Former Sony Europe exec: 'Big' games should cost $100+

I saw this article by way of FiringSquad in which former Sony Europe president Chris Deering muses:

70 pounds is roughly $117 US/$125 Canadian at current exchange rates. I think it’s safe to assume such a price increase would be a non-starter for the game-buying public, so where will this leave the ‘blockbuster’ game in the next few years? Less content than before? More DLC to bolster revenue? Higher prices but not that much higher? A combination? Something else?

So… stop being so graphics-centric and focus on solid game design, which can be accomplished for less money by smaller teams?

Isn’t the game industry the strongest it’s ever been? WTF is he talking about? Perhaps if they didn’t price their next generation machine out of the market, their games industry would be bigger. And if people are having a hard time buying one game for 70 pounds, how are they going to buy more games at 70 pounds? Raising the price of games isn’t going to improve anyone’s budget but the publishers. It makes no sense whatsoever.

I used to remember Snes games costing $90-$110 CDN, but they also sold to a smaller market did they not?

Also, production costs of cartridges >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> production costs of CD/DVD/BD-ROM.

Agreed. However, I guess this niche is starting to more and more be filled by Indie developers with solely online sales.

Did the industry start out wanting to make money in those early years? Did not it grow from people’s hobbies, which they did for the love of the games they were developing? (Honest question, I really do not remember those early days any longer.) Those people are still huddled in corners working on pet projects somewhere are they not?

I may be talking out of my ass as I am wont to do, but, as has been said here and there, I think Independent developers can begin to make a dent. Assuming they can find a way to collect money from more than 10% (who legally purchase it) of the people who download the game.

As far as I’m concerned they’re already trying to charge $100+ for some big games if you add up the cost of the DLC for some games which seem to ship short on content, only to flesh it out with mini-expansions.

This seems like a standard self-correcting problem. Development budgets can’t keep ballooning forever, so at some point they’re going to have to rein it in to keep things sustainable, but that’ll be okay because your competitors are similarly limited.

They seem to have forgotten that the right price for something is what the consumer is willing to pay, not what you tell them they’re going to have to pay. Consumers are dumb and will ask for the moon for free, but that’s been true of capitalism since the dawn of time.

It’s not that significant, it didn’t impede the GBA or the DS (which admittedly is a little cheaper). I also don’t recall paying that much for any game. I was a teenager and I was able to buy some on my own, including FFIV and FFVI.

The only thing I can imagine paying $117 dollars for are:

  1. A Darklands sequel
  2. A fully graphical and polished Dwarf Fortress (I’d actually pay $200 for this one.)
  3. Medieval Sims

The chances of me forking over a hundred bucks for Fallout 4 or Red Faction 5 are very, very small.

I’ll just wait a year until I can get them half off.

I don’t think it’s very hard to pull off a polished graphic version of dwarf fortress on a technically level at all.

It’s not that significant, it didn’t impede the GBA or the DS (which admittedly is a little cheaper).

I’m sure licensing costs were notably higher way back.

I think we’re due for a crash of AAA-game developers in the nearish future (a couple of years out).

As for price, anything over $100 (for software only) and he’s crazy with a few exceptions from me that won’t ever happen. Honestly my wife and I do pretty well for ourselves but I still refuse to pay more than $40 unless it is a “statement purchase” (and there are only one or two of those a year). The recession really made me step back and look at my game purchases and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Though historically gaming is nearly as cheap as it has ever been they have gotten a bit sneakier like the aforementioned DLC. I try to resist that as much as possible and avoid subscriptions like the plague.

I’m curious, which blockbuster $60 games were short on content and had plenty of DLC that should’ve been in the game? I can’t think of any.

We’re already seeing Actizzard taking the steps towards something like this with their new pricing of Modern Warfare 2 (£55).

I don’t think MW2 even cost THAT much to make. IW is relatively small and it was a 2 year cycle from the last one. Preorder sales probably already have them in the black.

No doubt. I think the issue is that Toady isn’t interested in doing one. :(

I’m sort of hoping that he eventually feels like he’s ready to take it to a different place and gets the chance to design a smaller but more polished DF game with a dev team backing him.

I suppose there’s a chance that refocusing on UI/presentation will ruin what’s great about DF but my hope is that somehow they’ll leave 75% of the awesome stuff and only drop some of the depth.

Spore, Simcity Societies, The Sims 2 are three examples off the top of my head that had me feeling like I’d been sold a very basic framework of a game, to be completed through future content packs and expansions. Based on review scores I’m in the minority, but it doesn’t change my opinion as it relates to my expectations. – Not to mention endless MMORPGS which all like to use the excuse “development is an ongoing process”, Sony was bad bad bad at this, with both expansions and games.

As for $60 games, I don’t play xbox360 games or ps3 games, so I didn’t pay $60 for any of these or any other game I’ve ever purchased. I also don’t buy collectors editions. To me a ‘big’ game is one that charges about $40 or more, seeing as how a game like Plants vs Zombies provides so much more for so much less… unless you consider rendered 1000000000 polygons as additional content.

Also, there was another game this year where hordes of people complained about a lack of content for the money, Demigod. I think the jury is still out how DLC will be handled for that, I’ve been seeing the publisher take different stances on future support of the game because of the community attitude as of late, but last I hear they were still sticking with their original promise of two free demigods soonish – with more content via mini-expansions sometime in the future.

EDIT: Oh yea, and my definition of DLC is sort-of buzzwordish in that I’m too lazy to isolate expansions, content packs, additional character or outfits or micro-transactions as anything other than DLC any more, because DLC is easier to type.

Get out.

Well, the game industry’s economics are highly screwed up. One way of unscrewing them would be if everyone paid twice as much per game. But that’s not going to happen in a useful way due to demand curves, you know, so much for that idea.