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Gaming Steam Sales and Devaluation

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 1 Aug 2012.

  1. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    The only people devaluing IP's are the publishers with BS day one DLC releases, season passes and pre-order exclusives which fracture the user base from release. Instead of patronising us by telling us what we want or telling us how happy we are with the current generation graphics go and fund some thing which is actually new and interesting.

    Basic economics: Something is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it. If Batman sells more copies at £15 than £30 it's value is closer to £15. Publishers artificially inflate the retail price to make as much money as possible in the initial launch period before sales drop and I think steam uses the DFS tactics of keeping the price higher than it should be prior to a sale to make the discounts look bigger.

    Sales are a regular part of the retail industry so why do games publishers and devs cry butt hurt over sales? I've never heard the film industry complaining about retailers selling DVD's for £2?
     
  2. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    :lol:

    And asks their better half to introduce the article for that authentic feel.

    I also like to sit in a smoking jacket sipping high-end whisky whenever I listen to Joe speaking. It just feels so right.
     
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  3. XXAOSICXX

    XXAOSICXX Member

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    This is quite a complex subject and one that I commend you for tackling Joe. I've made the same argument to my colleagues and friends fairly recently and found the same split of opinion the comments here are showing.

    People fall into one (or more) of three different camps:

    1) The release price of games is perceived to be too high to start with so people consciously wait for the inevitable price drop on Steam before buying a game they have psychologically committed themselves to buying.

    2) People who use Steam to try out games they would be very unlikely to EVER buy were it not for the Steam sales, or to buy copies for friends at an affordable price.

    3) People who don't get too excited about the sales and buy because they're looking for a game to play straight away and don't have an agenda behind their purchasing decision.

    Taking these in reverse order:

    (3) A person who isn't trying to save money and is just looking for something to play (and doesn't have a 1000000-hour back-up of games from previous sales to play) isn't affecting the industry one way or another.

    (2) This is how we should (and how I do, mostly) treat the Steam sales - as an opportunity to dip my toe in the water with a publisher I don't know - with a view to buying future titles AT FULL PRICE and for buying games for friends at an affordable amount also with a view to them buying future titles at full price.

    (1) This is where the damage is done. If I were able to produce a list of all the comments that I've read on Bit Tech over the last couple of years where people have said (about almost every single game reviewed on the site) "I'm going to wait until the Steam sales", "This is definitely one for the Steam sales", "I'm going to wait until this comes down in price in the sales" etc, then the list would be, frankly, enormous.

    Of course, we're all guilty of it - I've bought games in the Steam sales for a tenner having waited months for it to come down in price only to realise, upon playing it, that the game was worth FAR more than "three pints of beer" and has given me many hours of enjoyment. These are the purchases that are harming the industry. If a game is completely crap then fine, you've wasted your money, it's a lesson learned; don't give that publisher/developer your business in the future. If their products truly are that poor they won't last as a business anyway.

    We'd go to the cinema to watch a 2 hour movie for £10 but wouldn't pay £30 for something that might like 10, 20, 30+ hours? We've forgotten the value of what we have.

    In the UK, certainly, we have a culture of wanting everything cheaper than it is, with little regard to the time and effort that went in to producing and delivering the product we have in our hands, or on our computers.

    It's taken a conscious effort to make myself not wait for Steam sales and to buy titles that I want when I want them. I *want* to the developers to make more money, I *want* them to make more games that I'm going to enjoy. If there's a developer (like Activision and Ubisoft) that I won't want to give my money to then I don't give them my money.

    By waiting for the sales we ARE devaluing the product - which forces the hands of the developers/publishers to seek additional ways of monetising their product, be it through in game advertising, even-more-DLC, micro-transactions and so on...and nobody wants that.
     
  4. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    let's not forget only games that have been released for a long period of time gets on big sales.

    Batman Arkham City goes on sale for 50% off, while older games like Mirror's Edge gets on sale multiple times for 75% off. (besides, i bought AC on GMG for £15 on its release) the whole steam sales system have a way of calculating price, it doesn't devalue a product more than the unstoppable ticking clock.

    take ARMA 2 Combined Ops for another example, £19 is where it's been sold everywhere else, £15 was on a one day offer at publisher's website. Steam sale sold it for £15, in line with its current market value, devalued by time, not sales.
     
  5. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    I don't think that is a valid example.

    1. If our local cinema charged £10 a ticket, I and many others wouldn't darken the doorway ever again. It's currently less than £4, and it can't be the only one.

    2. Even if we accept £10 as a representative ticket price, producers will cough up $70 million just for the likes of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in the same movie - that's a lot of money to recoup, and it doesn't compare well (I'd imagine) with the business model a games developer uses (I'm sure they'd love that kind of budget)

    3. Ever decreasing returns - movies tend to be around the 2 hour mark, whereas the likes of FPS games struggle to top 6 hours these days - they used to last at least twice as long. Yes, you still get the Mass Effect type games weighing in with 30+ hours of gameplay - but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule. We are left to make do with a few maps and online deathmatches.
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2012
  6. OWNED66

    OWNED66 New Member

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    u guys do know that the games that are on sale are
    A.are a failure in the first place and there arnt many sold to begin with (ie nexuiz only has 5 servers now)
    B. are old and sales have been down (ie doom3 etc)

    steam sales were riddled with old or failed games
    and the games that were doing well/old had only a small discount - small as origin discounts so i still dont understand whats wrong
     
  7. Adnoctum

    Adnoctum Kill_All_Humans

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    But that ISN'T "devaluing" games. That is the consumer (us) saying that the release prices are too high and we aren't willing to pay it.
    I paid US$44 for Skyrim a month after it launched. It really wasn't much cheaper than on launch, but I was ready to play the game then, and I was willing to pay $44 and I believed I got good value. A friend of mine bought it a few weeks ago for US$32. It had gotten down in price enough for him to feel it worth while. That was his valuation.
    I paid something like US$10 for Arkham City during the Steam sales. I wasn't willing to pay more for it earlier. It may be a good game, or a great game, but after a so-so experience with Arkham Asylum it was all I was willing to pay. This was my valuation. This wasn't me "devaluing" the game.

    Not purchasing something is not the same as a lost sale. And I'm not talking about piracy. That is $10 that the publishers of Batman would never have gotten otherwise.

    Why are GAMES any different than any other product? Games are only licences so we can't resell them, they must be connected to servers at all times, we MUST pay full price for the product at all times...or we're thieves, or pirates, or leaches or whatever the publishers want to call us now.
    Wait a few months after release or for sales for the price to drop on CPUs or GPUs or cars or books or DVDs or TVs or any damned thing, and we are normal or even wise consumers.
    Wait a few months after release or for sales for the prices to drop on games and we are "devaluing" the product.
    It is quite frankly insulting, and it is worse that they think so little of us that they can say it to our faces.
     
  8. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    Really?? Ours you're looking at £8 on a non deal night I think :(

    Most of my games have been bought during a sale, and most of them I wouldn't have bothered buying if they weren't really cheap (there have been a couple of exceptions)
    I've even bought games in steam sales I already own since they have some issues with W7 otherwise, there's no way I would have paid full price again for a game I already own.
     
  9. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    Small correction - adults are now £4.70, kids and OAPs £3.80. Mondays and Thursdays, all tickets are £2.80.
     
  10. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!

    The article:
    The author could ask Dear Esther developer what he thinks of Steams game devaluation:
    This is a clear sign that the starting asking price was too high.

    Also, Steam sales have exposed us more to the danger that is games backlog, the games that we have bought but havent found the time or urge to play and finish them.
     
  11. Redd13

    Redd13 New Member

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    personally i cant afford £40 games all the time... so my slightly less anticipated games either get bought on sale or not at all... find me a better payig job.. and im happy to spend more on games!
    Yes i feel they are also attempting tp push up prices generally, inflation has risen but production costs have cheapened with digital distribution...

    But most importantly... those large companies only interested in sales figures.. have already damaged the market, buying up IP and then only producing the popular games... its why junk like black ops makes it out.. yet im still hoping for a homeworld sequel...

    (and tho its been said too much already... Minecraft - nuff said)
     
  12. Redd13

    Redd13 New Member

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    oh and ive also consolidated my library buying games again... cos ive lost or have damaged cds... thats extra sales.
     
  13. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Are they even showing talkies yet in the Isle of Wight? Technicolor?
     
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  14. Kastagir

    Kastagir New Member

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    This rubbish makes my blood boil. Devaluing my ar*e. Like many people have already stated; I cannot count the amount of games I've looked at on the Steam sale and thought 'why not?' Games which I would have never purchased otherwise - some of which have led me to buy the full price sequel/original.

    Steam selling a game at a lower price exposes the games IP to a much larger audience. If anything this has the opposite effect.
     
  15. DeckerdBR

    DeckerdBR Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry but I whole heartedly disagree with that.

    A. you can't compare cinema prices to game prices, completely different products.
    B. Over the past 5 years many PC games have been crap console ports with 6-10 hours gameplay.
    C. Intrusive DRM which often prevents paying customers from accessing their product has become the norm.
    D. DLC, including the dreaded paid day 1 DLC has also become the norm, with some companies (looking at you Ubisoft) admitting to cutting out content to sell as DLC. Even when new DLC is created, it's often over priced for what it is.
    E. The cost of living in the UK is high so what do you expect? But I fail to see how it's relevant though, the fact that so many people aren’t willing to pay full price for a game makes the point itself.
    F. Battlefield 3 had 3 million pre-orders and in most places I looked was “full price”. 2 days after it launched EA had shipped over 10 million units worldwide. Yet it’s stilled rammed with DLC, Premium and Micro transaction based unlock packs! Please don’t try and tell me that because we have waited for sales!

    It's the publishers and developers who are devaluating their products, for the reasons above but also for another reason. Not all games are created equally but they are often all priced the same.

    I earn more now than ever before but I don't place the same value on games I used to because the quality has dipped and the experience has been made worse.

    There have been some excellent games of course and the latter half of 2011 to now has seen IMO an improvement in PC games but we are still a long way off having more good quality titles than less.

    The funny thing is, I didn't move onto piracy to counter the effects of this, I just stopped buying most games in any notable quantity and at full price. If it's crap, it's not worth my time.
    The problem here is that most reviews are gushing with praise of most games, bloating the scores and ignoring glaring flaws so it can be quite hard to tell if many games are actually good.
    Thank god for the sales!
     
  16. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    Cunny funt! ;)

    Going to see TDKR there, tomorrow night, hopefully.
     
  17. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    I agree with most people here (the ones that say that prices for digital game downloads are too high and/or are kept too high).

    I'd even go a bit further. Claiming that people would have otherwise bought a game at full price if it hadn't been for a STEAM sale is almost (but not quite) on par with that age old standby that "a pirated copy equals a lost sale".

    Up to a point it's usually a situation of "the cheaper the product, the greater the turnover". What can be hard is finding that sweet spot. Hint: keeping high prices isn't it.
     
  18. ziza

    ziza New Member

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    I find curious people saying that steam summer prices is killing creativity and developers motivation to develop good products. When you look at games like CoD, Prototype, Need4Speed, Battlefield, Crysis, ...I would like to identify where is the creativity that the author talks... The thing is that authors creativity is upfront limited by sales (does games as Dear Easter, The void have the same sales that CoD?), and business rules, so steam summer sales is not under valuating creativity, the organizations and manager are.

    Second Steam is investing in Independent games as no other store, so I would like to understand how this kills creativity? In my opinion it allows that small and innovative organizations are able to develop crazy products and still have some visibility.

    Third video games are one of the most expressive industries, however a game is 10X more expensive than a cinema ticket where large technology is also used. I think that organizations are justifying their technical work with unrealistic prices. Second why all the 50/60/70€ games to not get in reviews 10 out of 10? Given their prices the quality should not be a problem, but that is not the reality many poor quality games are sold by this crazy prices. For me the steam summer sales is the opportunity to buy reasonable games at the price they reserve to receive.

    Fourth lets do some math I have a game that costs 50€ and I sell in steam at 15€, to achieve the same profit i need to sell (50/15) more, this implies 3.3 games, or 4X more. In steam summer sales and according to the Dear Easter example in this article it sold more than 4 times more...Thus the profits margin was larger.

    Continue with the math if I spend 50€ in a game during summer sales I will be able to buy 4 games. Physiologically there are lots of people that during this sales just buy games, even games that they did not planed. So with the same money I am able to provide profits to 3/4 organizations rather than just to one.

    Additionally since steam was stated these sales there is data that shows a small decrease in piracy, thus, the best approach to fight game copies is the price and steam proofs that. In addition do organizations prefer to sell 5 copies by 50€ and have 100 pirated copies than sell 20/25 for 15€ copies and 80/85 pirated copies. Has a developer I prefer the second option...

    So Steam is finally attacking several problems:
    - Fair prices for poor innovative products
    - Independent Games have also space in the industry
    - Reducing piracy
    - Allow organizations to preserve their profits
     
  19. Landy_Ed

    Landy_Ed Combat Novice

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    Using the cinema is a poor example for comparison, as the cinema has a whole load of overheads - admittedly subsidised by insane prices but still..

    A dvd/bd is a better example, as they too drop in price over time.

    I'm interested to know how the non-sale download of Dirt3 is £30, but the physical media can be bought from Amazon for ~£6, and I saw it in Morrisson's at the weekend for the bank-breaking £7. I don't have the game, don't really want it, but I was still tempted!
     
  20. V3ctor

    V3ctor Tech addict...

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    This... I bought Dead Island, Orcs Must die, Luxor 3, Portal 2, Trine Bundle, Torchlight 2...

    All of these I wasn't going to buy (at least now), I don't have the time to play them all, so normally is a waste of money :/

    It's good for the industry these price cuts, at least they earn money and "reduce" piracy. But I don't wait for price cuts if I really like a game I just buy it, of course I can't spend 200eur a year on games, so I buy the ones I like full price, while the rest are bought or thru Steam or Amazon (good discounts too :D)
     
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