The Cost of Doing Business: Video Games Cost Too Much
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 20th Oct 2012
Last week there was a video game sale announcement that centered around the decision to offer up what amounts to nearly the entire historic catalog of Interpay's games over at GOG.com (GOG.com is a digitial distribution platform for PC games whose basic motto is DRM-free products, fair pricing, and adding lots of extras that they present to members of their community -- a sort of game store with heart if you will) may not have been targeted towards offering up the subject of video game pricing as its primary focus, but in the end that is one of the issues that it raised, and GU has never been shy about tackling issues, especially big issues, when doing so will serve the interests of our community and the gamer community worldwide.
It is a well-established fact that the games industry historically follows a set of guidelines when it comes to pricing games -- guidelines that use a controversial model that can sometimes be difficult to understand, because it is frequently at odds with common sense. A model that is often referred to as a key element in the survival of the games industry, and that the major game publishers consider a necessary evil, pointing out that its wide acceptance by gamers all over the world serves as evidence of both their loyalty and willingness to support the industry that provides them with a measure of value in entertainment that is worth every penny.
In fact as ludicrous as the idea sounds, on more than one occasion we have witnessed spokespeople from the industry point at the high cost of video games and characterize it as a bargain, pointing out that true game fans are willing to pay far more than $59.99 for their games, but the industry keeps the price locked down as its way of saying thanks to gamers everywhere...
Slightly Used Booth Babes For Sale -- OK, not really, but would you be shocked to learn that Capcom is one of the game companies vehemently opposed to the sale of pre-owned video games?
In fact whenever an article about game pricing includes comments about the poor state of the economy -- bearing in mind that the video games industry is one of only a handful of major industries that has demonstrated that it is seemingly immune to the effects of a bad economy -- whenever an unusual (read that disastrous) event occurs within the world of video games at the industry level -- it leaves not just games journos scratching their head in wonder, but the average gamer as well asking themselves just how does what is genuinely a blockbuster AAA game title like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning end up failing and in the process bringing down an entire games studio?
The operation that was 38 Studios consisted of an average-sized development team by the then current industry standards, and to save money it managed a lot of the day-to-day tasks of creating and promoting a new game title in-house, so how is it that such a game fails when other titles that are created by development teams ten times their size can turn a profit upon release at the same $59.99 price point, an event that gives genuine reason to pause in wonder.
All of the details are not presently known, but it seems that it was not the price point at fault in the case of 38 Studios freshman title; our experts say that if Kingdoms of Amalur had released at a price point of twice the established rate it still would have failed, and still would have resulted in the failure of 38 Studios, because the true source of the problems there originates deeper within the business model that governed 38 Studios. We may never know the real reasons behind its implosion or how the State of Rhode Island came to own the Intellectual Property Rights for the video game Kingdoms of Amalur, and the personal catastrophe that Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling ended up experiencing at the head of the company he founded.