So with the new “Metal Gear Solid Phantom Pain Ground Zero” (what a title) pricing thingy that has parts of the net in uproar I figured it’s time to talk about game pricing in general. So here is the only truth you need to know about that 😉
Games are luxury products. They are NOT too expensive, at least they have not been up to this point. NOW however they start to waddle into the too expensive territory – partly because of ever rising production costs for “next gen” development nobody needs, partly because publishers are milking their shit until dumb “hardc0rz” realize how dum they are and stop supporting this shit – that may take a while.
So what is the point of this discussion? Same as usual, talk about shit we can’t/won’t changeby talking. Have a cookie and a glass of milk and let me explain.
We are customers who buy a product. It is up to us to decide if a product is worth our money and we decide that by buying or not buying said product. If we don’t buy it will get cheaper until we buy or the product line is ended. However companies really don’t like that idea. They’d rather have us buy everything no matter what. This is where marketing comes in.
Marketing makes us believe we want that shit. Marketing makes us pay 500 bucks for a console that has less power than a PC that costs the same but has better specs. It makes us buy a collectors edition of a game for the price of the entire console just because it has a nice looking statue and is limited. Marketing makes us buy shit we don’t want or need. Nintendo has yet to realize this as they completely fail in the marketing department though but that just furthers my point: you are victims of marketing.
Now how does this all relate to the bigger point at hand: the price of gaming? Well, its all connected, as usual. You see, publishers try to get away with releasing a cheap and shitty product they can sell for lots of cash and marketing makes sure that you buy into this. Day one editions, season passes and all that crap just serve one, and only one point: to make you spend cash on a product you don’t want or need.
MGSPPGZ costs 30 bucks because you pay 30 bucks for it. Simple. That’s all there is to it. And if nobody buys it they will lower the price until somebody buys. But it’s too late for that because you already bought it. You paid 30 bucks for an experience that lasts you, if you are quick, 15 minutes. You know what else lasts you 15 minutes? Taking a shit after some junk food. But would you pay 30 bucks for junk food?
The Oddworld remake also costs 30 bucks. For tht price you get a full game with solid production values. That works. Tons of indie games out there are priced very well. And I belive that price should be a factor in reviews. Take Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 for example. That game cost me 100 bucks because marketing told me to buy the hugeass coffin I have no space for with that artbook I never look at and those silly figurines that are ugly as shit. The game itself costs 65 by the way over here. I finished it in 10 hours, 85% completion or so. That is 6.5 Euros an hour. And that game wasn’t even very good to begin with – not as bad as many might tell you but nothing special. Just a solid action game.
Remember Me was critically shredded because of it’s length and simple gameplay. I bought it for 20 bucks used and love it! But if I would have spent those 60 bucks it cost when it was new I would also have hated it. That’s the bottom line people.
TLDR: The price of a game should be fair to game length, content, entertainment value and replayability.
The fun thing is, most other industries haven’t figured that one out as well. They all have their ups and downs, so this is not a problem exclusive to gaming.