Tracy, I didn’t argue for one minute that the simple act of halving prices would result in twice the sales. You’re debating a point that I’m not even attempting to make!
The low price that Amazon.com is charging for each download is part of what would likely lead to a substantial increase in sales. The other part–the more substantial part–is the full range of benefits that Amazon.com brings to the table (which I have already touched on elsewhere in this thread). Those two things combined lead to the likely increase in purchases. Note that I’m not even saying that increase is certain, just that it’s likely.
You’re right that I didn’t factor in the costs of support. You imply that they would double if twice the games sell. I counter this by saying… nothing! I wasn’t even talking about that stuff. It has nothing to do with your assertion that I know nothing about marketing or sales or pricing. All you’ve proven is that I know next to nothing about the behind-the-scenes costs to the game’s developers, something I readily admit. I never tried to say that I knew how much the game would cost the developer to develop and support. I don’t!
Incidentally, that’s why I didn’t try to provide hard numbers to back up my opinions: because it was never my intent to state anything as fact. I’m no seer and neither are you (or if you do have some mystic connection that I don’t know about, you haven’t chosen to reference it within this thread). I was merely countering the general tone of the thread up to my point of entry, which presented this as a nearly complete loss to game developers. I don’t recall saying that because I stated my opinion, you couldn’t argue with me. People that try to pull that annoy the crap out of me and it was never my desire to suggest such a thing.
I’d also like to apologize for anything I said that made it look like I think nasty things about independent game developers. I don’t. I admire their passion and sometimes I even admire the games they produce. Let’s not pretend that every indie game is good, though, or even that most of them are. They’re the output of people working with limited resources that can affect any and all areas of a given game. Sloppy menus, grainy or repetitive textures, over-in-two-hours gameplay and cringe-worthy voice acting are just a few examples of the things that gamers are often asked to overlook in the interests of supporting the independent game developer. Producing a sloppy game–because you can’t afford to do better–and then turning around and charging $20 for it isn’t doing anyone any favors. If you are going to charge $20 for a game, make one that compares favorably to other $20 games the consumer could choose to buy instead!
I’d like to see independent game development thrive, but that can only happen in an environment where the games are priced so that the value they offer is not exceeded by the price. My comments about independent game developers in this thread were the result of my frustration with the current PC price setup for downloadable games and I didn’t mean to demean the excellent work that talented independent developers do on a regular basis. I apologize sincerely.
Like the rest of the vocal participants within this thread, I believe that Amazon.com should have contacted the game developers before the blanket price drop, since clearly there will be financial fallout. I merely seem to be alone in feeling that the long-term benefits outweigh that. I also continue to feel that the fees paid to developers shouldn’t have seen a 50% reduction, something that also seems to be the going consensus in this thread.
Saying I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about is unfair. I’m coming at this from the consumer point of view–something I can defend with numbers (and pictures, if you send me a digital camera)–and it seems to me like that would be plenty relevant when what we’re ultimately discussing here is whether or not consumers will make Amazon.com’s initiative a success and allow developers to see real benefits.