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Namco Bandai: Selling Games At Full Price Is No Good

The debate concerning the cost of video games is ongoing. Both gamers and game makers alike have differing opinions on the issue, too.

While Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has been quoted as saying he'd charge $100 per game if he could, other publishing heads are saying quite the opposite. Take Namco Bandai head of sales Oliver Comte, for instance: he recently spoke at the Level Up Conference in Spain, as he voiced the thoughts of CEO Shukuo Ishikawa.

"Selling a game only once for $70-$80 [typical Japanese prices] is no good at all. If you sell it for $25, or even give it away free, then you can sell episodes and items online. They’ll soon be dropping $10 or $20 on these, and you can also do monthly charges."

This tends to be the viewpoint of a company when they post $350 million in losses and are forced to slash 10% of its workforce. That being said, the Codemasters CEO says something similar, although he actually proposes the selling of incomplete games; after which, they'd sell the consumer the "full experience" via "multiple micro-payments." Some companies do quite well with episodic content only, but they're hardly the big hitters in the industry. ...no offense to either of those guys, but it does seem that if you produce a very popular title, gamers will absolutely pay $60 for it. That seems fairly obvious.

But would you rather pay half the price for an extended sample, then continue to pay in small increments to open up the full game? Episodic content is an interesting idea, but we get the feeling that many gamers are already a little upset that some publishers keep certain content out of supposed "final" titles. But maybe if they weren't $60 apiece...oh, who knows? It's complicated.

Tags: videog games, game cost, industry

7/18/2010 8:47:26 PM John Shepard

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Comments (97 posts)

LegendaryWolfeh
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 9:51:23 PM
Reply

No No NO.

Don't start making half games only to expect people to pay more and more. Sure I can understand selling an 'incomplete' game for 20$ maybe, people buy it and if they like it keep going. But if you make a complete and perfect game and sell it for 60$ obviously everyone for sure is going to buy, and maybe even then some following content after wards. (and if you do great enough, these people become fans and continue to buy new experiences from you)

Agree with this comment 18 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

xnonsuchx
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:10:09 AM

Yeah, I think $60 games are a bit too pricey (though not so much if they provide a LOT of gameplay, even in re-playability), but I think too many people will be too suspicious about small, cheap games w/ DLC that could end up costing much more over time w/o any obvious benefit.

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Cesar_ser_4
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:07:51 AM

Arent they already doing it with the whole "it has to fit on a dvd-9 thing"?

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xnonsuchx
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:39:10 PM

Well, even besides multi-platform games dumbed down for the 360! :-)

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manofchao5
Thursday, July 22, 2010 @ 10:00:40 PM

i hate when a company already has the add-on content on the disc and is trying to charge for it now that is just as pathetic as being a publisher like activision or the idiot bobby kotick who is a greedy sh**

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:04:11 PM
Reply

It isn't that complicated, if they want to post bigger losses and cut more staff they should go ahead and do this.

I sure as hell ain't buying any portion of a game and then being forced to buy more to see the rest if I like it. In fact I am not buying any game that the developers or publishers have no confidence in.

I say if your game is good, make some NEW content as DLC and sell that. No holding back portions. Friggin idiots. Make better games if you suck, don't restructure the payments of your crappy ones.

Agree with this comment 18 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

FM23
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:19:26 PM

SO TRUE

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shadowscorpio
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:38:00 AM

Tell 'em how it is World. What the F**k is happening to this industry...

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Cesar_ser_4
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:09:53 AM

Yeah go all MW2 up in there! Just kidding...

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 9:32:56 AM

Can you imagine if you buy into a game that is delivered episodically? What guarantee do you have that they will see sufficient sales of the episodes to continue developing and delivering future episodes? You may never finish the game because the game may never be completed.

I remember before Xenosaga Episode III was release there was doubt about whether it would happen, and whether they (Namco) would finish the series. OK Episodes I and II were fully fledged JRPG games, but the story had a distinct thread and was unfinished.

Imagine if Uncharted 2 was delivered chapter by chapter but by chapter 20 too many players had jumped off the bandwagon to go play MW2 instead/ We might never see the remainder of the game.

No, there is no way to talk this idea up for me, it's a terrible idea from start to finish.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:06:35 PM
Reply

This is a terrible idea. Just another way for developers to nickle and dime people. If the industry goes the route of only offer pieces of games instead of full games then I'll quit buying new games. That simple.

Say i buy a "half completed" game for $20 and i hate the game. thats $20 bucks wasted. If i buy a game in bluray or DVD format and hate the game, at least i can sell it and get something back. This will only benefit the the developers not the consumer.

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frostface
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:18:51 PM

I think that's the point. They're looking into ways of maximizing the profits not the entertainment factor.

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FM23
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:21:52 PM

Aways about the money...but I can't hate on them...everything is a hustle and the gaming industry is no different. They're trying to eat and survive, but then again speaking as a consumer this is a terrible idea. Like John said, only the companies posting losses want this to happen...just go out of business or sell your quality titles to companies that will make them better.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:24:15 PM

Yup, the market picks winners and losers. If they make crappy games they deserve to go under. They shouldn't be wasting their time figuring out ways to scam people. If you want to succeed at a business you have to make the bet product you know how and know how to sell it to people.

Last edited by Jawknee on 7/18/2010 10:25:39 PM

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FM23
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:18:55 PM
Reply

Buy a half a** product?...HELL NO...I am not sure if that is Namco's idea or if they just want to sell games cheaper, but Codemaster can suck a fat one with that crap. That's like directors making viewers have to pay extra to see the ending because the director believes he worked so hard to create an experience for the viewer. Like John said, make a great/popular game and it will sell. Yeah alot of good games don't sell well (prime exampe: Demons Souls), but that's mainly due to advertising and the predetermined targeted audience. FPS's seem to be the most popular and that is why developers keep making them...thats where the money is at...but everyone thinks they can make a game and it will sell. This is why the market is so oversaturated now. Look at how many games have come out between the end of 2009 and 2010 already. That's alot of games in such a short period. Do they expect everyone to buy every single one?...they would say Yes...but speaking as a consumer...I pay for quality. GOWIII and Heavy Rain are not long games and the replay value is subjective, but I would defnitely pay full price for these game rather than let's say Transformers WFC even though I have put more time into that game than GOW and HV put together (multiplayer). The point is these developers create average or replicate games and expect everyone to purchase it. Anyway, make good/interesting games and people will buy them. Don't make pre-? games, then sell the rest back to us later. I personally think all games should cost $40 dollars. I would buy so many games. 2 games become 3 now, and 4 become 6 and so on...sale figures increase for many developers...thus the industry will flourish and companies wont have to start firing hard workers and cheating the consumer with half baked products. Seriously, the industry is getting over saturated...too many games, not enough free time. Most of these games have M rating targeting adults. Adults like myself have so much on there plate time wise and financially, why waste time to play and money buying a game you don't need. I just rent them...easy. I then buy what I know I will cherish. Still mad I paid full price for Bioshock 2. I payed $20 bucks for the first one and thats the one I would have paid full price for.

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BikerSaint
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:29:42 PM
Reply

If Codemasters, Namco Bandai and any other companyt goes ahead & do this nickel & dim sh!t, then they can go f*ck themselves!

Their games will be bought when they're dusting away in $-2 USED bargain bin for me(and just for collection purposes only)

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 9:29:41 AM

This idea makes the online access pass that EA want's to use seem like a fantastic idea. Personally I'd even prefer a one time activation code with a game instead of episodic delivery of a game.

I have a feeling that episodic delivery is also a way of reducing the studio's commitment to a game so that they don't have such a high initial investment in a game.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:35:00 PM
Reply

These idiots need to realize they are losing money because they make crappy games not because of the way their games are priced. If they don't want to continue to lose money, hire better people. Come up with better ideas. Don't punish your customer any further by pulling crap like this.

Last edited by Jawknee on 7/18/2010 10:35:17 PM

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Oyashiro
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:35:51 PM
Reply

With a CEO like that... No wonder Bamco is losing money.

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shadowscorpio
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:41:11 AM

They're also losing money because they feel the need to cater more to the 360 fans rather than the PS3 fans. Being a JRPG developer and all.

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BikerSaint
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 10:53:52 PM
Reply

If chopped-up shovelware isn't making them money now, what makes them think we'll buy 5 episodes of chopped-up shovelware?????

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 9:27:36 AM

Well, you and I have common sense, so we can smell the BS. Namco appears to have a bad case of 'Wada-sense' and so they cannot detect the BS emanating from their own mind.

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GuernicaReborn
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:03:23 PM
Reply

I heard they're gonna start doing this with movies too. You pay for the first hour of a movie, lets say its Inception. If you like it, you get back in line and buy the next hour, then go back in the theater and watch it. If you're still intrigued, you can go back to purchase the ending as well.

Namco Bandai, does that sound like it sucks balls? Yes, it does. Nobody wants to watch a movie like that, nor do they want to play a game like that. Now, look really hard at what you're suggesting, Namco. That sucks too.

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StangMan80
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:14:32 PM

That is odd for movies and dumb.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:35:00 PM

I think he was making a joke. No way in hell would that fly with movies. I found that watching half of a movie then having to come back to it ruins the movie for my 90% of the time.

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StangMan80
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:39:14 PM

Yea it most be because that would not work.

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StangMan80
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:14:00 PM
Reply

This Idea is stupid I will never buy part of a game, I want the full experience. Most games should cost $40-$50,but there are games out there worth more. like GT5 I would pay $100 for it. I think the price of the game should be based on the quality of it.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:37:32 PM

I don't mind paying $60 if the game is good. Most PS3 exclusives and some multiplats like Dead Space and Bioshock 2 have been worth the full price of admission. If they want to make money they need to make better games.

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StangMan80
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:40:45 PM

Yes, but if it is not a "good" game then it needs to cost less.

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Jawknee
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:43:04 PM

Ha, that's what reviews are for. if the game is bad it will most likely be reduced in price very quickly anyway. Also if its bad, why buy it right? ;)

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shadowscorpio
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:44:35 AM

This is precisly why these people making the games need to ACTUALLY BE GAMERS. I don't know how the whole pricing thing works but they need to know how to determine the quality and value of their product.

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shadowscorpio
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:45:28 AM

@ Jawknee

Very true. Look how fast Final Fantasy 13 dropped in price.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:15:20 PM
Reply

Imagine if they all did this, even a big hard drive would fill up extremely fast. Either that or they would actually just sell you an unlock code; could you imagine the anger that would produce?

Sometimes I wonder (since the gaming business has gone mainstream) if they aren't acting like every other company and firing people due to losses even though the CEOs and other bosses laugh all the way to the bank with their millions of dollars and solid gold toilets.

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kraygen
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:22:41 AM

Of course, you can't expect presidents, board members, and ceo's paychecks to go down 1 cent, no, no, no. That's like killing someone, it's atrocious.

These big companies will always lay off ppl to ensure they don't have to take a pay cut.

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StangMan80
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:24:37 PM
Reply

I also understand that the game makers need to make money, but wouldn't you sell more "not so good" games for $40, then for $60. I would think so, They would make more money wouldn't they?

Because I know there are games I would of picked up a long time ago if they cost a bit less.

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kraygen
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:24:07 AM

They probably would, problem is, there are a lot of ppl who will pay $60 for a crappy game because they have money to waste and don't care how much they spend as long as they get every new game to hit the shelves.

Rich ppl ruin it for everybody.

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RebelJD
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:37:23 PM
Reply

The only additional content I've purchased for my PS3 games was a character pack for Uncharted 2 and the Taxidermist episode for Heavy Rain. Some additional content is worth the purchase, other content isn't. If companies go a different route in how they make their games, purchasing additional game content may work. But seriously, they would have to literally create a different form of gaming. Who would want to purchase half a freakin' game only to be told to purchase additional content to finish it? I see this working with a mini-games in one genre. Either way, squeezing every penny out of the consumer might just make the consumer stop supporting the genre all together.

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Alienange
Sunday, July 18, 2010 @ 11:49:00 PM
Reply

Sounds like the guy wants to make and MMO. Give the game away and then charge to open up parts of the game? Go check out facebook Ishikawa. It's already being done and you're late to the party.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:05:17 AM
Reply

I am so tired of being nickle and dimed to death. If a game company wants to go this route, I can't stop them. But, I sure as hell won't buy their games, and will celebrate their abject failure.

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Alienange
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:14:17 AM

Please invite me to that celebration. I'll bring the drinks.

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kraygen
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:25:25 AM

Me too, my wife makes the best snicker doodles.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 11:00:37 AM

My wife makes some bomb Tonkatsu and Kimchi Chigae.

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Alienange
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:16:39 PM

Great. The two wives can come.

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sirbob6
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:30:39 AM
Reply

This would be a terrible idea. They would lose money because people would play the first part, find that it sucks, and not purchase the rest. In all seriousness this is a bad idea because some people (like me) have a download cap and downloading a game is not going to help it.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:41:58 AM
Reply

BTW, selling games this way is another tactic aimed at both piracy and used game sales. All these episodic games will be delivered digitally, so no selling the game to GameStop, and no piracy (on those platforms where it's possible. Once again this goes back to what lots of people have been arguing. Used game sales and piracy are hurting developers and publishers. So now they are fighting back the only way they can.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:00:32 AM

Not all developers are losing money though so its possible to still be profitable with used game sales and piracy. They want to stop piracy, they need to focus making games on he PS3 more. I would think that would be common sense. Piracy and used game sales cost them money but not as much as wasted time and money on developing bad product that nobody wants to buy.

I think these guys see their ship sinking and they want to blame everyone but themselves. Really, Namco hasn't put out any great games in a long time neither has CodeMasters.

Last edited by Jawknee on 7/19/2010 1:02:56 AM

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:22:31 AM

The big killer for games companies is simple. If they produce crap games that no one likes then it doesn't matter how high the production values are, nor does it matter how long they spent on it, or how much they spent developing it. A crap game is a crap game whether delivered episodically or not.

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Scarecrow
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:52:26 AM
Reply

What a disgrace

Japanese game companies should be ashamed

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:23:32 AM

It kinda seems like the ones doing this and behaving like they hate their own home market are also the ones most involved with Microsoft and the western market. Connection? You decide...

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:30:17 AM

I think your on to something Highlander. I think MS would love this idea. It would allow them to gouge people even further. Remember they changed their tune when HD DVD died. They started claiming they were shooting for all digital distribution from the beginning anyways. I think their ultimate goal is to do with the video game industry what they did to the PC industry. Only problem is people hate their product so bad they are opting to regress back to XP.

Wouldn't surprise me if MS was feeding these ideas to these devs. Showing them there is a way to gouge people with putting little to no effort behind their products.

Last edited by Jawknee on 7/19/2010 10:35:30 AM

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chewy102
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:09:52 AM
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I will only support episode games if, and only if, each episode was a full game. Games like .Hack or Digital Devil Saga are each an episode but also a full game.

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kraygen
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:33:21 AM
Reply

Well this would probably be the end of me buying anything but ps3 exclusives if everyone went this route. If all companies decided to do this, it would just end up with some companies (activision) selling partial games for $60 and then selling the rest of the game for even more money.

Some companies if they go this route might only charge $20 up front, but if ppl are actually buying games this way, then some companies will just expect that it's ok to sell part of a game at full price and then expect you to pay more even tho you already paid full price.

Some companies are kinda doing this already. It's one thing to make your game and then work on some dlc, but how many times have we seen a game released for $60 and the day it releases there are multiple dlc packs ranging from $5-$15. Technically they are already doing this to us, and some ppl are buying into it.

I'm sorry but if you buy a $60 game and you get home and buy 2 map packs for it, for $15 a piece, you just got robbed because you just paid $90 on release date for a game, a game that most likely isn't that great or long anyway.

Truth is, gaming companies will attempt to gouge us for all we're worth because some ppl out there will pay it.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:53:10 AM
Reply

I'd rather just buy a game for the full package, i don't want to f*** about with odd payments. Yes i am being blunt, but i just don't like the idea, i'm also annoyed about this gen when i buy the special edition of a game i am not entitled to the DLC with that package.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 2:18:31 AM
Reply

Okay, breaking my sabbatical as a result of this article. I agree with what many of you have said, in that a poorly made game will not sell, and will quickly drop in price. But look on the other hand, games that sell extremely well also tend to drop in price quickly. It is the midpoint games that sit at a high price point. Case in point: FFXIII sold a ton, sitting at $55 when I saw it on the weekend. Naughty Bear, piss-poor game, I doubt the sales were high at all, already down to $70. White Knight Chronicles, supposed to be a fairly good game, but certainly didn't set the sales charts on fire, $99. (All prices AUD)

It's not only bad games that drop price quickly... they just tend to be the fastest.

As far as this fool is concerned, the idea could work, provided that each episode can be played as a full experience, ala Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty. Were they to offer perhaps four hours of gameplay for fifteen dollars (better value against most games nowadays), and make that a full game, but with the promise of extending it, then I see no reason why they should not try that. If, however, they create these four hour titles and it is clear to the player that they are just pieces of a larger puzzle, rather than a completely self-contained story, then they can go to hell.

Peace.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 9:26:21 AM

Personally, I think Namco's biggest problem is that they are judging the western market on the success (or failure) of their games on the Xbox 360. Game sales on the Xbox 360 burn out faster than a nerds hopes of scoring with a supermodel at a cocktail party.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 2:35:02 AM
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I've got an idea, since this multiplayer stuff is killing games, hows about selling me the full single player campaign for $30, then I wish you luck trying to sell me the multiplayer for $30 :)

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kraygen
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 6:56:18 PM

Now that I might actually go for.

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___________
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:08:30 AM
Reply

giving the games away for 30 bucks or so than charging a monthly fee for whoever wants to play it after the first month would be a great idea!
that way i only pay 30 or so bucks instead of the 110 or 120 AUD im constantly having to play for every game.
i mean if i play a game up to a month, why should i pay the same amount as a person who plays said game for 3 months?

pay per play is a brilliant idea!
only in this industry would someone be charged the same amount as someone who uses it 100 times more!
this is the biggest injustice since insurance prices!

i was so pissed off today im thinking of getting a alfa 147 GTA so i rang up to get a insurance quote not happy with the price, well in fact i almost fainted it was so high!
my cuz rang up who has her reds apposed to me being on my fulls, and since shes a girl she gets 400 bucks cheaper insurance than me!
WTF?
she has 1 tenth the driving experience than me, shes been driving for just over 2 years, she has had 3 accidents in the time i have had 0 and she gets cheaper insurance than me.
where is the point in that!?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 4:59:15 AM

That's retarded, if I buy a game I should be able to play it now, later, and five or ten years from now without paying more.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 9:23:50 AM

@Worlds - agreed 100%. If I *buy* a game I should be able to play it from now until the end of time. If I rent or subscribe to a game, then I know and accept going into it that I only have the game for the duration of the rental or subscription. Buying is different, regardless of whether it's a digital download or a physical disc.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:12:09 AM

Doesn't surprise me he thinks this is a great idea. Just about everyone else doesn't.

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Snaaaake
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 5:26:45 AM
Reply

Something off topic but Namco-related, does the PS3 Tales of Vesperia comes with english text?

If it does I'll import it.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 9:24:51 AM

Not that I am aware of, if it does, I will import it also.

Did you hear that the latest (and possibly last) tales game was announced for PS3 in Japan?

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:50:38 AM

What i don't understand is how these dolts can't see Sony fans support JRPG's and Xbox fans don't. That is why have lost a lot of money. Trying to sell anime RPG's to people who like Gears. No wonder no one is buying their games.

Still pisses me off that Tales of Vesperia is a Xbox exclusive here in the states. Why can't they freakin port it to PS3? It's already localized is it not?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:10:31 PM

Then you have the fact that JRPGs won't sell on the poopbox so companies think they need to change the games when there is a whole huge Sony fanbase that doesn't even get a crack at it.

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JackC8
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 7:27:46 AM
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Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic :) Make good games and they'll sell well. Make mediocre/bad games and you can come up with any sales strategy you want, but they won't sell.

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sha4dowknight05
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 8:27:36 AM
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DAME BANDAI they gotta bring their japanese gundam games for the ps3, ps2 and psp ports to north america!!!! Then we'll see if they complain about sales dropping because I'd buy them all!!!

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InBlackestNight
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 8:51:31 AM
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Game prices are just fine. The price goes down quickly enough. I mean look at Assassins Creed 2, Bioshock 2, god of War 3 they all cost a fraction of the original price now. Nintendo however NEVER marks down their own games: the original Mario Galaxy, a three year old game is still full price a's I Zelda which was a LAUNCH title. What needs to happen is that all DLC should be free. That's where the ripoff is.

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phade2blaq
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:16:21 AM
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During the old SNES, Sega Genesis 16-bit days of cart based games, the price for those games was selling for $59.99 and here some 20 plus years later, the games are now selling for voila $59.99 !

Needless to say, the games of today are far more superior and technologically advanced than any game that was created on the those old platforms so when I think about it in those terms, the price isn't so bad !

On the flip side of that, I think paying $59.99 for a game and then selling DLC add-ons for another $10-$20 bucks is a slap in the face of gamers ! That's just milking the cow when she's dry !

I bought NCAA college football 11 the other day and lo and behold I go online and see EA is wanting to sell DLC for $29.99 ! That's absurd ! If I pay $59.99 for the game which in my opinion isn't all that great btw, don't expect me to fork over another $30 bucks for some DLC !

Last edited by phade2blaq on 7/19/2010 10:19:45 AM

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A2K78
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:22:03 AM
Reply

"It isn't that complicated, if they want to post bigger losses and cut more staff they should go ahead and do this."

Do you even understand the laws of consumerism? Anyhow low prices would mean "MORE" individuals would buying a product, the more individuals buying mean said entity will recoup and profit faster from their investment, the winner being both the consumer and company selling the product.

Looking at the current(and past)pricing system, gamers technically are being nickled and dimed with $50-60 games and what gamers don't understand is fact the prices don't even reflect the true developing development. Not only that, but the low turnaround the industy is experince as demonstrated by the monthly NPD have all but suggested that gamers are through with paying $60 for a game.

"Once again this goes back to what lots of people have been arguing. Used game sales and piracy are hurting developers and publishers. So now they are fighting back the only way they can."

As an individual who actually purchase used games most of the game, the more low prices on new the better for me a consumer. Why? People don't understand that used gamed and piracy are merely an market option of offering a product at a low/competitive price and its for this reason why I think both piracy and used game are healthy for game industy.

Overall I agree with Namco that selling games under the current pricing is doing no good for either gamers or publishers.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:34:08 AM

These lower prices would also translate into less product. So no, we wouldn't win. They are not talking about selling full games for cheaper, they want to sell each chapter rather. Its a scam.

$60 is fair for games. If you don't want to pay that you have options. No one is forcing you to buy a game for $60.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:44:06 AM

Another note, Piracy is NOT healthy for any industry. Not only does it hurt sales It's theft.

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BikerSaint
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 11:37:49 PM

A2K78,
Don't lump used games & piracy together.
Most of the time, I buy used games, and I'm never pirated a game in my life

There's a big difference, buying used is legit & the other one is just plain stealing!

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A2K78
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:31:58 AM
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"Game prices are just fine. The price goes down quickly enough."

No they are not because in the end $60 has a negative effect and the current trend of underselling titles show. In fact when gamers complain about a game not selling, its not selling due lack of marketing, but rather the price itself scaring consumers away.


"During the old SNES, Sega Genesis 16-bit days of cart based games, the price for those games was selling for $59.99 and here some 20 plus years later, the games are now selling for voila $59.99 !"

Bad argument, but back then those prices actually reflected the true nature of game as solid-state storage(which is used in NES, Genesis, and SNES used) was quite expensive. Fast forward to the 21st century and games are being put onto media that cost nothing but in the area $0.01 to manufacture, and gamers still paying outrageous prices.

overall like most people in this discussion, its quite clear you don't understand simple economics in relation to consumerism.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 10:34:49 AM

There are plenty of people who are willing to pay $60. sounds to me like your a little cheap.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 11:01:59 AM

It's also clear you're clueless about the industry, all the while attempting to lecture everyone (as usual).

There is no "current trend" of underselling titles; the underselling titles turned out to be underwhelming, and thus, didn't sell as well as expected. There is no price barrier when popular games break 5, 6, 7, 8+ million shipped and sold, as did the very recent Assassin's Creed II and Modern Warfare 2.

Multiple studies have been done asking about price points before, and the answer is always the same: essentially, if the game is good enough, it warrants the purchase. That has never changed, regardless of era.

Furthermore, if you knew anything at all about marketing and "consumerism," you might actually recognize the ridiculous difference in marketing capital required to advertise current video games. In the NES/SNES eras, they spent about 1/10000th as much, simply because they couldn't really afford to; now, they have giant marketing campaigns, games that cost 100 times more to create than ever before, and yet, including inflation, they still cost what those old cartridges did.

Slice it any way you wish, "genius of economics and consumerism." Based on the product in question, absolutely nobody is overpaying for anything. Rockstar has to sell 5 million copies of RDR just to break even, chief. It's getting increasingly difficult to make money on crappy games, and even on games that are excellent, due entirely to the amount of MONEY involved to make and manufacture them.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 7/19/2010 11:02:53 AM

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CrispyJawas
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 11:43:06 AM
Reply

Instead of selling us the whole pizza, they want to sell it slice by slice.

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A2K78
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 12:35:34 PM
Reply

"There are plenty of people who are willing to pay $60. sounds to me like your a little cheap."

If this is the case, then explain to me why market research show gamers are turning more and more towards the second-hand game market:

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18163

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/28350/Study_Used_Games_Online_Makes_Up_46_Percent_Of_US_Gamers_Budget.php

"There is no "current trend" of underselling titles; the underselling titles turned out to be underwhelming, and thus, didn't sell as well as expected. There is no price barrier when popular games break 5, 6, 7, 8+ million shipped and sold, as did the very recent Assassin's Creed II and Modern Warfare 2."

2 examples? Anyhow 8-10 years ago game like Uncharted 2 or Killzone 2(given their acclaim) would've sold in the area of 5-8 million, but what do we see? games that have only managed to sell in the area of 2 million to date....a negative loss.

Lets not stop there, but even big name titles such as Final Fantasy, Forza, Gran Turismo just name a few are underselling and I even like how Micrsoft's Aaron Greenberg making mention of how a title like Halo 3 have outsold Ucharted 2, Killzone and the Resistance games combined, again proof that games are underselling.

In the end the whole idea of games underselling isn't new, but something that have been progressively going to for 10 years now and the numbers are there to prove it.


"Rockstar has to sell 5 million copies of RDR just to break even, chief. It's getting increasingly difficult to make money on crappy games, and even on games that are excellent, due entirely to the amount of MONEY involved to make and manufacture them."

Thank you for vindicating 2 points I've trying to through for the longest, 1)most games these days are unprofitable and 2) the reason why games are selling badly is due to the high price tag of game.

"Multiple studies have been done asking about price points before, and the answer is always the same: essentially, if the game is good enough, it warrants the purchase. That has never changed, regardless of era."

If a game warrant the purchase if its good, then why are many "good titles" progressively underselling?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:04:51 PM

8-10 years ago, the industry was nowhere near large enough to see continual releases in the realm of 5-8 million copies sold. During the PS2 generation, publishers would consider any game a success that sold a few hundred thousand copies.

You haven't the slightest idea what "underselling" is.

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A2K78
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:05:33 PM
Reply

"Another note, Piracy is NOT healthy for any industry. Not only does it hurt sales It's theft."

As with a functional second-hand market, every consumer industry product need piracy to thrive. Why? As with second-hand products, piracy actually play a role in forcing manufacturers to lower their entry level prices.

Look at this, but when a manfacturer complains about priacy hurting thier business, its not the "theft" that gets them going, but rather the fact that piracy actually is forcing them to compete because the product is being brought to market(by pirates) at lower cost to consumers.

Now I'm not advocating piracy, but rather demonstratng where you are wrong about piracy.

As for the effect piracy, technically it doesn't have any market effect as Sony and Microsoft have gone to acknowledge the fact that piracy have helped them in pushing console hardware.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:13:14 PM

That's complete bullcrap. Piracy is theft. theft is stealing, stealing is morally wrong and illegal. End. Of. Story.

You can try to use the freetard mentality and logic to 'justify' theft, but theft, is theft, is theft.

Piracy has no role in reducing price, that's
like saying that insurance fraud lowers insurance premiums.

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Jawknee
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:19:22 PM

Nonesense. Highlander beat me to it. Your trying to justify stealing. As he said its immoral and illegal. If anything its forced Sony to spend money and time trying to STOP it when that could have been spent one other features or services.

With your logic, it shouldn't cost $12.50 to see a movie these days. Ever since piracy hit the movie industry hard, prices have GONE UP not down.

Any way you cut it, ITS THEFT!

Last edited by Jawknee on 7/19/2010 1:19:46 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 3:05:50 PM

That's it. I'm sick of you.

Not only do you claim to know more than EVERYONE else, you're now desperately trying to rationalize theft because, as most see now, you're just cheap, bitter, and egotistical. Get out.

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kraygen
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 7:05:18 PM

Theft has been proven to actually cause prices to rise, not lower, so what econ class did you take? I want to know so I'm sure not to go there, ever.

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SuMtOnE
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:14:29 PM
Reply

if only more games were price like how Atlus did with 3D Dot Game. 39.99 very satisfied with the price and the value of the game =)

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CharlesD
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 1:21:07 PM
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I think the price of games are acceptable as is. And I really don't like the idea of continued micro-charges, which may sneak it's way into multilayer effectively charging us for online gaming. Which, I know everybody here isn't the biggest fan of, but one of the pros to PS3 is free online access 24-7. I would rather just spend the $60 on a full game and enjoy an in depth experience than a chopped up cheap $20 title

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Vidius
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 2:26:53 PM
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This is such a terrible idea. **** Namco's idea!!! If the game industry changed to "This", then I might as well continue playing MMORPG.

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AcHiLLiA
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 4:24:55 PM
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Aren't the Australians paying $100 for a brand new game?

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AntDC
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 8:55:20 PM

And New Zealanders are paying 120... but remember the US dollar is stronger so it kinda balances out in the end, we pay the same amount as what people in the UK and US do pretty much.

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Highlander
Monday, July 19, 2010 @ 11:20:18 PM

Yeah, well, the thing is that in 2009, the Australian dollar was worth about 60 cents, which makes that $100 (astralian) worth about $60. When the PS3 launched and prices we ser, I'm not sure what the 1 year average exchange rate of Australian Dollar to Yen was, but Sony set the game prices at the start of the generation was normalized based on the base price of $60 USD.

I think that the Australian Dollar was worth about 70 cents at the time, but the rolling average may have been lower. By the time you apply the normal exchange rates that you can get actually changing money, it could well have been closer to 60 cents. So the price was fixed at $100 Australian. They could vary the price depending on the exchange rate, but I have a feeling that wouldn't work really well either. So you're kinda stuck with the price you have. As are those in NZ, the UK, Europe, Japan and the US.

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Qubex
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 @ 12:24:22 AM
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Well, after having read the comments here, must agree on much of what people are saying...

Generally, the way I see it is that development costs have risen so much that unless the workers of the said industry actually earn less, making a game within a realistic budget that doesn't need to sell millions, will not happen. Developers and publishers will continually experience this BOOM and BUST cycle, that either makes them a ton of money or breaks them.

It comes down to the quality of titles now, and the names behind those said titles, that either makes them a great sales success or not.

Another point to raise. Gaming is becoming a commodity. Commodity products; i.e. products that are being stamped out factory style can diminish demand to some extent; therefore, the more "product" that floods the market, the lower the price falls.

Prices fall whilst the developers' costs rise... programmers and artists are demanding more and more... BUT THERE IS A LIMIT... and I THINK, we are reaching that LIMIT... or will do soon.

Looking at my personal buying habits; I tend to go for the top games, AAA; titles that came out every 4-6 months. The "fill in titles" or rather, "catch-up" titles, I buy second had for a song.

Simply put with peoples budgets under pressure you can expect to sell 5 games a month to gamers. Many companies will go under and close up shop; it is a fact and we have seen some of this happening in the past 36 months. If a studio misses its sales numbers, in many cases, they let people go, and in many cases, they don't have a chance to even have a second go at developing a new title to make amends...

Like Hollywood, the gaming industry will have to change its cost base, and its industry professionals may have to take pay cuts to remain competitive...

I don't know if "episodic" will work... they will try, but subscribing to playing 10 titles in my collection seems very far fetched.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 7/20/2010 12:27:39 AM

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Highlander
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 @ 9:59:10 AM
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A few other thoughts.

Cost of games.

Since the start of this generation of games the cost of new games has been effectively frozen at $60, and yet inflation continues to occur in all countries around the world, so after 4 years for PS3 gamers, the actual price of games has fallen by close to 20% in real terms since the start of this generation of games. At the same time as that, the costs of development have risen with inflation since the wages of the development and production staff do not stay frozen in time. Even if those costs only rise with inflation, it's still true that the amount of revenue from a game has dropped in real terms compared to the costs.

Games are to some extend a commodity, but not in the same way as a bushel of corn, steel, oil, RAM, or HDDs are a commodity. Much like has happened in Hollywood you get shovel-ware that is cranked out according to a formula. If anything the casual game 'revolution' has marked the advent of commodity games software. the block buster titles that sell millions of units at full $60 prices are more akin to the Hollywood blockbusters. A game that sells 2 million units at $60 s piece is responsible for $120 million in 'box office' takings. That's still a bit modest by Hollywood blockbuster standards, but there are not that many movies that will gross $120 million this year.

There are two ways to look at this IMHO, one way is the RDR way of huge budgets, timescales and teams that drive an absolute requirement to sell 4-5 million copies simply to break even on the development/production process. the other is the Joe Danger way of a small team quick development cycle and super quick return on investment with fewer than 50,000 copies sold on PSN required to repay the investment.

Let's be honest, there really is no excuse for a game costing $100 million to make. 100 people paid $150,000 (gross) a year amounts to $15 million in a year. Even if you run that out to 5 years, that's still only 75 million. Which is an obscene amount of money to spend on a single game's development. But you're not going to run a team of 100 for 5 years, the team will start off small, grow and then shrink as the development progresses. Not only that, but unless you are literally starting with nothing, you have a game engine from a previous game of yours, you have other assets to work with already. Spending $100 million developing a game is just silly.

But most games don't cost $100 million to make. Let's guesstimate that a typical AAA game takes two years and averages out at 100 team members including everyone from admin, to artists, developers, motion capture artists, voice actors, everyone. Over the course of two years very few of the team members will remain with the project for the whole time, so over the two years it will average out to perhaps 100. Let's just guesstimate costs at $150,000 gross per team member (total employment costs and other overheads). That's a $30 million budget. The developer/publisher's take from a retail sale is between 40% and 50%. So they will have to sell a little over 2 million copies to break even. I think that is a more typical picture of a 'big' game. Not all games have or need such big development teams, or require such long development cycles. So it's not beyond possibility that a major game could break even on fewer than 1 million sales.

Looking at the other end Joe Danger, a PSN game that doesn't sell for anything close $60, broke even on day one sales alone. The majority of game development projects lay somewhere between the two year team of 100 and the team of 4 able to break even after 1 day of sales.

As for the commodity games. Games don't have to be a commodity, but it's easy to make shovel ware, and you don't have to sell a huge number of units to feed your team, just keep re-making the same basic, formulaic games, with the same basic graphics, and sound and just a few differences to justify a new version number (yes, Cooking Momma is an example). These games might as well be assembled on a production line.

I don't think anyone can be expected to buy 5 full price $60 games a month. But I think people have become spoiled by the huge multi-million sales numbers. If you go back and look at PS2 game sales, breaking a million really was a rare occurrence. Just looking at the PS3, there are about 38 million consumers out there. How many games do you think will sell to 10% of that audience? How many will sell to 5%? Remember, it's not a homogeneous pool of gamers, it's an audience of many tastes.

A game that sells 2 million copies on PS3 has to hit about 5% of the total PlayStation audience. That sounds like a lot right? God of War and God of War II sold perhaps 1.5 million copies a piece. That's on the PS2 with a potential audience of more than 100 million gamers. Less than 2% of PS2 owners purchased God of War.

Yet we consider a game that sells fewer than a couple of million copies a failure? Really? 2 million out of 38 million is a little over 5%, that's better than double the rate of sales that God of War or God of War II achieved on the PS2, and they were considered a huge success. Not only that they didn't sell for $60 a pop.

Somewhere the numbers are not adding up my friend. Somewhere - and I think it's in the development/publishing arena, the numbers are not making sense. I think that development teams and budgets have swollen because everyone assumed that developing in HD was automatically going to cost twice as much or more. the initial investment in getting to an HD engine and HD assets and experience might have cost double the previous budgets. But now that they're at that level, how do you justify that level of spending any more? If an indie developer can put out a game in HD that breaks even on fewer than 50,000 copies sold at PSN game prices, then someone somewhere needs to take control of their development costs.

Perhaps those over paid producers who drive expensive cars and hire/fire developers like they are a commodity need to be taken to task for not controlling costs? Perhaps, but then that might cut into their next Mercedes purchase....

Perhaps the seeking of perfection is overrated? Are too many game producers trying for perfection, or are they trying to be bigger and better, instead of simply serving their audience? Are game developers and producers guilty of leaving games in the oven too long and fiddling endlessly with the garnish before delivery?

</rant>

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Qubex
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @ 12:04:28 AM

"I don't think anyone can be expected to buy 5 full price $60 games a month."... Highlander I am assuming you are referring to my comment.

If so it was a typo on my part, when re-reading it it should have used the word "can't", and not "can". So it should now read correctly.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Highlander
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @ 12:45:09 AM

I think I was reading it the way you meant it and agreeing with you that the industry simply cannot expect gamers to buy games at that rate.

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Qubex
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @ 4:22:48 AM

Ok, understood...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Lordnicon
Thursday, July 22, 2010 @ 6:23:56 PM
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Sadly i think a lot of people get mixed signals. There are some great games that have just been overlooked. Fortunately, those are few and far between and we probably wont have to worry about too many developers/publishers taking this route.

60 does top my price range after getting used to 50 dollar games but development costs have gone way up it seems. If some genius could come up with some really innovative development tools, maybe nobody would have to think of a million and one ways to make money by messing with the experience of their audience.

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Lordnicon
Thursday, July 22, 2010 @ 6:41:50 PM
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I think my previous point also partially outlines while the 360 has had the momentum it has had (remember - partially). Dont quote me on this but i'm going to assume that development costs on the 360 are lower than the ps3's. The hardware is relatively similar to PC architecture.

With costs down, well known developers are able to jump onto the 360 platform without as much risk (granted the diversity of the audience is somewhat similar to the ps3's where they can still predict that a healthy portion of them will be interested in the product they produce). No?

Last edited by Lordnicon on 7/22/2010 6:42:20 PM

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