Feb 08

Prices go down

Tag: Business,Casual GamesMaciek @ 11:59 am

If you haven’t been watching the downloadable casual game market lately you will be surprised to learn that 19.95 is no longer a standard price. For some time the market has seen loyalty programs (such as giving discounts to customers who sign up to buy more than one game) but now it seems that the 19.95 USD price point for casually buying  a single game is going away.

Several days ago Reflexive (one of the few portals that resisted trends to introduce subscriptions and loyalty programs, currently owned by Amazon) decided to introduce new price points 9.99 and 6.99. The good news is that Reflexive is the ecommerce provider for our own game portal so you can now buy games at these low rates from GameClubCafe.The good news is for the customers of course. After all we’re in the midst of an economic crisis so any prices that go down are welcome in the eyes of the customers.

The funny thing is that the casual game price cuts are not a result of the crisis, but of the rising competition on the market. The number of games produced is still going up and the many portals and publishers are looking for more aggressive strategies to attract and keep customers. The sad part is that it’s all happening at the expense of developers. After all there are so many of them, that even if some of them go bankrupt the portals will still have plenty of games to choose from.

The situation is sad because the developers are after all the ones who create all the games we play. If the conditions keep getting worse for the developers it will sooner than later reflect on the quality of games. Today everyone tries to play safe and it means less original, innovative content that could possibly push the whole market ahead. Additionally the games could be shorter – who has the time and money to create long games with 10+ hours of gameplay and sell them for less than 10 USD?

Another worrisome observation is that although the prices went down, we don’t have any new standards. You can find many different  price points on the market today (ranging from 5.99  USD to 30 EUR) with all kinds of different strings attached. This is a real mess, and what’s worse it probably means that the price war is not over yet…


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One Response to “Prices go down”

  1. Matt says:

    I think it will ultimately be good for the developers also. Several times I’ve thought about purchasing a game then thinking to myself … “nah, $20 is too much”. Only the very best games will I purchase. $10 is much more impulse friendly, and since the drop I’ve bought several games I wouldn’t have otherwise.

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