In the recent heated battle of service-based and fixed price games, there has been a bunch of references to the price of a single game. The most used argument is that the price level will always stay at the magical 60 USD for fixed price games. Maybe I could propose something new way for setting the price in the future.
Since the dawn of hard copy games, publishers have had to work hard to sell as many of them as possible for a fixed price and game developers have had to figure out their budget according to sales. Since the rise in technological development, everything has gotten more expensive to produce. and the increase in costs makes publishers shit their pants and worry about their revenue figures.
It makes you wonder if we should feel bad for game companies and publishers. They are still keeping the same price they’ve had since 2000. Maybe we should allow them to put a higher price ceiling for copies?
Back to me being cautious as a former economic student – I want to take us back to the basics like demand and supply in economics and their relation with the term price. In a perfect functioning market, when there is a high demand for a good, the price will go up. It assumes that the good in demand is valuable or scarce. This also works vice versa – low demand means low price. Same idea goes for supply. The more supply there exists, the lower the price will be on the market. Thanks to these basic statements, we can find the optimal price. Although, I think this won’t apply on the video games retail market. Because in reality, we never see a price drop in over supplied genres like first-person shooters and we have never seen an increase in price for rare games like heavy story driven games. Now you might think that hmm, maybe popularity has something to do with it.
So that gave me an idea. How about we price video games on their uniqueness and rarity, or in what we find worth the money. In the business world, the more differentiation you can offer as a company, the more valuable your end products would become. This is called perceived value. It would spark publishers to offer unique games rather than repetitive or returning titles that exhibit almost nothing new. Going along with this trend will encourage game developers to innovate and create more varied and diverse creations. I believe the current video games market is lacking a lot of imagination and meaningful games. I am not saying there are none. Publishers prefer video games with a good record of sales, so these games are safe to put onto shelves. Think about how much more choices we would have as gamers? But the question is, how could we encourage publishers and gamers alike to favour innovation?