Why we don’t believe in sales, discounts and bundles

It’s that time of the year again : Steam summer sales! Yeah, loads of games at small prices! Like every PC players, I’ll probably buy a bunch of games (which will mostly stay untouched for the next months) but as a professional game developer, I’m more and more convinced that the whole concept of these promotions is toxic.

Why toxic? Because systematic sales and discounts contribute with other factors (mobile stores pricing, bundles) to decrease the commonly accepted prices of games to absurdly low levels. It’s now a standard gamer behavior to wait 3 or 4 months before buying any game because you know for sure there’s a major discount coming. It’s so systematic that it’s nearly stupid not to do so!

‘Most people don’t know how much it costs to make a game’

It’s now common place to hear or read complaints about prices of games daring to set a price above 10 or 20 dollars or euros. But most people have no idea, no concept of how much a game costs do develop. Damn, even a lot of young or inexperienced indie developers have absolutely no clue when they start! This is most obvious when you take a look at crowdunding targets of game projects. Usually teams are inexperienced and ask for ridiculously low amounts of money for projects that will most likely fail spectacularly… or teams are experienced and ask for ridiculously low amount of money because they know they will look bad and fail if they don’t. But experienced developers will do everything they can to get A LOT more than what they asked using stretch goals and such, secretly hoping that they will have maybe nearly what they actually need. You can even have those experienced developers collecting millions of dollars to create a point & click and still failing to produce a full game with that much. Ok no, that’s a bad example. This has to be bad project management or Jack Black’s voice acting costs way too much money… Continue reading