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Namco: Games Are "Too Expensive For The Audience"

According to one publisher, the industry needs to address falling software sales by changing the price of that software.

As Namco Bandai Partners vice president and head of sales and marketing Olivier Comte told MCV, publishers are "racing to find secondary business models to support retail sales." Some options include selling games at lower prices, delivering them digitally via episodes, and even trying to entice format holders to lower the cost to produce console and handheld tites. Comte wants all the big game companies to sort of pool their thoughts and opinions and discuss the future; he also compares games to music, an industry that makes money by sales of CDs (admittedly decreasing) and concert tickets. Film is in a similar situation. But gaming is a massive industry as well and as he points out, there's really only "one model," and it seems we require a "secondary model." Said Comte:

"I am convinced that in the future we must change the price of video games – they’re too expensive for the audience. With the cost of development and the retail margins, £40 is a fair price [to us], but for the consumer it is too much. From September to December there are three new blockbusters every week, and consumers just can’t afford to buy all that.

A good price of a game should be around £20 – but for this price we can’t make a ten to 15-hour adventure. So for £20 we should offer consumers four to five hours of gameplay, then after that we can make additional money with DLC."

It's sort of a double-edge sword, though, isn't it? If we want the huge blockbuster productions that push the hardware and provide the gamer with cutting-edge experiences, the cost to the developer will be high. Hence, the cost to us will have to remain the same. If we want to pay less, we'll probably get less. And we should remind everyone once again that 25 years ago, cartridges that boasted 1/1757th of the technology we have now cost the same as games do currently. Take inflation into account alongside that unbelievable technology increase, and we should all be down on our hands and knees thanking the powers that be that games don't cost at least $100.

Granted, game prices fell with the PlayStation generation; new games cost $40, then they went up by $10 increments over the next two generations. But even short games take at least 6-8 hours to complete and most take much longer...if you do the math, compare the prices of DVD/Blu-Ray movies, CDs, etc. to games, and how many entertainment hours we get, $60 isn't a bad deal. That being said, Comte is indeed right: most people can't afford to pay $60 just about every week.

5/20/2010 12:24:14 PM Ben Dutka

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