Why the end of the $60 video game is near

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 6 years ago '07        #1
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CadillacVyse 944 heat pts944
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Why the end of the $60 video game is near
 

 

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 http://games.yahoo.com/bl .. 181412574.html

There's a war going on in the video game world, but it's over dollar signs, not virtual land.
A boxed copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the world's top-selling console game, costs $60. Angry Birds, the world's biggest mobile game franchise, costs $1 for software that you can download in under a minute. The pricing gap between what's traditionally considered the highest-tier premium games and the fast-evolving mobile, tablet, and social gaming market is widening, and it's spelling disaster for countless game makers caught in the middle.

According to The NPD Group, physical content sales were down 8% in 2011. This year hasn't been a cakewalk either, with sales continuing to slide. Though some of the blame can rightfully be foisted upon the decline of the once-mighty Wii, it's apparent that people aren't buying games like they used to, and the industry is scrambling to figure out why. But most agree that it begins — and likely ends — with the high cost of new games.

The sentiment that games cost too much is certainly not new. Wired's Chris Kohler recently outlined a list of reasons games cost too much and combated the argument that the used game market can be blamed. Nexon America's CEO Daniel Kim told GamesIndustry International that "Free-to-Play" games (often called "Freemium" because users are incentivized to pay small premiums for more content) are not going away and the traditional model will have to change.

He's right. $60 has always been an embarrassing, crippling barrier of entry compared to gaming's entertainment peers. A brand new book, DVD, or CD rarely breaks the $20 mark, and even the highest tier Blu-rays cap out at around $30. Why are new games so pricey?
Publishers have long blamed console games' high price on a plethora of issues. Skyrocketing development costs is a biggie, as is piracy. Most recently, publishers are taking aim at the used game market, charging that the buying and selling of used merchandise is taking cash out of their pockets. But whatever impact on profitability these concerns have, it doesn't change two monumental problems:

- Psychologically, $60 just sounds expensive. This isn't anecdotal, this is common sense. Unless you're financially independent, $60 outright repels a vast slice of the entertainment consumer populace that the games industry desperately needs to convert to grow and survive.
- People are having fun playing more affordable games. The choice and product quality at the bottom end of the pricing scale -- anything under $15 or so -- has grown tremendously in a relatively short period of time. Games like Draw Something, Angry Birds, and Infinity Blade aren't only played by 'casual' gamers.

That being said, the top perennial franchises like Halo, Elder Scrolls, Battlefield, and Madden aren't going anywhere, at least for a while longer. Games that critics and consumers universally laud as "must-haves" can continue to support this massive premium. But it's the mid-tier titles, the unestablished IPs, the riskier endeavors, the worthwhile games that don't quite master the magic formula, that will never get off the ground. Even highly-praised franchise entries like Rayman Origins struggle, and publishers like THQ have been threatened with NASDAQ delisting despite enjoying sales that "exceed expectations." Black Rock, creators of critical darlings Pure and Split/Second, were denied sequels by publisher Disney to focus on freemium content and eventually shuttered entirely.

The most egregious example of old-school thinking is the release of Plants vs. Zombies on PlayStation Vita. One of the rarer "crossover" successes, the game costs $3 on the iPhone but a whopping $15 on the Vita for an identical product. Why? Because it's a dedicated gaming device and core gamers are accustomed to paying higher premiums. How long can this madness last?

It's not just Facebook and smartphones that threaten to steal that audience. The consoles themselves have thriving online stores in Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, offering gaming alternatives with high production value and more relaxed pricing. Just look to successes like Battlefield 1943 (over 1MM units sold), Xbox's Castle Crashers (sold 2.6 million), and recent PS3 hit Journey, which quickly became the PSN's fastest-selling title ever.

If the Old Guard would just drop the charade that $60 is the only feasible price point, they might find an unexpectedly higher volume of purchasers to mitigate the reduced revenue per gamer. I realize that the $60 Call of Duty costs some tens of millions more to develop, market, and distribute than the $1 Angry Birds, but is there really a $59 differential there? Someone wiser than me in economics can surely model up a theory that finds a middle ground.

129 comments for "Why the end of the $60 video game is near"

 6 years ago '11        #2
Jesszman 2209 heat pts2209
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$60? Nah, games aren't $60 anymore. If you want the full thing - on-disc dlc and all - then you're gonna pay more than that.
 6 years ago '06        #3
Special Edd 167 heat pts167
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Not going to change.

millions buy at 60beans a pop so why change it?
 6 years ago '11        #4
Jesszman 2209 heat pts2209
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 Special Edd said:
Not going to change.

millions buy at 60beans a pop so why change it?
Exactly. Plus if you're a smart shopper, you can easily find the game's base price for cheaper. I say base price because again, on-disc dlc is gonna bump that to just over $60.
 6 years ago '07        #5
CadillacVyse 944 heat pts944 OP
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Publishers have long blamed console games' high price on a plethora of issues. Skyrocketing development costs is a biggie
and this sh*t is going thru the roof with the next gen systems. the biggest reason why i think next go round in video game systems is the last. even if the used game market was wiped away...with exorbitant prices the big studio aaa development will eventually k!ll itself.
 6 years ago '04        #6
Da Ill One|M 4602 heat pts4602
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of course $60 games are going away...they are going up to $70 next gen
 6 years ago '07        #7
CadillacVyse 944 heat pts944 OP
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 Special Edd said:
Not going to change.

millions buy at 60beans a pop so why change it?
have u not seen the recent market trends of declining sales?(brb going to go grab that march npd numbers thread)

ppl aint buying like they used to. the huge ips sell....everything else gets pennies.
 6 years ago '11        #8
Jesszman 2209 heat pts2209
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 CadillacVyse said:
and this sh*t is going thru the roof with the next gen systems. the biggest reason why i think next go round in video game systems is the last. even if the used game market was wiped away...with exorbitant prices the big studio aaa development will eventually k!ll itself.
Consoles will never go away. games were far more expensive than this back in the day
 04-18-2012, 08:34 PM         #9
LakeHawks 
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Yall really pay $60 for a game?

Y'all must be them n*ggas that actually buy on release date instead of waiting

For example Mass effect 3 sold a sh*t load, i waited

Not even a full month and mass effect is on sale for $40....good price but im still waiting
 04-18-2012, 08:36 PM         #10
LaRy BLanco 
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 Da Ill One said:
of course $60 games are going away...they are going up to $70 next gen
2 gens from now games are gonna cost the same price as a console
 6 years ago '11        #11
Jesszman 2209 heat pts2209
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 Pierced Talentz said:
Yall really pay $60 for a game?

Y'all must be them n*ggas that actually buy on release date instead of waiting

For example Mass effect 3 sold a sh*t load, i waited

Not even a full month and mass effect is on sale for $40....good price but im still waiting
Yeah, i feel you. Syndicate launched at $60, now it's $30
 6 years ago '04        #12
ruff 6 heat pts
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We've been paying for $60 games for over 20 years, I don't see it changing much anytime soon.
 04-18-2012, 08:41 PM         #13
LakeHawks 
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 Jesszman said:
Yeah, i feel you. Syndicate launched at $60, now it's $30
only game that holds value is COD,Rockstar games, and sports thats it

everything else gets discounted in 2 weeks
 6 years ago '04        #14
Da Ill One|M 4602 heat pts4602
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 LAwLB15 said:
2 gens from now games are gonna cost the same price as a console
using the you don't think they will be $70 next gen?
 6 years ago '10        #15
wwwdotcom 20 heat pts20
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 CadillacVyse said:
have u not seen the recent market trends of declining sales?(brb going to go grab that march npd numbers thread)

ppl aint buying like they used to. the huge ips sell....everything else gets pennies.
 6 years ago '04        #16
KURUPTION!!! 541 heat pts541
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 Da Ill One said:
using the you don't think they will be $70 next gen?
I don't think they'll go up, but they're not going down. I do think the trend of fast price drops for games that don't sell will be even more aggressive.

I wish they could get the full game download to be available day and date of the boxed copy for say $40 for the lesser know titles and have AAA titles just available as Full game downloads day and date of the retailers. Lesser known titles at a deep discount may make people who never trade in less reluctant to cop a $60 game if it's ends up being trash. Is there something stopping Sony and M$ from at least doing this with their first party titles? I mean is there something stopping Sony from doing this with their first party titles?
 6 years ago '04        #17
Da Ill One|M 4602 heat pts4602
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 KURUPTION!!! said:
I don't think they'll go up, but they're not going down. I do think the trend of fast price drops for games that don't sell will be even more aggressive.

I wish they could get the full game download to be available day and date of the boxed copy for say $40 for the lesser know titles and have AAA titles just available as Full game downloads day and date of the retailers. Lesser known titles at a deep discount may make people who never trade in less reluctant to cop a $60 game if it's ends up being trash. Is there something stopping Sony and M$ from at least doing this with their first party titles? I mean is there something stopping Sony from doing this with their first party titles?
Sony actually wants to do that for their first party...but half the world doens't even have high speed internet, let alone bandwidth caps...not enough people can take advantage of this to make the investment right now for every game especially with the money problems Sony have right now...that's why only certain games (ME 3 the first one so far) will be available day and date digital and boxed...
 6 years ago '11        #18
Jesszman 2209 heat pts2209
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ILL, they got Vita games on day one for a cheaper price too.
 6 years ago '04        #19
Da Ill One|M 4602 heat pts4602
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 Jesszman said:
ILL, they got Vita games on day one for a cheaper price too.
I know PS 4 will see alot of that day n date stuff with Digital/Boxed...but at this point in the PS 3's lifecycle it's too expensive for Sony to do that...

But when the PS 4 drops for $400 and sells like Columbian prostitues to the secret service....


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Sony will be on the right track to being in the black again...
 6 years ago '04        #20
KURUPTION!!! 541 heat pts541
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 Da Ill One said:
Sony actually wants to do that for their first party...but half the world doens't even have high speed internet, let alone bandwidth caps...not enough people can take advantage of this to make the investment right now for every game especially with the money problems Sony have right now...that's why only certain games (ME 3 the first one so far) will be available day and date digital and boxed...
How much of an investment is it when they already have a games on demand service? Do they have to wait a certain amount of time or something?
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