I understand where this idea comes from that small Indie developers, for some obscure reason are supposed to deliver good games at rock bottom prices. Therefore let me just give you some insight in this world:
We worked on this game with a team of 10 people for almost two years, working with ease weeks of 100+ hours without pay nor without upfront royalty payments. Invested easily five digit zero number in expenses and costs. We have to fight AAA games and publishers with budgets easily 20 times that of ours, with big publishers behind them spending millions on PR and Marketing. On average we sell in thousands, not tens of thousands in this niche market.
So we focus on quality, listening to feedback from our players, improve, try and make our games stable, as bug free as possible, fun and we are open. Proof is the pudding just read the reviews and reactions on the Matrix and Slitherine forums, on our websites, Facebook , people just love the game, they predict 100 hours of fun, see almost no bugs, things even many AAA titles lack last years. We used 800+ Beta-testers, really tried with them to make this a top game and I believe we managed well, as we do this with passion and out of joy in the first place.
We asked them what do you think, pure looking at this game, would be a fare price. About 22 % voted for 30 USD, 45% for 40 USD and amazing 19% even 50 USD or even more as they just loved the game so much. A publisher takes 50% or more, than Steam cuts another 30% if you go there, go to retail cut all through another 50% with the distributors, than come taxes, than minus invest. I assure you if we were selling at 15-20 USD, we just are forced to stop, period.
Yeah, but games from like e.g. Paradox are on Steam now for 20 dollar, yes they are, they are a few months or even years older, already sold in prime at top rates. And e.g. again Paradox is with their whole catalogue on Steam, they have dozens of titles, can afford a prize drop on a few games to gain PR for new upcoming titles.
We, and I talk for many of my brothers and sisters in the Indie Industry, are killed by it. So to answer your Q: we are offering this game at 24,99 GBP, VAT excluded, and that is far less than new AAA titles that come out new and are sometimes much worse and buggy products, just covered up by shrewd marketing.
We offer a good, quality product at a fair price and even than we are not sure if we make a profit. It is the best we can offer...
About the prices of games, it is amazing that in 2011 you still are able to pay the exact same price for a game as that you did in the 90`s. Nothing got cheaper, software, hardware, licences, taxes. Name me one industry were you paid 40 USD for a product in 1994 and still pay 40 USD in 2011!
Don`t get me wrong, it is most likely eventually we also drop prices, like with actions around X-mas or sales weeks, on actions with magazines, those who are registered at Slitherine and allow to receive the newsletter get vouchers with -25% on the catalogue or specific games like Panzer Corps on a regular basis.
And eventually over time, the price of this game will drop and we may even put it on Steam for a budget price. This is the life-path of every game.
But upon a new release, with so much investment on the line, and you offer a good, fun, stable game we just cannot afford offering our games direct at rock bottom prices. If we would drop to let us say 20 USD, we would need at least a 66% increase in sales to break even, that is a gamble we cannot take as a smaller Indie with no reserves. We need at least a minimum of prime sales first. On top we know that 70% of our potential revenue is also lost because of piracy and we can do nothing against it.
But ok, let us agree to disagree on this matter, I just wanted to give you some insight.