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The price is right? - 6/3/2015 12:05:20 PM   
Daniele

 

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There are always discussions going on about this topic. Every single release has its own thread on how expensive the game is, how it should be sold at a lower price to attract a wider audience, how a good discount would sell more copies, all the way to very strong opinions about how our business should be run.

It is definitely something that players are very sensitive about and of course not only in games. You can buy Vietnam '65 for the price of two beers in a decent pub and Order of Battle: Pacific for less then a dinner for two. Still, there is someone saying prices are too expensive, or various other arguments and they all sound prefectly reasonable and valid.

What is also interesting is the perception of prices out there. Matrix Games and Slitherine are perceived as companies that never discount games, despite a total of over 500 temporary price reductions per year, including a 7 weeks long Holiday Sale at Christmas time, an Easter sale including all releases and a massive number of other rebates.

Is this reputation a good or a bad thing? And what is the best course of action to handle price life cycles in this market segment? At HoW15, we are going to discuss this particular topic, so don't forget to share your views and participate in the debate.
Post #: 1
RE: The price is right? - 6/3/2015 3:14:04 PM   
zakblood


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well all i can say, is you get what you pay for, for me the prices are right for the level of support you give, some are to cheap as well, while we all like a sale, and games to be cheaper in general, i also want war games makers / developers to be made and around for longer, so it' catch 22, if to low you can't make any money then it's no good for neither of us, if you don't make any more for us we all loose out, so you keep the prices the same, and most will still moan about it anyway, in the long term, if it's good for you then it's ok with me, as life isn't cheap or free, so games shouldn't be either...

budget games £5 to £10, no game should be less than £5, or it's just not worth the trouble and too cheap and i've picked up and loved a few at this price...
mid priced normal every run of the mill types £15 to £30
high end top epic games, £40 to £50 with none being over than unless boxed and special editions imo

(in reply to Daniele)
Post #: 2
RE: The price is right? - 6/3/2015 4:17:43 PM   
epidemic

 

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I agree that the best thing for all of us is that game developers and publishers make enough money to continue making and publishing games!

To that end, data are worth more than opinions. Presumably the primary goal of the pricing strategy is to maximize income, which is a combination of unit price and volume. If there are ranges or multiple maxima in the income curve, then presumably other goals come in to play, such as prioritizing volume over unit price to increase the installed base. There are many other considerations the publishers take into account, I'm sure, but the point is that data analysis should be the primary driver.

If price complaints are a problem, perhaps the solution is to talk about the goals and considerations in the pricing strategy. There will always be those who will complain about price, and there are certainly Matrix games that I personally haven't bought because of the price. But, ultimately, if people understand and agree with the goals of the strategy, and have a sense that the strategy is based on data (including perhaps a survey or focus group), they probably will complain less. People complain more when they think the pricing strategy is based on ideology or vanity or plain stubbornness.


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RE: The price is right? - 6/3/2015 5:41:09 PM   
IronWarrior


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Agree with epidemic 100%. I've complained about DW:U's pricing, but have supported and defended the same for 2by3's games. I could understand the idea of niche and complex games having a smaller market and higher price, but could not apply that logic to DW:U and felt that I couldn't justify the price. Of course, when I finally did pick it up on sale, it didn't work for me, but that's another topic- although with Steam's new policy on refunds, I am more likely to take a chance on matrix titles now (I was only going to limit myself to 2by3).

(in reply to epidemic)
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RE: The price is right? - 6/4/2015 12:33:19 AM   
Challerain

 

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I have no problem with higher prices for new games. I do think that once a game hits a certain point it should be reduced. Top dollar for an 8 year old game is hard to do.

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RE: The price is right? - 6/4/2015 2:13:56 AM   
Delaware

 

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Yes, what Challerain said. You have a reputation for leaving games at new release pricing when the game has long stopped being supported. A good example is Gary Grigsby's Eagle Day to the Bombing of the Reich. That game is totally outdated and not supported anymore yet it continues to be offered at $49.00. Maybe if it were offered for $19.95, more players and modders would be drawn to the game. I have no problem with steep prices on WitP:AE or WITE because those games continue to evolve over the years.

(in reply to Challerain)
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RE: The price is right? - 6/4/2015 7:11:52 AM   
terry1040

 

Posts: 81
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I do not mind high prices for complex games that provide me enjoyment for many, many years.
We are in a wargaming niche and we do want to see these games being published in the future. The research and development efforts are pretty big, especially considering that the developers studios tend to be rather small. So if WitW/WitE/WitP-AE etc. all have an 80+ Dollar price point, I do not mind.
Having said that, the iPad or the Steam Plattform are fitting plattforms for smaller scope games at entry level that target a broader audience. Here they can reach a different market segment and maybe attract new gamers to the genre that would have never found the wargamer niche. This is IMHO also very important, but of course the price point and its threshold is much lower.
This is in the end a trade-off that all publishers/developers face: Do they want to make money on volume or on margin? In the end, a game must be commercially successful so that there is motivation to continue developing wargames. There upsell potential of DLCs in the high-complexity section (WitE/WitW) is rather limited. Here the designers must make the money in the first go. In the more mainstream segment, there should be more additional potential to make money from extra scenarios and expansions.

(in reply to Delaware)
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RE: The price is right? - 6/4/2015 7:19:11 AM   
terry1040

 

Posts: 81
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Delaware

A good example is Gary Grigsby's Eagle Day to the Bombing of the Reich. That game is totally outdated and not supported anymore yet it continues to be offered at $49.00. Maybe if it were offered for $19.95, more players and modders would be drawn to the game.


True and not true. This particular game is an excellent example for a niche game in a niche. If you are interested in this specific subject, then "Gary Grigsby's Eagle Day to the Bombing of the Reich" remains your only option. (granted, along with HPS's "Defending the Reich", which is also at 40 USD).

I do agree that the interface, resolution etc. are really outdated now, but it still is a very good game (and I do still enjoy playing it). There has been a long term support, which unfortunately has dried down as of the last 3 years.

So why would Matrix lower the price for an excellent game that still can make money for certain players. It is still worth the money, IMHO. Of course that game will NEVER become a hot seller in the mainstream.

Cheers
Terry

< Message edited by terry1040 -- 6/4/2015 8:20:07 AM >

(in reply to Delaware)
Post #: 8
RE: The price is right? - 6/4/2015 1:11:49 PM   
Ostwindflak


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From: New Hampshire
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Maybe this is too simplistic of an approach, but my personal feeling has always been that I don't care what the price of something is. If I want it and can afford it, I will buy it. I can't take my money to the grave with me.

(in reply to terry1040)
Post #: 9
RE: The price is right? - 6/4/2015 3:45:07 PM   
CEDeaton


Posts: 149
Joined: 4/16/2003
From: Plano, TX
Status: offline
You'd need to look at your historical results to know what makes sense, but at the risk of seeming overly simplistic you could do something like hold the line on prices for the first two to four years, then drop it by maybe 10% and then an additional 10% every couple of years after that until it's at 50% off the original price. By the time a game is 10-12 years old, half off seems pretty reasonable.

Of course, with operating system changes, it might be a bit much to expect a 10 year old game to still run on a current system, so you'd have to do pretty deep discounts immediately if there weren't plans to keep a game "current" in that regard.

_____________________________

Semper Fi,
Craig

It's always pilot error. Sometimes the idiot just doesn't know how to fly a broken aircraft.

(in reply to Ostwindflak)
Post #: 10
RE: The price is right? - 6/16/2015 5:38:25 PM   
Alchenar

 

Posts: 360
Joined: 8/2/2010
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Daniele

There are always discussions going on about this topic. Every single release has its own thread on how expensive the game is, how it should be sold at a lower price to attract a wider audience, how a good discount would sell more copies, all the way to very strong opinions about how our business should be run.

It is definitely something that players are very sensitive about and of course not only in games. You can buy Vietnam '65 for the price of two beers in a decent pub and Order of Battle: Pacific for less then a dinner for two. Still, there is someone saying prices are too expensive, or various other arguments and they all sound prefectly reasonable and valid.

What is also interesting is the perception of prices out there. Matrix Games and Slitherine are perceived as companies that never discount games, despite a total of over 500 temporary price reductions per year, including a 7 weeks long Holiday Sale at Christmas time, an Easter sale including all releases and a massive number of other rebates.

Is this reputation a good or a bad thing? And what is the best course of action to handle price life cycles in this market segment? At HoW15, we are going to discuss this particular topic, so don't forget to share your views and participate in the debate.


Well hang on now, Matrix/Slitherine had to be pestered for years to do anything more ambitious than a miserly Winter sale. My recollection is that the weekly sales started because Tim Stone literally dared you to do it in an interview. Similarly there are some of us who have been singing the praises of Steam for years and being told it wasn't an appropriate platform for wargame, only for Matrix to now not only be shifting parts of the catalogue onto Steam but taking part in their sales.

So it isn't that you have a reputation as a company that never discounts games, it's that you have a reputation of a company that's extremely complacent and ignores all trends and developments in the wider industry to the point where you're probably about 5-7 years behind the curve in terms of what digital distribution has to offer.

e: and yeah, a company that's lazy and misses opportunities to slash the price of the back catalogue that doesn't sell anymore in order to raise awareness of a new title. That's a trick everyone else has picked up on as well.

< Message edited by Alchenar -- 6/16/2015 6:41:21 PM >

(in reply to Daniele)
Post #: 11
RE: The price is right? - 6/19/2015 10:48:00 AM   
zakblood


Posts: 18448
Joined: 10/4/2012
Status: online
re looking at this before i get off on hols, i think most have a point, i think once a game is a certain number of months and years old, the price should be reflected by going down and being entered into sales, a prime example is Scourge of War Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Collection, which released in 26 JUN 2013 is still priced as a full priced game, 2 years after release and that can't be right at £53.99 and it's not the only one either, seems it's just the tip of a every growing ice berg, if you want nobody to buy older titles then leave them to sit and die with a empty forum, but most would be played and got by newer members who may not have seen it at first or after a later game gets released looks at the others in the series but at these prices they just won't move and in the end will die a death and not be seen or used again, unless you have figures to say other wise and i have got it wrong again, wont be the first or last time for that either.

well that's my thoughts on a second visit to the same question after reading others replies and re thinking on it...

< Message edited by zakblood -- 6/19/2015 11:48:28 AM >

(in reply to Alchenar)
Post #: 12
RE: The price is right? - 12/5/2015 9:19:06 PM   
AstaSyneri

 

Posts: 28
Joined: 12/3/2015
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I am one of those players attracted by the Steam sales. Have been dabbling in the past, but RL often doesn't allow for the time investment necessary for the kind of games I'd find at Matrix Games. Picked up Command:MANO in the sale, because I enjoyed a few Harpoon scenarios 20 years ago and have non-buyers remorse about not picking up Flashpoint Campaigns. It plays just in the time frame I wore a uniform on the western side of that border.

Now I am very much looking at those sales and trying to decide what else to pick up.

Are the normal prices "good prices"? Yes, they are. If you spend your time with this kind of game (and the recent "big" Paradox games kind of fall into that category), then absolutely. For players like me, who are likely to just play a few hours, and then pulled back into real life, a sale a few years into the life cycle of such a game is a very good to make a few extra sales for the publisher.

Now I have to go back and stop the Russians from getting into the North Atlantic through the GIUK gap. It's important, sorry.

;-)

(in reply to zakblood)
Post #: 13
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