Research Benjamin Franklin

Published on November 7th, 2012 | by Nidde


The search for B. Franklin

A penny saved is twopence dear.

– Benjamin Franklin

Back in the day Valve force-fed Steam to its customers. Today it’s more obvious how this was a good thing, but how many weren’t kicking and screaming all the way here? Again and again they present statistics and numbers showing that their model of selling games for cheap with offers, sales, and campaigns is the more profitable way to go. Yet others refuse to listen.

The head of Electronic Arts, EA, have stated before that retail stores will be phased out within a pretty short future, and the digital distribution is the future. Statements have also been made about how the price of games, a standard average of $60 for a new retail game, is too high and these prices need to be adjusted to sell more and reach a bigger audience. EA then started their own online service, Origin. It was a chance for them to sell their games at adjusted prices, to show the way of how digital distribution was supposed to be done and give their customers the products they wanted without charging the cited too high price that the retail market offered; a step away from the $60 price tag that far too long have plagued the world of video games. A plague that the head of EA had cursed.

Yeah, nothing happened. They’re selling the games at retail prices or higher on the service that they have 100% control over themselves.

Let’s not throw all our stones at them for this, they’re not alone. Sony, Nintendo and others are also running this model.

This is what’s wrong with publishers ordering products and then controlling development, marketing and ownership of products. If we step onto the indie scene we don’t really see this problem. It’s not gone, but it’s definitely more rare. Of course a game that has a lower development cost doesn’t need such a high sales price, and some price tags are lower because of the decreased polish compared to some bigger titles. But it isn’t just that, indie games are better priced in general. In fact, they are usually fairly priced and affordable. Some even adopt the Free-to-play model, where the game is free but you can purchase perks and/or cosmetic changes that aren’t free. Then there are those that just go free entirely; cudos to them.

But it doesn’t stop there. A nice trend that has started on the indie scene are the bundles: Packs of indie games that are bundled together and sold for a very affordable price. Or even with a pay-what-you-want model, the customer decides for themselves what they’re willing to pay for said bundle and is only charged that amount. This means that some people play as little as possible, while other want to step in and support the developers and can pay over $100 for a game. Why do these things? Because getting your game out there is more important than chasing the all-mighty dollar. Also, there are usually some sort of benefit attached to these campaigns, which just shows again that many people on the indie scene are good people.

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About the Author

For 500 days, from January 1st, 2013, until May 16th, 2014, Nidde will set aside all AAA-titles and only play indie games to find out if the indie scene can replace the big budget landscape.

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