Retail Prices Need to Go Up

Retail Prices Need to Go Up

After pouring 10 hours of gameplay into this summer’s most overlooked title, Deathspank , I realized that I only spent about $1.50 per hour of entertainment, an incredible bargain, and likely the cheapest form of leisure activity that I’ve spent time with all year. It got me thinking, however: When compared to other forms of entertainment that I indulge myself in, are video games among the cheapest?

I’ve participated in several activities over the last few months and have listed the per hour cost of entertainment in the chart below.


Even with Guitar Hero and Mass Effect 2, which had the highest costs of entertainment in the video game category, I still felt that they delivered an appropriate amount of entertainment value. This of course, does not even take into account the residual value that each physical video game possesses (my ability to trade-in games or resell them for cash at retailers like GameStop), which would increase the value and decrease the per hour of entertainment cost.

Looking at the list, it seems logical that video games are simply priced too low for the value they provide to consumers. So why not increase prices?

Activision Blizzard, our industry’s rogue cowboy, has been doing just that over the last three years. Guitar Hero, which is priced at nearly 3x the cost of a regular game (at least, its band kit is), has sold millions of games worldwide; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was priced over $10 higher in the UK and shattered sales records; and lastly, the infamous Stimulus Map Pack, which was priced 25% higher than previous map packs, shattered records as well.

What is interesting is that core gamers stormed forums to give Activision Blizzard a tongue lashing for increasing the price of Modern Warfare 2 and the Stimulus Map Pack, but very few complained about the price of Guitar Hero, which on average likely provided a higher per hour cost of entertainment over any other video game. While the collective logic of consumers is called into question in this scenario, there is a perfectly good reason as to why we complain about higher prices for standalone titles and downloadable content (DLC); it is a fallacy of value for non-tangible products.

When buying laundry detergent, deciding between $5 for a 1 liter bottle of detergent and $7.50 for 2 liters is a pretty simple decision; I can physically see the difference in utility and the same is true for nearly any other product with a tangible utility. As a culture, we have been so conditioned to evaluate products based upon physical characteristics that it becomes difficult to comprehend the utility of non-tangible items. With video games being physically identical to each other, it is no wonder consumers whine when one game is priced higher than another—we simply cannot physically distinguish the value between them, as ridiculous as it sounds. Knowing this, it’s no wonder why consumers accepted the steep price of Guitar Hero. It just came in a bigger box and we have been conditioned to accept that bigger must mean more expensive, without considering that actual value per hour of entertainment it may provide.

But when it comes to finances and video game pricing, there is no easy solution. Either publishers can gradually increase prices and accept the consumer complaints, as did Activision with Call of Duty, or attempt some minor deception tactics by altering the physical appearance of their games. One suggestion may be to only make available a “special edition” for the first 3 months of release, throw in a poster and some cheap swag, and charge $10 to $15 more. Seems like a win-win situation; publishers make more money to support bigger and better titles, and consumers fall into the fallacy that bigger is better.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong. But one thing is for certain: I pay about the same in 2010 as I did in 1995 for a blockbuster video game; the difference being that today, I play each game about 2.5x longer. It’s like getting a 1 liter bottle of Pepsi in 2010 for the price of a 400 ml Pepsi in 1995. Now something doesn’t seem right about that, now does it?

About Jesse Divnich
Jesse Divnich is a video game analyst with over 10 years of experience within the video game industry. Mr. Divnich is currently the Vice President of Analyst Services for Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR).

43 Comments

  1. What’s the difference if you sell 1 million copies of something for $1 or 100,000 copies for $10. It’s just digital bits. Cut the cost of printing discs and go digital download. That’s what Steam does every time they have one of their crazy sales. It doesn’t cost Steam any extra money on shipping or printing discs it’s just bits out, money in. P.S. If you only got 4 hours out of Mass Effect 2 you’re doing it wrong.

  2. Hope you enjoyed your Eminem concert. *snicker*

  3. I do agree with you regarding this matter… The cost of every hour of entertainment has decreased, at the same time, the quality of said entertainment is higher than ever. It seems that in order to sustain this kind of business, games either have to increase in price, or sell even more units…

    But as I grow older, and have less time to play games, I feel like I’m making a poor investment when I buy a game like Red Dead Redemption, or Final Fantasy. I’m not going to finish those games, I will play them and enjoy every second of it, but I won’t get to see the end which is usually the point where the game is most enjoyable.

    I’m sure I will continue buying big blockbuster releases, but at least for me, I see a future where I will buy more Indie or Xbox LIVE Arcade games, just because I can finish them. Especially so as the quality of every minute in those games increases, and sometimes surpasses that of big budget titles (ex: LIMBO).

  4. I would have to say no. Personally I would like to see game prices go down, but in a way they already have.

    Let us look at your Deathspank example. Deathspank itself while it may be a quality title, the cost is nowhere near the cost of a retail boxed title such as Halo Reach.

    What we have these days that we did not have back in 85 is budget titles. With budget titles, such as the XBLA or PSN downloadable titles the publisher does not have to put as much risk into a title (i presume) as they would a title such as a retail boxed title.

    There are however some titles that come with expensive accessories that will always be more expensive such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band. I am noticing more and more top notch titles coming out in collectors editions full of extra swag as well that warrants a higher price tag.

    While I may not be interested in picking up the latest Pokemon game with extra stylus, plush doll and other miscellaneous stuff, I might however be tempted to put an extra twenty bucks in the pot to own all of the extra stuff that comes with Fallout New Vegas, even though it would add no extra game time to the title.

    So all in all, it really just depends on your tastes, how much money you have to spend, and what is personally in it for you.

  5. The game industry does not need to be encouraged any more to spend millions more on development. For example the current “battle” between EA and Activision where they are spending big money on bands to put their songs in Medal of Honor and Call of Duty. Game companies don’t need to spend $50 million to make a good game, and raising prices will decrease sales and encourage more piracy.

  6. It’s interesting, when I buy a box for guitar hero, I’m know that I’m paying extra because it has physical extra parts that just plain cost money to make. It’s not the size of the box as you say, but more that I know it costs more for them to produce, and I’m buying into that whole experience.

    I honestly find that the cost of most games is actually too much, because they just don’t compare in quality to other games on the market. Why would I pay 60 dollars for some B-rate game (ex. Clash of the Titans) when I could get something that is much better (ex. Red Dead Redemption)?

    I’d honestly buy more games if those b-rate games came out at cheaper price points (say, 30-40 dollars). Quite a few companies already do this, look at Toy Story 3 (actually a great game), or Lego Harry Potter.

  7. FAIL! Games are overpriced.

  8. I bought a $400,000 house 15 years ago. Oh, look at that! I only payed $3/hr for my house! What a bargain!

  9. Going to have to agree with Jeff on this. Digital is the way of the future and the corporate companies need to realize this.

    So yes companies have raised the prices of games. Who has done it? Activision, EA, Sony, THQ, Bethesda, the list goes on. What do these companies all have in common? They all make AAA games, and are the most commercial about it as well. Activision has been putting out a new Call of Duty every year since 2007. Doesn’t sound like much, but what have they really done? Nothing. It’s essentially the same game with different guns and maps.

    So why should I spend $60 on something I already bought last year? Oh, that’s right, they instantly drop support once the new version is released and everyone flocks to the latest revision.

    This is why I have stopped buying games all together. If the publisher wants my money, they need to stop with remakes, revamps, sequels, and side installments to franchises Ie. Halo Wars, Halo: ODST, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. (CoD:MW2 was essentially an expansion, as was ODST)

    Prices will go up because people will want to play, but if you ask me $50 was perfect amount of money to spend on a game.

    This rant is going no where now.

  10. Jesse,

    You make good points – but the real reason game companies need to raise prices is to combat skyrocketing development costs.

    But if you notice – games are having more trouble holding their initial retail pricing these days. If I remember correctly, EA dropped the price on Madden pretty quickly the past couple of years.

  11. Now how many games have you purchased only to have zero fun with? In that instance, you’re paying $X for 0 hours of entertainment.

    I have bought quite a few games that I regret having ever purchased. If video games were more expensive, I would have already quit the hobby entirely, as I couldn’t take another wasted purchase.

  12. You are forgetting about all of the other associated costs: purchasing console, paying the electric bill, purchasing your console again because it died after 2 years, paying the Internet bill, purchasing gimmick new accessory that they threw at you, etc.

    But yes, even with that, in the long run, games are cheap for the hour. Except when you get a game you thought it would rock but it sucks, or when the game actually rocks but lasts 8 hours and costs US$60.

  13. Consumers don’t make a calculation of dollars per hour of entertainment. I’ve never met anyone who decided to go see a 3 hours-long movie instead of a 90 minutes-long movie because that 3 hours-long movie was a better deal for the money.

    I also note that, aside from one (presumably hard cover) book, you only compare games to forms of entertainment that aren’t mass-produced. Shows, sports matches, even movies cost more because the number of seats to see them is limited and you’re using a special location for the experience (whether a stadium or a theater). The $1 itunes song you listen a hundred times or a $6 paperback novel that you read for 8 hours is a much better deal for the money than your typical 8 hours-long, $60 FPS.

    Ultimately, video games are entertainment purchases that should be priced at an impulse-buy price-point. At $60, most people must plan their game purchase ahead of time and they compete with other expensive, important purchases. If games were, say, $20, then people would just buy them without being worried of wasting a lot of money, thus raising sales number considerably.

    What’s more, used games and piracy would also drop, since they wouldn’t be such a good deal anymore. Selling back a used game for 15$ and then buying a $60 game for $50 used makes sense; selling for $5 and buying back a $20 game for $17 used is a lot less interesting.

    For the price of one Harry Potter game ($60), you could buy a ticket to the movie ($12), the sound track CD ($13), the DVD ($20) _and_ the book ($15). Which seems to hold the highest value for a Harry Potter fan? Just the game or a bundle of everything else?

    It’s true that games haven’t kept up with inflation. All this has done is made games go from ridiculously over-priced to simply over-priced. Game prices still have a way to go before they drop to the value they should be at.

  14. As a developer and a consumer I can see both sides of this. In short, game companies are spending a lot more time and money making games these days and are basically taking the hit for it. However, I don’t know about the rest of you here, but $60 a game is just plain expensive! Maybe not alone, but consider all the blockbuster games that were released this summer! Say I wanted to buy all of those and not rent (which is just as worse with Blockbuster). I don’t have that kind of games budget!

    Here’s where I think game developers should start taking thing… Let’s dial back the content, the manpower and the development time and release episodic content. I think one of the reasons people are afraid to invest in such an expensive game is because they aren’t sure if they will like it, or if they will just put it down after a little while. That’s a legit reason to gripe in my opinion. They think the cost isn’t worth it. By dialing back the cost of making a game, the publishers could charge less. People would be more willing to buy on impulse and to try a game out than to hesitate and not buy it at all. It’s a win-win situation.

  15. The biggest hole in this argument, I believe, is your supposition that because many videogames are *physically* identical (a disc in a plastic case in shrinkwrap) that consumers don’t understand why the prices are so varied. Your average game buyer knows if she is picking up a AAA title with a development budget of $100 million (to say nothing of the marketing budget), and she understands why that game costs $60 while the brand-new minigame compilation from the indie startup next to it only costs $25.

    Secondly, on the topic of price: Games *do* cost more now than they did in 1995. I remember the games I was buying in 1995 costing me $40 new; $50 for highly anticipated ones. Now $60 is the norm. And, on the flip-side of your equation, if you’re playing games 2.5x longer now than 1995, maybe you were playing different genres in those two eras. In my own experience, I spent 1995 playing FFIII and Chrono Trigger, which took me a significantly longer time to complete than many of the shooters that I’ve purchased in the last couple years. So in my case, the cost of games per hour of enjoyment has gone up.

    Finally, not to nitpick, but where did you see Toy Story 3 that charged you $20 a ticket? I saw that movie (in 3D, in a nice theater, in pricey Los Angeles) for $16. For $20, I hope they were massaging your shoulders during the scary parts. Surely you didn’t include the price of popcorn, because then to be fair you’d have to add to your spreadsheet all the chips, soda and beer that you’ve potentially consumed while playing Modern Warfare 2 or Red Dead Redemption. Technically, you *could* have chosen to see Toy Story 3 as a weekend matinee for around $6, bringing its cost per hour down enough to raise it 3 spots on your list. Or, to take the illustration further, you could have waited and Netflix’d it, bringing its cost per hour (in terms of a percentage of your monthly Netflix cost) to being the cheapest thing on your list.

    I think your topic was a good one, but you’ve left me unconvinced of your argument.

  16. All I know is that if games start getting more expensive, I better start seeing cloth maps and color printed manuals again. Zork and Ultima were doing it right…

  17. I notice your comparison doesn’t include DVDs or music CDs. I can buy a brand new CD for less than a third of the cost of a new game, with considerably more residual value. Likewise DVDs, which are similarly priced – and movies still have a higher development cost than most games.

    I also disagree with your residual values. As much as I loved RDR I don’t think I’m going to play it again in the near future. The value (especially residual) of any given game is mostly subjective and can’t be reduced to a binary value so simply.

    This seems to me to be a simplistic analysis, and as a gamer and developer (on minimum wage) I’m more concerned about the development costs and rush for profits that drive the retail costs.

  18. I don’t have time to really break down all of the problems with this argument, but lets just take the first couple the come to my mind:

    1) It costs more to make video game, so they should cost more.

    This is totally wrongheaded, because the market of people actively buying games has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 15 years. If you look at recent comments from industry players, the target numbers for games sold is continuing to increase at a rapid rate. This isn’t going to change for a long time, as there are huge untapped markets in developing countries right now.

    2) The price per hour that I get from a video game is so cheap, I should pay more per hour.

    First of all, as some people commented above already: You pay to much for stuff. 20$ for a movie in the theatre? 250$ for a concert ticket? Lets not forget that you didn’t even put more contemporary forms of household media on there. I buy a music album for $15. It’s an hour long, I listen to it 15 – 20 times over the course of a year. OMG, clearly music is too cheap? Similarly with movies. I can buy a recent blu-ray on amazon for 10$, does that mean the studio’s are losing money?

    Lets look at the core of this argument: Call of Duty: MW2. According to the blogs, MW2 cost about 200million, if you include advertising and promotion. They sold 20 million copies worldwide (as of june). Lets assume the average copy sold for 10 dollars less than msrp. $50 x 20mil = 2.5billion dollars. Now lets compare this to a comparable movie blockbuster: Avatar. Estimates are that it cost 500 million to make and promote Avatar. Avatar made about 2.7 billion at the box office. Basically, video games are way more expensive to purchase, but much about the same money as movies do. I fail to see the problem. If anything, the games industry needs to work harder to get more platforms in peoples hands. Everyone has a dvd player (I use the term everyone loosely). Every town has a movie theater. Everyone does not have a video game console. If the video game industry wants to make more money, they really need to increase the number of people that have access to their products.

  19. I for one like collector’s editions if they provide the perceived value that I appreciate.

    Raising end-user game costs without raising perceived consumer value is a big debate both ways.

    Does the game industry deserve more end profits for their game? Yes.

    Do gamers deserve better (or on par with top title) games? Yes.

    I think that it’s going to be a challenge to accomplish and make both sides happy.

  20. What I don’t understand is the need for people to state the number of hours a game is. Not only does it suggest that there is a certain pace at which a game should be experienced (neither faster nor slower), it also suggests a cap on the amount of enjoyment one can get out of the thing. I bought Mega Man 10 understanding that it would only take a few hours to beat for the first time, but I didn’t think of it that way. I buy games hoping that the game will encourage me to replay it. If the game has high enough replay value, then the price doesn’t matter. But if the game has a max number of hours I may enjoy it, then $60 is way too much.

    For a gaming investment to break even with me, the consumer, the game should be good enough for a second or third go-around. 22 hours means nothing if I give up on it or if I refuse to jump into it again.

  21. I have been thinking about cost per hour in terms of prices for a long time now (I find it works better as a contrast to how much I earn per hour, as long as I come out ahead I’m leading a good life).

    I would argue that games are about right and other entertainment options are over-priced. 5 dollars quality entertainment an hour is my gold standard. Of course I also know very little about the costs involved with creating games. If 5 dollars an hour is going to break the industry I’d prefer they increased prices…

  22. Based on this analysis and the logic stated here, I should be spending $750 instead of $15 on my chess board because it is a game I can continually play, hour after hour, thereby reducing the overall cost per hour for my entertainment?

    I’m not sure I can cogently and concisely express my ideas further… so I’ll just agree with another commenter; if you only got 4 hours out of Mass Effect 2, you did something wrong.

  23. Both arguments are true. Games are overpriced (compared to the actual cost of making the game and excluding the crazy priced soundtracks, shipping, packaging, retail add-ons etc) and games are under priced (compared to the amount of revenue that actually gets back to the software house)

    But with the growth on social sites of game and the advantages offered by DLC why aren’t more companies offering good micro-market game play? Why not cut the 200+ weapon packs, skins, perks etc in more new FPS games and offer a cut price version with costed DLC to make up the difference?

    FUN FACT: software houses ‘waste’ millions every year on ‘buying’ reviews. Even this sites helping. Game informer, a U.S. based gaming magazine that I’m sure you have all heard of, is listed as a must read on this sites front page. It’s owner? Gamestop…. unbiased reviews? doubtful

  24. I see what you mean, but I think it should go lower as we incluse new fetaures like massive-multiplayer and cooperative play , we must create a new way to pay fro games for a cheaper price.It’s start to cost more for developers to make these games, but I think the technology industry in a whole will have to press the reset button in order for everyone to become highly profitable again. Im predominantly on the side of pay-less for more fun because I beleive that even though we complain about paying more for games that we play more, which in theory means no sense for us to crying out, we must level out to a point to where the price is affordable like $15-$20,and people can buy more games that offer top-tier/prime experiences. It all comes down to whether publishers like Acitvison-Blizzard or EA want to charge higher and get less quantity or charge lower and get more quantity? I rather get the quantity for less and build up to a point to where I can increase the price by bits , but later on I’m going to have to go trough the same cycle and lower the prices back down again in the future. It’s just a nice clean cycle that we must go through. It’s going to be a heated battle over the next couple of years. All I’m saying is the whole market division of the computer hardware/software industry has to press the reset periodically in order for everyone to win in this case. It’s going to have to be the new generation of people being born in the uprising of the computer industry to take responsibility for this role and finding a way to institutionalize it for further generations to follow. I know it sounds like we have to create a Declar. of Independence or Constitution for the worldwide economy but it has to be done very soon or we will go through this once again but crazier than now with a more worse economy than now.

  25. I honestly can’t think of a single thing that would cause game sales to fall precipitously than an across-the-board price increase.

    You site the troubled economy as a reason why something must be done, but it’s precisely the reason why a price rise would cause a gamer exodus.

    Honestly, it sounds like someone’s been talking with Michael Pachter (and maybe Bobby Kotick) a bit too much. Those two guys may understand business (i.e., the bottom line), but I get the sense they really don’t understand consumers.

    A better solution: stop focusing on the North American market and make games that have world-wide appeal. The industry could stand to make far more money by tapping new markets rather than beating the same markets over the head with the same US-centric FPS games with annual coats of paint.

  26. Oh yeah — Four hours with ME2 and 12 hours with RDR means you’re missing out on a massive amount of content. As others said “you’re doing it wrong.”

    Seriously.

    Unless you also walked out of the movies, baseball game, concert, etc., before they were over, you should not include those games as examples. The comparison is already a stretch, but not finishing those games makes their inclusion invalid in my opinion.

  27. One last thing:

    As a reader, I would appreciate it if you all were a bit more upfront about how this article is not a piece of objective journalism. Or perhaps it’s my mistake to think it was—I’m new to this web site after all! Regardless, a header to the effect of “Expert Opinion” or “Insider Perspective” would be helpful.

    Jesse Divnich’s company, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, is a research company with a client list composed entirely of publishers, not investors.

    I’ll leave it to others to draw their own conclusions.

    http://www.eedar.com/About/Default.aspx

  28. Well, it would be nice if prices went up enough to actually pay people who work crazy hours in the industry the overtime they deserve. The old argument, ‘You are so lucky to be there! There are a million people who would take your place in a second!’ is the kind of mindset that causes the high rate of burnout.

    So charge more for games and pay people overtime that work overtime.

    End result: Better games made by people that are fresher and NOT burned out.

  29. thank you pag for your interesting comment, i have to completely agree with what you are saying.

    what jesse has done here seems to me like the typical rational business perspective calculation, that is based on a utility-function and yields a “utility per unit”-graph that one can interpret this way or the other.
    but real life, and -especially- entertainment, does simply not work that easy. most consumers usually don’t think that way when it comes to entertainment, i believe.
    if video games would cater the irrational impulse-buy some more, the threshhold of just picking up a game to try it, as it works for movies or music right now, would be much lower. if you would raise video game prices to, say, 90$, people would spend even more time looking at reviews and playing demos and in the end would buy less games than today, or pirate even more. but pag has stated that more clearer already…
    in my opinion, games are still -WAY- too expensive.

  30. If anything, video games’ prices shouldn’t go any higher. Production is becoming more and more expensive, but quite frankly the consumer doesn’t give a crap. Wanna pump up the prices? If so, I have one word for you. Piracy. More entertainment for the hour isn’t an incentive for higher prices as it’s the only thing that keeps people coming back to your games. Raise prices and you lose customers and most probably make the same amount of money.

  31. I think the idea of “game prices are too low; they need to be higher” is problematic in that it comes at the issue from a very one-sided perspective: that of the industry. I don’t think the current state of the industry, in which a given title almost MUST be a mega-hit in order to swim, else it sinks, is healthy for companies or for consumers. It’s like a rationale thought up to justify the enormous development and advertising budgets, and it encourages publishers to not take risks, milk the hell out of existing franchises, and entertain the belief that game customers’ wallets exist in a vacuum devoid of any other economic obligations. There are very few people, I think, who would say that $60 is a trivial amount of money – it’s a lot of money, and at that kind of price point, gamers might be able to buy one – maybe two – new games a month. Those studios who “win,” win big; those who don’t find themselves knocking the sticker price down to $40-50 in 2 months anyway.

    Let’s not forget to entertain the other paradigm, here. Instead of saying “game prices are too low, they need to be higher,” I would venture the equally-valid, “Games cost too much money to make; they need to be cheaper to develop.” The onus for price increase can’t be constantly shouldered by consumers. Maybe the solution is a variable price-point system, instead of a flat “$60 for every new game.” Perhaps companies need to budget their graphical quality instead of trying to go balls-out every time, driving the development cost into the stratosphere. I may be more forgiving than a lot of gamers, but I think a late-gen PS2 or Wii game with good art direction has graphics that are “good enough” for me – that is, if I had the choice of playing the same game, but with high-tier last gen graphics or standard this-gen graphics, I would take the former if it meant the game would cost me $20 less.

    It’s very wonderful for stockholders to think of games as a time/value proposition and nod at how perfectly rational it would be to charge $100 for a popular game that heavily featured online multiplayer because that’s like -infinity hours- of fun, which is practically a bargain bin steal at ONLY $100!…but it doesn’t work that way. Gaming technology has gotten more complex, but that doesn’t mean development has to practically hemorrhage money – it just means developers have to exercise more self-restraint in the areas of production that most drive up costs, because if we start seeing the $80 new-release game, gaming will, through no fault of its own, become a fan’s club, because a lot of people with casual to moderate interest (and even some with a lot of interest) will be unwilling or unable to front that kind of cost for a single game, no matter how good of a value it purports to be.

  32. —Rant warning—

    someone name me a game in the last year that was worth geting?

    carbon copy trash. DLC, you got our game for £40 – £50 then give us another £10 for a map pack that adds 2 game mods and 2 map’s…

    im sorry but im losseing intrest in that Market. the game is semi the “added” contenct is meh why would i consider paying more for a MEH experiance?

    the few games i have got this year i have played and enjoed quiet well but the rest? looks like clones and remakes and more poorly made “casual” stuff

    would i pay more for a copy of a game? short response. No.

    there alredy milking us to hell with this crap why would i considering giveing them more ?

    – Lost1

  33. Your house comparison fails, since it is all relative. Your 400k house provides an incredible bargain compared to say spending 15 years in a hotel. So house prices should go up! Well, that is where the rental market keeps things in check.

    Overall I agree with the article, but the table clearly indicates that only top tiered game prices should go up. No doubt Call of Duty provides most users with an incredible bargain. Not necessarily that retail prices need to go up, but there should be fee’s for online play.

    I also believe that not all game prices should go up. Just the good ones.

    It is kinda humorous that people are willing to drop $200 on Guitar Hero and no one complains, even though it really doesn’t provide incremental value.

  34. Jeff, i think the comment about the house was sarcastic.

    Living on Europe i cant really say anything about the price situation in America.

    But i would have to pay an average ~ 330 $ + to buy an ps3 slim 120gb, i actually dont really have access to demos via the psn store.(had to create a fake us-account)

    you should include the development of offering pricy DLC-content.( ie. bad company with only like 3 different game modes [ kinda boring after awhile ) and then they release a dlc package with a new game-mode for about 14 $)

    14$ may not be much, but after you’ve arleady spent 60 $ for a game i want to have at least access to a lacking game-mode

  35. I am torn on this article. The evidence is painstakingly clear that the value within video games is tremendous and much better than any other form of entertainment. But with games already costing $60? How can I, from an absolute point of view, justify it?

    It’s tough when I pay $20 for a movie, only to go out and spend $60 on a video game. Sure the movie is cheaper, but it doesnt provide the same type of value.

    Just simply torn….

  36. The whole concept of “per hour” entertainment assumes you’ve defined that a piece of fun is the same as any other piece of fun. I don’t think anyone has done that yet, though I keep reading folks posting similar rationalizations everytime someone asks whether or not the current weekend Steam sale item 10 bucks is “worth it”. Someone invariably says that because it’s cheaper than a date movie, it is somehow “worth it”.

    Flying to Germany to drive a borrowed Ferrari 250 LM for an hour or two at the ‘Ring sounds like fun to me and would seem “worth it” to me. I don’t think means the price of a typical PC game should go up.

    On a related note, when will the cost savings of digital distribution be passed to the consumer? That PDF manual on disk… that was supposed to shave a few sheckles off production costs over a having a printed manual. When will that be reflected in game pricing?

  37. Gamers usually overstate the cost of goods with video games when they are talking about going digital ie. “it’s just bits, there should be huge savings!” This false belief supports the article’s point. Consumers are bad at judging value from a packaging perspective.

    That $60 retail boxed game cost at MOST $3 for all packaging and printing. Going digital is not free since it still costs 13 cents a gig for quality bandwidth so now you are looking at .50 cents for a game versus $3.

    There is a huge advantage which is the publisher does not have to pay up front but rather per copy sold so there is no inventory or horrible landfill ET-like situations. However, that is just reduced risk, better cashflow and better logistics not actual reduced costs directly.

    The biggest reason for increased pricing is the growing official used market. 50%+ of Gamestop/EB Games/Game revenue is used. They won’t even let you buy new without asking if you want to buy used. Every retailer is getting in on this action. It is a chicken and egg kind of problem though. If games could afford to be priced at $20 like a DVD/Blueray, I believe more people would just choose new. Publishers and developers do not see a single penny from used games. YES, Gamestop says that money goes to another new games but not always. I see a lot of people just buy a bunch of other used games. Games ARE too expensive hence why there is a thriving used market but it is also harming the industry big time.

    It also does not help that the market is fragmented into various consoles and PCs unlike film that can be viewed on various platforms and for the most part has a single standard but that is another story . . . . hard to call games mainstream until the market has one standard ala DVD or Blueray for playback.

  38. I had a real blast playing Trine, Shank, and Plants vs. Zombies.
    A good game IS a good game. It’s publishers who want to convince us that we need AAA glory, which is utter commercial crap.
    And in my country at least Rock Band pricing was wildly unpopular.

  39. I completely disagree with video game prices going up! And would like to question the article’s author’s “gaming” credentials! Are you on the corporate side or the gamers’ side? Gamers have been getting their wallet’s pillaged by the corporate giants (looking at you Activision) for years.

    If anything prices of games should go down and with digital distribution right around the corner, it BETTER! The savings made by companies by no longer producing packaging, disc, materials, cost of shipping and percentages paid to retailers MUST be passed on to the consumer. If not, old school gamers will know that these companies do not care about us in general and are merely attempting to set an new market price for upcoming gamers who don’t understand how much a Nintendo cartridge (which cost more to make than CDs) used to be much cheaper than the new HALO coming out.

  40. He only spent 4 hours playing Mass Effect 2 ?!? umm…there’s no way he really played that game. One could easily spend 10 hours on that one on the easiest difficulty setting. (unless he was going for a speed run which I’m really not sure why you would)

  41. I agree with the point that for a good game $60 is a great investment. I also completely agree with giving developers more money for the years of work they pour into a game, especially a AAA title. Instead of raising prices the industry needs to find a way to push out the greedy retail side of the house, or at least suppress. Gamestop for instance makes a KILLING off of consumers trading in titles for a small discount on something else. When consumers purchase a used title, none of that profit goes to the developers. They are the real enemy in this industry. Perhaps as some people have already mentioned, completely digital purchases like Steam are the answer. If you raise prices on video games you will probably just end up making retail more money.

  42. Your point is invalid, and your chart equally so because you only list YOUR personal time spent on each game. I Personally have spent 100 hours on Mass Effect 2, and my roommate has spent more than 1000 hours of the rockband franchise. So before you start making points of price per hour, perhaps you should get some REAL data.

    Another primary reason games are a fast growing form of entertainment is their price per hour is much more affordable than other options. Rising prices will lead to reduced sales as the primary consumers of games are teens and 20 somethings. Neither have massive cash to spend. Need evidence, look at the music and movie industry, who’s primary consumers USED to be teens and 20 somethings until they priced themselves into the “once a month” category for those markets.

  43. The PC game market is a lot more competitive than the console market. I have only bought one game priced for $50 in the last 2 years. There are a lot more games sold at lower prices.

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