The ridiculous, insane price of console gaming. It just hit me that...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Alexander, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    ...videogame software prices have been out of control for a while now. C'mon, $50.00 for a game title? I was thinking just earlier today as I was browsing thru the Best Buy game library that $50.00 is too much for even a great game title such as GTA3. Then I got to thinking even more as I went thru the CD section: [thinking]Personally, I place more value on a $15.99 CD of one of my favorite music artists than I do a $50.00 copy of a great video game.[/thinking]My adoration of a nice compilation of music for $15.99 that I will enjoy hopefully for the rest of my life will outlast a game that will outlive its usefulness within a year's time (in most cases). So what gives? Why are videogames so high-priced?
     
  2. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    because that is where the console makers make back their money... sure, they could sell games for $5 for zero-profit... but they are already taking a large loss on the console itself. For instance, Microsoft is losing upwards of $100 on every console they sell, but they make it back by making lets say... a $10 royalty on every game sold... they make back the money in the long run.
    ... this is also why there is no progressive scan DVD playback on XBOX. If people bought it just for DVD playback, Microsoft would lose their asses (which is ok by me [​IMG])
    hope that clears things up [​IMG]
     
  3. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    so you feel that games are reasonably priced for the consumer?

    can a more cost effective way of producing hardware be accomplished?
     
  4. Greg Black

    Greg Black Second Unit

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    Taking into account the fact that console games should in theory cost more because there is money to be made up for because of the loss on hardware, can someone please explain to me why Return to Castle Wolfenstein on the PC is $55!!
     
  5. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    I don't know-I think $50 is about fair. These things take hundreds of people, and take years.

    And shop at Sam's. Wolfenstein, and in fact, most games, can be had for $42-$47. Not a huge drop, but fine.
     
  6. Gary King

    Gary King Second Unit

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    Well, first it costs *much* (much) more to produce a modern game than a CD. In terms of labor costs, large titles can have teams of upwards of 40 or 50 well-trained people working 18 months developing them. Assuming that the average employee gets paid about $45,000/year, and total employment costs are roughly 2.5x an employee's base salary, that still works out to almost $8.5M in labor expenses alone! At $20 profit per unit sold, you would need to move 425,000 units to recoup that cost.

    In contrast, music CDs typically have 4 or 5 musicians working part-time on them for about 6 months or a year (and probably not even drawing a salary), a few mixing and recording engineers (who only work a few weeks), and a handful of other individuals present during production and post-production. The scope of the project is much smaller, and therefore the products can be sold for much less. In fact, the only reason CDs cost $16 is because the studios agreed to never sell CDs cheaper than casettes (an agreement currently under investigation by the DoJ).

    Given the choice, I'd much rather spend $50 on a videogame than $16 on a CD (almost all of which goes to an evil cartel, to boot - artists make their livings on concert tickets and merchandise)... especially given the carbon copy nature of pop music today.

    As for your hardware question -- there is no way to make hardware cheaper given current technology. Perhaps we'll find a breakthrough in nanomachines or protein architectures that will allow us to sell vastly more powerful machines at a fraction of the cost; however, the production costs for hardware are pretty well-defined currently. There are only so many transistors you can fit in a given amount of silicon, and you have to pay for every one.

    Of course, if you really don't like spending $50 on a game, you can always shop the bargain bins. Most consoles have "Greatest Hits" line-ups for the most popular titles, which sell for about half of the original price, and great PC titles can often be found for less than $20 (Starcraft w/ Broodwar (and two strategy guides) costs $20, System Shock 2 can be found for under $10, etc.).
     
  7. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    Many Dreamcast games were priced at $39, which was a great price point for me. Many "maybe buy" titles became "must haves" due to the lower price.

    P.S. The lack of progressive scan had nothing to do with prices. It was reportedly a Macrovision issue.

    -Dave
     
  8. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    I would put CDs in a different category than games. More often than not music is a secondary form of entertainment, in the background while focusing on driving, housework, or other activies but games get your undivided attention. Where else can you get a years worth of fun for $50?
     
  9. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Well, with a membership to Kara's Adult Playground going for $3.95 a month, that's a year of fun for $48. [​IMG]
     
  10. Steve J

    Steve J Agent

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    I feel like video games were more overpriced in previous years. For example, when it cost something like $39.99 for a copy of Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 in the early 80s, that was a lot more money--taking into account inflation--than $50 for a game today. On top of that, the games today are more complicated and time-consuming. (I love classic games like Pac-Man, but games like Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Metal Gear Solid, Dark Cloud, Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin, etc. are a better value.)

    I'll pay $50 for a game and not complain. But by shopping a litter smarter for some games (taking advantage of this week's 10% off all video games at Circuit City for example, or using a $5 off coupon at Best Buy), you can get them for $45 or a little less.
     
  11. Michael Cook

    Michael Cook Stunt Coordinator

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    $50 isn't bad for a good game. Now that I am older, I read reviews before I buy a game. I usually get my moneys worth for every game that I buy.
     
  12. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    You're kidding, right?

    I was just in Future Shop, and most of the Xbox games were priced at $70 Cdn. This is a HUGE discount prom previous generations, as I can remember NES games coming out at a minimum of $80, and during the SNES era (the most expensive by far) we were paying $90+ for games (my record was $110 for FF3 when if first came out). By contrast $70 apiece seems cheap.
     
  13. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Or do what I do, wait for the games to become part of a greatest hits collection (ala Silent Hill for PSOne). Either that or get lucky (a la Twisted Metal Black for only 30 bucks when it first came out).
     
  14. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Games have been $50 for a while. In fact, they used to be more expensive (N64 carts were around $60) so I see nothing wrong with the current price.
     
  15. Jeremy Illingworth

    Jeremy Illingworth Supporting Actor

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    I would love for games to be cheaper but the fact is gaming is cheaper on than its ever been. The price of games has always been the same. I paid the same for Super Mario Brothers 3 as I did for Grand Theft Auto III. Remember when Game Boy came out? $129 and $50 for a game. Game Boy Advance set me back $139 and $50 for Mario Advance. And at least now we have 'Greatest Hits' to make it cheaper. And you can always go used.

    jeremy
     
  16. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Sorry Jeremy, but this really bothered me:

    "I would love for games to be cheaper but the fact is gaming is cheaper on than its ever been. The price of games has always been the same. "

    So how exactly is it cheaper now?

    From what I've noticed, the software has become cheaper, while the hardware prices have climbed pretty steadily. I don't remember the launch price of the Snes for instance, but I don't think that it was the $299 that they're charging for the Gamecube. The Xbox and Ps2-both really expensive pieces of hardware. Even the accessories are getting crazy-$55 for an Xbox controller?
     
  17. Eric Nees

    Eric Nees Agent

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    Except for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which I believe sold for $250 when it first came out, every Nintendo system has launched at $200. Taking inflation into account, we're getting a lot more now then we were ten or fifteen years ago. If prices had “inflated” like they have for movie tickets, we'd be buying Gamecube for about 500 dollars right now.
     
  18. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    While media and pressing of game titles is cheaper now, the cost of production is so much higher, I remember when we all went "whoa" when Wing Commander 4 cost $10 million, now the average is around $3-5 million

    Hardware launch prices to my memory

    NES-$99 ($129 with stupid ROB the Robot)

    Sega Master System ($99, $129 with the awesome 3-D glasses)

    TurboGraphx 16- $199

    Sega Genesis- $189

    SNES-$189

    Atari Jaguar $249

    Sega Saturn $325 (I think, quickly went to $299)

    Sony Playstation $299

    Nintendo 64 $250

    Sega Dreamcast $199

    Sony Playstation 2 $299

    Nintendo Gamecube $199

    Microsoft X-Box $299

    Yes, it has steadily gone up, but $300 is the cap that the companies are at. They know any more than $300 and people balk.
     
  19. Marshall W. Carter

    Marshall W. Carter Stunt Coordinator

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    You know, I remember scrounging and saving with my brothers to get the $65 for Street Fighter II when it finally came to the SNES when I was younger, and aside from the $70 I'd spend a little later for Final Fantasy III, it was some of the best gaming dollar I had spent up to that point. No regrets, we played that thing to death...

    I think if you compare the price of a gamer by how many hours you'll end up playing it, you could do far worse. Movie tickets are $7-$9 for two hours, but say I pay, oh $50 for an RPG that will take 50 hours to play through, or even just 25, well, I think you see where I'm going with this. Frankly, games are as inexpensive as they've ever been, and while they're not on the expensive cartridges anymore, fact is, you rarely have games done by teams of less than 8-12 people, with most running far more than that. Even at current prices, there aren't a whole lot of developers getting rich.

    Frankly, I don't buy many $50 games, but there are some that are more than worth it. Be more selective...
     
  20. Steve Conrad

    Steve Conrad Agent

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    I guess noone here has ever owned a ball busting Neo-Geo,

    and shelled out upwards of $250 for the games. hahah

    OR purchased the 3do at it's inital launch price of $700

    or the "price slash" of $550 a few months later.

    -conrad
     

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