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#1 Re: News » Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players » 2014-01-22 19:03:55

I saw this interesting post and figured I would add my two cents.

"If you go to Hollywood, you'll find the "$10 store, where everything is on sale for 50% today for $5." But if you return next week, next month, or next year, you'll find that the same sale is still happening. And you'll notice that the signs they are holding look a bit worn out. Still, some people are tricked by this and go into that store, thinking they are getting a deal.

It WORKS. I get it.

But I want no part of it. I don't want to trick anyone, not a single person, into buying my game when they really don't want it, at any price. I don't want a SINGLE person to pay for my game and not play it."

I admire you for writing this, but let me provide a somewhat different perspective:

I've been doing some reading a book on business strategy this week and it made the point that there are 3 different "tiers" of potential customers.
1. People who are aware of and want to buy your product. We might speak of these people as "fans"
2. People who are aware of your product and have refused to buy it. "Refused" might be too strong a word, really these are people who know but have chosen not to buy for a host of different reasons. They could be convinced otherwise if the value proposition is right.
3. People who are not even aware your product exists.

As you move down the list each pool of people becomes exponentially larger. The caveat with your pricing strategy of price rises over time is that it preferences the first, smallest group over 2 and especially 3. However, your greatest profit potential is in trying to widen your pool to capture as many people out of 2 and 3 as possible.

Also, I think that the "price rises next week" strategy has some drawbacks, for one it is sort of an ultimatum and can be taken as a threat. I reminds me of when the local NFL team was selling season ticket licenses and did something similar, some people felt that negatively about it. I'm not saying I think it is morally wrong or anything to use this strategy, just be aware that if you consider sales to be somewhat deceitful, some people might consider your strategy somewhat coercive, or maybe just manipulative in a different way.

More generally, I think that this strategy is not suited for the larger market for a number of reasons:
1. Time value of money means that cash now is more valuable than cash later, all else being equal.
2. Speaking at a really high, market aggregate level, the commercial value of a work declines over time, due to a whole host of factors including substites, new games, etc. Generally you want to charge the higher price when the game has more commercial value.
3. Games like Minecraft are a huge exception. Almost any reasonable pricing strategy would have worked because the game was a massive hit. Most creative works are not like that, they exhaust their commercial value quite quickly. Price rises over time strategy will be unprofitable for those games.

Anyway, those are my thoughts from a business perspective. You may be right that your project is a good fit for this strategy, and I hope it works out well for you.

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