WiseAss Thinkers

Prices for games reach Crysis levels- for all involved…

Author: dexjackson
Date: 18/08/2009
WiseAss Thinkers

Apologies for the aptly placed pun up top but I couldn’t resist such a title- heh heh. Now, on to more pressing business. Over the last few weeks, the hubbub over the prices of computer games rising to heights that would surely make any gamer with a bit sense in their head not purchase the game at full price when it is released in stores has reached an all-time high. It would seem as though this is a simple “money-grabbing” exercise by executives over at the office of the publishers of the games- and for a one Mr. Bobby Kotick, this certainly holds true it seems: 1, 2. The thing is, though, I’m not in the least surprised that this has finally started to happen.

We might want to save a fair bit of this, but you still shouldn't "short-change" others out of their reward

We might want to save a fair bit of this, but you still shouldn't "short-change" others out of their reward. Image taken from http://fundraisingblog.cmarket.com/

I imagine – almost immediately – that a fair number of the readers of this article will be having a thought to themselves, somewhere along the lines of, “Oh this is all pish-tosh. Why should we all have to pay prices that reach the heights of that rocket that North Korea launched”- or something to a similar effect. Prices of games, though, are always changing and it’s always been like that. Remember the cartridge-based games? The big cardboard boxes – those were lovely – and then the advent of the next-gen consoles- notwithstanding the newest addition of selling collectibles in metal boxes for an extra £5, £10 or even more- according to the prices of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum. Prices might skyrocket – or be rumoured to – but they also come down with a big crash just like that very same North Korean rocket. Take that Kim Jong-il!

Even more so, the costs to create these games are absolutely staggering! Look at the budget for Grand Theft Auto IV: a gargantuan $100,000,000! More so, Halo 3 with an amazing $60,000,000 spent towards it development. Is it just me, or do these budgets just not pay off in the end? Sure, with console purchases you can bet some of that money on getting a, let’s say…”adequate” return. With the PC? You’d surely be mad! What with all the rampant piracy and “appropriation” of, what in most cases is, lovingly made work for a game that is either leaked a good few months in advance and worked over again – in the case of Half-Life 2 – or released as part of the final product in spite of the leakage and the company that published the game – and even more importantly, the developers – lose out on their cut of what they paid into. One could say that the publishers deserve it for the tripe they come out with- PR and all that excluded. Well, actually, the publishers are one thing, but the developers are something different entirely.

Although it may look easy, it's really not. A fair number of guys like this aren't getting paid for their hard work, not to mention the overtime

Although it may look easy, it's really not. A fair number of guys like this aren't getting paid for their hard work, not to mention the overtime. Image taken from http://www.noop.nl

You see, by not paying for the product even though it might have an genuine “edge” or “quirk” to it, you are, effectively, punishing the developers for actually making an effort to produce such an item that does, in all fairness, require a bit of specialised skill to make. Now, some people – especially people who like to complain, I’m looking at you Left 4 Dead 2 boycotters and the guys who think Hitman should be able to “explore teh[sic] city” – will probably think, “F*ck off devs! Make me a ‘splody shooter with brill graphics and phat loot to get. I’m not going to pay you anything; just take the game and play and complain as much as I want”. That is NOT an exaggeration or extreme example- in fact, it is quite moderate. Taking games without paying for them is just plain stealing and everyone knows that. Fair enough, there are a few exceptions to the case that are not really worth the money in the first place. Those, however, are exceptions and I would go so far as to say that the majority of the games produced now and back in the 90’s – even 80’s – are worth spending a bit of the green dough on. Budgets go madly high, to keep up with the, frankly, unsubstantiated complaints and comments on what a game should have. They don’t get their earnings and are expected to to make it better! Well, that’s just, well… silly.

A rather "polite" way of saying what the majority of Gamers should be doing

A rather "polite" way of saying what the majority of Gamers should be doing. Image taken from http://lifestyle.aol.ca

With the current long-time trend in Open-Source software – a long-standing new-age term for software created with the intent of making it customisable by any person at any time who has access to the software or the tools used to build it – having it’s claim over a fair slice of the Software Industry pie, people now “expect” their software to either be free or significantly lowered in price to unreasonable levels that don’t give back what the devs put in. Fundamentally, this doesn’t work. Only because the developers and designers of software are such an eclectic bunch – including me, has the trend continued. I also think ego relating to being a “goodwill” person has something to do with it, but I could just be a cynic- of which I am, but that’s not the point. Even so, there’s a lot involved with the game pricing debacle on right now that a good number of people just don’t see. As a dear family member recently said to me: “In order to  make a profit, you sometimes have to lower the price a little in order to get more people buying the thing you’re selling”. Well, in this case, I think that either way you go, you’re bound to end up with nothing in the end- and that’s just terrible…


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