Fair Play videogame price thingy

(Kid Tripod) #1

i know its a UK bias but

something thats started after some discussions over on the Edge forums. a few of you might be interested.

its all about bringing the price of videogames down, on the basis it would be better for everyone (they’d sell more, reduce piracy, people could buy more . . . yada yada)

its getting quite a lot of publicity now, and it will be interesting to see how it does

(SGT Squeaks) #2

The only problem with bringing down the game prices is its the artist who loose more money. The publishers will still make thier money but they will pay the developers less, and therefore the developers will pay the artist less. And artist are already paid crap!! I can honestly say that the game industry needs some serious changes. I mean look at presto, the company that made myst, myst 2, riven, etc. They just went out of business!!! I work for a company who has made games in the past, and all the money is controlled by the publishers. It’s either make a game for a little money, or don’t make a game and go out of business. As a game player I want the prices to go down, but as someone who works for a company that makes games I don’t want them to change at all.

ok, I’m done ranting. :smiley:

(overextrude) #3

I think this effort is rather unenlightened. The site uses certain economic arguments in favor of paying less, but uses factual misrepresentation to do so. Consider this:

But there’s one thing that even the stupidest business can’t afford to ignore - consumer power. If you hit the games industry in the pocket, they’ll change their ways quickly. Look at Microsoft - earlier this year, they released the new Xbox console at £300, insisting that it was a fair price and couldn’t be sold any cheaper. Consumers, though, refused to buy it, and Microsoft swiftly slashed the price, first to £200, and then to £160. In less than six months, the price of brand new game technology was halved, through consumer power alone.

This is absolute crap, since it completely overlooks the fact that Microsoft’s moves were made on the heels of its COMPETITORS, who cut their prices first. It’s even more ludicrous when you consider the numerous articles that mention a cost of production for the XBox that is much higher than it is for competing platforms.

The only real problem I have with gaming industry isn’t the price, it’s the inability to obtain a refund for a game of questionable quality. Given the nature of digital media, and the likelihood that it will be stolen, I can understand this to an extent.

Overall, though, there is absolutely nothing wrong with charging $50 for a good game. If it’s too high, the market will respond accordingly. Whatever it is, it must be high enough to provide the necessary incentive for companies to take the risk (and there IS risk involved), as well as provide capital for continued R&D, marketing, etc. Good games don’t just magically create themselves - they’re the result of a collaborative effort among many talented and technically-savvy contributors, and this all costs money. If you do well, you should be rewarded accordingly.

Quite frankly, I’m growing weary of this mentality that attempts to justify certain price based on the cost of production. It’s the same argument used by people moaning about the RIAA. While I agree with the method proposed to enact change in this case, I do not agree with the reasons for doing so. Forcing a fixed price based on the cost of production is just one step away from socialism.

(Waffler) #4

I have to go against the idea of lowering videogame price. A videogame is not a necissary item for the survival of mankind; therefor it could logically be sold for any price and still not be unethical. Of course, extremely unreasonable prices would not sell good, and the businesses would be the ones to suffer, nobody else.

A rising problem with videogames is the quality of work. There are many games that are just quickly thrown together to make money. If the price of videogames dropped, the quality of games would drop as a result. As SGT Squeeaks said, the publishers would make less, so they would pay the developers less. With a smaller budget, developers would need to make compromises to survive, such as shortening production time, paying employees less, or having less qualified and fewer people working on a project.

I have to agree with Overextrude, when he said “I’m growing weary of this mentality that attempts to justify certain price based on the cost of production.” The cost of production does not take into concideration the quality of the product. Some games maybe should be worth less than the really good ones, but saying that all games should be less does not make sence. Good work takes time and dilligent devotion. If a group of people try the best of their ability and create something amazing, paying a little more for it does not seem like that big of a problem. The price of art is not set based on how much the paints cost, but on the quality of the peice. A videogame is a large collection of many art forms all working together hopefully in harmony - not just raw technology.

(Kid Tripod) #5

the point is if it were half the price would you not be selling more than twice as many? this argument is admittedly being pushed by developers (that tend to be more enthusiastic about numbers of people experiencing their games) rather than publishers (the suits who like a few paying a lot).

as an aside those of you in the US might not realise the extent to which the XBox has flopped in Europe and Japan. Microsofts price cuts were absolute acts of desperation.

(overextrude) #6

This is a decision that remains solely with the game producer. As with any business, there are certain objectives, and the goal is to meet these objectives while retaining a certain degree of profitability. If $50 is the target price point, then that’s what it is. If they turn out to be wrong, then they will have to bear the consequences. Consumers are free to respond however they see fit. If the game is worth $50 to them, they’ll buy it. If not, they’ll spend their money on something else. And, at half the price, have you ever considered the possibility that there may be a diminishing return as the number of buyers increases beyond a certain point?

I would ask, if a game is wildly successful (like GTA3, for example), why on earth would you want to penalize the company that produced it?

(Kid Tripod) #7

rather than continue here i’d point you to the edge forums at http://forum.edge-online.com/index.php where in “Gaming discussion” this was originally conceived, and now bashed about every which way.

i’d again make the simple observation that it seems to be the developers that want this.

(overextrude) #8

So far, it has been quite entertaining…the first four pages show no sign of any developer involvement, and all I’ve seen is this ongoing stream of accolades for a well-formulated web site. Not even the smallest INKLING of awareness with respect to the faulty reasoning behind this campaign. But I’ll keep reading. I’m sure I’ll find out, but why would the developers want this?

(Kid Tripod) #9

if you knew who the people were you might understand.

for example jpickford is of zedtwo, fairplay is the same as rev. stuart campbell, who was important in 16bit era etc. one thing to realise is these two really speak out because they own their companies. a lot of the people in the other areas feel gagged not to air their views in a public forum, in fact there were some interesting incidents with developers just the other day getting a (minor) public telling off for saying too much.

this is probably the most knowledgable gaming community outside of famitsu.

(overextrude) #10

Based on what I’ve read so far (about 24 pages), most of it is junk. The person operating under the Fairplay Campaign moniker doesn’t seem to have many other ways of defending his position other than insulting those who challenge it, and this unfortunately results in a very low signal-to-noise ratio. There is absolutely no research behind it, and what you see on the home page is little more than conjecture. Consider this:

Again, I point to material on the web site:

Though the headline revenues from game sales get larger every year, more and more game publishers are going bust, more and more money is being lost, and thousands of jobs are vanishing.) The games industry, taken as a worldwide whole, actually lost in the region of £1 BILLION in 2001.

Assuming this is true, what contorted logic would a game producer have to use in order to justify lowering the price of their games?

I’ve seen where you get the idea that developers want this - it’s more cruft from the same web site. Mr. Fairplay Campaign is operating under the unproven assumption that a) developers deserve to have any idea they might have implemented regardless of the risk it might pose to others, and that b) if games were cheaper, people would be more willing to risk $20 on said ideas than they’d be willing to risk $40-50.

Where oh where do I start?

First, I don’t care if a game cost me $20 or $50…if I get something that sucks, it raises my ire as a consumer. I’m more likely to buy LESS, not more.

Second, if these programmers, designers, artists, and musicians have such great ideas that have gone unimplemented, one would think they’d have no problem starting their own companies, producing their own games, selling them at the proposed price, and creating some real competition for the established game producers. Why isn’t this happening?

Third - and this is one of those things that make my brain hurt - a quote on the web site (from a game producer) comes right out and STATES that it is staggeringly expensive to provide original, non-derivative game content. This alone brings to mind two questions:

  • If you have a game that consumers like, since when is giving them more of it a bad thing? I’d argue that many consumers prefer a series of games that entail some kind of iterative refinement, continuity, or ongoing story line. (GTA, Warcraft/Starcraft, or Doom anyone?)
  • This having been said, how will it be possible to provide a non-derivative game that is more expensive to produce, potentially requiring a longer development cycle, at a cheaper price? Many games use common engines, which does give them some degree of similarity. Could this be because the development and refinement of a game engine is a long-term, very costly proposition?

My biggest question still looms…if John Pickford et al are so sure that they can make a reasonable profit producing high-end games that cost half as much, WHAT HAS BEEN STOPPING THEM? Why haven’t THEY stepped up to the plate? I guess it’s a lot easier justify something, no matter how convoluted, when you’re dealing with someone else’s money.

I could go on, but this should suffice for now.

If the guy wants to really make a difference in the world, maybe he should focus on the big coffee companies.

(Waffler) #11

Bravo, Overextrude. I would not have had the patience to read that much (in fact, I hadn’t read any of what was on the site), but what you said was exactly how I feel about the topic … although I may not have all the details perfectly clear at the moment.

(Cessen) #12

Personally, I’m fine with game prices right now, so long as I am not arrested for using software piracey as a means of trying before buying. For instance, I borrowed Max Payne from a friend, and I liked the game. Thus, I went out and bought it.

I make a point of not finishing a game before buying it, because if the game really is good enough for me to want to finish it, then chances are it’s good enough for me to support with my money. And if I accidentally finish a game before buying it, I always go out and buy it, even if it sucked (it’s kind of a moral safe-gaurd, so I don’t make up excuses for myself).