Retail Price Point

26 06 2009

Price PointEver since I have been involved in the gaming industry and more recently since I have been reviewing games I have wondered about our current generation’s retail price point. I always thought the $60 price point was so arbitrary, why $60 and not $50 or even $40. I know games have been more expensive in the past, but I question why all games have the same base price. Most games end up getting reduced at a later date after slow sales anyways and if that is the price consumers feel the game is worth, wouldn’t it be smart to START at that price? This is why I think we should have a variable pricing structure on all games.

Obviously it wouldn’t be without its own flaws, for instance it would initially be difficult to implement a basis or standard for each type of game but the market would soon work that out. It also would be hard to convince the developers, publishers, and retailers that this would be beneficial. Now granted I admit I don’t have a clue to how much these games cost to make and how that translates to game prices, especially with all these different companies involved who take a piece of the cake. But I do know as a video game consumer and enthusiast that certain games can be inappropriately labeled by the community and thus have sluggish sales due to their price point. Let’s face it some games just aren’t worth the $60 retail price point, that’s no fault of the game, but if offered at a lower price that game then becomes a bargain. My point is why wouldn’t developers want to avoid that initial bad stigma upon release and instead offer their game at a lower price point, one they know their game will sell at and will eventually be selling at anyways and in the process get praise? It appears as a win/win for both sides.

Before I get ahead of myself I will first describe my idea, then of course you can criticize and critique all you want. This variable pricing structure wouldn’t indefinitely scale up or down but would have a cap at either end. For example a game like Call of Duty 4 which has a robust multiplayer or a game like Fallout 3 with a time-consuming single player would be offered at a higher price point then that of the recently released Ghostbusters game. Because honestly why shouldn’t a robust single player campaign with a feature rich multiplayer be more expensive than a title with just a short five hour single player, I am looking at you Terminator Salvation. I understand game length is not and should not be the only factor in determining if a game is worth full retail price and can understand a developer always viewing their game worthy of full retail price. Which is one of the major problems I see, is them admitting, by offering their game at a lower price, that their game is inferior to other games. Although this may be the truth I find it hard for developers to spend that amount of time and resources and then freely admit they don’t think their game is worth the premium other games are getting. But that is simply the truth, some games are just not as high quality as others and if you are unable to make a profit at that lower price point maybe that’s a sign this game shouldn’t be made. As a consumer I understand just because a particular game is offered at a lower price point that does not make it less of game but simply a different experience.

The decision to purchase a specific title is highly personal and different for many people but I would guess one of the biggest factors is price, especially in this economic climate. Ultimately consumers want to know if a particular game is worth their money or if instead they will eventually be regretting their purchase. For me there are games that I have no problem purchasing for full retail price like inFAMOUS or Killzone 2 then there are games that while I completely enjoyed can’t justify spending $60 on but wouldn’t hesitate to buy at let’s say $40 or $50. It’s time the industry realizes that not all games are created equal and therefore shouldn’t be priced that way.

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What do you think of our current generation’s price point? Whether you agree or not let me know in the comment section below.




2 responses

6 07 2009
Month in Review: June « Beyond The D-Pad

[…] Month in Review: June 6 07 2009 With June coming to a close the year is officially half over, amazing. Besides that, this means its time for our Month in Review which was mistakenly not posted for the month of May. If you have been busy like I have and haven’t had the chance to get your Beyond The D-Pad news then you are in the right place. This is where I recap all of the post from the past month.  If you wanted a place to bookmark to see past months and where future months will be archived, that’s easy, just click right here. And by all means don’t be such a stranger in the coming months. But for now here is the month that was June… Retail Price Point […]

23 10 2009
Factoring Price In Review Scores « Beyond The D-Pad

[…] issue first came apparent to me when I wrote an article about retail price point and how I think the current price structure is flawed. Anyways when I read reviews I rarely if ever […]

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