Friday, 16 November 2012

The value of a game

There is always so much chatter about how much a game is worth. Gamers seem to like to debate to the dollar how much a game is worth. If it is overpriced or underpriced. This is one thing that I would like to see go away. You have a range from free to about 60 dollars as a developer setting a price. Frankly the price of the game is really up to the developer.

Really for most indie developers you need a price point of about 10 - 20 dollars. Now instantly people are going to hate that but from a business standpoint, you really need to charge more rather than less. I know that people will say well if you sell 1 million units....

First of all as a small business you need to be profitable with less customers. Even getting 50k people to buy your product is challenging. For whatever reason if you market and advertise your product geting a person to pay 1 dollar, 10 dollars or 30 dollars isn't that hard to do. It's getting the person's wallet out which is the most important part. So if somebody is going to pay 1 dollar they might as well pay.

In other industries it is common place for boutique businesses to charge more money for their niche product. Why can't this work in games. Let's say I am a developer who produces a very unique platformer game. As a consumer, sure you can find a free platformer to play. There are tons out there but my platformer is unique. It is not like the free ones. It's different. There is a reason why you pay money for mario games versus just going to find a free platformer.

This isn't my idea. I stole it from the fashion industry. By the way the fashion industry is worth 1.25 trillion while the game industry is only worth 74 billion. The game industry could take a page from this. Boutique studios could make better games and be more profitable if we did this.

The hard part is changing people's attitudes on the subject. Next time you see an indie studio charging more money for their game. Perhaps it is not because they are evil and money hungry. Perhaps they are just wanting to pay the bills because they know they are only going to get 30k sales from the game. If anything the indie studio people are less money hungry than the big studios. The few extra dollars goes a long way to support somebody with passion. Think of the few extra dollars as a tip. Next time you go out for dinner look what you spend on your meal and tip. Perhaps you could tip the indie studio as well. After all in order to make a game you have to be intelligent and productive. Don't you want to support this kind of behavior?

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