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-   -   GOG: Steam Sales Hurt Games (http://www.colonyofgamers.com/cogforums/showthread.php?t=26314)

DoctorFinger 04-12-2012 05:02 AM

GOG: Steam Sales Hurt Games
 
Gog.com has transitioned from selling good old games to just selling games, period. But they're not Steam. Not yet. And according to managing director Guillaume Rambourg and marketing head Trevor Longino that's a good thing, since one of Steam's most popular features - frequent sales featuring heavy - is actually bad for the industry.
Quote:

Selling games at too high a discount Ė one often sees discounts above 80% off here and there -sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isnít worth very much. Of course you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when itís that cheap, but youíre damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale.
They're not completely out of line here. I know that I've bought more than a few games on deep discount from Steam which I ended up playing for only a few minutes. I've also held off on buying games because I know that I'll be able to get it for 50% off a few months later. I've made a value judgement on those games. But does that make it bad for the industry?

Now consider the source. GOG is one of Steam's main competitors, so they have every reason to knock them down a notch. And lets be clear: this shot is aimed more at publishers and developers than at consumers. GOG is also espousing an alternate philosophy, rather than sales they promise expanded content and support for their games.

Sources - RPS; Eurogamer

TKO 04-12-2012 05:08 AM

A controversial announcement like this is a good way to make people aware of one of your company's main difference from Steam. ..I don't think they're right in what they state though: I have bought many *many* games on Steam sales that I haven't even tried yet. Companies have made money out of me they would never have made any other way. I think these sales are making huge profits. {/wild speculation} :)

tacitus 04-12-2012 05:25 AM

GOG needs to run its own race and STFU. I love GOG and I love steam. I routinely wait for sales on BOTH. I have bought 2 game not-on-sale from GOG (Simon the Sorceror?, The Witcher 2) and 2 not-on-sale from steam (Dragon Age: Origin, Portal 2) and I own a lot on both (100+). The point is ... that there are those of us who routinely bottom fish and have always bottom fished. Without a really deep discount on steam I would have never played the assassin creed series; I bought the original on a very deep discount from steam but since then one of my requested present for Christmas has been the rest of the AC series. (Its an easy request for non-gamer relatives) There are numerous games that I bought on deep discount that are merely OK, but had I paid anywhere near the full price for I would have been seriously cheesed and would have avoided the genre/developer/"unknown" in the future.

If GOG/devs really want this they need to start providing demos, because I sure won't blind buy and pay anywhere near full price.

Kelegacy 04-12-2012 06:02 AM

Sounds like steam is doing something right--selling games. Impulse buys and they are easy to justify, since the sales are great.

Keeping game prices high to increase perceived value is something I am not fond of. Steam sales sell games. If anything, more companies need to take this approach.

And seeing sales never makes me think a game isn't worth much. Seeing sales makes me think I am getting an awesome deal. And with Steam this is usually the case.

MagGnome 04-12-2012 06:21 AM

You left off a big part of the quote from GOG, including, I think, the most important parts. They didn't say that sales in general were bad. They said that steep sales (such as 80% off) cheapen the value of a game, and I can see their point. I've bought many games for a few dollars that I haven't touched, and these games have essentially no worth to me.

GOG also said that they strive to give games reasonably prices from the outset, which has been very true since they started and is another important element of their pricing critique.

muddi900 04-12-2012 06:24 AM

This is an economic argument that pops-up in every digital-media market. Before, people evaluated media on the packaging; hardcover > softcover, DVD > VHS, etc.

For the first time ever, people are paying for content directly, making it the first time they evaluate content. So CDProjekt is right to express fear in that regard; How can they manage to sell the Witcher 3 at $60, when Steam is selling similar games at half the price. We have already seen this effect on the IOS, where 99 cent apps sell more regardless of quality.

Pale Ale 04-12-2012 06:33 AM

Hmmh I didn't know GOG was owned by CD Projeckt.


How much is a subjective worth? How many cups are in a worth? Can I use worth to clean the dog?

Kelegacy 04-12-2012 06:40 AM

Well, maybe his goes to show games are prices too high. $60 is a lot, and if a company is making a killing on a $15 sale, don't get pissy. Lower your price. Competition is a wonderful thing.

Let people make up their own minds about a products worth. I don't think sales hurt anyone other than the people who are trying to sell their games for higher prices. And again, I believe, that's called competition.

Narradisall 04-12-2012 06:44 AM

I imagine that the steam sales sell games at sub production costs though. Sure by that point the dev and publisher have likely already made back the overall production costs on the project, but I do see many fairly new games on their at cheap prices.

I'm not much of a steam sales person, I've picked up a lot of games I haven't played due to them being a few pounds, and I get that the sales can be good, but they aren't all good in that sense, they have a downside.

Quantifying how much of a downside it tricky business.

MagGnome 04-12-2012 06:47 AM

I really doubt that Witcher 3 is going to be $60. The folks at CD Projekt have been pretty vocal about fair pricing for games, and $60 is not fair pricing, especially on the PC.

muddi900 04-12-2012 07:14 AM

Narradisall has a great point; most 80% discounts are for games that have already broke even.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelegacy (Post 988306)
Well, maybe his goes to show games are prices too high. $60 is a lot

Quote:

Originally Posted by MagGnome (Post 988310)
I really doubt that Witcher 3 is going to be $60. The folks at CD Projekt have been pretty vocal about fair pricing for games, and $60 is not fair pricing, especially on the PC.

Arbitrary.

Reverant 04-12-2012 07:17 AM

Quote:

Selling games at too high a discount – one often sees discounts above 80% off here and there -sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isn’t worth very much.
This is a tricky argument, especially if we play the game where we assign definitions to the terms cost, value, and worth. It reminds me of that line from Oscar Wilde: "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Just for kicks, I'm going to turn that argument on its head. When gamers come out in droves to purchase a game at 80% off its retail price, I suggest that this is actually the true value of the game and the developers merely overproduced and overpriced their product.

Ink Asylum 04-12-2012 07:23 AM

So since there's no digital used game market companies are going to start complaining about game sales?

Publishers have to approve any sale price Steam offers. The sales have been going on for years and companies, including big profit-focused ones, still approve rock bottom prices.

At the same time, gamers buy more titles and are more willing to give new games a chance if they don't have to pay $40-60 to do so.

Gorvi 04-12-2012 07:26 AM

I love Steam sales, but they're 100% right.

Kelegacy 04-12-2012 07:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ink Asylum (Post 988322)
So since there's no digital used game market companies are going to start complaining about game sales?

Publishers have to approve any sale price Steam offers. The sales have been going on for years and companies, including big profit-focused ones, still approve rock bottom prices.

At the same time, gamers buy more titles and are more willing to give new games a chance if they don't have to pay $40-60 to do so.

Yeah, used sales are not a problem but sales themselves now are. Next companies will be angry with the amount of games we aren't buying. What a silly industry.

I have many games I bought super cheap. I don't value them any less than a full retail game just because I paid less. That misperception of worth doesn't work on me. I don't buy games that I wont ever play just because they are on sale.

menage 04-12-2012 07:49 AM

Dunno, on the other end of the spectrum is Microsoft trying to push me GoW3 for 70 euro's on Live while everywhere else it's around 30 or whatever already. Perceived value? More like no way in hell.

There's a constant flood of new and improved software. Games do lose their marketvalue imo. It's only the matter of time which is debatable to me. Just fired up Lost Planet yesterday, I wouldn't pay 5 bucks for it now while I paid FP when I bought it new. There's very few games which stand the test of time very well. Like movies, cds and books, etc.

PathMaster 04-12-2012 07:57 AM

It is a shot across the bow of the SS Steam, but it will do no damage.

Consumers for the most part are fickle and jump at impulse buys (myself included). Does that hurt the games? I think so, but not in a huge dramatic way. I think for some perceived value is tied to the price of said purchase. For many spending $5 on that three year old game and only playing it for a couple of hours is fine. They judge the game based on the experience and what they paid for that experience. Is it fair to judge an entire game based only on a small portion of the content available? That is where making game purchases into impulse buys can hurt "games" in my opinion.

Pinchy 04-12-2012 08:06 AM

The way I look at it - if I'm a company selling a full price game, some period of time has passed, the only real way to obtain new business is to lower the price. Having a huge dramatic event sale like Steam sales is a perfect outlet. In the long term, it's more than just breaking even, it's building buzz for what you would hope is your next project.

These sales are a great way of enticing more users on the edge, and then you can hope word of mouth spreads about it. I don't know how many times on Steam sales, I've thought "Hey, $5? Why the hell not?" If I try the game and like it, I know I can convince other people to get the game too.

Binding of Isaac is the perfect example. I was able to get 2 other people to buy it after I loved it. Sure, the developer didn't get full price, but now he's got 3 customers anxiously awaiting the expansion and whatever else he does. Well, anxiously waiting anything not related to Super Meat Boy cuz that shit's haaaard.

Shadowmage952 04-12-2012 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Narradisall (Post 988309)
I imagine that the steam sales sell games at sub production costs though. Sure by that point the dev and publisher have likely already made back the overall production costs on the project, but I do see many fairly new games on their at cheap prices.


That isn't really true, though. A single unit of a digital copy of a game doesn't have a "production cost" in the traditional sense. There is also not a limited supply of the unit. You can't say a game cost 1 million to produce and there are 100,000 copies and therefore we have to sell each copy at $10 to not be selling under the production costs. Since you have unlimited (essentially) supply, media sales don't work that way.

Selling 1 million copies of a game for $10 vs selling 100,000 copies at $50 generates more money for the company and does not cheapen the value of the game. It is about understanding your market and at what price you'll get the most profit.

At release you have people clamoring for the game and willing to pay that $50, but 6 months down the road having it for sale for $10 is a great way to boost profit. While some people will wait for the sale, knowing that is is coming, you'll still get good initial sales (as long as your product isn't complete shit). The trick is finding the right balance, and I'd say Steam (and the publishers who agree to the price) has been doing a great job of it.

bean 04-12-2012 08:20 AM

I think GOG is wrong.

The thing about games is that I buy them for $50-60 if I want them really badly at launch. If I don't want them enough for a Day One purchase, then I might rent them eventually, buy them used, or borrow a friend's copy at some point, but the retailers generally never get the price as low as I want it in order to try a game I'm not that interested in. So when a retailer like Steam DOES offer a game that was $60 a year ago for only $7, there is a chance I might buy it - even though I'm not that excited about the game, $7 is a price I can afford for a game that I'm sort of "meh" about.


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