Imagine if games were twice as expensive?


Computer gamers, what’s the deal? What about Apple’s RAM pricing? Yes. Yes. It’s a tough crowd. It is a great example of price discrimination.

A business may not know the price you would pay to bring their product to market. So they guess. Then they add optional extras. These are items that you pay because you’re willing to spend more than the retail price on your original product. You don’t have to, but another scumbag does. It’s clear that people who bought the product at a lower RRP end up with the final result of paying more.

Apple’s outrageous RAM prices constitute price discrimination 101. To bring it back around to the headline: this is also a good example of the games-as a-service model. Publishers of games have been asking you to continue playing the new titles for almost a decade. For age. Because the more you play, the higher the chance that you will spend money on it. It could be called a player-driven ecosystem, or you can dress it in limited edition seasonal skins and parade it on an E3 stage. But that is really what service games are all about. You spend more on the same game.

We can quantify the benefits to us at the consumer level. People seem to like Destiny 2.

This model also held studios responsible for releasing inferior products. No Man’s Sky and Star Wars Battlefront 2 were games that had to be updated until they became popular and enjoyed by people. They were meant to have an audience for many years.

Rey in Star Wars Battlefront 2

Service games, however, are much less loved by people who actually make games than they are with those who create them. We don’t like DLC or reading narratives that have no plot or endpoints, even though they are part of shared worlds. The focus-grouped art and the simple design are not what we like in games that aim to appeal to a wide audience for long periods of time. We miss Thief, The Dark Project. I love Thief, The Dark Project.

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What could a one-player single-player game such as the Looking Glass meisterwerk with a new combat style and untested settings make it into today’s storefronts?

It’s easy. It’s as easy as doubling the cost of games.

Before you lift me on the noose beside Don Blankenship let me tell you something. Inflation has not affected videogames’ prices over the past twenty years. Baldur’s Gate II was priced at PS30 in 2001. I also remember that it had about 40 discs inside the box. At launch, most console games were priced between PS40 and PS50. According to the Bank of England, a PC game with the same price should retail for PS50.74/ $69.76 in 2021, to reflect inflation. The PS40 consoles would cost you PS67.66/ $93.04, while the more expensive PS40 games will run at PS67.66/ $93.04. That’s just.

A fight with a dragon in Baldur's Gate, one of the best RPGs on PC

Sony is already making waves with PS5 games prices. We are now at PS70 here in the UK. For this price increase, the company has cited increased production costs and inflation.

All service games are basically spending more on the same game.

They’re right. Over the same time period, triple-A games have seen a steady increase in production costs. Even if you ignore mechanical costs, the production cost of triple-A games has increased linearly since 2001. While discs are no longer packaged in boxes with men frowning at the front, developers still have to pay more for digital copies. To make more, the people who create big games spend more. It’s reasonable to expect a higher price for games.

It also reduces dependence on service-games models to recover expenses. Hello single-player, budget-supported games. Although they may be niche and appeal only to very few people, the sales of their games are double.

Some very curious creatures from the game Spore

This is true for any other weird flavors we have forgotten about over the years. We haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a Spore, a Giants or Citizen Kabuto in a while. A higher initial investment means that there is less risk-aversion. Higher prices are one way to inject creativity, real honesty and financial support into the sector.

Although I am referring to an old model of production with publishers and upfront budgets, this price increase is not limited to the Rockstars and Valves. Indie gaming is able to manage its own pricing because there are fewer development costs upfront. However, creators don’t often get paid outside of work so a lower budget won’t necessarily mean a lower price. Their return on investment is much higher if their final product sells for twice as much.

But, hold on. Are we really trying to make games the digital caviar that only the wealthy can eat? It seems that doubling the entry barrier might do this.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint's year 1 pass

What is our industry actually doing in comparison to this? The masses are being given the unflavoured, unsalted game and the treats remain behind velvet ropes for the bourgeois. Facetiousness aside. That economic model has lasted because enough people have continued to feed it and buy the skins, expansions, and season passes. However, it doesn’t feel particularly egalitarian.

We haven’t had Spores or Giants in so many years. Citizen Kabuto is something to behold.

Subscription passes offer another option. Imagine if Netflix were to absorb the costs of game development through a licensing fee and make it affordable for its large user base by charging a monthly subscription fee.

Microsoft has already gotten involved with Game Pass as well as the previously mentioned purveyors of PS70 gaming, Sony. Jim Ryan, the former’s CEO of Game Pass, was quick to calm down in an interview with Eurogamer. He stated that “We will not go down the path of putting new titles into a subscriber model. The development of these games took many million dollars and cost well above $100 million. It’s not sustainable, we don’t think so.”

Xbox Game Pass PC library

Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad explained that the monthly subscription fees for Eurogamer are not cheap currently. This is because these services want to lure us in. Xbox is still in user acquisition, which is why you’re seeing ridiculously generous PS1-for-3 months offers that aim to get people to sign up. Other subscriptions will tell us they are likely to stay once those individuals have joined.

Perhaps we should be paying more for art that we love. No one should be telling you what to do with your money, but there are 4,000-10000 advertisements every day that tell us exactly how. Maybe that’s the reason we all have a heap of shame on Steam. This is essentially our gaming wastefulness which suggests that we might still be able to enter the industry if there are no price increases. Perhaps we are just a little more discernive.

Publited Sat 24 July 2021 12:39 PM +0000


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