Do Games Cost Too Much?
This is a debate that has been going on a lot in the industry lately. With the huge success of games on the iphone, people are starting to get used to a $0.99 price tag for their games. I listen to many different gaming podcasts each week, and it seems that there is a bit of a disconnect that gaming journalists have on this topic.
One game that has been the core of this debate in recent months is Alan Wake. This is a game that is supposed to be an amazing experience, but may only last 8 hours and costs the full $60 at retail. Many journalists have argued that this is a completely valid price tag for the experience that you’re getting. I both agree and disagree.
While I do agree that $60 is a reasonable price to charge for a wonderful 8 hour experience, I don’t believe that it is a smart price point if they wanted to sell a ton of copies. Game journalists are in a different position than a large population of gamers out there. Firstly, they get review copies for free which immediately disconnects them from having a proper opinion of price. Secondly, a large number of them are single which allows them more freedom to spend their money on video games. Thirdly, even if they have families it is expected that they will spend a portion of their income on this hobby, as it is directly related to their career.
A large number of console gamers are teenagers and college students. This population has very limited funds to spend on video games. A lot of them likely get their games as gifts, and if they spend $60 of their own money on a game, it is going to be a game that will last them a very long time. I fit into another group; I’m a gamer with a family. I have a large number of financial responsibilities that are going to come before buying video games. It can be very hard to justify to my wife spending $60 on a game, when we owe $600 for daycare in the upcoming month.
Alan Wake came out at the same time as Red Dead Redemption. They were both the same price, and I bought the latter. While I had been looking forward to Alan Wake for quite some time, it just made sense for me to spend my money on a game that would last me a few months, instead of on a game that would last a couple weeks. Do I believe that the “Alan Wake Experience” is worth $60? Of course! But i fit into a group that cannot afford to spend that much on such a short experience.
Obviously people bought Alan Wake at the full price point, but Microsoft was disappointed in sales. If this game had initially come out for $40 I would have scooped that up immediately! I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Let me know your opinion in the comments. Everyone is in a different situation, and I’d like to hear other opinions on the matter!