Are Video Games Too Expensive?

Valve’s Gabe Newell gave the keynote address at this year’s Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit about the cost of games, the effect of piracy, and how to reach new players. Valve undertook an experiment recently to test how price affected the sales of their popular survival-horror FPS, Left 4 Dead. They Reduced the price by 50% on Steam, which “resulted in a 3000% increase in sales of the game, posting overall sales that beat the title’s original launch performance.” They also tested various other price drops over the holidays, seeing spikes in sales that corresponded well to the size of the discount. This will undoubtedly add to the speculation that game prices have risen too high for the current economic climate. G4TV ran a live blog of Newell’s presentation, providing a few more details.

[Via Slashdot]

Obviously dropping the price dramatically on a new game will make it seem like an overwhelming value compared to other games on the market still priced normally, chances are the “happy medium” for publishers to maximize profit is below the current market pricing but above the low point tested by Valve.  How does this factor in with Collector’s Edition games though? Do you think a new game priced at 30 out of the gate would still be worth an extra 10-20 on top of that, or should the extra price for the CE shrink accordingly as well?


  1. LiquidEffect:
    In Canada Street Fighter is 69.99 for the regular edition

  2. VRBones:
    I think $10 more is appropriate if the additional content is perceived to be of that value. There was a trend earlier where CE versions were the same price and contained enough goodies that you wouldn't hesitate to get it. Nowdays we're getting to the point where there is direct value added to the CE bundle and instead of being a 'reward' for early adopters, it's almost a whole package aimed at a different audience. The WotLK CE version was a classic case for providing a substantial price increase that needeed to be justified in-game along with the paraphenalia.

    I've just had one of the worst experiences though. I picked up Street Fighter 4 here in Oz, but was shocked at being told it was $169. I was expecting $110, maybe $120 ($10 - $20 over the retail price). I picked it up anyway, but got it home to realise it was just the 2 figurines (very plasticky, maybe $5 ea) and the game. I felt totaly ripped off. I know I didn't check out what was in the CE version before I got it and it was an impulse buy after a hard day at work, but it't left a sour taste in my mouth. I'm not rewarded at all for going CE, but in fact feel punished for not researching thoroughly.

  3. twistedsymphony:
    holy crap that sucks...

    there has been more than one CE this generation that left a sour taste in my mouth... in general though they seem to be priced fairly.

  4. Gemini-Phoenix:
    Most of the time, yes, but I agree with you there in regards to some CE's that have been over-priced with very little to warrant it. One such example is the Call Of Duty V gift set which came in a very nice metal tin, but the hip flask seemed very cheap and nasty, and isn't even suitable to be used as such. I really don't think this set was worth the premium price

    SteelBook's are generally good value for money, as they usually only cost about £5 more than a regular edition. There are also a few CE's that have been exceptionally good value for money, such as the Saints Row II 'Gun pack' which I bought much cheaper than the original RRP advertised, which was then dropped as soon as news of the recession hit

    GTA IV CE was also well worth the extra high premium, as too were Bioshock (Gift set) and Fallout III (Lunchbox), although I think the biggest let down was the Halo III Legendary Edition, which I feel was slightly over-priced

  5. twistedsymphony:
    legendary was overpriced, as was assassin's Creed

    I think the best value of any CE this generation was Bioshock... without question... only an extra $10 over the regular version in the US and it came with much more than $10 worth of extras.

  6. Gemini-Phoenix:
    Originally Posted by Twistedsymphony View Post
    I think the best value of any CE this generation was Bioshock... without question... only an extra $10 over the regular version in the US and it came with much more than $10 worth of extras.
    The figure, PLUS the SteelBook! Usually such gift sets only contain a standard edition of the game, but this version contains teh SteelBook edition which makes it that much more special! More than I can say for the GAME exclusive version of Fallout III with the figure

    I had expected Halo III Legendary Edition to also include the metal tin CE version of the game, but alas we would not be so lucky. It wouldn't have even been half as bad if they had made enough room inside to accommodate it plus the bonus Dvd. Badly designed, and they missed a trick there if you ask me

  7. twistedsymphony:
    I agree the Legendary should have been the CE PLUS more stuff... you can't tell me that for twice the price of a normal release they can't spend the extra $$ on a metal tin... shameful.

    Bioshock in the US didn't have a steelbook that was something that set the US release apart from the UK release.

Read -13 more comments | Add your comments