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Author Topic: Indie Game Pricing  (Read 4445 times)

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James Edward Smith

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Indie Game Pricing
« on: February 23, 2010, 10:36:56 AM »

I need to actually play at least the demo of VVVVVV so that I can comment on it. But assuming it is a really good game, it's still just made by one guy and seems overpriced to me.

Having not played it, I can't say if it is worth 15 dollars or not, but what I still feel I can say is that if he had just charged 5 dollars I think he'd be doing a lot better on sales. If I ever actually sell Pike & Shot and not just give it away, I'm not going to charge over $2.50 unless I devise some sort of micro transaction scheme that actually seems cool.

If you are making an indie game with a one or two person team, even if it's actually a really good game, I don't feel like you can afford to present any noticable barrier to entry or people just aren't going to care. The video game market seems like it's getting pretty saturated to me and even though some people might look kindly on Indie games that legitimately offer something fresh or different than what is out there, they EXPECT either the quality or depth of the game to be limited so asking a "legitimate" game price seems like you are pricing yourself out of the market to me. It has to be a no brainer purchase.

"Canabalt, it's a really cool looking game. I like the music. Cool, the glass breaks when you jump through it and the doves flutter around. $2.50. SOLD"

Now Canabalt is really cool looking, and well made for what it is, but what IS it? It's a one button platformer with frequently unfair level generation and very little variation. I haven't played VVVVVV, but I bet it is much deeper and hell, just better than that. However, Canabalt was almost a hit and bet it will end up with way higher sales than VVVVVV.

"This game looks like an old Amiga game, okay. I guess if I'm from England or over 25 that matters to me at all. Hey you can't jump you just flip, cool/gay. 15 dollars, hmmmm.. Yeah that demo was pretty neat/lame."

I mean, it's not the bungle of bungles, but he made a bad decision in my mind. I'm not saying every indie game has to be 99 cents, that's bullshit, but what I am saying is that unless you look like Aquaria and get a ton of good press leading up to release, I really don't think you can charge even close to $10 and hope to do much business.

Of course the other point that stands out in my mind is this: get good press leading up to release and market in some other ways or don't even bother charging.

Some people just have no clue though, check out this guy's game on TIG. I'm serious, download it right now and play it, it's a really fast download. He's seriously asking if he can charge $10 or $20 fucking dollars! What a piece of shit! I played it for 5 minutes and I was just amazed. Wow, wander around in a vague flavourless block maze playing a gauntlet clone with NO INNOVATION WHAT SO EVER. I love the two first weapons you have access to, shitty unsatisfying shot that goes no where and shitty shitty unsatisfying shot that goes full screen. WOW, sign me up, I wanna be a wizard on a turtle's back with assinine cutscenes and terrible fonts.
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Zaratustra

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Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 11:06:48 AM »

geothermal thinks things need to be good to be expensive

 :rolleyes:

Niku

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Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 04:26:19 PM »

I bought Canabalt.

I pirated VVVVVV.
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Detonator

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Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 05:20:52 PM »

geothermal thinks things need to be good to be expensive

I don't think Geo was arguing that at all.  I'm guessing he was suggesting that price should be correlated to a game's "budget", which is more how large/pretty a game is rather than how good it is.

Popcap can get away with charging $20 for a relatively dinky game because they are very good at making their games polished and professional looking.

Though I can't say I know for sure what your point is.  Bad games are expensive too?  They sure can be.  Are there bad-looking, poorly-designed, high-priced indie games that sell well anyway?  Maybe, though I would assume that is a rarity.   Do you have any particular examples in mind, Zara?
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James Edward Smith

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Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 05:59:07 PM »

Zara's custom member title really needs to be his signature or something or maybe it can just be an audio file that plays after you read his posts.
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Zaratustra

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Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 07:42:43 PM »

this thread is getting derailed faster than that subway train in speed

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010, 08:08:14 PM »

Ah, that was hard.  Now where were we?
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jsnlxndrlv

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 08:16:50 PM »

Indie games should let you pay what you feel they're worth like World of Goo did. I paid for World of Goo; I didn't pay for either VVVVV or Canabalt. Or, for that matter, almost any indie games aside from those my friends have made.
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Kayin

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 08:36:03 PM »

I totally agree with Geo. I played VVVVVVV's demo without looking at the price. Then I was like "Hey this is neat, if it's priced right, maybe I'll buy it!"

I saw 15 dollars. I was just like :wakka: ... I figured 5 might be the higher end, and 10 was possible. But 15? I laughed my ass off. I laughed at the absurdity.

I thought of all the things I could buy. Notably on the indy end of things, Noitu Love 2 is 5 dollars cheaper.

So for 15 dollars you get

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf06P-_1lkU

for 10 dollars you get

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysO4YfKM1E0

HM. HMMM. HMMMMMMM. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

And I haven't even bothered to buy NL2 yet (one day I will). I just bought Serious Sam HD for 8 bucks. I can get a number of remakes of great games on PSN for less than 15.

VVVVVVV just does not look even close to a 15 dollar game. NL2 looks better than most professional DS games and its' only 10 dollars. Granted I think it started at 15 or 20 but at least that looks awesome! VVVVVVV also has to compete with a number of FREE games.

15 is just a poorly considered price. He lost my sale and quite a few other sales I'm sure.
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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010, 08:49:23 PM »

So Zara, can you remind us how much Ev2 will cost?  How about how much we'll need to pay you to actually make it?
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James Edward Smith

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2010, 09:13:39 PM »

What do you care, Catloaf? EV2 is a CAUSAL game you hate CAUSAL games.
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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2010, 09:28:47 PM »

VVVVVV is also something like two hours long
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Bongo Bill

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2010, 09:35:57 PM »

Cost correlating with apparent budget is the thing to take away here, I think. Craftsmanship - technical and artistic - is obvious where design is not, so craftsmanship factors into value judgments.

A person who overpays for a game will probably not enjoy it as much! With anything you acquire, until you become accustomed to its existence (which is really not a factor in entertainment), there's a certain impulse to be considering whether you've gotten your money's worth, and it's a continuous judgment rather than a single decision. So you'll be judging a game's worth in relation to its price right now, even as you're busy playing it; because of this, the more obvious things are going to factor higher in your decision-making than when you're not playing it.

Video games are called video games for a reason: we play them primarily with our eyes. If it's not visually pleasing, then the biggest part of the game (biggest when you're busy playing it, anyway) is not measuring up. It's going to seem less favorable in comparison to other games you've played, and this comparison will be reflected in a parallel comparison to the prices of those games.

If you've really enjoyed a good-looking game for free or for ten bucks, you're not going to feel super good about paying fifteen for an ugly one. However much you realize you enjoyed it after playing it, however good a job Tim Rogers (or whoever) does of convincing you that it's great beforehand... you've still paid more for something that is worse in an important way.

Incidentally, this is also why old games depreciate (except when they become collectors' items).

(Of course, if you give me the opportunity to pay "what I think a game is worth," I always pay as little as possible, because I am a stingy motherfucker.)

It turns out, conveniently, that the most expensive part (on average) of game development is also the one with the most direct correlation to the price point.
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Niku

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2010, 09:39:20 PM »

I will pay pretty inordinate amounts of money to a game I actually like that uses the "pay as much as you want" system, but I know I'm in the minority there.
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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2010, 09:40:28 PM »

I got World of Goo for a penny and felt perfectly justified when around World 3 it committed a cardinal sin of design. Yes I am aware I am being a petty son of a bitch. It is a shame that there are not many ways to personally hurt developers that offend you, though.

I'd gladly pay $20 for NL2 just off the trailer.
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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2010, 09:42:03 PM »

My post got eaten. It was "Wasn't Braid $15?"
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Frocto

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2010, 09:42:58 PM »

There is something really beautiful and amazing about the number of times Geothermal qualifies that he has not played a 5-10 minute demo.
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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2010, 09:42:58 PM »

I pirated that too.  more like jonathan blows
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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2010, 09:43:19 PM »

Braid price-dropped pretty quickly and I'll grudgingly admit that it's sheer presentation commands almost enough respect for a $15 price point.

It was $20 a little under a year ago.
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Bongo Bill

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Re: Indie Game Pricing
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2010, 09:44:25 PM »

Braid was pretty. $15 was acceptable.
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