Low prices, low expectations? Ars looks at indie game pricing
There's a thought-provoking piece this week in Arstechnica on the pros and cons for indie game developers of deep-discount pricing and the effect this has on sales, exposure and gamer expectations. Arguments both ways here. I was wondering what Arcen think on this from your own experiences with Steam etc?
From my own experience as a gamer making buying choices, there's a mixed economy. There's a handful of small developers (e.g. Arcen, Introversion...) whose games and creative ethos I really believe in and want to actively support by buying their stuff from them direct and at full price (when I can afford to do that). For the rest, I have limited money and am much more heavily swayed by pricing; there are many games that I'd be unlikely to ever go for at £15 or more but would happily bite on a declining scale of £7.49 or £5 or whatever depending on how much it interested me.
And I say I put Arcen in that first small category - however this is a result of having picked up all your games at heavy discount prices (mostly from Steam) and then spent more time with them and really liked them and found out what you are about. Both Tidalis and AI War were things I'd mentally pigeon-holed as game genres that I thought were probably not my bag. So I didn't really pay attention to them until I saw them in a weekly promotion on Steam, saw the good reviews, downloaded the demo and liked it, so bought the games.
Long term though, there's got be a danger that this continuous stream of deep discount sales of 75% and 90%-off is eroding the market of people who might ever be prepared to pay a full price of say $15 or $20 for an indie game? Is it ultimately just driving down list prices across the market?