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#26 2014-01-19 13:30:17

DethBringa
Member
Registered: 2014-01-16
Posts: 160

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

You are a rare breed Jason. A genuine honest person that isn't looking for money by ripping people off.
"But I really want those people to save their money for other things and NOT waste it on my game, at any price."

IMO the problem is that big game companies try to sell their games at overpriced amounts. So they have these sales to entice people to buy. The flip side to that is your pricing model. ...Here's the price, its not overboard its realistic, if you want it buy it.
I don't like the fact that games come out for $100+. It seems really overpriced. However, looking at the sales tactic which seems to be running rampant, the games NEED to be that much so when the sales hit its reduces the price to the intended amount. Its complete bull.

Stick to your guns on this POV regardless of any negative feedback you may get. I think you are on the right side of this debate. Imagine if EVERY game had this pricing model. We would see CoD or BF games being released for $10-$15 instead of the ridiculous pricing we see today. People that cant afford those high price tags would actually be able to get the games they want rather than have to wait for sale X.


If I vanish it's not due to a burglar shooting me as well as my wife while making his way to the vault....
I'm just a burst player.
tongue

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#27 2014-01-19 13:42:42

JasonWorthing
Member
Registered: 2014-01-19
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

So I followed the link to your blog from a joystiq story, after reading your full post I had every intention of creating an account on the forum just to chime in that I very much disagree with your opinion towards sales....


Then I watched a trailer and bought the game. sooooo yeah...kodus for that...

There are a lot of reasons why I think steam sales are great for both developers and for users, but one that I wanted to focus on is that I just bought the game. Not because I really wanted it. Not because I was sure it was good. Ordinarily I would prefer to wait for a game to fully release, and if the review are great, but it at full retail, and if the reviews are good, wait for a sale. However, I had no option with this. My only choices were buy now, or pay more later. Either way I was taking a risk.

My point is that its no different than the normal sale structure. Either way, consumers have to take risks. However, I believe that the normal way sales work provides far less risk though. When a game first comes out, and reviews start popping up, as a consumer I have a choice. Pay extra to get a now, or wait for a sale. Paying extra to not wait to get a game makes sense to me. Paying extra because I wasn't sure and decided to wait seems wrong....

also, I get the feeling that you're really not doing this for the money. Am I right in this? I don't think you're selling your game this way to maximize your profits. In fact I'm quite confident that...

1) You know that you will make less money this way.

"All that said, the economic argument against rampant sales is stronger than many people claim for one simple reason:  near the bottom, there IS a crossover point where you stop making more money if you keep increasing the discounts.  The existence proof of that point is simple:  if you put your game on sale for a 100% discount, you will make $0.  What about a 99% discount?  Or 95%?  Where is the crossover point?  It lies somewhere between a 0% discount and a 100% discount.
The only way to know for sure is to A/B test prices simultaneously, without your audience being aware that you're doing that.  And as far as I'm aware, no one has done that (and I don't want to do it).  So, we have no idea where the crossover point is, though we are clearly locked into a race to the bottom, as discounts get bigger and bigger, and sales become more frequent.
WHICH MEANS THAT:
We may already be beneath the crossover point without realizing it."

Yes, there is a crossover point, and we can't be 100% sure where it is, but we can be pretty confident that it is not at 100%.

2) You know that by not going with the standard sale structure less people will play your game. Surely this matters you right? I understand that you don't want people to buy your game and then never play it, but what if thats just a side effect to 1,000 more people playing your game? Isn't that worth it?

Seriously though, I would love to hear your response. I really would like to know what your real motivation is in this. Its not to make more money and its not sell more copies. I guess that only thing remaining is that you want to change the industry, but do you really believe you can do that?

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#28 2014-01-19 15:44:11

nathan
Member
From: A ditch somewhere
Registered: 2013-06-15
Posts: 61

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

I know I haven't posted here in months, but I wanted to say what I think. If you don't have any sales on a new game, as time goes on less and less people buy said game, and instead spent their money on the latest and greatest games. This can also make the player base stop playing, as there is no "new blood". If the players don't play, then less and less people will want to get your game, as TCD depends on the player base. It's a deadly cycle. Who do you think will feel more ripped off, the consumer that buys your game before a sale, or the devoted fan that has to watch the game that they helped oversee the development of die because nobody else wants to play?


"I just robbed Mr. Rogers." -Ludicrosity "The wood is my desk, and I'm knocking it with my head." -Blip
"I'd rather pack 25 meats than 1 crowbar if you know what I mean..." -Jabloko
"This is one of the most disturbed things I have seen in quite a while. I blame global warming." -bey bey
"that seems like more resources than I'm willing to put into having my kids killed." -cbenny

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#29 2014-01-20 04:49:57

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

nathan wrote:

Who do you think will feel more ripped off, the consumer that buys your game before a sale, or the devoted fan that has to watch the game that they helped oversee the development of die because nobody else wants to play?

Sleep is Death.  I shed a tear for thee.  Another one of Jasons multiplayer games,  It has since shrivelled into obscurity due to the dwindling player base (and a lack of a lobby server).

If you are struggling for an idea for your next project Jason, then please spend a few precious months polishing up and re-releasing Sleep is Death as a Steam game, and add a lobby server!  It was such a masterpiece that it deserves a wide audience.  Don't do it for the money, do it for the stories!


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#30 2014-01-20 05:54:21

42dustman
Member
Registered: 2014-01-20
Posts: 231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

I'm feel a little let down for the fact that this game will never be 75% off, but I think the 50% off would still be fair enough if it was on Steam (because Steam has regional prices and the option to buy through boleto bancário, which is excellent for brazillian purchasers like me), but being at a minimum price of R$12,75 on Steam would put me off from buying it altogether.


Self-testing is torture.

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#31 2014-01-20 09:03:56

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Sleep is Death was courted by Steam way back when and then dropped/rejected.  Yes, lobby server is an issue there, but so is the sheer difficulty of playing.... it's really exhausting and asks a lot of most people (perhaps too much) to play Controller.  That game has been Name Your Price forever, so the notion that putting a game on sale will prevent the community from shriveling goes out the window.  Really, it's a game that always seems worth the effort to play after you've played.... but so daunting to play again next time.

Regarding the potential to have fewer players if TCD never goes on sale, that is undoubtedly a side-effect of my plan.  Yes, many people who buy it on sale would stick it on their "shame list" and never end up playing it, but some would play it and love it, and some would "discover" the game that way.  HOWEVER, for me it is a question of trying to do less harm, and not line my pocket by doing harm to a large group of people.  For me, the people who would buy it and never play it (and thus waste money and be tricked by the sale) swamp the rest.  I just don't want to make half of my living by doing that to people.

As for knowing that the cross-over point is not a 0% discount:  proof please?  The reality is that we have evidence from games that went on sale (almost every game) and games that never went on sale (Minecraft, Democracy3).  But we have no controlled study where the same game both went on sale and remained off sale at the same time.  Furthermore, it's a question of the industry as a whole.  In the middle of a "culture of sales," the one person who avoids putting a game on sale might make less money (because people avoided buying that game at full price).  But if we switched to a "possible world" where there were no sales, would the industry as a whole make more or less money?  We also can't answer that question.  A "rush" mentality distorts markets away from optimality.

On the other hand, if that "one person" makes it clear to everyone that the game will never be on sale, and that people can't just wait for a sale.... well, the culture of sales becomes irrelevant for that one game (as long as the audience believes the developer).


Finally, some people claim that I'm being "classist" by not putting my game on sale so that less wealthy players can afford it.  In my view, $8 is a pretty amazing price for a game with the kind of limitless depth and play value of The Castle Doctrine.  It's cheaper than a paperback, a movie, or taking a friend out for coffee.  On the other hand, I realize that there are people who cannot afford paperbacks, movies, or going out for coffee.  In fact, my family lives on an extremely tight budget, and we never buy books, see movies in the theater, or go out for coffee.

To those people, I wish I could say, "The game is in the public domain, so just get a copy from a friend."  Yes, you can do that, but that won't let you play on the main server, which requires a paid account.  The $8 in this case is for the LIFETIME ACCOUNT, and not really for the game itself.

The other option is to get it from a friend and then start your own server.  You could run a free server for everyone.  Though I know that will cost more than $8 to set up (web hosting isn't free... well, maybe you can find free hosting).

So... if none of those options work for you, and you REALLY REALLY love the idea of this game and are dying to play it, and you're really facing the trade-off between buying food and buying my game, PLEASE email me.

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#32 2014-01-20 10:31:30

Knopperz
Member
Registered: 2014-01-20
Posts: 2

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

PixelJunk Eden (Q-Games) proves you wrong Jason Rohrer ;-)

https://twitter.com/dylancuthbert/statu … 4639680512
http://www.gamestar.de/news/pc/3031476/ … l#comments  (German)

Within the 8 hour Sale periode (90% discount) he managed to generate the same amount of money he got in the last 23 Months selling for the full price.

Go figure wink

From a Customer Point of View, i am more willing to pay a Buck for a Game that "might" interest me...before i buy a Product at the full price, and end up with a game i dont like.
Blame the Economy,  the bad Quality of Games this Days, and the faked (bought) Reviews.

Customers lost their Trust.

Last edited by Knopperz (2014-01-20 10:44:27)

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#33 2014-01-20 11:06:09

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Knopperz wrote:

PixelJunk Eden (Q-Games) proves you wrong Jason Rohrer ;-)

https://twitter.com/dylancuthbert/statu … 4639680512
http://www.gamestar.de/news/pc/3031476/ … l#comments  (German)

Within the 8 hour Sale periode (90% discount) he managed to generate the same amount of money he got in the last 23 Months selling for the full price.

Go figure wink

From a Customer Point of View, i am more willing to pay a Buck for a Game that "might" interest me...before i buy a Product at the full price, and end up with a game i dont like.
Blame the Economy,  the bad Quality of Games this Days, and the faked (bought) Reviews.

Customers lost their Trust.

In an environment where most other steam games are having sales, I don't think Jason's trying to say that his pricing method will get him more money. Showing a game that started weak then had a spike of revenue from a large sale is pretty much supporting Jasons' point, that people will wait for and expect a game to go on sale.

Last edited by colorfusion (2014-01-20 11:07:22)

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#34 2014-01-20 18:14:43

Knopperz
Member
Registered: 2014-01-20
Posts: 2

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

colorfusion wrote:

I don't think Jason's trying to say that his pricing method will get him more money.

Its always about the Money, dont be fooled.

I have a little Mind Experiment for you...
Lets say you write a book, something real epic thats never been there...
I am talking about a Story so fresh and so new, something like the Hobbit back in the days.. or Star Wars.
Now the day comes, and you put it up for sale (digital distribution) and price it at 1 Cent.
The Book goes Viral like a Youtube Clip, and the people going crazy buying it... 1 cent everybody got to waste wink
There are 7,2 Billion People on the Planet...unrealistic, but lets say everybody is going to buy it.

7,2 Billion times 1 cent = 72 Million Dollars.

Thats more cash a single person could spend in a Lifetime.

Moral of the Story?
Not the Pricetag determens how rich you gonna get... the Product itself does.

Thats also the Reason why so many Games fail this Days... the Games are just overpriced empty shells.
Copy of a Copy of a Copy.

Take DotA2 for example... originally it was a custom map in Warcraft, and it didnt cost a dime.
Now its a Multi Million Dollar Brand. And why? because everybody loves it.

I am all in for fair pricing, like 10-20 bucks for Indie / kickstarter... and 30-40 for AAA titels.
But Sales are necessary to promote a Product...to show the Community: look here, new Game, check it out... dig in.

Its like throwing Candy at the Kids really.

Last edited by Knopperz (2014-01-20 18:16:57)

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#35 2014-01-21 08:51:48

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

You must be talking about Harry Potter.... which originally launched in expensive hardcover editions only, and people lined up around the block for them.

Yes, it is truly the mass-market appeal of the work that matters, not the price.

BUT... The Castle Doctrine is not a game that has enormous, bland, mass-market appeal.  Even if I gave it away for free, I could not get 100 million people to play it.  Passage was free, received widespread critical acclaim, and was one of the first games to make it into the MOMA permanent collection.  But far fewer than 1 million people played it.

That doesn't mean it's a bad game.  There are much "better" novels than Harry Potter that sold way worse.  Heck, there are probably much better FREE novels than Harry Potter that far fewer people have read.


There are some people who argue that sales are the only objective measure of quality.  That sales are where the rubber really hits the road:  if loads of people are willing to pay money for it, then it provides the most value to the world, therefore it is very good.

It may be the only objective measure of quality, but when I say something is "really good," I am NOT speaking objectively.  I'm speaking subjectively according to my own taste.  That is what taste is all about, after all:  the subjective.

So, when trying to figure out how to make a living from my work, I need to take these factors into account.  I have not made a game that will sell 100 million units, or even 1 million units.  Therefore, if I charge $0.01 for it, I'm not going to be able to support my family.


But it is an amazing game to some people, and those people are willing to pay $8 or $12 or even $16 to have that amazing experience.  I can sell far fewer units, to a specific target audience, and still make a living.

I mean, I'm the guy who raised $90K on Kickstarter for a Nintendo DS game.... with only 1300 people supporting it!

Keep in mind that this is my 9th year of doing this, and this will be my 6th game that I've tried to sell.  I've experimented with a bunch of different models, and "selling for dirt cheap to attract a huge audience" doesn't work for me.

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#36 2014-01-21 11:10:32

DethBringa
Member
Registered: 2014-01-16
Posts: 160

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

The measure of quality with sales is waaaay off the mark. A perfect example would be Call of Duty games. IMO the quality of these games has deteriorated greatly over the years however the sales for these games breaks records almost every time. TBH I'd rather play this than CoD Ghosts.
Most games these days go for the graphics over gameplay. Super real graphics and effects and meh gameplay with little replay value. That way you get bored and buy their next game. Here its about a great game made not to sucker in masses to forking out money or to be boring super fast and on to the next one. It seems more like someone who made a game THEY wanted to play and are selling it for enough to help pay bills but cheap enough to build a good community. Becoming super rich is not a part of the equation.
I could see a lot of different options he could have done with the pricing model. I think even myself I may have done it differently, but I do not disagree with this pricing model at all.
Its a great "sales tactic", about getting people that WANT to play so he has people to play with. If that is wrong and selling mass games to people that probably will never play them just be become super rich is right... I'd rather talk and hang with the wrong people.


If I vanish it's not due to a burglar shooting me as well as my wife while making his way to the vault....
I'm just a burst player.
tongue

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#37 2014-01-21 17:03:57

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Thank you, Deth, that means a lot!

Though I must say, League of Legends is pretty friggin' amazing.  Sometimes the mainstream really knows their stuff!  Though, as much as I've played the holy-smokes out of LOL, I haven't ever paid anything for it, so go figure.

I don't know that COD-type games (on-rails story shooters?) were ever very good.  I think the enormous attraction is for multiplayer, which I've actually never tried in those games, so I can't say.

To me, an FPS deathmatch is an FPS dealthmatch.  I saw that in Quake 1, and it blew my mind.  For people who haven't seen it before, COD multiplayer blows their mind.

But for me, as jaded as I am, I need something beyond just an FPS deathmatch.  Like K&L2: Dog Days multiplayer.  Or Uncharted multiplayer, or The Last of Us multiplayer.  Those games all innovate in the deathmatch space.  Or, OH MY GOD... Left 4 Dead!

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#38 2014-01-21 17:04:35

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Also TF2!

Sorry, I've taken this thread way off the rails now.

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#39 2014-01-21 17:53:03

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Getting back on track, it seems that your "stays $16 forever" model not only prevents future sales but also the fixed price decreasing as the game gets older. This has been a standard that doesn't seem bad for players, fans or game designers. Imagine if you had to still pay full initial retail price for all of the games at gog.com, no one would be buying legitimate copies of those games any more  and gog.com wouldn't be able to run, but it is great to have a way of getting those old titles and it makes sense that they are much cheaper than they started.

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#40 2014-01-21 21:26:08

canna
Member
Registered: 2014-01-21
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Let me list a few of the trends by publishers/developers that encourage me to wait (hint, it's not the price):

  • Day one DLC, sometimes "on disk" DLC. The despicable act of stipping content that should be in the release to try to suck more money. Later on the game gets released as a "Game of the year" or "Ultimate" version, which really should have just be the release version, or as I call it, the "What it should have been", version.

  • Closely related in the greed dept., single player games now charging for "cheats".  Example: selling "resource packs" in Dead Space 3.  What used to be a "cheat code" (ie. IDKFA) is now $1.99.

  • No dedicated servers - so if it's a good game they can "sunset" it, release a new version, and suck up more money.

  • No mods with very few exceptions (such as Fallout / Skyrim).

  • Broken Games that don't get fixed as the developer has moved on since they already made their buck.  On top of that Official releases are more and more becoming paid betas.

  • Almost never a demo.  When I first got to play Doom Shareware, holy crap, I couldn't wait to buy the game!  I happily spent months of allowance to get it.

  • The corrupt "review" system.

  • Oppressive DRM.


Lots of this has to do with gaming becoming more mainstream over the past 15 years.  Gaming used to be a small niche hobby, however as the market has shifted it's become more toxic.  In the new environment waiting isn't "screwing gamers", if anything it protects gamers from being taken advantage of.

While I understand you as a small developer aren't really driving these items, when looking at the industry as a whole it's easy to see why the consumer's buying patterns/attitudes have changed.  More and more it seems as if companies are out to screw the consumer as hard as possible.  The sad part is smaller developers without nefarious plans become a casualty to this environment.  However, you can't fault the consumer for looking our for their best interest.

Last edited by canna (2014-01-21 21:39:39)

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#41 2014-01-22 08:10:22

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Consumers aren't putting the games on sale at a deep discount.  Rampant sales and bundles (which grew out of the indie space, actually) are a VERY new thing.  Valve, as an example, has only been experimenting with this for 4 years.

From what I can see, it is simply a way of getting MORE money out of MORE people with very little extra cost.  It is the pinnacle of the greedy, toxic "mainstream" system you are complaining about.

Not only do they trick you into buying a game for day-1 DLC, they also trick a bunch of other people into buying the same, crappy game when it goes on sale later.  They probably at least double their money by doing this.  Heck, just ask any developer or read any blog post:  everyone is doubling their money by putting their game on sale.


Rampant sales have been lead and pushed by developers, not by consumers.


Josh:  I can't throw my game up on GOG for cheap, because I'm selling lifetime accounts here, and the cost of maintaining those accounts does not decrease over time.  In fact, the cost goes UP for me over time, because I'll be busy working on the next game, and it will become very burdensome to still be doing TCD maintenance... essentially forever.

(Note:  the system that I designed is as maintenance-free as possible, but stuff happens.... people need to change their email addresses or lose their download emails... the server needs to be rebooted..... some obscure bug causes someone to lose their house.....  AND, of course, there's community maintenance, like responding to people in the forums)

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#42 2014-01-22 15:34:19

boing
Member
Registered: 2014-01-22
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Jason i am with you!

This should be a message to all Devs around the world.
Release the Early game with a really low price first and if people are willing to buy it!
just get it higher and higher by finding the price that suits you best for the maintenance of the servers, for the development of the quality of the game and for you!

BUT please let us give it a value first by buying it !

We know minecraft did it and we know it has to be done that way....

My point!!! There are less people who will buy it for a higher price and the others will have to wait weeks or months to see the price go down!
A lot of people can't afford the price but they would like to help you develop your game along the way!
But that way you are breaking the communities apart by separating them with Christmas sales, Weekly deals and after a Year players!

- Let's say 4-5 months after the release :
and i just found this Game!
If i am one of those who can't afford a game with moderate price but really wants to pay for it because it has potentials and community, I will make an invest on my entertainment!
This way you will build a nice thing going on for your self approval (happiness) and your wallet!

Well i have seen communities brake apart and then come back because of the sales
and this loop maybe it is Steam's trick to boost the wallet of devs but also takes the money away from one game and send them to another same goes with the players!

Last edited by boing (2014-01-22 15:37:53)

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#43 2014-01-22 17:25:11

Kadin
Member
Registered: 2014-01-22
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

I just want to say that I hope this pricing model does in fact work for you. I just bought the game about 30mins ago and this is my first post.

I wanted to write because I honestly see the logic in your decision here and while it's definitely a bit dramatic in the grand scheme of things, you have to do what you feel is right. At this price point, and the full price after launch week, I think it's still a very easy price to swallow. Yeah that's easy for me to say as I just got it for $8 but I think $16 will still be a good one-time purchase price.

Only time will tell if this revenue model will work in the future but based on what I take from your original comment about this and then your detailed update response on the first page, I honestly see the passion in trying to make this work and for that, I commend you. Wish ya the best of luck and hope the game does very well.

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#44 2014-01-22 19:03:55

MTierce
Member
Registered: 2014-01-22
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

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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#45 2014-01-22 19:26:07

Cydramech
Member
Registered: 2014-01-22
Posts: 2

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. That's something only time will decide; me? Well I decided to just now throw a mere ten dollar bill at my screen and try it out. smile

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#46 2014-01-22 23:20:55

DethBringa
Member
Registered: 2014-01-16
Posts: 160

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Guess by all the new posts I've been too busy raiding houses XD.
First up..... CoD 5 was the best (IMO). Multiplayer free for alls are fun and the headquarters too but the Nazi zombies game mode rocks! its kinda like left for dead but no big boss nasties. Just end up running round trying to get more ammo and not be overrun.
Secondly.... Staying $16 forever may seem like its not decreasing in price but due to inflation it really is. Also we're talking permanent $16, not $120 being discounted to $20 like the big games that go on sales.
Lastly.... A lifetime server access for $16 is a bargain. Its not buying the game as its open source.


If I vanish it's not due to a burglar shooting me as well as my wife while making his way to the vault....
I'm just a burst player.
tongue

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#47 2014-01-23 13:35:22

Blip
Member
Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

I think that the pricing model here is actually pretty sound; it allows players to choose between three things:
A. Buy the game for cheaper, but with less knowledge about what it really is, a smaller community, and frequent changes; or
B. Buy the game for a higher price, after there is an established community and knowledge about what the game is.
C. Not buy the game at all.

I can't be perfectly unbiased here, as a player who's bought the game for the cheaper price, but I have to say that this seems like a good set of decisions. Those who are willing to try the game early get rewarded, not screwed by an upcoming sale that they didn't see. Those who wait instead have to pay more for their decision to wait. This encourages a large player base of enthusiastic players early on (those who bought at the cheaper price), thus encouraging the later group to want to buy the game more. This is a big factor in online games, and one that many people here aren't acknowledging; having that player base of fans is really important to success.

Think about it like this: fans who choose option A above will buy the game no matter what. However, under this model, they are encouraged to buy it early, knowing that they would buy no matter what. This, in turn, makes option B more appealing to those who are choosing between B and C. Thus, during the Steam release, this B-C group will see not an empty, imperfect, just-begginning game like we did way back in v5. Instead, they see a thriving community, where they want to play. They too then purchase the game, making the community even larger, and encouraging even those who may not have bought the game on its Steam release to do so later. This eventually reaches a maximum; but it's a maximum much higher than what could be reached with a "repeated sales" model.

I really think that this is a good pricing model for an online game like this one. With the ability to buy lifetime server access to a great community for a fixed price, sales really don't make sense. And really, I love the game, and all I want is the community to grow and thrive. And Jason's model, I believe, is the right way to do it.


Current life: Not dead, but I have no clue who I am
The Life and Times of Christopher Alvin Harris
Record: 149 Paintings!

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#48 2014-01-23 16:17:22

NeatNit
Member
Registered: 2014-01-23
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

I just registered to say, I have the exact same opinion on this topic. I currently have 196 games on my Steam games list. Half of them, I had no idea that I have. Sure, many are from HIB (not so humble anymore if you ask me), but the list was approaching 100 games way before the original HIB was released!

I am a victim of Steam sales, and at some point I realized this and simply stopped buying games on Steam.

Currently, I am focusing on Nintendo games/consoles. Their prices are mostly fixed, and they are exceptionally open about what their games actually are and how they play out, who they appeal to and who they might not appeal to. Have you ever read an Iwata Asks article? There was one about Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, where they pretty much highlighted how all the previous Zelda games always got players stuck at one point or another, and how the new game fixes that. Have you ever seen a Nintendo Direct video? They explain gameplay in extreme detail, clearly not hiding anything from the viewer. Sometimes they can go rambling on about one game for over 10 minutes, explaining everything about it, even for complicated games. This can get boring and tiresome at times, but by the end of a Nintendo Direct I always know which games I want and, perhaps more importantly, which games I don't want.

I fully agree we should end this "race to the bottom" craziness. I wish the industry went in the opposite direction like you're doing right now.


Regarding your game... I don't want it.
...
I don't remember how I first heard of you. It was way before Between was on Steam, I'm quite sure, and way before Sleep is Death. I just saw some of your weird pixel-art games and I liked it.

When I first heard of SiD it was an instant buy for me, not because I thought it was an awesome game but because it had your name on it. I can't say it was a calculated buy, but I did end up having quite a bit of fun with it, including the second-most-viewed story on SiDTube (don't ask me how that happened, it was crap). But, I think it's safe to say that the game's popularity didn't last long at all.

IASFS is a great-looking game that I never got to play. This was well into my "I'm not buying games anymore" phase. My backlog is so huge and varied that even if I had bought it, I probably never would have played it anyway.

As for DToL and TCD: these simply don't interest me. They both sound absolutely awesome, but I know my interests and they aren't it. Thank you for not hiding this from me, or tricking me otherwise. I hope to buy games from you in the future. smile

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#49 2014-01-25 13:47:29

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Yes, for sure these games aren't for everyone!  I want everyone to think about it before buying, and do their research, and watch the videos, and read the reviews.  Don't buy on impulse because the price is low!

Sad that sidtube is offline now...

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#50 2014-01-26 12:27:06

Patooty
Member
Registered: 2014-01-26
Posts: 1

Re: Why Rampant Sales are Bad for Players

Hey Jason, I registered an account just for this thread. (But now will hopefully participate more in the community smile)

I just wanted to throw another voice out there to support what you're doing in your pricing model. I work in games and work closely with monetization managers, marketing, user acquisition, sales, product managers, producers etc... I'll just start by saying I wholeheartedly support what you're doing with the pricing model, just so there's no confusion over my personal opinion. Also, it may not matter, but I also wanted to say that I have bought the game and have played it for roughly 25-30 hours within 3 days - great job! smile

A lot of the things that you mention in your posts are so spot on that it's hard to believe you haven't worked in the same capacity as I have for some time. You've either reaaally done your research, or you have great business sense. As you can see from the forum reactions, your announcement is NOT what people wanted to hear. You're right in that people have been conditioned for sales. What you're doing right now is analagous to "delivering the bad news", and you're being shot for it. What you describe as sales hurting overall revenue actually subscribes to a very large school of thought, and while it's still emerging, a lot of people are against it. They're against it for the reasons that other users have posted here - "See how much money we made when it was on sale??", "We don't make anything when it's not on sale!", "We get free front page exposure during sales!". Because of all of these more "obvious" reasons, it's hard to go against the grain even for large companies, but sales and marketing are slowly moving towards more of this model of NO sales. It's a slow transition and we're testing as much as possible as we go, and a lot of people are still really against it as it hurts our short-term revenue but I find that so far it does smooth out the graph of sales over time and I'm a big proponent of it.

Also when I say "sale" what I really mean is "discount-pricing". One thing that's starting to gain traction over discount-pricing is value-add. Instead of putting something on sale for 50% and having to find twice as many users, what can be done to add value to the game such that users will want to come in? This requires getting a little more creative. I bought the game when I heard about the "Steal real money" contest. I bought it at $8, but I also would have bought it at $16. I bought it and I convinced 3 other friends to buy it as well. Another friend is on the fence. That's a great example of a value add smile

Anyway I think I'm starting to ramble.

Just my 2c. Will be glad to share more thoughts/experience and answer any questions if you're interested. I really just wanted you to know that the world isn't against you in going for this pricing model.

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