As much as we all love this hobby of ours that is playing video games, like many things in life, it doesn’t come cheap. New games are fairly expensive, each title costing usually $60 each, and when one takes into consideration the numerous special editions that come out alongside the new releases, it’s safe to say that a lot of money goes into this pastime. But the worst case scenario when one buys new is that once they play the game, they walk away disappointed with it, having wasted their hard-earned money on a new title. What’s the solution? According to the chief of developing team 5th Cell, we need to rethink how games are priced.
Jeremiah Slaczka, the head of 5th Cell – most known for Scribblenauts and the upcoming Hybrid – explained that having every new game released today priced at $60 can only result in money loss for a number of companies. In the older days it made sense, but now that game production costs so much, the only way for a gaming company to really turn a profit would be to consistently make triple-A titles.
He used the two FPS titles Homefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops as examples. While Homefront was a decent game in its own right, he believed that it wasn’t worth its $60 price tag, where as Black Ops was. Therefore, consumers would be more likely to buy the game that is worth $60 over the one that isn’t, which would result in money loss for the losing company.
Slaczka suggested that games that don’t fall under the triple-A description could try a different method of selling their games. Using Homefront as an example again, he said that THQ could allow someone to rent their game for a day for about $5. They could then purchase the single-player campaign for $30, and if they wanted to use the multiplayer, they would pay another $30. They would be more likely to make a profit with this method, or something similar to it, and the triple-A titles could still go for $60.
While the proposed method of pricing games could use some work, Slaczka does have a point. The average gamer wouldn’t be willing to pay $60 for a shovelware title like Thor when they could spend that same amount of money on Modern Warfare 3, and if the idea of used games eventually dries up, fewer titles will be sold, resulting in more money lost for the developers. But while a revised method of pricing games would be a nice idea, one has to wonder how “triple-A” titles could be determined as such.
What would your proposed method be for pricing games? How would a game officially be considered a triple-A title?