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Old 14th Jul 2011, 17:26   #1
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The cost of computer games fuelling piracy...

How much does the average PC game cost upon release now? Major PC titles average 35. If you're lucky you can get a discounted version for 26. I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay 35 or 26 for a computer game. When I purchase a video I pay half that or less. It's even worse with those shitty consoles. Kiddies have to pay 45 plus for a major new title.

I suggest this is one of the factors fuelling piracy.

When I started playing Crysis 2, initially it was a leaked beta. Then a crappy multiplayer demo with auto-aim enabled, then upon release, a pirate version. The game didn't support my SLI setup. I had intended to purchase Crysis 2 from day of release providing I didn't have to pay full price or 26.

Having downloaded the pirate version I was annoyed to see it didn't work in DX11 or support SLI. So I decided not to buy. I didn't even bother playing the pirate version very far.

Then finally, 1.9 patch and DX11. So I looked around and found it on play website for 12.99. I purchased and a week later it arrived (by which time the play price had returned to 19 pounds+).

Finally the game runs in DX11 and SLI and I no longer use an illegal pirate version (aren't I a naughty criminal though for downloading a pirate version at all?).

When Bad Company 2 was released, again I downloaded pirate version. I didn't want to pay discounted price of 26 or more. I got lucky there too... There was a one-off sale price of 14.99 on ebay for a legit version. I bought it.

I don't mind paying 14.99 for a very good game. I refuse to pay much more than that though. I would certainly never pay 35 for a PC game or 45 for a shitty console game.

Corporate criminals might argue that piracy has driven up the cost of computer games. I would suggest corporate greed is the main factor driving piracy because many people refuse to pay or can't afford to pay such prices for a momentary high/fix. Let's face it, your average computer game has limited replay value unless it happens to be multiplayer.

I must say though I've purchase many games on Steam when they have great price reductions.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 17:31   #2
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That's one way of looking at it

But really saying you can't afford something means you don't buy it. If you can't afford a phone you don't steal one from someone else. You only buy what you can afford, that's just the way life is...
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 17:36   #3
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Yeah, it's obviously a factor, but a minor one. A really major one is that piracy is free. What a bargain!

Most real pirates wouldn't even consider buying games at $1. They have no reason to, since they can get them for free. "What, publishers? Lol who cares about them, bugger off with that sob story and let me play my game"
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 17:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96 View Post
That's one way of looking at it

But really saying you can't afford something means you don't buy it. If you can't afford a phone you don't steal one from someone else. You only buy what you can afford, that's just the way life is...
Yup that's a good point actually. Must-have culture.

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Originally Posted by DragunovHUN View Post
Yeah, it's obviously a factor, but a minor one. A really major one is that piracy is free. What a bargain!

Most real pirates wouldn't even consider buying games at $1. They have no reason to, since they can get them for free. "What, publishers? Lol who cares about them, bugger off with that sob story and let me play my game"
Unfortunately so. A percentage wouldn't pay for a game no matter how cheap it was. I must say I used to be that way for many years. More recently though I developed more of a conscience and feel I should support a software developer when the product is good.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 18:09   #5
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Personally, given the development time and expertise required for the production of a game, I'm willing to pay 30+ for good games (Mass Effect 1+2, Half-Life etc.). Unfortunately for developers, making a game is becoming increasingly complicated and time consuming resulting in shrinking profits*, so games WILL have to get more expensive in the future.

I do sympathise though, before you think I'm going to go all 'you're responsible for funding terrorism' or some other bullcrap. An example is Duke Nukem Forever: I wished I'd pirated it to find out how much of a let down it was rather than splashing out 30. The only way round this is for the developer to allow you to pay what you think the game is worth after you've played it, but this is wide open for abuse and would probably not work since the PC gaming community has a reputation for being tight fisted (look here if you don't believe me).

This probably leaves episodic gaming the best way to proceed: split a game up and allow a player to purchase it bit by bit. If they don't like it, they can stop playing and not have paid full price.

*Before some complete ***** comes along and starts saying that profits aren't important and companies are being greedy, just stop now. Companies are set up to produce profit (bar a few exceptions) and more profit means more ventures into creating bigger and better games.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 18:22   #6
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A very simple approach that would no doubt encourage people to buy on release is to actually provide Demos! Don't call them "Beta" or trials, just release a demo. How many of us bought say, PC Gamer, installed a demo, loved it and saved whatever copper coins there were littered around on a filthy street to get enough money for the full game?

I know that it is a more difficult task these days to create demos since games have become that bit more complex, but hell, a single level or something. Is it really that much to ask for? Put it on a timer. Bejewelled 3 demo came with a 30 minute timer, I am still trying to find it cheap! Zombie Driver did something similar.

You don't buy a car without test-driving it... So why not bring out demos to allow people to make a more informed decision on their purchases. If it is up to scratch, then you will get your sale. if not, then the game needs to either patch it like mad, or not churn out rubbish.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 18:34   #7
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30 or 25 for a game that i'll be spending over 100 hours (or enjoy it very much, like Portal 2) on seem like an excellent deal to me. but i certainly won't buy without review or trying it first. so i agree with NaloaC: give us demos!

if you are not prepared to pay for a mediocre game, then just don't play it. i did not buy Crysis 2 (cancelled my 22 preorder, in fact) due to the mediocre multiplayer gameplay i experienced. it all comes down to personal perception of value.

also agree with Dragunov, where pirates will simply refuse to pay no matter what is the cost. So if a company lower the price, then they will simply get it wrong and unable to recoup their developing cost.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 18:45   #8
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Originally Posted by feathers View Post
When I purchase a video I pay half that or less.
I really hate when people make that argument.
A movie provides an hour and a half of entertainment probably 2-3 times on average.
A game is considered very short at 6 hours.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 19:07   #9
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Originally Posted by feathers View Post
How much does the average PC game cost upon release now? Major PC titles average 35. If you're lucky you can get a discounted version for 26. I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay 35 or 26 for a computer game.
Then don't pay it, but don't use it as an ultra-crappy excuse to pirate.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 19:42   #10
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Personally, given the development time and expertise required for the production of a game, I'm willing to pay 30+ for good games (Mass Effect 1+2, Half-Life etc.). Unfortunately for developers, making a game is becoming increasingly complicated and time consuming resulting in shrinking profits*, so games WILL have to get more expensive in the future.

I do sympathise though, before you think I'm going to go all 'you're responsible for funding terrorism' or some other bullcrap. An example is Duke Nukem Forever: I wished I'd pirated it to find out how much of a let down it was rather than splashing out 30. The only way round this is for the developer to allow you to pay what you think the game is worth after you've played it, but this is wide open for abuse and would probably not work since the PC gaming community has a reputation for being tight fisted (look here if you don't believe me).

This probably leaves episodic gaming the best way to proceed: split a game up and allow a player to purchase it bit by bit. If they don't like it, they can stop playing and not have paid full price.

*Before some complete ***** comes along and starts saying that profits aren't important and companies are being greedy, just stop now. Companies are set up to produce profit (bar a few exceptions) and more profit means more ventures into creating bigger and better games.
A percentage will pirate regardless. Episodic content may be a good way to reduce costs if people don't have to wait long for the next episode. Danger there is situation like Valve where they pretty much stop producing (because their content delivery system is making so much money).

Quote:
Originally Posted by [ZiiP] NaloaC View Post
A very simple approach that would no doubt encourage people to buy on release is to actually provide Demos! Don't call them "Beta" or trials, just release a demo. How many of us bought say, PC Gamer, installed a demo, loved it and saved whatever copper coins there were littered around on a filthy street to get enough money for the full game?

I know that it is a more difficult task these days to create demos since games have become that bit more complex, but hell, a single level or something. Is it really that much to ask for? Put it on a timer. Bejewelled 3 demo came with a 30 minute timer, I am still trying to find it cheap! Zombie Driver did something similar.

You don't buy a car without test-driving it... So why not bring out demos to allow people to make a more informed decision on their purchases. If it is up to scratch, then you will get your sale. if not, then the game needs to either patch it like mad, or not churn out rubbish.
The demos would have to be more substantial than many single player story driven demos I've played. There have been times I've downloaded a demo prior to release of a game and thought it was crap (FEAR being one example). Then when the game was released it turned out to be much better than the demo. So too short a demo and you risk giving people a false impression about a game (but then that's why we have game review sites so you can get to see what everyone thinks about it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu View Post
30 or 25 for a game that i'll be spending over 100 hours (or enjoy it very much, like Portal 2) on seem like an excellent deal to me. but i certainly won't buy without review or trying it first. so i agree with NaloaC: give us demos!

if you are not prepared to pay for a mediocre game, then just don't play it. i did not buy Crysis 2 (cancelled my 22 preorder, in fact) due to the mediocre multiplayer gameplay i experienced. it all comes down to personal perception of value.

also agree with Dragunov, where pirates will simply refuse to pay no matter what is the cost. So if a company lower the price, then they will simply get it wrong and unable to recoup their developing cost.
With the number of game releases per year, I'd be spending quite a lot on games at 30+ a time. Maybe it's not so bad, maybe I'm just being a tight-wad? I guess one option for tight-wad to feel slightly better about spending money would be to sell off games he/she no longer plays?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronDoc View Post
I really hate when people make that argument.
A movie provides an hour and a half of entertainment probably 2-3 times on average.
A game is considered very short at 6 hours.
As you say a game can last longer than a movie but then again a classic movie I will watch many times over the years. I can't say the same about most games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureSilver View Post
Then don't pay it, but don't use it as an ultra-crappy excuse to pirate.
The situation I find myself in is one where I pay for the games I really like and don't for the mediocre ones. I'm pleased I didn't pay for duck nukem forever. Not even worthy of pirating.

I do buy a fair number of games on steam. If a great indie game is released then I purchase it. When Valve have sales I buy then also. It's a way for developer to receive royalties even on old games like Doom 1, 2 and 3 etc.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 19:46   #11
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how about just not play the game you feel that are overpriced until it has hit bargain bin?

that would solve your pricing dilemma.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 20:00   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96 View Post
That's one way of looking at it

But really saying you can't afford something means you don't buy it. If you can't afford a phone you don't steal one from someone else. You only buy what you can afford, that's just the way life is...
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN View Post
Yeah, it's obviously a factor, but a minor one. A really major one is that piracy is free. What a bargain!

Most real pirates wouldn't even consider buying games at $1. They have no reason to, since they can get them for free. "What, publishers? Lol who cares about them, bugger off with that sob story and let me play my game"
Quote:
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Then don't pay it, but don't use it as an ultra-crappy excuse to pirate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu View Post
how about just not play the game you feel that are overpriced until it has hit bargain bin?

that would solve your pricing dilemma.
Is this? Could it be? People talking sense in a piracy thread?

Heaven forbid we all be spoilt little children who absolutely must have our video games even if it means pirating them!
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 20:01   #13
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As you say a game can last longer than a movie but then again a classic movie I will watch many times over the years. I can't say the same about most games.
You're kidding right? A game 'can' last longer than a movie? I'd bet money that, on average, you play the games you buy for 3-4 times longer than the total time you spend viewing a single film.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 20:03   #14
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 20:08   #15
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345 Hours clocked on BC2 so far
I'm near that figure too, money well spent IMO.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 20:33   #16
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My record is 280 hours on GTA San Andreas (or thereabouts!).

Are games worth 35?

Yes, easily, provided you like them, otherwise no, of course not.

And that is the dilemma.

How do you know? Despite what you say about demos, they are surely the best legal way to find out.

Asking on here can help, but of course each of us is different, with our own likes and dislikes.

So this could be a viable philosophy:

If money is tight, or if you don't fancy finding out the hard way by paying full price, then buy games at sale prices.

Most games are heavily discounted after only a few weeks, while I admit others (notably the COD titles) take ages.

But there are just so many older games around that are worth playing that you could happily base your entire collection on sale item titles and nothing else.

Now if I'd only take my own advice, I'd save a fortune.

As to comparing games with films, well I can't really relate to that. As has already been said, a two-hour film watched three times adds up to six hours of entertainment.

Using my San Andreas example, or Bad Company 2 for that matter - total playtime equals one hell of a lot of films.

Take a look at the cost of gym membership, a football season ticket, a meal out or even a pint of beer - and games have to be among the best value entertainment on the planet.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 20:45   #17
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I honestly used to think that way, but granted back then I used to smoke every dollar I had... now that I've cleaned up I think differently. And with the crazy insane Steam sales we see and the free-to-play going on I don't even think price is really a valid argument anymore.

Seriously, by the same flawed logic you'd steal a car if you couldn't afford one because you feel you deserve one or that they "owe" it to you, and it's their fault for charging more than you can afford? Rubbish.

I really think piracy's roots are much more psychological; most people I know who pirate (included myself in the past) do it just because they can, because it instills a sense of power and self-indulgance knowing that you can take whatever you want by force and get away with it. So I think people who resort to piracy out of dire need are a probably rare, considering that if they're THAT poor they probably can't afford the hardware to game on to begin with...
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 21:35   #18
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Some sensible opinions here I reckon.

Really there is no justification for pirating it seems. I think many of us do like the thrill of getting something for nothing. Also I guess for many games that are multiplayer focused then the asking price isn't so bad. I played CSS for more than a year and a friend of mine is still playing it each night. I nearly purchased Dirt 3 when it came about but I kept stalling and thus far haven't.

Most of my purchases are now on steam. I even made my first purchase for a friend last week. I'd purchased L4D2 a few weeks earlier there at 5. A friend in Belgium missed the deal so he bought it on Belgian ebay for 11. Another friend was not sure if he would like the game but while he was at work I purchased as a gift when Valve dropped it to 3.70 or something.

Actually I'm shocked that I also made several purchases on that awful EA Origin. I used to play a pirated Mirror's edge and loved the game when it was released. Was only last month I purchased it + the time trial on EA Origin.

I think the game developers/publishers also have a responsibility to make a new game available in demo form and the demo should be long enough to give you a real idea of the game.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 21:43   #19
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Number one:

PC games do not remotely "average" 35. Not even close. There have been some rare games such as MW2/Blops/Starcraft 2 which have been priced around that, but aside from that, they are not that much. You do not have to pay 35 for even a brand new triple AAA title unless you insist on the ultimate/limited/special editions of games.

Second:

Why not pay 30 or 25 for a new game? It amuses me that you "refuse" to pay that much for ANY game despite the fact you could get hundreds of hours out of the game! I would have paid 100 for Starcraft 2 because its a fantastic game that I'm going to keep playing for years and years with excellent support. Same goes for BC2. My advice? Stop talking crap about prices and get over your OMG 30 issues.
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Old 14th Jul 2011, 21:59   #20
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The most recent retail purchases I've made have been Witcher 2 (25) and Drakensang 2 (13). I can't recall the last time I paid 30+ for a game and with pricing search engines like SkinFlint there's little reason why anyone should need to.

Even if a game is released at a higher price, odds are on that it will be discounted very quickly and all too many games need at least one patch to make them playable, so being a "release junkie" is counter-productive. There are plenty of other games out there you can spend time/money on waiting for <media_hype>THE_BIG_ONE</media_hype> to become more affordable (for the record, I boycotted Crysis 2 and Warhead due to their online activation requirements - I only picked up the original at around 25).

Saying that price drives piracy is an argument that fails when other platforms are taken into account - console games cost more yet piracy is less while mobiles are cheaper but see piracy rates paralleling the PC platform (80% on iPhones). Other factors need to be considered like DRM (which can increase piracy), regional pricing/availability and the ease of firing up your favourite BitTorrent client and visiting TPB compared to doing a price search, selecting a site, creating an account, placing an order, entering payment details and waiting for delivery.

The other side of the coin - look at how many people are prepared to pay full whack on digital distribution? The savings for publishers here are in the region of 75%+ (no physical manufacture/distribution costs, no inventory management/damaged returns, no retailer margin to cover) and yet most digital stores charge "retail" prices which many then choose to pay. That IMHO is where the real rip-off lies.
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