indie. He had wanted to help but went about it the wrong way.When he got called out, he did his apology in the same manner.
    However, I have since bought the indie gamer's offering partially because of this battle. I like supporting the little guy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    Killercool (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Epic has a $60 game that's "worth it"?

    "Your PC is even more so expensive for gaming compared to the iPhone. The hardware required to play UT3 compared to the hardware to play Angry Birds is a gap of about $500-$1000.

    Ummm... No. I have an off-the-shelf HP Pavilion from Wal-Mart. I paid $120 for a new video card (it was not even comparable to a "high-end" card), and I can play ANY game on the market, with full detail, in my monitor's native 1920x1080 resolution. It totaled me ~$750US. An iPhone 4 costs $800 if I don't want to tie myself to the horrid network that is AT&T. Or $300 + (24 Months @ >=$30)=>$1020. I wouldn't include the cost of the AT&T bill, but you can't cancel your contract without paying penalties until you've recouped the cost of the phone.

    Also, I'm comparing it to the iPhone 4 because, seriously, who doesn't get the newest version of the iPhone?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. icon
    Nom du Clavier (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re:

    It really shouldn't affect MMO's all that much, because even if you can legally make a 100% clone of the game, it stands to reason that the original creators have a better grasp of how to run the back-end efficiently, or can perhaps win on economy of scale. They'll therefore achieve a higher margin on the monthly costs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    Killercool (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    All of th 99 cent crap doesn't mean, well... much.

    If I get burned on a $10, $5, or $1 game, it really doesn't bother me. But when I shell out $60 for a game, and the best I can get back for it is $25, it makes me a lot more apprehensive about buying a console game.
    Unfortunately, this has led to me supporting the series phenomena. I'm more likely to buy a sequel to a game I liked (if it is made by the same studio that made the first one), than I am to try a new product. I hate to say it, but I've only rarely been disappointed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Once again, Mike: Reggie Fils-Aime is NOT the President of Nintendo; he is the President of Nintendo of America. Reggie has to report to Satoru Iwata, who is President of Nintendo Co., Ltd., based in Japan. Reggie also has a history of talking out his ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    Tom Landry (profile), Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Epic is a perfect example of a company that has simply stopped caring about making something great and have focused on trying to appeal to a certain demographic with what is popular at the moment. All marketing and no art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Ferrari vs Hyundai, cost to build

    Ignoring all other costs except marginal ones is exceptionally retarded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    rasputin, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 4:41pm

    So let Epic Games go bankrupt. What the F do I care?

    You wanted free markets. Well here they are. Bitch all you want, pussies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. icon
    slander (profile), Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 4:00am

    Re: Hmm...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    Billy Wenge-Murphy (profile), Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Wal-Mart, huh? I don't know who to side with on an issue like that. It's like being stuck between an anti-competitive rock and a union-breaking hard place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    Billy Wenge-Murphy (profile), Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    >How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it?

    It's NOT worth it. I thought this was obvious.

    I grew up on 2D blips and bloops, and I'll be happy to go back. Death to brown 'n bloom. Please die as soon as possible so cheap indie studios can take over the industry you're choking the life out of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    hegemon13, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 7:32am


    "How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it?"

    Easy. You make sure it's "really worth it." If you can't sell it for $60, it's clearly not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. identicon
    hegemon13, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: This!

    The big difference is that those cheap games had to sink a lot more money into manufacturing and distribution than mobile apps today. Second, there was not the rich community that exists in app stores. Back then, a game was a gamble. Reading reviews required buying a niche magazine authored by "professionals" that may or may not have been paid off by the creators of the game they're reviewing. Conversely, the app stores present a wide range of end-user reviews at the point of purchase. So, people are less likely to become jaded by being ripped off by crappy games. And the good games can afford to sell for cheap because the distribution costs are effectively zero.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. icon
    Bruce Ediger (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Ferrari vs Hyundai, cost to build

    You're kidding, right?

    I mean, you just demonstrated complete ignorance of basic, basic market economics.

    But go ahead, follow that path to paradox. I'd recommend that you start by not putting insults in your responses. That makes you look childish, even if it just might score points with some judges and some jurors.

    Educate me. What other costs should I be including in a distinction between a physical good, and a digital good? And how, exactly, would that effect Epic Games pricing, or business model? I'm open to suggestion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    My public library recently began lending PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii games. That has greatly reduced the need to buy games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. icon
    Bruce Ediger (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Ferrari vs Hyundai, cost to build

    You really do exhibit cowardice, "Anonymous Coward". You just insult people, and do not educate, even upon sincere request.

    Also, you exhibit prejudice. "Retarded" is a fairly bad word, and inappropriate in this context.

    A prejuediced coward, that's all you are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Melanie limon, Nov 11th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Markter movie's and games and something

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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