PlanetCrap 6.0!
Front Page (ATOM) • Submission Bin (2) • ArchivesUsersLoginCreate Account
You are currently not logged in.
T O P I C
Over-the-counter strike
October 3rd 2002, 18:49 CEST by m0nty

An English committee has started a campaign called Fair Play, whereby they nominate the week of December 1 to 8 for consumers who think game prices are too high to boycott the industry by not buying any game products off the shelf. They have a petition with hundreds of signatories, and with support from the likes of Peter Molyneux and Edge magazine, so how can they lose?

The FAQ for the campaign sets out the Fair Play Committee's manifesto, which is the old lament that if games were cheaper, more people would buy them, and everyone would be happier. The Register reported that "a clergyman, games journalists and developers" are members of this Fair Play Committee. Their news page actually treats reports of publisher losses as supporting evidence for their claims.

So who will lose out if the price of games comes down?
Nobody. That's the beauty of it. It's Fair Play's core belief that if the price of games were cut in half, sales would - at least - double. Because games are very, very cheap to physically produce once you've actually written them (duplicating a game disc and putting it in a standard DVD box costs mere pennies), there are next to no manufacturing costs to worry about, so if prices halved and sales doubled, everyone would make - at least - the same amount of money, but we'd all have twice as many games to play. Everybody wins.

This argument came up in the mid-80s in the letter pages of Zzap!64 magazine in the Commodore community, so the issue isn't new, but I guess Generation Z needed to fight this war all over again. On the subject of magazines, Fair Play quotes UK publication Computer Trade Weekly throughout the site, failing to mention that it has been folded into MCV).

It is true that game prices have been creeping up lately, for no discernible reason beyond simple inflation. Games are just starting to break the A$100 barrier in Australia, for example, and many of the petition signatories complain about games retailing for $80 Canadian. If anyone can list valid reasons for this price creep, then I'd love to hear them. Nevertheless, the Fair Play Committee's reasoning is significantly flawed. For one thing, saying that games should be priced the same as DVD movies is ridiculous, because movie DVDs are just ancillary renevue to the film studios compared to the primary takings at the box office, whereas games only have one delivery medium. Their grasp of concepts in economic theory is poor, at best - I'm sure plenty of devs and publishers on this board can pick apart their arguments fairly easily.

One glaring omission from the Fair Play FAQ is the obvious question: aren't prices so high because piracy is decimating sales revenues? Perhaps the rise in popularity of ShareReactor, eDonkey et al is causing this price creep. The predominance of console over PC in revenue terms for game publishers is evidence that piracy has a huge effect on sales. Fair Play talks a lot about consoles, and on that platform their position is a little more solid: console games are priced around the same as PC games, despite having far less piracy. If the effects of piracy are built into the average price of a PC game, why aren't console games much cheaper? Perhaps gamers are simply conditioned to expect a game to cost a certain amount, and publishers are taking advantage of that to make big profits. Of course, the official reason is that Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft make back the money they lose on selling the hardware by adding premiums on game prices.

Do you think you are paying too much for your games? Do you think publishers would make more money by dropping the price and selling more units? Do you justify your gaming purchases with the old standby of "it costs less per hour of enjoyment than going to the movies"? Should console games be priced much lower than PC games? Will you join the geek revolutionaries on the picket lines in their strike for consumerism, or boycott the boycott by becoming a filthy scab? Does having Molyneux on their side make Fair Play instantly wrong?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Over-the-counter strike

|«« - Previous Page - Next Page - »»|
#1 by jjz
2002-10-03 18:51:01
Has anyone played NOLF2 yet?
#2 by Warren Marshall
2002-10-03 18:55:04
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Games are a retail product.  They are priced at whatever the market will bear.  It's not magic.

Thinking that halving the price will double sales is a little naive IMO.  Maybe it would happen, but I'm willing to bet that it wouldn't.

What they fail to mention as well is that the production costs aren't the issue ... DVD cases, blah blah ... the real cost is in the 2+ years of development time.  Show us how to reduce THAT and maybe you'll have a point worth discussing.

"Hope this is what you wanted,
Hope this is what you had in mind,
'Cause this is what you're gettin'."
#3 by m0nty
2002-10-03 18:55:10
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I will join the boycott, but only because I'm broke and can't afford to break it.
#4 by jafd
2002-10-03 18:56:18
Do you think you are paying too much for your games?

No.

Developers are.

"A cleric that can pick locks? That'd be handy."
#5 by jafd
2002-10-03 18:57:32
Show us how to reduce THAT and maybe you'll have a point worth discussing.

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

"A cleric that can pick locks? That'd be handy."
#6 by Ashiran
2002-10-03 18:58:13
With all this bitching about game prices people get forgetting one simple rule. "Something is only worth as much as someone is willing to trade for it." If you think a certain game is to expensive then don't buy it! Wait a couple of months and said game is much cheaper. Don't want to wait for that? Then pay the difference. Or spend some effort locating a place that has it cheaper.

So basicly my opinion on the whole Fair Play buisness that it's a load of bs. Want cheaper games? Stop buying them at full price rather then starting petitions on the web that don't help shit to begin with.

Also, you fight like a girl.
#7 by haplo
2002-10-03 19:01:41
Has a web based petition ever actually done anything?

<@jafd> Anyway, Darth, your name is stupid. sry.
<@Ashiran> So no more darthnugget?
<@haplo> darthnugget has left the building
#8 by Warren Marshall
2002-10-03 19:02:23
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

There are none so annoying as those who claim to have answers, yet never reveal them.

Or, What?

"Hope this is what you wanted,
Hope this is what you had in mind,
'Cause this is what you're gettin'."
#9 by m0nty
2002-10-03 19:03:42
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I would be interested to see an actual equation of a game's profitability, to replace the bogus one that the FairPlay guys did. Derek Smart talked a lot of numbers in that Take Two thread several months ago, which is a start, although admittedly since Derek is as mad as a cut snake, you can't trust his accounting.
#10 by Greg
2002-10-03 19:08:06
The correct answer would be for developers to use premade engines, which is occasionally worthwhile. That isn't always possible, and there are instances where people do use existing engines, and the development times and costs are still too long and too much. [cough] DNF [/cough] But they've rewritten so much that maybe its not an existing engine anymore.

At least using an existing engine tends to help speed up time to market.

Who is driving?! Oh my god, bear is driving! How can that be?
#11 by Shadarr
2002-10-03 19:08:55
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
They may have a point, at least with the stupidly overpriced games.  I would've bought Neverwinter Nights if it had been $40 instead of $80.  However, the fact that I haven't bought the game at all ought to send more of a message than just delaying a purchase by a week in December.  Temporary boycotts can never be more than a mild curiosity to producers, because I bet even if the boycott drives sales numbers down significantly that week, the next week they will be proportionally higher than normal as everyone buys the stuff they normally would.  If you actually buy less games, that is meaningful.
#12 by Neale
2002-10-03 19:09:03
neale@pimurho.co.uk www.pimurho.co.uk
Derek may be considered a bit eccentric by the gaming community, but he certainly knows

a) What he's doing, and

b) What he's talking about.

signatures are, as I've stated, for perverts
#13 by Greg
2002-10-03 19:11:02
Actually, I'm not sure that using an existing engine lowers development costs all that much. I suppose it depends on the engine.

Who is driving?! Oh my god, bear is driving! How can that be?
#14 by jafd
2002-10-03 19:14:33
There are none so annoying as those who claim to have answers, yet never reveal them.

Right. I should just spill out everything into the public domain, for free. What a great idea!

I have yet to receive your payment. Until then, figure it out yourself. Or, keep doing the same things over and over and hope for different results. :P

While I have a deep fondness in my heart for developers who repeatedly produce great works, such as yourself, the sooner the current publishing/distribution paradigm crashes and burns, the better, imho.

"A cleric that can pick locks? That'd be handy."
#15 by Neale
2002-10-03 19:22:40
neale@pimurho.co.uk www.pimurho.co.uk
Greg: if you consider the costs in terms of time, and paying a programmer (or two, or three) for the time it takes to develop an engine, plus the cost in time and salary for the artists/level designers etc to either have to rework to fit in with engine changes that break compatibility, or to add things to fit the new features, I'd say that licensing one of the Big Engines (Q3/Doom3, Unreal and (dare I say it?) Lithtech) is going to save a developer money.

signatures are, as I've stated, for perverts
#16 by Warren Marshall
2002-10-03 19:23:34
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
jafd
Right. I should just spill out everything into the public domain, for free. What a great idea!

I have yet to receive your payment. Until then, figure it out yourself. Or, keep doing the same things over and over and hope for different results. :P

That's like paying fanbois for game design advice.

No thanks.

While I have a deep fondness in my heart for developers who repeatedly produce great works, such as yourself, the sooner the current publishing/distribution paradigm crashes and burns, the better, imho.

This, I agree with.  I don't think the current developer/publisher/retailer relationship will hold up much longer.  I don't know where it will go, but I think retailing through the internet and such will become much more popular in the coming years ...

"Hope this is what you wanted,
Hope this is what you had in mind,
'Cause this is what you're gettin'."
#17 by Charles
2002-10-03 19:23:49
www.bluh.org
I'd like to point out that the last few console games I've purchased have been cheaper than usual.  This includes kingdom hearts, which was only 70$ as opposed to the 90$ I paid for FFX 9 months ago.  Seems to me like on average console games have dropped at least 10$ in the past half year.

Of course, Canadian funny money and all that.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#18 by Charles
2002-10-03 19:24:45
www.bluh.org
That's like paying fanbois for game design advice.

No thanks.

/me laughs and laughs

That was great.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#19 by m0nty
2002-10-03 19:25:32
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Gamesindustry.biz has an interesting article on Fair Play.
#20 by Charles
2002-10-03 19:25:52
www.bluh.org
Erm, I KNOW I put the quote tags in there.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#21 by Squeaky
2002-10-03 19:34:36
Sweet

But the authors name kinda scares me.

Wasn't Andy's last name Smith?

Although I guess "Andy" and "Smith" are pretty common names so it might not be him.

#22 by Creole Ned
2002-10-03 19:40:54
The only online petition I know of that ever worked was the one to get Epic to release a final Direct3D patch for the original Unreal and who knows, they may have done it, anyway.

As a corollary to Charles's remark about console game prices dropping, I've noticed PC game prices rising. What typically sold for $60 (again, Canadian funnee money) now typically goes for $70...or $75...or $80. Or in the case of Future Shop, $130 for the Collector's Edition of Warcraft 3. Not exactly a trend I'm thrilled with.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#23 by Lu-Tze
2002-10-03 19:52:11
www.concretiahell.tk
The problem also lies with the high-street retailers, who tend to add around 10 (at least here in they UK they do) to the price of PC games...

Buying on the internet I purchased games to the value of 100 in high-street shops for a mere 60. This obviously must still make SOME money for the online retailers, so it seems that places like HMV, Game and Virgin are living off a 100% profit margin on games (I think that's the right percentage, they basically sell it at double what they but it).

This could be completely stupid maths, but it seems pretty conclusive to me. The high-street stores are making more off games than the makers do.

"Veni, Vidi, Viscerati"
#24 by Dethstryk
2002-10-03 19:57:58
jemartin@tcainternet.com
(#21, Squeaky) Sweet

But the authors name kinda scares me.

Wasn't Andy's last name Smith?

Although I guess "Andy" and "Smith" are pretty common names so it might not be him.

That book Mark Rein wrote is about editing UT2K3 too, isn't it? I hope so, because I pre-ordered it earlier today from Amazon.

If you beat a dead horse long enough with a hose, it will rise up and kill you.
#25 by jafd
2002-10-03 20:02:14
As I said, it's a philosophical issue.

"A cleric that can pick locks? That'd be handy."
#26 by Charles
2002-10-03 20:03:05
www.bluh.org
Creole, yes, I was going to add that, but I didn't because I haven't been doing much PC buying lately.  NWN was one of the last games I bought, and that cost me 90$ before tax.  NOLF2 last night was 80$.  Seems to me that they are climbing.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#27 by Battle-Dwarf
2002-10-03 20:10:53
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
If the market can bear a few (XBX, GC, PS2) gaming console units,  a few (Gameswan, GBA) of hand-held units,  last generations (Gameboy, N64,  DC, PS1) gaming units not to mention the miscellaneous doo-dads (gaming on a cell phone)  and then there's Personal Computers...

Wouldn't it be fair to rate the prices of the software relative to the demand?

Battle-Dwarf was here.
#28 by Charles
2002-10-03 20:12:48
www.bluh.org
Fair is for fairies.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#29 by Battle-Dwarf
2002-10-03 20:15:18
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
IT'S NOT FAIR!!!

*sob*

Battle-Dwarf was here.
#30 by Battle-Dwarf
2002-10-03 20:16:52
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
Besides,

You don't get any pussy.  *meh* :P

Battle-Dwarf was here.
#31 by Battle-Dwarf
2002-10-03 20:26:58
www.myspace.com/OlSchoolMedia
Wow.

A sequel to Sam & Max from Lucasarts on the PC!

Battle-Dwarf was here.
#32 by _Fury_
2002-10-03 20:47:26
ajhill@wi.rr.com
I think I'm going to go buy a game.

Shit talking dickhead sucker fool.
#33 by _Fury_
2002-10-03 20:47:43
ajhill@wi.rr.com
Buying games makes me happy.

Shit talking dickhead sucker fool.
#34 by _Fury_
2002-10-03 20:48:13
ajhill@wi.rr.com
Probably a console game though. I like them better.

Shit talking dickhead sucker fool.
#35 by MCorleone
2002-10-03 21:25:14
They want $90 for NOLF2??!?!?  For lithtech?

bitch please...

<m0nty> ZTSDSTOP LAUGHIN U FIXX0rs
#36 by Greg
2002-10-03 21:27:31
The last game I paid close to that much for would have been Final Fantasy 3 for SNES. But back then, all the high storage cartridges were expensive.

Who is driving?! Oh my god, bear is driving! How can that be?
#37 by Gunp01nt
2002-10-03 21:58:47
supersimon33@hotmail.com
wait... if, in the current situation, the top-selling games cover the costs of the low-selling games, then won't this idea reduce the amount of games released by 90%? publishers will most likely only publish ONE game, so they can be sure a lot of people buy that game, so they are certain the game earnings aren't fragmented across multiple games. Right now, it's doable because publishers get the full share for every game they sell. With the Fair Play plan, they'd get less than that, and they'd have to hope sales DO rise. But since nobody can give them a guarantee that they will, I don't think any entrepeneur is willing to try that.

Besides, for the publishers and developers to actually still make money in this scheme, the sales would have to rise as much as the price drops. Which creates another traphole: lower the price a lot and you run the risk of losing a LOT of income because sales don't rise as much as you wanted em to. Lower the price a LITTLE, and chances are sales will not rise at all because there's too little difference in price, plus you STILL lose income.

It's a nice plan but I think they should've though about it for more than 2 seconds. right now it seems to me like a petition for free distribution of drugs: everyone supports it because everyone would LOVE to get free drugs, but they don't have a clue as to whether that is actually doable.

Kees puts up his middle finger
That means "No"
Well done, Kees!
#38 by Gunp01nt
2002-10-03 22:02:50
supersimon33@hotmail.com
BTW... I've been out for a while,... WHAT do those e-mail addresses at the bottom of the page mean? A trick to fool harvesting bots?

Kees puts up his middle finger
That means "No"
Well done, Kees!
#39 by Ergo
2002-10-03 22:03:02
Exactly.

Sum Ergo Cogito

DVDs
#40 by Charles
2002-10-03 22:06:03
www.bluh.org
Disclaimer:  Every time I talk about money, it's CDN$.

So that 90$ for NOLF2 is around 55-60 USD$.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#41 by Charles
2002-10-03 22:06:39
www.bluh.org
Erm, except it was 80, not 90.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#42 by LPMiller
2002-10-03 22:21:31
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Oh, like that's real money. I mean...it's Canadian.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#43 by Greg
2002-10-03 22:23:01
Charles, yeah, I know you meant Canadian dollars. But my FF3 example was US dollars. It was 80 or so.

Who is driving?! Oh my god, bear is driving! How can that be?
#44 by "Ghost in my Shell"
2002-10-03 22:23:59
Anyway, console games have stuck(there are exceptions...duh) around this magic figure of $50(USD) since the days of Nintendo, so I think 50 bucks for a game is a great price and one I don't mind spending.

Then you have SNES carts costing 60...70 bucks...those were usually squaresoft games

Sega sold Phantasy Star 4 for $100, in a cheap ass cardboard box :\

Then you had the Neo-Geo of course with its $200 games.

N64 games were almost avg 70-80 bucks!

Lunar for the PS1 was almost 85, but it came with a lot of stuff.

I'm happy since I'm getting value when I usually buy the "expensive" console games, because the extras of more RAM on the cart or extra goodies warrent the cost...

I don't get this same "value" when I buy $50+ pc games for some reason.

Maybe I am just fucked up.
#45 by Ergo
2002-10-03 22:24:00
Then you got ripped off, Greg. I paid $50 for mine.

Sum Ergo Cogito

DVDs
#46 by Charles
2002-10-03 22:30:35
www.bluh.org
Yeah greg, sounds about right, FF3 cost me 110 when it came out.  Same with chronotrigger and secret of mana.

"There is a huge difference between disliking somebody - maybe even disliking them a lot - and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire. It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
#47 by jjohnsen
2002-10-03 22:55:01
http://www.johnsenclan.com
People not buying a game for a week isn't going to even show up on Publishers charts will it?  If they really want to make a point, convince 1-2 million people to not buy games or hardware for the whole month of December.

I am trying to catch up to Ergo's Dvd collection.
#48 by jjohnsen
2002-10-03 22:56:26
http://www.johnsenclan.com
That book by Andy Smith in post 21 sounds like its for UT, not UT2K3.

I am trying to catch up to Ergo's Dvd collection.
#49 by HiredGoons
2002-10-03 23:01:54
Boycotting a game because it is too expensive?

That means I've been unintentionally boycotting Ferrari for years now.  I bet they're feeling it now.

Bastards.
#50 by Your Friend
2002-10-03 23:04:46
If *everyone* stopped buying games for a week, it would certainly show up.  But of course that won't happen because most people who buy games will never have heard of this, and the very small percentage of those who have heard of this will be split into those who don't care, those who care but lack the will power, those who pirate most of their games anyway (because they are 'too expensive') and then a very small percentage who will actually go through with the boycott.  So, in practical terms, no it won't even be noticed.
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Over-the-counter strike

|«« - Previous Page - Next Page - »»|
P O S T   A   C O M M E N T

You need to be logged in to post a comment here. If you don't have an account yet, you can create one here. Registration is free.
C R A P T A G S
Simple formatting: [b]bold[/b], [i]italic[/i], [u]underline[/u]
Web Links: [url=www.mans.de]Cool Site[/url], [url]www.mans.de[/url]
Email Links: [email=some@email.com]Email me[/email], [email]some@email.com[/email]
Simple formatting: Quoted text: [quote]Yadda yadda[/quote]
Front Page (ATOM) • Submission Bin (2) • ArchivesUsersLoginCreate Account
You are currently not logged in.
There are currently 0 people browsing this site. [Details]