On the Pricing of Games...

Games. Cost. Money.



well, in most cases, unless:
  • You are a thief or pirate.
  • You have managed to get some bundle with free titles 
  • Some 24 hour Xmas day promos to get game X (released X years ago). 
  • Or! That one time many years ago Xbox gave away a submarine game (?!) cuz Xbox live was buggered.
Games are odd beasts, they offer literally infinite hours of entertainment. Yet through the variety of platforms such as, Steam or PSN Store, and somewhat even when they were physibles, we 'collect' them, literally increasing our potential hours played to the schoolyard idiom of "Infinity x2"

There are SO MANY out there competing for your attention. Most of them frantically and avidly jumping, shouting and screaming, while the hypetrain still has momentum - just after their release window. But slowly as they begin to age, the respective platform stores (valve) start to hug them tighter bringing them close to their bosom, they whisper sweet nothings, offering the promise immortality. Immortality in the form of being strapped into a marketing-powered life support machine. As the games ageing frames become more withered, they only get new life breathed into them on seasonal sales when they are put on display and prostituted out (for 74% off) in front of the masses. Many of which will remain in uninstalled/unplayed limbo, sold too cheaply to actually guilt anyone to play them. A trophy, the hopeful list of unfulfilled achievements echoing the hopes and dreams of game developers in the 5 day window after launch they have to recoup the last 5 years worth of development work.

They're too expensive!
They are! bang-for-your-buck is almost measurable nowadays on an hourly scale. From 3-4 hour breathy-hipster indie platformers with a rich art style and soundscapes instead of music, to 20 hour standalone AAA blockbusters, to even the monstrous MMO subscriptions with plethoras of tacked on paid for art assets.

For many years we had it good, buy a game, play it to death, no DLC, no expansions, just unlocking stuff and faint possibility of a sequel. Buying games was an investment of time. However now there is stronger demand for serviced games, online subscriptions and the pseudo "seasons".

A good example of then versus now would be Tekken 2, it was £30 on release with tonnes of "unlockables". Where Tekken 7 now has online services, and seasonal DLC releases. for £75+ Ultimately beyond the online experience,  Those Tekken 2 Unlockables could be interpreted DLC that came with launch for free, Instead of paying for it you earned it in game. But what you are now paying for is years of the team(s) honing down on the fighting game mechanics, and some Ultra HD so you can see pores on Paul's skin.



F2P, P2F, P2W, Freemium, Premium, Pay and subscribe.
Charging/paying for games is chopped up, divided into many tiny little parts and games companies want to make sure that you pay/repay/sub/and collect all that DLC....

its an argument made time and again, and we are bored of it. Just because I am old enough to remember a time when games cost a flat fee does that mean that its right? Am I harking back to a time that is rose tinited. Back when Hovis was Hovis, Monster Munch was full of chemicals, and Creme eggs were made Cadbury. Am I the equivalent of the blinkered brexiteer of the gaming world?  Possibly, but dissection of games costing models only serves to scare me out of buying titles*, shoehorning in new ways off cutting up the game to make people buy it in bits, it also triggers the FOMO in me when I miss out on cosmetics. A while ago I was super psyched for Dead or alive 6, as it has been a while since I picked up one in the series. But that price tag, the fact it is unfinished and the obscene price tag attached to its season pass (even if it is filled with sad-lonely-creepy DLC) just put me right off. Done. Not interested in the series. Well maybe... I could just wait for the Gold Edition on a steam sale in 5 years time... This still makes me part of their machine, the DoA troops factor in people like me, the filthy casuals, but for the more hardcore fans, they are now being placed into a position where they have to fork out. Or! [Tin foil hat] is it just for the streamers or #contentcreators? If they can make money from your game, you would like to see more of that in your pocket? In 10 years time is it just going to be an elite club of streamers who get to pay/play for the game first for the privilege of streaming/advertising it, until a month or two later it is release and priced for the plebs.

*Who cares, don't buy it then...

Whats your point?
Um, er... the models which get applied to the games nowadays splits up the cost of the game so much that you start to question where/what that money is going to. Does it go to devs? Is it another money grabbing move by the soulless fat-cat CEO's? And Honestly I just don't like a game being split up, as a member of the old school I not only prefer a single cost, but I actually  find myself adverse to the season-spanning costs for "live services". I also find the microtranactional models taken from the more aggressive F2P to be vomit inducing, akin to gambling, and ultimately unsustainable for the consumer.
I dunno I guess my point is, I would rather have a game with all of its content in it, rather than served to me piecemeal, leaving me doing mental arithmetic as to how much the game ACTUALLY ended up costing me, just so I could get Chun Li in a pink outfit.
I guess that is just my problem, I want everything in the game, even if I use it or not, do I need every bit of DLC? The OCD Completionist in me says so, but my track record for doing all the DLC and even using cosmetics is pretty bad. And I suppose there in lies the rub...

A conclusion?
I want to pay for the whole game, I don't care if it is more expensive or whatever, but breaking up my purchase over several payments/time pisses me off. Who says I wanna buy into a micro-franchise? Which only exists because on the off chance a publishers game doesn't make the money they wanted from initial sales, they can 'can' the afterthought DLC. #grump

Love and bored of the same arguments,

RichieX

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