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#1 Re: News » Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players » 2014-01-15 16:16:35

I think your article is missing the point of exactly why the Minecraft model worked:  it was sold as an unfinished game, still in development, and the price increased as more content was added to the games.  Those who bought the game later were actually purchasing more content than was available when the game was sold at a lower price.  Minecraft also had the benefit of fitting perfectly into a niche that was unfilled and, as it turned out, in high demand.  As the game was developed, word of mouth spread, and people came in huge numbers to purchase this game that was unlike anything else, and in its simplicity somehow had unlimited possibilities.  It became a brand and a genre unto itself, to the point that any games with similar elements have to say "like Minecraft," to describe themselves.  It was a culmination of the right circumstances, the right timing, and the right product, and that's exactly why the sales model it used does not work on a wider scale.

Chances are, the vast majority of people who purchased your games during a sale would never have bought it otherwise.  This isn't a statement about the quality of your games, it's a reality of your customers having limited resources to spend on games, and by necessity having to be extremely picky about what they spend their money on.  With new games constantly being released, 99% of video games are perceived to have less value over time, and if the concept wasn't enough to interest a player early on, chances are that player will forget all about the game shortly after it's release.  If they do happen upon the game down the road, seeing the game at full price a year after launch is a definite hindrance to convincing them to purchase it.  Why spend your limited money on a year old game when you can get a brand new one instead?  The only thing that counteracts this is in the (extremely rare) case of something like Minecraft, or Gary's Mod, where the game is so popular with it's users that they just keep playing, and telling others about it, and posting videos, and dressing up as characters, etc...  This situation is definitely the exception, however, and not the rule.

The advantage of a sale is that your game actually gets front page coverage again, long after it's been released.  This reminds people it exists, and if they ever had a slight interest in it before, seeing that the price has come down makes it easier for them to "take a chance" on a game that they're interested in, but not 100% sure about.  It also exposes it to people that may have never even heard of the game before.  "What's this?  I've never heard of it, but it's not that much, maybe I should check out the reviews and see what it's about..."  I really can't even tell you how many times I've done this exact thing, and I guarantee you thousands of others have as well.

If you want to stay firm on your price, by all means do so.  You should just know that you're dealing with a strong "perceived value" problem, and your game has to truly be a standout to justify it's firm price tag to gamers with only so much money to spend over time.

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