By James Pinnell on December 19, 2013 at 8:41 am
Nothing gets the blood boiling (aside from DRM, of course) throughout gaming communities more than the retail pricing of titles. From indies to AAA, Humble Bundles to Steam sales, very few places outside of Australia, UK and NZ find themselves in such a quagmire when it comes to defining what a game is worth paying for. So I’m here to ask the question — what is a fair amount to pay?
While I’m of the opinion that the $8 I paid for Tomb Raider is perfectly valid (although I would have paid double, knowing now its quality), many commentators claim that the deep discounting of PC games lowers the public perception of their value. It’s an argument that has merit, as the development of a title is hardly an easy process — teams of hundreds, both long and short term, spend years coding engines and developing art assets. Indie developers can and often do, code for up to 18 hours a day, struggling to fill every 24 hour block as efficiently as possible. In our race to bottomed-out prices, we quickly forget that there are people behind these games attempting to make some semblance of a living.
But before we even breach that topic, we need to cover what value is, and how gamers interpret it. Case in point: Does a game need to be long to justify a $60 price tag? Does it require heavy graphical prowess or ingenious secondary systems, like tablet apps, league tables or stat tracking websites? Or can quality alone justify a high price?