GOG Talks Preserving Value Of Games, Death Of DRM

By Nathan Grayson on April 6th, 2012 at 9:00 am.


In what may be a first for humanity since the (admittedly fictional) film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Good Old Games de-aged. Out with the “Old,” in with the GOG, as no one’s said until now. Or, if they have, people just looked at them funny and told them to go lie down. Anyway, seeing as change is afoot and GOG’s trying very hard to make us pay attention, I briefly spoke with managing director Guillaume Rambourg about why the site’s taken an abrupt turn toward a new direction, why Steam sales are hurting the industry, and — with even Ubisoft removing its ponderous yolk — whether or not DRM is finally dying.

“This may sound a little odd,” began Rambourg, “but I don’t think we’re changing our focus. We’re known principally for a few things: our games have no DRM, we price things fairly all around the world at one flat price, and we provide lots of customer support, goodies, and a lively community – we call that ‘customer love’. It’s true that we’ve built up our reputation around older PC classics, but I think when people talk about GOG, they tell their friends, ‘Man, you should check out all the great games that GOG.com sells. Those guys are cool and treat you right.’ This is true regardless of what the game is, old or new.”

The plan, then, is to stock newer games that never really got their chance to shine when they first came out. You know, the games you typically scarf buffet-table-style during Steam sales. So then, why go toe-to-toe with Valve in one of its biggest, most minefield-and-barbed-wire-laden arenas? Well, GOG’s gotten this far on a heart so gutsy it might actually be made of guts, and it’s not quitting now. Even while sales numbers skyrocket for both Valve and the publishers who line Steam’s catalog, GOG thinks they’re out-and-out hurting the industry.

“Heavy discounts are bad for gamers,” Rambourg explained. “If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn’t want just because it’s on sale, they’re being trained to make bad purchases, and they’re also learning that games aren’t valuable. We all know gamers who spend more every month on games than they want to, just because there were too many games that were discounted too deeply. That’s not good for anyone.”

“We provide a lot of value in our games that goes beyond just the price. This is one of the key ways we fight against piracy, after all: providing gamers with more value than a pirate does. We actually generate more than half of our revenue from full-price sales, simply because we keep our prices reasonable in the first place. Our average sale tends to be around 40% – 50% off; that’s plenty of incentive to pick up a game if you’re interested or if you just think you might like to try it because you’re not sure about the game, but not some crazy 75% or 85% discount that damages the long-term value of a game.”

But what about GOG’s biggest selling point since day-one: a complete lack of DRM? With companies like Ubisoft finally (sort of) throwing in the towel after a years-long fight that made about as much sense as attempting to knock out one of those inflatable bouncing clown dolls, is GOG about to lose a major part of its appeal? For Rambourg, it’s really not a concern. The war on DRM, he explained, is a team effort.

“I would love it if DRM is dying out,” he said. “I think GOG.com has blazed a bit of a trail in that respect, because we’ve spent the last three and half years showing the industry that not only can it work, but it can work very well. If we ever reach the point where our core value of ‘DRM-free gaming’ needs to be removed from our website because everyone simply assumes that games aren’t burdened with such short-sighted ‘features’ as DRM, I’m pretty sure we’ll have a celebration at the office. It would be a great day for gaming.”

“I don’t think the tides are quite turning yet, though. It’s a promising move, but I don’t think this particular debate in gaming culture is anywhere near over. I definitely think that Ubisoft is moving the right direction, but we’ll need to see if other industry giants are willing to do the same. I’m sure everyone’s watching Ubisoft to see what happens with their experiment before making up their minds.”

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197 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    I don’t get this logic at all. If I buy a game (that I’m not going to play), in a Steam sale, that’s money the devs would not have got from me any other way.

    I still get plenty of games from Steam on launch day at full-price.

    • bfandreas says:

      Well, I’m still reeling from the games influx the various e-tailers threw at us during the holiday season. So judging by the progress I’m making I’ll need to buy new games around…Christmas. 2014.
      Yes, that does hurt. Time is unfortunately not an unlimited resource.

      • Premium User Badge

        jezcentral says:

        I still bought Mass Effect 3 when it came out, as well as Stacking and some Steam Sale games.

        My to-play list gets longer, ands the dev’s pockets get filled. Everyone is happy, especially me.

        • Memphis-Ahn says:

          I’m glad you’re happy, because I’m certainly not.
          I grabbed a ton of games during sales, games that I’m never going to touch simply because I don’t have the time. Waste of money.
          Not to mention all those games I thought would be worth the cheap price but ended up being terrible, although granted that’s more my fault than it is Steam’s. Nonetheless, Psychology is a terrible thing.

          • xian says:

            Why the fuck do you (and so many others) buy these games then?
            Do you people have no self-discipline at all?

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Probably just a tad more self-discipline than someone who posts things like, “Why the fuck do you (and so many others) buy these games then?”

          • gwathdring says:

            It’s a common consumer phenomenon. People have a tendency to see discounts like “buy one get one free” as wasted when missed. This makes not buying an item (i.e. the status quo) a *negative* outcome because it involves a missed opportunity. It isn’t necessarily logical, but it is how a lot of people think. People are thus willing to buy discounted items that are, to their own value estimation, worth less than what they pay because they are also paying to avoid the perceived loss of a missed opportunity. Let’s look at this another way. When an item is at full price you would simply weigh “Do I want one enough now to pay now.” But in a 2 for 1 sale, you now have to weigh “will I want two enough soon enough in the future that it will have been worthwhile to get two for the price of one now even if I don’t necessarily want one enough to buy it now otherwise?” Ignoring the psychology of suggestion and the “perceived loss” I spoke of earlier, this is quite simply a more complicated value judgment. If the sale is time-sensitive it gets even harder. Revoking the reflexive property here, people make more mistakes when making more complicated decisions.

            It’s also just a lot easier to make a bad $2 decision than a bad $40 decision. People have a harder time making long term assessments and plans than short term assessments. As such, while a game might well be “worth” the snickers-bar price of $1.00 to the buyer in the short term, those snickers bars add up. More people are willing to buy a snickers bar once a week for a year than 57 snicker bars at once for the whole year–it’s easier to justify the immediate purchase becasue its a smaller investment and you can stop buying your weekly candy any week of the year. It is a similar phenomenon to procrastination. I can wait five more minutes … I can always start working if I wait too long, right?

            The end result is people buying more games that seemed like a good idea at the time, because the stakes for each purchase are lower and we are, as a collective, far worse at piecing together all of those immediate purchases into a coherent, long-term purchasing strategy than most of us realize. Would greater self-control help? Sure. But that’s not, as far as I can tell, the crux of the matter any more than it is the crux of tobacco addiction–it is a quirk of the way our brain processes short vs. long term decisions just as chemical addiction is a quirk caused by chemicals happening to mimic aspects of our neurotransmitters. Perhaps you should instead be asking “Do you people keep any sort of financial planner? Do you save receipts? How strictly do you budget for the month?” It would be a much more sensible line of questioning.

            There’s also another element at work here. Now, even gamers who only buy games they are willing to buy at full price have to ask the question: “Do I buy it now to play sooner and/or support the game or do I wait till the price inevitably drops?” Now that sales and bundles are common less than a year after a game’s release date, the decision to wait is not an especially difficult one. Add to that the number of people with clogged back-logs from massive discounts and you have a growing body of people gravitating toward sales and away from day-one purchases. Which of course, the retailers use as evidence that the sales are better for business … and I’m sure you can see the self-proving business strategy of escalating sales.

            Eventually, though, the long term catches up. Even if you assume buyers make the same percentage of good purchases on cheap games as full-price games, someone who buys a lot of cheap games is going to meet with more disappointments. As it is easier to justify uncertain purchases of cheap games, gamers who buy discounted games are more likely to encounter disappointing games. I wager the one or two absolute gems in the midst of all the crap can keep a lot of players going for quite some time–it makes an excellent excuse the next time. What if it’s as good as THAT game? We’re practically hardwired to make that sort of game. But the long term catches up. You have to tell your parents or spouse that you spent far more than you realized on inexpensive games, or you realize it for yourself. Or you simply get overloaded with disappointing games. Or you get overloaded playing games. You don’t have time for all of them. Even if every single one is, to your mind, worth your time and money … perhaps the discounted games simply put you past your possible free time for gaming. Put all of this together, and you have a significant portion of the population either being fatigued of buying games because of the discount system, or allowing their spending to spiral out of control without end.

            Finally, let’s look at this in the simplest way possible: stores go for systematic mega sales because they proved successful for those stores (and, importantly, publishers who license to those stores) in the past. They aren’t eating a loss here. More people are buying games, and the people buying games are buying more games. Ignoring everything else, that can only happen for so long. Growth is never permanent. It simply isn’t a stable system. It also isn’t just a matter of people being “weak willed.” It is a good deal more complicated than that–as consumer psychology always is. The question then is this: how long can the sales bring in enough new revenue from purchases that weren’t being made before?

            P.S. I’m not saying STEAM SALES ARE EVIL, here. I’m just explaining where people who blame sale-based value assessments for their poor purchasing habits come from. You can look throughout this page and see some of the responses I mentioned. I found a couple of people who talk about “diamond in the rough” games and so forth.

          • BluElement says:

            No, it’s COMPLETELY your fault. Valve didn’t force you to buy games you don’t want. The sales are amazing, and no matter what the price, I do my research on the game first to see if I might like it. I usually pick up 1 or 2 games during Steam’s holiday sales. Buying a ton of games you have no desire to play is a combination of being lazy and lacking in self-control.

          • Premium User Badge

            Thermal Ions says:

            @gwathdring

            Nice analysis that highlights the value judgements involved rather than just overly simplifying the decision into the “self control” category that in a lot of cases only plays a part toward the end of the process.

          • Memphis-Ahn says:

            @gwathdring
            Thanks for that, it explains a lot.
            @BluElement
            Would you blame a fly for getting trapped in a spider’s web? Not saying Steam is outright predatory, but the system was designed in a way to get money out of you.

          • TwwIX says:

            It’s not Steam’s fault that you are an uninformed and impulsive buying idiot.

          • Memphis-Ahn says:

            But I’m not? Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Mass Effect all got great reviews and were generally well-liked, they’re boring pieces of shit. Are you saying I should resort to piracy?

    • chackosan says:

      To be fair, he said it was bad for gamers, not the developers/publishers. Any time you put down money for a product you’re not going to use, it’s a bit bad for you. Unless money’s not an issue at all.

      • Chris D says:

        Still not seeing this, really. If I’m only playing half my games but got them at 50% off I’ve broken even. In reality it usually works out quite a bit better than that.

        This kind of thing would be bad for physical products, like food where there would be actual wastage, but happily we don’t have to worry about this with digital goods.

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          Maltose says:

          I get what you’re saying, but as a consumer, it would be best that you got 50% off the game and only paid for games that you actually paid. It makes absolutely no sense to buy a game that you will never, ever play for lack of time, even if it’s only a few bucks (give that money to charity, buy a sandwich, etc.).

          • diamondmx says:

            Yes, but then you’d never find the undiscovered gems.
            Think of it like one full price game you know you’ll like, and one free game that’s a gamble – could be great, good, or utter shite – but it’s free.

          • PopeJamal says:

            But you won’t know if it’s an “undiscovered gem” if you never actually play it, which is a big part of the argument.

      • MattM says:

        I love having a deep “to play list” although buying games I don’t play (for many months or longer) seems like a bad idea, I pay very little and still play 1-2 new games every few weeks. At its best, discount madness increases both per user dollars spent AND per dollar spent user enjoyment. I love it!

      • zbeeblebrox says:

        But it IS bad for publishers/developers. No, not the ones who are making money from the sales – but the ones making comparable games. It’s basically saying “Your game will never be worth more than 70% your asking price to gamers.

    • grundus says:

      I would definitely agree that Steam has ruined my perception of value in videogames. Not only do I hold off on games I want to get simply because I KNOW there will be a sale in a few months which would make me look stupid for buying it straight away, but also I have a backlog of the highest caliber to clear before I’d have time to even play new games anyway so I might as well hold off. That’s also Steam’s fault. I rarely buy any games at full price, in fact I can’t remember the last time I spent more than £10 on a game. No, wait, yes I can, BF3. Because it wasn’t on Steam so I knew there wouldn’t be a sale.

      I bought my first GOG games a few days ago, I got Descent 1-3 and Shogo – Mobile Armour Division. I was initially apprehensive (a while ago) because the games wouldn’t be in my Steam library, which is something I hear quite often about Origin games, for example, that people don’t want their games anywhere but Steam, but that’s not really Valve’s fault, that’s just people being lazy or houseproud or something.

      • Mistabashi says:

        His comments don’t make sense unfortunately – he’s critcising Steam for having sales when that’s exactly what gog does, he then backpedals and tries to make the percentage discount seem relevant even though the reason gog doesn’t offer 70-80% discounts is clearly because most of their games are priced at $6-10 in the first place because they’re old and people would think you were taking the piss if you charged much more than that.

        EDIT: Gah! That was meant as a reply to the original comment.

      • werix says:

        I kind of agree with what you’re saying on the value of games. I’ll give an example from just a few days ago. A friend gifted me Dead Island on steam during the last X-mas sale. He and I have played it a bit, but due to him working 3rd shift, we don’t have a lot of time to play games.

        Enter Friend B. Friend B and I play a lot of games together. He and I just breezed through SR:3rd and its (woefully inadequate) DLC and are looking for something new before going back to old stand-bys Like Diablo 2, SWAT4, DoW, etc. So I suggest Dead Island, which is currently $30, not a bad price for the game. He says, “I’ll wait for the next time its on sale on Steam”.

        So the article is sort of right. It has trained gamers to think, “this will be on sale soon, and I’d be a sucker to buy then when not on sale.” Is part of the problem publishers demanding $60 for a game new? Most certainly. Is bargain basement sales the best way to counter it? Maybe not.

      • sqparadox says:

        Congratulations, you’ve described my entire game purchasing experience since I bought my first game at age 7.

        Unless it’s a game I’ve been waiting for, or one I know will be good, I’m going to wait for a sale; just like I’ve been doing for 20 years. What many people seem to have forgotten is that stores used to have these magical boxes called bargain bins, which were filled with a wide assortment of games at astoundingly low prices; because games have always gone on sale a few months after they come out. Digital distribution has only taken supply out of the equation.

        If it took Steam to teach you this then you were not paying attention.

        And why are you complaining you have too many good games to play? How is that a bad thing? Are the new games you are not buying going to disappear because you already have other games to play? No, they won’t. They’ll be there whenever you feel like getting around to buying them, and for cheaper too! What’s wrong with that?

        I never thought I would see someone complaining that Steam sells games too cheaply. Would you complain if it were raining donuts?

        • imdwalrus says:

          I agree with everything you said. I just wanted to add this: Cheap Ass Gamer ruined the “value” of video games for me, long before I had a PC capable of running Steam games. When you can get a stack of games at Toys R Us for 90% off or walk out of EB Games with a garbage bag full of PC games that were a penny each, you learn to stop paying full price for video games quickly.

          Video games are a luxury item, nothing more. Paying full price is nice if you’re able to, but if you’re not they WILL drop in price and you WILL be able to find virtually any title on sale or clearance down the line.

          We’re spoiled rotten with video games, in both quantity and quality. And like you, I’d argue that that’s a good thing.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Plus let’s not forget what Steam ultimately is: DRM.

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          Wisq says:

          To some. To others, it’s added value.

          GoG talks about providing “a lot of value”, thus “providing gamers with more value than a pirate does”. Well, Steam is what does that for me. It’s a central place to catalogue, download, and play all my games. It’s also a community, where I can see what games my friends have, how much they play them, what they’re playing right now, etc etc.

          Alternative services like Desura and Evolve only provide half the equation. That’s still better than nothing. I hate when I go buy something digitally and they’re like “download it now and keep a backup, we’ll expire your key in <n> days”. Or when I buy a DVD and have yet another piece of junk cluttering my shelf. I don’t want to have to deal with all that. I just want a library where I can say, “yeah, I think I’ll play that today”, and a few minutes later, I’m in the game — in some cases, with all my config stuff pulled from Steam Cloud, so I have it even if I’ve rebuilt my computer since last time.

          If you appreciate those sorts of services, then Steam is DRM done right. It’s the only acceptable kind of DRM, the sort that actively adds value. I have found myself seriously considering re-buying titles I already own because they came out on Steam, even at the $25 price point or higher.

    • Wreckdum says:

      Yeah I disagree completely. I love Steam sales. Sure I don’t play all my games all the time. But those rare instances when I’m super bored and scrolling through my library of 200 games I can ALWAYS find something to occupy my time. And a lot of the times you can scoop up some decent games for around 5-10 dollars. And that doesn’t affect me when choosing which AAA game to buy on release day. I only see pros on Steam sales. I think these cons are just being used to boost sales for GoG and put a positive spin on what they’re doing.

    • Mattressi says:

      I think he makes a good point. I have a ton of games that I’ll probably never play because I bought them cheap and now have too many. This isn’t bad for me, but it’s bad for the industry – whenever I see a game that isn’t discounted hugely, I just say “well, I have so many games that I might as well play them and wait for this one to go on sale”. As I said; not bad for me in any way, but for developers it could be.

      On the other hand, I think it has sort of lead to some games being priced a lot higher than they’re worth, because the devs fully intend to reduce the price 70-85% after a month or two, so why not just charge heaps initially. Then they’ll have sales on top of that. I think that there a very few indie games worth more than $15 and very few mainstream games worth more than $30 (and this is if I ignore my nagging thought that says “but you’ve got so many games to play already – just wait until those games are $5 to buy them”). But, I guess they don’t care that they don’t get a sale from me in the first few weeks/months of their high-price period; I’m the target market of their reduced price period (or, often, their 99% sale period).

      Long winded way of saying that I think he’s certainly right that it will hurt industry long term. Short term, devs get more money from people who wouldn’t have bought their games; long term people will have so many damn games that they won’t just buy them for being $2, but will expect the games they want to be $2 (exaggeration, for now, but it may head that way).

      • sqparadox says:

        How is this any different than before digital distribution? Did you not have a collection of bargain bin titles (some incredible games, some terrible) that never came out of their plastic wrap?

        I still have several. I see nothing wrong with this; this is the way it has always been. Game sales are not a new phenomenon. I don’t understand why people seem to think Steam invented them.

        • Mattressi says:

          Most of the bargain bin titles were just that – bargain bin titles. Not full price games reduced to $5 to $10 (I’m in Australia; so that’s pretty cheap for us. An in store sale will often come close to beating the regular price of a game on Steam); they were almost a genre of their own (cheap and nasty, generally).

          I’m not sure what sales are like in other countries, but here in Australia a retail sale never beats a Steam sale, nor even comes close.

          Anyway, as I said, I don’t think they’re bad for me at all, but I worry that long-term people will begin to have such an enormous backlog of games (the more popular gaming becomes, the more games are made in a year) that they simply won’t see any reason to buy full price games any more. This may or may not harm the industry, depending on how it reacts and solves this potential problem, but it would certainly mean harm the status-quo. I’m not sure yet if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

          • cura says:

            Australia is unbelievably expensive, mattressi, especially given the interest rates now. Generally, the retail price of a brand new, just released game in the US is $50-60. In Australia, it’s $100-120.

            When I was living in Australia, I got Gran Turismo 5 on pre-order, shipped to me as soon as it released, from the UK, with shipping included, for $45 (AUS). In the shops it would’ve been $120.

            And that’s before sales. Prices are slashed much deeper and quicker elsewhere. I’m in the US now, and I don’t really ever have to pay more than $30-40 for a new 6 month old game, as long as I’m prepared to wait for sales (which are frequent, different titles on sale each week pretty much). Or with GameFly, about $15 used. In Aus, you’re lucky if you get used 6 month old games for $50-60 (note: this is the same price you’d spend for a *new* game bang on release in the US or UK).

            Bottom line, if you’re in Australia, and want to buy physical copies of your games, buy them from the UK (The US generally won’t ship to Aus, UK is the cheapest/most reliable I’ve found to Aus). Even with shipping and currency change fees, you’ll save at least 50%, and often more.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I can’t afford games at launch price. If it weren’t for Steam sales I would have played a quarter of the games I did last year. He’s completely wrong in this case.

  2. Sheng-ji says:

    ” that made about as much sense as attempting to knock out one of those inflatable bouncing clown dolls”

    No matter what your stance is on DRM and piracy, that has got to not only make you laugh but also ring very true!

  3. AMonkey says:

    When a company like CDProjekt can charge fair prices, around the world, it makes you wonder why Steam games are always so expensive.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      It’s not “fair around the world”, it’s actually worse in Russia. Steam has regional pricing which takes into account Russia’s economy and buyer’s habits and abilities. I’m not ready to pay full american price for games, I’d simply run out of money this way.

      • alseT says:

        But at the same time there are countries with a worse economy than Russia which pay more than America in euros even with their superficial tiered pricing, so I’d rather have the GoG way: one price, one currency.

        • CaspianRoach says:

          True, but I’d rather have the game costs depend on country’s economy in all cases. If the games would cost about the same percentage of a person’s average salary around the world I think it would be a good thing.

          • alseT says:

            Agreed. But I think GoG’s prices are low enough to be affordable anywhere right now, at least without any additional gouging *cough*Steam*cough*.

          • grundus says:

            Agreed, I think this would go a long way to making DRM redundant. The whole reason there’s such a big copyright infringement thing in Asia (I’m talking about China, India and Pakistan) is because the average DVD of a western film costs the equivalent of over $100, or something, but I can’t remember where I read that. That’s in terms of what a DVD costs in proportion to their wages, though, which are incredibly low compared to the UK and US.

            I just don’t understand how, in the age of the internet and digital distribution, companies can think it’s ok to have massive discrepancies in what they charge for products. In fact I think it’s ludicrous that we can’t all buy the same things everyone else can buy on the internet. Take, for example, any US TV series that is available on iTunes US but not iTunes UK. How is it anything but good for the companies that sell these TV series to sell them in the UK as well as the US? But, as they don’t, if we want to watch them at the same time as people in the US, we can easily go onto one of many sites and just download an episode, DRM free, in a format of our choice. I get what I want, the company makes no money. The same goes for games, I’m sure; charge a fair price and you’ll see a lot less piracy, though there will always be pirates pirating stuff even though they’d never, ever pay for it even if it were in a pay-what-you-want deal, there was that thing about a charity indie game bundle that was pirated up the wazoo (always wanted to say that) even though you could pay as little as $1 for it.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ste says:

            Like Mc D’s. Pricing linked to local economy. Games should be priced across the the world to the big Mac standard. Then it’s both globally consistent and locally appropriate. Or maybe pizza hut would be better……

          • cHeal says:

            But why is that “fair”? It’s “better” for you, but it is not fair, because your economy is a factor which has no effect on the absolute value of the game.

            It is “unfair”, in the sense that it doesn’t just use the Dollar currency, but also prices in the US economy. But to make it regionally dependent would not make it “fair”. Why should someone in Russia get a game for less than someone in England? When that game is being transmitted over the internet, and the distribution costs are the same, everywhere, why should the price be different?

            The only reason you usually get games cheap is because the publishers sell them cheaper, and because wages are lower and thus distribution costs are much lower. So they can still sell them at that price and make a profit.

            Over the internet, such factors are not in play.

            So this is “fairer” for all, but don’t be mistaken that it is “better” for all.

          • CaspianRoach says:

            @cHeal
            >Why should someone in Russia get a game for less than someone in England?

            Why should someone in Africa live in a clay hut and someone in US live in his own two-storey house?

            If you need to spend half your weekly salary to buy a game as opposed to americans spending only few hours’ work’s payment on it, is it really fair?

            If it wasn’t for regional pricing I wouldn’t even dream of buying myself a legit copy of the game because I’d rather eat for a week on that money.

            And publishers make money off regional pricing only because it’s either sell at a lowered price or not sell at all. It’s a buyer’s market and if nobody can allow themselves to buy it at this price then the market ceases to exist at all.

      • Merus says:

        The flipside of that is that while Russia gets prices much closer to what people are willing to pay, countries like Australia are routinely expected to pay US$100 for a game. Either way someone gets screwed.

    • bfandreas says:

      They don’t need to feed big huge humongous publishers who also want their cut.
      And that’s the beauty of downloadable stuff. You can get all of the stuff directly from the studio. 20 years ago the only avenue would have been shareware. Which is basically sneakernet. And it was a huge hassle to actually give the studio your money and receive your full copy. Which infolved physical mail. If they even bothered to deal with you, what with you coming from far distant strange heathen places of the world like Birmingham, Berlin or Beirut.

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        Llewyn says:

        Although much of GOG’s catalogue is acquired from those humongous publishers.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Their prices may be competitive, but they are not fair prices. I got an email from them before Witcher 2 was out saying I could get it at some reduced rate or something. Not true and it was about $20 more than I felt it should have cost. (not based on quality, just based on what I was willing to pay after that email)

  4. CaspianRoach says:

    >We all know gamers who spend more every month on games than they want to, just because there were too many games that were discounted too deeply. That’s not good for anyone.

    Lol what. It’s good for me. I get more of the gamey goodness for silly low prices. How can this be a bad thing? That’s like saying playing more is a bad thing.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      This. Also:

      >they’re also learning that games aren’t valuable

      Oh, games are valuable, I won’t argue with that. That said, they’re rarely worth anywhere near 50 US dollars a piece –that’s a damn steal. And let’s not even mention those crazy $60 ones that have been popping up in the last couple years.

      • Kadayi says:

        I can recall paying £50 for Doom. Nowadays new games are £30 – 35 and have been for a few years.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Plus, he worries about the long-term value of games. The point is Steam doesn’t. Rather than sell one game at 50% off, two years after it was released, Steam sells many copies at 75% off.

      And if I buy a cheap game, and then just play it for a while, that is the dev’s fault, not Steam’s.

      GOG-bloke seems to be missing a trick here.

      • bfandreas says:

        Since electronic copies take very little shelf place(I reckon the whole GOG collection now and in the future finds room on affordable amounts of hard drives and tape) they can quite easily serve the Long Tail.

        Good luck buying a 2 year old game 10 years ago. Unless you struck gold in a bargain bin. Taking games off the shelves propably lost quite a lot of money. GOG did handsomly feeding the Long Tail.

        • mendel says:

          I’ve been buying 2-year-old games 10 years ago: they were on magazine cover CDs or very cheap magazine-style editions also available at the newsstands. Selling old games at a substantial discount is not a new business by any means, and it predates online distribution.

      • Premium User Badge

        lhzr says:

        He ain’t missing no trick, he’s just bad-mouthing the competition in a pretty pathetic way.

        • Reapy says:

          Ya this smells of more spinning as he thinks he can pull indies away from steam saying hell get you more value. I kinda hate gog for their dosboxing of old games and overcharging for them. Somthing about them has always rubbed me wrong.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        I don’t think he’s “Missing a trick” he just didn’t get enough time to speak directly to the subject.

    • jalf says:

      Well,, thinking out loud a bit, what if you’re making some less popular niche’y game, or just one that not many have heard of? Selling lots of games cheaply is great for big popular games, but what if you only sell a few thousand copies? Steam driving down the “accepted” price level for a game might hurt you then. Instead of selling those few thousand copies at, say, $30 each, you have to lower your price to 10 just in order for people to take you seriously. But you won’t sell more copies, because most people just don’t know about your game, or are not interested in it.

      Might make it harder for some indies to get a foothold.

      Look at the iPhone app store: you pretty much have to be featured on some top #N list to stand a chance of being profitable. All others sell so little that, at the typical price levels there, they can afford to buy a pizza and maybe a cup of coffee. ;)

      Not sure though, just speculating.

      • Fox89 says:

        I think reputation counts quite a lot. I mean, players are far more likely to buy the new Bioshock for full price than they are an indie FPS from a developer they’ve never heard of, regardless of how good it actually is.

        Whilst that has much the same effect of players not buying more obscure games until they drop in price, it isn’t the same as lowering the sense of value. Perhaps more developers should be factoring that sort of thing into their business plans. You mentioned the app store, take something like Angry Birds. That was free and took a foothold… and I think Space was free too? Either way, after the success of the first, Rovio probably could have charged whatever they liked for the sequel. But trying to put a high price tag on the first may well have been disastrous for them, as that was before they had built up that reputation.

        • jalf says:

          The point is that in something like the app store, having a good game hardly even matters. There are hundreds and hundreds of good games. By random chance, and intensive lobby work (spreading the word), a few, like Angry Birds, became popular and spread like wildfire. But many, many equally good games are never seen and downloaded more than say, 1000 times, because some random editor found Angry Birds, but not *that* game and so it never got featured on the big website, and so no one even knows it exists.

          If customers start expecting games costing $5 or less, then it’ll be impossible to make a profitable game *unless you’re lucky and just so happen to get a lot of publicity.

          If it is accepted that games cost, say, $30, then smaller developers can get away with fewer sales, and still make a profit.

          Anyway, like I said, I’m just thinking out loud here. I certainly think charging $60 (or worse, €60) for a game is absurd. But perhaps the accepted/expected price can be forced too far down as well?

          I don’t know.

      • InternetBatman says:

        But Steam does a fairly good job of promoting new games, and since they have recommended pricing they drive down the price to pretty standard levels. They don’t let it do a race to the bottom. New AAA games are $60, older games and high quality short games are $15, and really old games and basic indies are between $5 and $10. That leaves plenty of room for people to make money. Developers are the ones lining up to be in a Steam sale, no one is coerced into it.

        I think it’s really important to point out all the success stories smaller devs have because of the pricing structure.

  5. JackShandy says:

    “Heavy discounts are bad for gamers,” Rambourg explained.

    Uh- didn’t they release Fallout for free just now?

    • Prime says:

      You don’t understand the difference between a free gift and a heavy discount?

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        Considering his justification for the “bad for anyone” claim, a free game is the same, or worse than a heavily discounted one.

        • Prime says:

          He didn’t say ‘bad for anyone’ he said ‘bad for gamers’. He can clearly see the the difference between a free gift and a heavy discount. And look at what he gifted – an incredibly popular, revered title that most of the people on GOG will probably have already.bought at least once. For eveyone else, it’s a lovely thing to receive. That’s a world apart from asking for money for it, even if it’s only a dollar.

          • El_Spartin says:

            Mathematically speaking it isn’t, it’s just a 100% off discount which, according to him “is bad for gamers” since 100% is the heaviest of discounts (at least until we start being given money when we buy games for nothing). While I won’t complain at getting a good game for free (legitimately as well), calling out one place for big sales all the time being bad for gamers due to devaluing the game is the silliest thing I’ve heard this week since buying these games gives money to the dev’s who made them so they can go on to doing whatever they want which includes more games that we might buy and four 75% off discount means you can buy four games for the price of one. The Steam Top Seller’s list clearly shows that they do make significant profits on these sales (regularly topping Skyrim). There really isn’t a way a sale can be harmful to gamers unless they have little money and bad self-discipline.

            As to the game’s value decreasing beyond the norm (since games devalue over time no matter what) due to sales is simply a supply/demand question. If people won’t buy a game for x lower it to y. Free will always net the most people but you always make exactly nothing directly from that sale.

      • JackShandy says:

        Well, discounting it for 100% will get you a lot more users than discounting for 75%. I don’t understand how the first one will reduce the long-term value less than the second, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Maltose says:

      How does getting a game as a gift devalue the game? GOG has these free game promotions no more than a few times a year. On the other hand, having a sale every single day does devalue games. I’m only speaking for myself, but if I’m not excited enough about a game to pre-order it, I wait for it to go on sale 99% of the time before I buy it because I know that it will probably be on a 50% sale within 6 months.

      • JackShandy says:

        “How does getting a game as a gift devalue the game?”

        Giving you something for free sets its value to 0 dollars. Fallout used to cost around 9 dollars.

        • Jason Lefkowitz says:

          “Giving you something for free sets its value to 0 dollars.”

          Only if you have a reasonable expectation that it will always be free, or at least be free at frequent intervals in the future. Steam sales devalue games because they are frequent, and reliably scheduled — if I see a game I’m interested in that seems a bit pricey, I can wait with confidence that it’ll show up steeply discounted at some point in the near future, probably around a major holiday. A one-time giveaway of Fallout is different; there’s no indication that GOG will offer it for free again anytime soon. It’d only be comparable if GOG started offering, say, half their catalog for free for a few days every three months or so.

  6. Crane says:

    Well, I for one am agog at this news!

  7. HisMastersVoice says:

    I think he’s mixing up value definitions. Gamers, especially PC ones, don’t care about monetary value of a game, they care about the content value. Retaining higher prices on games means less sales and thus less people in the industry and thus less variation in what’s being produced. This in turn directly relates to less games with real content value.

    A 75% Steam sale is good for the players, good for the people behind the game, good for Steam and ultimately good for gaming as a whole.

    • chackosan says:

      But if gamers didn’t care about monetary value, why would copies move faster during a sale? Or rather, why would there be a need for a sale in the first place?

      It would seem that in order to make a purchase, the perceived content value has to be equal to or greater than the monetary value of the game.

  8. MattM says:

    I have 581 games on steam, 55 on GOG, 2 on impulse, and none on Origin. What does this mean? I don’t exactly know, but it seems important. Disclosure, I am completely gone right now, thank god for spell check being built into Firefox (even if it has the worst suggestions of any spellcheck in a decade).

  9. Khemm says:

    He’s right about heavy discounts leading to the belief that games have no value beyond a certain price point. Steam is one of the reasons free-to-play model is on the rise, devs have found out that none buys their games unless they’re stupidly discounted, which means they make pathetic amounts of money, no wonder many companies are so console-focused.
    Look at Amnesia – everyone keeps blabbing about how many copies it sold on Steam, except Frictional confirmed it was selling like crap, they only saw sales spikes during those ridiculous “75% off” sales, which were the equivalent of giving the game away for free – they barely made enough money to keep their company afloat. The result? Their next game will be designed primarily with consoles in mind.

    • Prime says:

      Is that over-stating things a bit, Khemm? From their own mouths Frictional were really pleased with how well Amnesia had done. You make it sound like they were bitter about the PC situation when in fact they’re financially stable, paying themselves decent salaries, able to fund not one but two games – one of which they’re giving to someone else to do….seems like they did alright even with the %75 sales?

      Do you have a source for the console focus for their next games? I hadn’t heard that and find it rather surprising.

      • yetanother says:

        “With these figures at hand, we must confess that it gives us new confidence for the PC. The sales that we have had (and are having) are more than enough to motivate developing a game with the PC as the main (and even only) platform. Based on what we have seen, the online PC market is just getting bigger and bigger, and we are convinced we are far from the end of this growth. We think that other developers that consider making their game exclusive to a console might want to think again.”

        Doesn’t sound like they want to go console focused to me.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Maybe not ‘focused’, but it’s a factor.

          Another big change for the future will be consoles. The main reason for choosing consoles is purely financial. Right now our main income comes from very few channels, and we need to spread out the risk somehow. The other reason is that we feel we are missing out on exposure by not being on a console and not reaching as many players as we should be able to. Unfortunately consoles are really old compared to the PC right now, so it will be far from straightforward to develop for two platforms. Our current thinking is to make the console get a lower end version and make sure console specs influence the PC version as little as possible.

          http://frictionalgames.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/amnesia-one-year-later.html

          Which could be significant because the unique thing about Penumbra and Amnesia is the control scheme, using the mouse to have close contact with the game environment. A console controller is going to influence the control scheme quite a bit, I would think.

      • Khemm says:

        Even in that blogspot they pointed out that initially, the game wasn’t selling as good as they’d hoped for and even though they hit the 200.000 units sold mark, the vast majority of that was heavily discounted. I recall them stating in 2011 that the discounted units accounted for about 75% of all the copies sold. 75%!!!
        That might be “OK” because they’re a very, VERY small studio, they might be able to pay their bills, but still – they have no chance to grow.
        Now imagine we’re talking about bigger companies. People are wondering why we get no PC ports of poor quality PC ports – this is why. That sense of entitlement Steam created – “I’ll buy it when it’s 75% off”. It’s not helping PC gaming. At all.

        • Premium User Badge

          The Sombrero Kid says:

          Those people who paid £3 for amnesia hard a hard time parting with £15 – that’s why they waited frictional are stoked those people got to play the game, as am I, as would any developer & sure a very small percentage of those people would’ve paid full price for it at some point, frictional would have made less from the game.

          EDIT: also big publishers love steam sales, variable pricing has given them the long tail they never had before and always longed for.

          • diamondmx says:

            And I very much doubt that valve’s experience of “We make more money during a 75% sale than we make during a 50% sale or a 25% sale, so long as we don’t flood users constantly” is unique to their games.

            Valve says they’ve done the research and sales *increase net profits*

            Perhaps those 75% of people were not going to buy the game beforehand, and then the huge discount combined with the good press made it a no-brainer.

          • Reapy says:

            Exactly, it doesnt devalue games, it makes me buy games i wouldnt. If i want the game i buy it immediatly,mfull price. If i kinda sorta want it i wait till a steam sale fullfills my desire to play it, every game has a price point for my want to play, if it dips i get it and play a game id have skipped forever and never purchased. Pretty simple logic there.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Didn’t they say they made more money than they expected, or am I confusing Frictional with someone else?

    • V. Profane says:

      Steam’s own “Top Selling” list suggests otherwise. Right now number 1 is a undiscounted £25 pound game followed by a £5 bundle, followed by Skyrim for £35. Modern Warfare for £40! is there too.

      • Kadayi says:

        Their sales chart is based on revenue generated rather than units sold. Skyrim & MW3 are steady sellers.

        • V. Profane says:

          I suppose that at least shows that when games are sold for lunch money they still make a lot.

  10. Dizzard says:

    I generally don’t buy games I’m only a little bit interested in, even if they are on sale.

    I usually have more of an issue with indie bundles where I only like 1 or 2 of the games which for the price were worth buying but then I have another 2 games that I have no interest in. I wish I could give them away.

    • NathaI3 says:

      I’m the opposite: if i see a heavily discounted game (say less than a fiver) that i’m only slightly interested in I’ll buy it everytime. BUT if there’s a game I’m very interested in and will definitely play, I’d buy it at 50% or even 33% off. So i see what he’s saying. My “to play” list on steam is so much longer than the list of games I’m actually interested in playing.

  11. Ericisapixy says:

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald first!

  12. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Ponderous yolk?

    Don’t talk about Dizzy like that.

  13. Fox89 says:

    I can’t agree entirely with the issue that heavy sales damage the industry. I can’t count (or rather, I am far too lazy to load up my Steam Library and count) the number of gems I’ve picked up from Steam because they were 50 – 75% off. Does he think Indie bundles are hurting the industry as well? After all, if you can pick 5 excellent titles off Indie Royale for £2.75, where’s the sense of value there?

    I don’t think sales and bundle deals hurt the industry because I don’t think it, for the most part, players sense of value is harmed by this sort of thing. Sales are great because they take the risk out of a gamble. If you played Assassin’s Creed 1, 2 and Brotherhood, and loved them all, odds are you’re going to be happy to pay full price for Revelations. But if ‘Obscure Farm Tycoon’ is something you think MIGHT interest you but £30 is a heck of a risk, then when it gets put in a 75% off deal you know you’re getting it dirt cheap, and you have an opportunity to play it and decide it’s value for itself.

    Then when Obscure Farm Tycoon 2 comes out next year, maybe you’re happy to jump in full price.

    In my experience serious gamers don’t make value judgements on the price of the game, they make it on the quality. And they know and appreciate when they are getting something for less than it’s worth.

    • Prime says:

      I’m unsure which way it goes. For certain games, selling them cheap can work wonders, as it did for UT3. But with so many gamers now actively resisting purchasing anything until it hits a Steam sale – you see the comment “I’m gonna wait for the Steam sale” all the time on RPS – how much damage is that actually doing? I don’t see selling low as sure-fire way to grow the industry; i’m worried about who is being denied cash-flow simply because Steam will eventually sell their product at a fraction of it’s RRP.

      • Fox89 says:

        You have a point, and I suppose we both have to concede that in those instances it is difficult to tell either way. Are they waiting for a Steam Sale because they can’t spare the money to buy it full price now? Are they waiting for the sale because they have doubt about the game, and although they would like to give it a go they were never going to risk full price on it?

        Or are they just waiting because their greedy, and they would pay full price if not for the constant sales but they know they can take advantage?

        Personally I think it’s more (albeit not exclusively) the first examples which are good for the industry. But that’s only from anecdotal experience, I couldn’t cite any actual evidence so I could of course be wrong.

        • PopeJamal says:

          “Are they waiting for a Steam Sale because they can’t spare the money to buy it full price now?”
          Yes. I have kids and a house to repair. I’m not 20 anymore.

          “Are they waiting for the sale because they have doubt about the game, and although they would like to give it a go they were never going to risk full price on it?”
          Yes. Resident Evil 5, Rage, New Vegas are just a few.

          “Or are they just waiting because they’re greedy, and they would pay full price if not for the constant sales but they know they can take advantage?”
          Yes, but I don’t think of it as being greedy because:
          a) I don’t have as much/any disposable income like I did in my younger years
          b) I have “completed” may 25-30 of the 200+ games in my Steam catalog, so I’m not necessarily bored
          c) I also have a handful of console and Live Arcade games in queue
          d) I’m older and it’s not as easy to fool me into thinking your new game will be revolutionary
          e) Waiting 6-12 months isn’t really that hard once you get older

          I’d venture to believe that at the very least, the game market is now split between older guys like me and “Halo Dude-Bro!” types.

          I’ve been “taught” from childhood that AAA games are worth ~$50 USD regardless of platform and that they historically don’t go below $20 at the lowest.

          These younger folks have grown up in a world where you can get AAA titles for as little as $2 for the PC, used console titles for $10-$20, and FREE mobile games with 200+ levels of content.

          I might be wrong, but there is no way anyone can convince me that a pricing structure like that is sustainable. And that doesn’t even factor in adding an entire new tier of lowpriced “AAA” “arcade” and “indie” titles.

          Oh yeah, don’t forget 100% crowd-sourcing the funding of an RPG that’s been dead for 20 years within 28 hours for as little as $15.

          The time are a’changin…

    • jalf says:

      if ‘Obscure Farm Tycoon’ is something you think MIGHT interest you but £30 is a heck of a risk, then when it gets put in a 75% off deal you know you’re getting it dirt cheap, and you have an opportunity to play it and decide it’s value for itself.

      Then when Obscure Farm Tycoon 2 comes out next year, maybe you’re happy to jump in full price.

      *if* Obscure Farm Tycoon 2 comes out, you mean. The developers just lost 75% of their revenue on the first game, after all. And as mentioned above, they probably lost even more in the short term, because people held off on buying it at release, because “it’ll be 75% discounted soon anyway”. They might have gone bankrupt.

      • Fox89 says:

        Did they lose 75%? Or gain 25%?

        Sales reduce revenue per sale, but they are also a massive boost to overall sales. Yes you might get some who would otherwise have paid full price going “I’ll wait for the sale”, but I’m doubtful in regards to how common that is. Most of MY activity in a sale for example is buying games I never would have touched otherwise. Or games I was dubious enough about that I would have not paid full price for and, without the sale, would have gone without completely.

        Sales boost sales. They also boost exposure, which is good both short and long term, especially for smaller developers who simply don’t have much of a marketing budget.

        • jalf says:

          Sales *might* be a massive boost to overall sales, assuming that everyone has heard of your game, and is interested in it.

          My point is that this isn’t true for every game. Some games cater to a small niche, and lowering the price isn’t going to make people outside that small group buy it. So in those cases, a sale (or a general expectation that games should be cheaper) might just hurt the developer.

          And the problem with sales, or lower prices, “boosting exposure” is that it’s kind of a zero-sum game. There’s only so much exposure to go around. Even today, indie games are at the mercy of a precious few outlets (Steam and the bundles), because that’s where you get exposure, and a lot of good games just never get this chance. Valve can be quite conservative about which games they want on their service. So while yes, if you’re on Steam then a sale is likely to boost your revenue dramatically, the flipside to this is if you’re *not* on Steam. Suppose, a few years from now, the constant sales on Steam has meant that gamers now expect a game to cost $10 at most.

          A small indie developer who doesn’t get much exposure and who hasn’t been picked up by Steam might be able to make a living if he sells his games at, say, $30 to his small existing fan base, but if they start going “You know, I can get kick-ass games on Steam for $10, stop ripping us off, dude”, then he’ll have to lower his prices too, and lose revenue, but still without getting the exposure that a Steam sale offers.

          The point here is that you’re thinking just of the winners: the ones whose games are already popular, the ones who get covered by RPS, the ones whose games are on Steam, the ones who get enough exposure to turn lower prices into an advantage.

          Most developers do not start out as winners. And becoming one takes luck as well as skill, persistence and brilliant games.

          And again, let me emphasize I’m not really taking the standpoint that “Expensive games are good, the GOG guy is right”. I honestly don’t know. But playing the devil’s advocate for a bit, I think I can see some scenarios where smaller and unknown developers might be squeezed by such a trend towards lower prices…

          I’m sure the current situation with lower prices and frequent sales on a lot of games has helped many developers. I certainly don’t spend less on games than I used to. But it may be worth wondering if there might be a downside in the long term.

      • Kadayi says:

        Indeed. Also the chance of the sequel coming out to a game with poor initial sales is unlikely. Everyone and their daughters bought Alpha protocol when it was on sale for sod all and most people have loved the shit out of it, but it sold like garbage at release and a sequel was canned. I guess maybe on the metrics Sega might at some point go ‘hey we sold 2 million units eventually..maybe it’s worth giving it another shot’ but I doubt it.

  14. Jimmy Z says:

    That’s funny, I’ve always found GOG’s normal prices a bit too expensive (needless to say I find Steam’s regular prices even more ridiculous). Seriously ten dollars for a single DIGITAL copy of Baldur’s Gate, when you’ve been able to get the whole series on DVD for a couple of dollars more for years?

    Still, have to applaud them for the effort of bringing the classics available to current day computers, but whining about Steam sales is just silly. Gamers get games, devs get money, sounds really terrible!

    • Lukasz says:

      It is just your perception. I spent 10 bucks on PST and it was one of the greatest purchases I had ever done on gog.
      then i bought 4 more copies to give around
      “U2CM-2HXT-BCZM-EV6G”

      make that five.
      because in the end it is not whether I can get that game cheaper somewhere else. It is whether it is worth the price. and yeah. PST is worth 10 bucks.

      So because you could get BG cheaper on CD is not important. You only need ask whether the game is by itself worth ten dollars, whether the game brings enough enjoyment for you to make that ten dollars well spent.
      not ‘because that game was sold for less that means 10 bucks is too much’
      that leads to the problem of people actually buying games because they cost less than before. AKA steam sales.
      not looking at the value of the game, whether the asking price justifies the purchase. just because it is lower.
      im guilty of that myself and i hate that.

    • Lemming says:

      I saw this article as damage control as more and more people are noticing that Impulse/Gamestop DD service is actually better value than GOG for the same stuff most of the time.

  15. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Total pish, firstly flat pricing is a bad thing! selling games at multiple price points is a good thing because I want to play almost all games out there & i’m sure most people agree the tiered pricing lets me make a value assement of a game and vote with my wallet in an anologue way, I don’t really believe there’s anyone out there saying “I know i wont like that game, but It’s cheap right now so I’m gonna buy it”

    regarding the steam monopolisation, I don’t like monopolies anywhere I see them, If I have to tolerate the capitalist model I prefer it with a healthy dose of competition, but the truth is digital distrobution, like transport, utilities and a whole load of other things doesn’t really work in a competitive market, I wish there was a better solution than having yet another corporate monopoly but I personally see no other choice.

  16. Grayvern says:

    Delayed gratification is a far from a universal human trait. The only time I have consciously waited for a steam sale was Shogun 2 and that was only because I didn’t buy it when it went on sale 3 times before.

  17. Kadayi says:

    Albeit I ‘m glad that GOG exists and have bought a few games from them over the years, plain truth of the matter is that up until they sold The Witcher 2 (CDProjekts own title), no one bar their small team was life line dependent on the sales they generated. All of the titles on their books are dead or forgotten IP. The money the sales of those generated is just going to the publishers who own the IPs, but none is going to developers that made them, or supporting them in any fashion. When it’s gravy money for publishers and enough to pay your bills alone, I think it’s easy to talk and bang your own drum about being DRM free and your ‘reasonable pricing’ (an odd statement given AAA pricing has been relatively static for years) because there’s far less mouths to feed out of what sales you do generate, Vs that of a big studio title such as Call of Duty or Mass Effect 3 with staffing and overheads magnitudes bigger than your own (and require profitability to finance future projects). For all the talk of good will and (the ever nebulous)’added value’ being the key to combat piracy, the sad truth is you can find GOG titles (+ extras) readily available on torrent sites.

    However I do agree with his point that the heavy discount (75-90%) off sales by Valve has probably damaged gamers perceptions of value considerably over the last few years. To the extent that people are now more likely to hold off on a purchase for a seasonal sale on a title they are uncertain of rather than buy at launch. I recall at Christmas a friend genuinely asking me whether I thought that LA Noire at 75% off was worth the price (less than the price of hour and a half indie title Dear Esther), and I did have to marvel that we’d reach the point where in we as gamers will penny pinch on the price of a well regarded AAA title with a bucket tonne of game play hours to be wrung from it, barely 3 months after its release when the financial outlay is less than the price of a new DVD or a couple of Starbucks + cakes. I do think a lot of people are losing sense of proportion when it comes to the value of games, and that’s not good in the long term because it is a degree of profitability in the medium that goes towards financing future development. I don’t think it’s a sustainable model for the industry.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      “However I do agree with his point that the heavy discount (75-90%) off sales by Valve has probably damaged gamers perceptions of value considerably over the last few years. ”

      Damaged? More like fixed. Most games aren’t worth $50. In fact, most aren’t worth a fifth of that. For me, LANoir wasn’t worth the $10 I spent on it. The fact I can play it for hour doesn’t mean I’ll be entertained for hours and entertainment is what’s being sold here.

      And about 75% sales?

      “A 10% reduction lead to 35% increase in amount of money which came in (i.e. Not just sales). 25% lead to a 245% increase. 50% lead to 320% increase. And 75% lead to 1470%.”

      • Fox89 says:

        What’s the source on that last quote? Sounds like an article I’d be interested in reading!

      • Kadayi says:

        “Damaged? More like fixed. Most games aren’t worth $50. In fact, most aren’t worth a fifth of that.”

        So you’re saying that most games, which are the labour of hundreds of people often crafted over years are worth less than that cost of a take out pizza? Do you even have a clue as to the logistics of AAA game development in terms of the costs involved?

        “A 10% reduction lead to 35% increase in amount of money which came in (i.e. Not just sales). 25% lead to a 245% increase. 50% lead to 320% increase. And 75% lead to 1470%.”

        That was in relation to Mount & blade (which was hardly a AAA title in the first place). The model doesn’t hold up as a universal rule. Heavily discounted sales is a great way to maximise unit sales on smaller games, but it’s not healthy for the other end of the market in the long term, if you want premium production values.

        • NathanH says:

          This whole “games aren’t worth anywhere near that much” toss is ridiculous, isn’t it? If I had to try to honestly value games I’ve played by what they’re really worth, some of them would be at least hundreds of pounds, if not more.

          • Kadayi says:

            Indeed. Games even at the price they are, are generally good value for money in terms of bang for buck entertainment value. I’ve wrung weeks of game play and enjoyment out of titles like DA:O, Skyrim & BF3 multi-player. Vs reading books from the library there’s not much you can legally obtain in terms of entertainment that matches that comes close to delivering that sort of bang for buck.

        • HisMastersVoice says:

          “So you’re saying that most games, which are the labour of hundreds of people often crafted over years are worth less than that cost of a take out pizza?”

          Yes, they are. It’s called economics of scale and why a tv set with r&d costs in millions of dollars doesn’t cost millions of dollars.

          Also, a bad product isn’t worth much no matter how much it costs to make it.

          Etc, etc…

          “Do you even have a clue as to the logistics of AAA game development in terms of the costs involved?

          Do you?

          “That was in relation to Mount & blade (which was hardly a AAA title in the first place). The model doesn’t hold up as a universal rule.”

          It was in relation to all third party publishers on Steam.

          [url]http://www.edge-online.com/features/valve-are-games-too-expensive[/url]

          “Heavily discounted sales is a great way to maximise unit sales on smaller games, but it’s not healthy for the other end of the market in the long term, if you want premium production values.”

          It’s not just unit sales that are seeing an uptick, it’s actual revenue. Revenue, as in money in your pocket. Money you can spend on producing games. What’s your point?

          • Kadayi says:

            “Yes, they are. It’s called economics of scale and why a tv set with r&d costs in millions of dollars doesn’t cost millions of dollars.”

            TVs don’t sell for £10.

            If say the average AAA game cost £30 million to make then you need to generate at least £30 million in profit (not just sales) to finance further development. This notion that selling everything for £1 means you’re going to exponentially sell 60 times as many units is reliant on this idea that there’s an infinite market for the product. That’s just simply not the case, and increasingly more so as everyone due to fire sales is backlogged to hell. Personally bar Mass Effect 3 I haven’t bought another triple AAA game this year and I’m unlikely to until Christmas (despite being a regular day one purchaser in previous years) because I realised I have a massive backlog of unfinished titles to play through.

            Also it’s all very well for Gabe Newell to preach about how great huge discount sales are, but what has to be borne in mind is that Valve are both cash rich and the biggest digital distribution point on the web. Sales are always good for Valve (as they profit regardless), it’s another matter whether the increasing ‘I’ll wait for the sale’ mentality is so good for other firms more reliant on strong initial sales cash flow.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            “TVs don’t sell for £10.”

            It’s not a hard concept to comprehend, which leads me to believe you’re being obtuse for the sake of being obtuse. The end cost of the product is not based exclusively on how much money it costs to develop it.

            “This notion that selling everything for £1 means you’re going to exponentially sell 60 times as many units is reliant on this idea that there’s an infinite market for the product.”

            We’re talking about Steam. They literally offer unlimited amounts of product to the market.

            “That’s just simply not the case, and increasingly more so as everyone due to fire sales is backlogged to hell. Personally bar Mass Effect 3 I haven’t bought another triple AAA game this year and I’m unlikely to until Christmas (despite being a regular day one purchaser in previous years) because I realised I have a massive backlog of unfinished titles to play through.”

            Casual evidence does not make a compelling argument.

            “Sales are always good for Valve (as they profit regardless), it’s another matter whether the increasing ‘I’ll wait for the sale’ mentality is so good for other firms more reliant on strong initial sales cash flow.”

            Gamersgate reports similar findings in relation to time limited price cuts, so it’s not something exclusive to Steam

            Quite frankly, if your project relies on initial high volume sales, you just have to make it appealing enough to get people to buy it on release day. If you can’t, you either make a better game or change the way you’re doing business.

          • Kadayi says:

            @HisMastersVoice

            “We’re talking about Steam. They literally offer unlimited amounts of product to the market.”

            But the point is the market isn’t unlimited in terms of gamers. There is a finite well of people who will buy a FPS for instance, Vs a strategy game or an RPG. The collective failure of anyone to capitalise on the vast success of WoW in terms of player base is evidence of this truth alone. Doesn’t matter how good you game might be in terms of features, unless you’ve the ability to persuade existing WoW players to jump ship for more than a month and stick with your game in the long term you’re largely screwed because there an upper limit with respect to how many people play MMOs as a hobby. There’s a finite audience.

            “The end cost of the product is not based exclusively on how much money it costs to develop it.”

            The financial model for a hardware manufacturer is not quite the same as the financial model for a software developer. Even with reduced pricing the profitability on a TV set is still going to be much more than that of a game, given the base price retail of the product (‘TVs don’t cost £10′). Secondary to that hardware manufacturers generally sell a range of products . A developer is lucky if they have two products in the market place at the same time. As businesses go they are much more vulnerable to the impact of poor initial sales as the long history of dead upon release developers will testify. So yes I do think that a ‘I’ll wait until the Steam sale’ mentality is damaging for the industry in the long term, because there is a finite audience on these things, and developers are reliant on good initial sales to green light sequels and new games.

        • alundra says:

          So you’re saying that most games, which are the labour of hundreds of people often crafted over years are worth less than that cost of a take out pizza? Do you even have a clue as to the logistics of AAA game development in terms of the costs involved?

          So what? What’s the use of having bazillions at your disposal if you can’t put together a quality product that people will want (or be able to) to revisit many times??

          Steam sale prices actually fixing value is true now more than ever with companies forcing users to connect to a far away server to get access to the rest of the product. It’s not the user fault that some stupid companies think it’s a good idea to deliver half a product and keep the other half while expecting customers to be willing to pay full price like if nothing was happening.

  18. pkt-zer0 says:

    “Heavy discounts are bad for gamers”

    I don’t get it. Is there a reason why people who can’t afford the games without a heavy discount should not be able to buy the game eventually? Or that those willing and able to pay the (relatively high) initial price shouldn’t be able to? Hell, isn’t saying that games should be GOG-cheap right off the bat devaluing games the same way?

    It would make more sense if he said that games are discounted too soon after release or something. Otherwise, letting people buy the game at $60 or $6 eventually, depending on how much they can afford, seems like a good thing to me.

    “I rarely buy any games at full price”

    For me, that was the case even before Steam rolled around, before I even had any access to the internet.

    • Kadayi says:

      He’s not against sales, he’s more saying that the big discounts (the 75% off seasonal sales) are the issue.

  19. TaroYamada says:

    I disagree with him frankly, I’ve been given some games free here and there, and bought games I was only slightly interested in due to these sales. He says it’s a bad thing and I entirely disagree, some of my favorite games as of late were purchased this exact way; Negative reviews tarnished the game and I avoided, then, due to sub $5 pricing I gave them a shot and really enjoyed them. Alpha Protocol comes to mind which I bought for $2.49, it’s a game I never had any intention of buying, thought it looked lame, and reviews said it blew. Loved it.

    Duke Nukem Forever was a free gift from Amazon, I thought Duke as a character looked retarded, I thought the game looked lame and generic, and the reviews were unkind to say the least. Didn’t love the game, but enjoyed it. Was my introduction to the Duke franchise and I look forward to the next Duke title.

    Red Faction: Armageddon, the game everybody hated because it dropped Guerilla’s shitty open world design. It’s actually the best game in the franchise since the first one, paid $5, had no intention of touching after two failed Red Faction games (RF2, and RF:G), liked Armageddon a lot.

    So did I pay out much? No, but this is all money these publishers NEVER would have received otherwise, or in the instance of Duke Nukem, I never would have become a customer to the franchise without that free copy from Amazon. With Red Faction and Alpha Protocol, both are dead franchises now, but I am confident RF will return, I’ll be more interested in the series as long as they stick to RF1/RFA formula. If by some freak occurrence Alpha Protocol returns, I will also now pay attention and will become a customer of the franchise.

    • Kadayi says:

      AP is a great game. But we’re never going to see a sequel because it didn’t sell enough at release.

      • HisMastersVoice says:

        It didn’t sell enough on release day because it was buggy and flawed and some of it’s genuinely good ideas couldn’t cover that. Being rushed by the publisher is what killed it, sales were an aftereffect of that.

  20. cptgone says:

    - i don’t “buy games i don’t want just because they’re on sale”. there are more games (new and old) i want than i have time for. market saturation is what drives prices down.
    - the demand side of the market keeps on booming. with hundreds of millions of gamers, there’s no need for each of them to pay €30 for a game.
    - i very rarely pay more than €5 for a game nowadays, still i spend MUCH more than back when there were no deep discounts. i’ve also preordered 3 games, something i wouldn’t have done in the old days.
    - last few times i paid full price on a new AAA title, i ended up hardly playing it cause of gameplay issues.
    - launch price of AAA titles is so inflated, deep discounts are inevitable (and part of their marketing model).

    • Kadayi says:

      “with hundreds of millions of gamers”

      I think you’re grossly overestimating the dedicated PC gaming market place there.

      The Sims (the original) in its lifetime sold 16 million units, and that’s the top selling PC game of all time.

      Sure plenty of people might be playing Farmville on Facebook, but there’s a huge drop off between that casual audience and the dedicated PC gaming consumer base.

      • Grygus says:

        Maybe. It is possible that there are a hundred million gamers, but with such disparate tastes that no single game has sold more than 16 million copies.

        What percentage of PC gamers, do you think, bought The Sims? At the time, it was thought that many of the people who bought it were not part of the core PC gamer audience at all; it was said to appeal to a new audience, presumably an early entry to the casual market. In fact, given that The Sims franchise has outsold the Half Life franchise at a rate approaching 2-to-1, I would argue that it shows the market for PC games is a lot larger than is generally accepted, but developers/marketers have generally failed to tap into it.

        Otherwise you are assuming that essentially every gamer has purchased World of Warcraft, Half Life 2, Battlefield 2, and Starcraft, which I think is unlikely; those are four different genres of games – obviously a lot of people have all four, but I am guessing that the majority of gamers have skipped at least one of them.

        • Kadayi says:

          Steam has about 40 million registered users. I doubt that figure covers the entirety of the dedicated PC player base, but I’d say it represents a significant % given its ubiquity.

  21. mendel says:

    There are many economic theories in game sales, but unfortunately mostly put together by amateurs. There’s no real evidence to the myth that used game trading hurts the industry, and there’s no evidence that discount sales are bad for it either.

    If you consider for a moment the theory that people have a relatively stable monthly budget that they’ll spend on each sector like transportation, food, entertainment, or videogames, then discounting videogames shouldn’t make people spend less (or more) on videogames, but it makes them distribute their money over more of them. When before, someone’s budget could possibly cover one or two AAA “must-buy” releases, shopping for sales distributes a big part of that money over more games – which is definitely better for smaller publishers, and better for variety in the business.

    I do know that spent more than usual on various Christmas game sales, but I know I’ve been cutting back on my spending in the months that followed as a result.

    • Grygus says:

      I’ve seen the same argument used to show that piracy probably isn’t nearly as harmful as would seem obvious. Stealing lets people play more games but isn’t actually costing the gaming industry as a whole much money at all, because the money saved from piracy isn’t going into the bank; it’s going to other games.

      If the movie industry (which is a lot more public with its sales numbers) is any guide, I think this argument carries a lot of weight; the last few years have been the biggest box office years in movie history, despite the increasing simplicity of pirating movies and the competition from online streaming.

      I think the very existence of the Kickstarter craze proves that lots of people are perfectly willing to pay for games; the question is whether they are paying for your game in particular, not whether they are paying at all.

      So yeah if this is really how people behave then sales aren’t hurting the industry at all, but it still makes sense for any given developer to complain, because without sales and piracy his game *might* have made more money (at the cost of other developers getting less.)

  22. R10T says:

    ‘Man, you should check out all the great games that GOG.com sells. Those guys are cool and treat you right.’

    That’s exactly what I said to my friends.

    (no sarcasm included)

  23. caseycook says:

    I do see some truth in what he’s saying here. Time was I’d drive over to the game shop, drop 50 or 60 bucks on one game after some heavy deliberation, go home and play the shit out of it for the next three months. Now the ease of Steam downloads and the last couple years of Steam sales and I have 16 RPGs and about half as many action games installed on my PC in various stages of completion. First world problems to be sure, but just a week ago I couldn’t turn down Bulletstorm for 5 dollars. Played it for a couple of hours and had a few laughs, I already feel like I got my money’s worth, I may never get past the first few levels. When I spent more money and had less choice, I had a lot more incentive to finish one meal before tasting the next. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sales, but there is an element of having all the cake you can eat.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      To go with the meal metaphor, it just means you were more inclined to finish a moldy loaf of bread you bought, despite it tasting like tier rubber, because you were under some false impression you’re getting “your money’s worth” out of it, when in fact you were just getting more moldy bread and possibly an indigestion.

    • Shooop says:

      If you feel you got $5 worth of entertainment out of it then you’ve made a good purchase. If you paid more and only got that same amount of entertainment out of it then you didn’t.

      Don’t let Rambourg’s double-talk fool you out of that. You’re the consumer, you’re the one who gets to decide ultimately if the product was worth what you paid for it, not him.

      • Kadayi says:

        Dude you can nickel and dime on games as regard to their ‘value’ all you want. However unless there’s profitability in making games for PC then in the long term both publishers and developers will instead turn to mobile or the console market place.

        When people begrudge paying more than $10 for several hours of entertainment there comes a point when it no longer becomes feasible to continue catering for it in terms of the production.

        • Shooop says:

          You didn’t read a thing I wrote did you? Or do you have the reading comprehension skills of a toddler who just spent 4 hours huffing paint?

          If you don’t have the ability to decide yourself what you think was worth buying and what wasn’t you should commit yourself to an assisted living center right now.

          • Kadayi says:

            Pro Tip: if the best response you have to an opinion you disagree with is a lame assed ad hom Vs an actual reasoned counterpoint, don’t post. You ultimately just end up embarrassing yourself.

          • Shooop says:

            The response I’ve been given completely ignores the point I’ve made so I can only draw one of two conclusions from it:

            1) You didn’t read what I wrote at all and just wanted to post the equivalent of “Nah-UHHH!”
            2) You didn’t understand it at all and are working with the completely wrong pretext.

            In either case you’ve made lots of noise but haven’t said anything. Which I’m starting to see is quite typical of you.

          • Kadayi says:

            Please continue to debase yourself further. I never tire of witnessing such acts of self immolation.

          • Shooop says:

            I’d happily address your point if you actually had one. Otherwise feel free to pretend you’re the smartest guy in the room with your fallacies. It’s cute.

          • Kadayi says:

            You mean this one: -

            “unless there’s profitability in making games for PC then in the long term both publishers and developers will instead turn to mobile or the console market place.”

            AAA cost a lot of money to produce, and they do rely heavily on initial sales to justify future games and greenlight future development. A lot of 3rd party developers found it impossible to make money through Wii titles so ultimately the market for those died. Certainly the casual games and Nintendo’s titles have done well, but otherwise the platforms been a desert of misery for anyone else over the last few years.

          • Shooop says:

            And so I direct you to the on-rails shooters like Call of Duty 8 and Battlefield 3 which last only 6 hours long (if you include cutscenes) but sell millions of copies for $60 each.

            On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s Valve’s Orange Box which packaged 4 studio-polished games together for the price of one. I doubt many people regretted purchasing that which by Rambourg’s logic they certainly should.

            There is simply no argument that quality and price of games are directly correlated that makes sense. Rambourg is either putting on one of the world’s worst PR spins for “we’re raising prices”, is so arrogant he’d make Bobby Kotick blush, or he’s completely insane.

  24. Shooop says:

    Ugh. UGH. What a disgusting load of condescending corporate double-talk.

    He’s saying customers can’t decide what they want to buy on their own so distributors have to make those decisions for them by raising prices. It’s an extended “can’t you see we’re hurting you for your own good?!” argument an abusive parent might use.

    Get hit by a bus Rambourg. You’re now part of the problem.

    • Kadayi says:

      “Get hit by a bus Rambourg. You’re now part of the problem.”

      Basement dwellers of the earth unite.

      • Shooop says:

        Brainless consumers who don’t know or care when they’re actively being told what to and not to buy have already united. Oh look there’s one right here.

        • Kadayi says:

          I hated the ending of Mass effect 3, but I’m not hoping Casey Hudson develops ball cancer as a result.

          You just wished a guy dead, over video games. Get a grip on life whilst you still have the chance.

          • Shooop says:

            I happily reserve my right to wish ill on anyone who has decided me, a consumer, should be treated as a petulant child who can’t make good decisions with his own money. Because it’s incredibly insulting.

            Were this IGN or a less respectable site you’d probably seeing comments more along the lines of “ZOMG he sucks cocks” plastered all over the place like gum under a public middle school desk. Hyperbole is a part of the English language. If it bothers you so much then you should limit yourself to reading encyclopedias and perhaps church pamphlets.

          • Kadayi says:

            Judging by your protestations I’d say petulant child is a good summary. You certainly seem to lack for a perspective on life beyond that of your own self interest that’s for sure. Also just because that sort of talk might fly at IGN doesn’t mean we need to suffer it here.

        • jalf says:

          Yes, if that’s what you call people who don’t want others to die over a f’ing game, then yes, we have united. You, sir, should go back to your basement, and don’t come out again until you’re fit to behave like a human being.

          • Shooop says:

            My my, it’s amazing how the peanut gallery so quickly attempts convince themselves they’re suddenly the adults in the room.

            I happen to take someone telling me I, a consumer who has to work for my money, that I can’t decide for myself what I bought was worth it or not is incredibly condescending and insulting. Obviously you two don’t. Tell me, if a restaurant gets your order wrong do you just take it anyway because you know you as a consumer don’t know what you actually want?

            Since you’re not secure enough to make your own decisions for you I’ll just decide for you you’re an idiot who shouldn’t be at a computer for you might accidentally strangle yourself with your mouse cord. No, don’t question it, I know what’s best for you because you don’t remember?

          • Kadayi says:

            “Tell me, if a restaurant gets your order wrong do you just take it anyway because you know you as a consumer don’t know what you actually want?”

            How exactly does getting a food order wrong equate to pricing?

          • Shooop says:

            If you actually bothered reading my posts before turning your knee-jerk “You’re immature for using hyperbole” phasers on full-blast you’d see it.

            Fine I’ll explain. Rambourg’s boils down to “you as a consumer are too dumb to know what you thought was worth spending your money on”. It’s like a “the customer is always wrong” approach on a horrific new plane of existence. A restaurant works the opposite way – you know what you want to order, so you order it and expect to receive it (unless something prevents them from making/providing it but that’s off-topic). But in Mr. Rambourg’s bizzaro world, the restaurant knows what you want, not you.

            Personally I know I have a good idea what things I’ve bought I consider worth my money and what wasn’t and I don’t need someone else telling me otherwise. The Witcher 2 for $50? I felt I got $50 of entertainment from it. Far Cry 2 for the same price? I did not. I, the consumer – not Mr. Rambourg, know what I found worth $50 and what I didn’t. He is not me, nor is he psychic, nor does he have any authority to make personal decisions of what I do and don’t like, and how much I did or didn’t like something for me.

            So what makes him think he can make such a personal decision for me or anyone else? It’s incredibly rude at best. And yes I could have been less abrasive. If I send him any correspondence explaining how I feel about these quotes of his I’ll be sure to be more polite about it.

          • Kadayi says:

            No what he’s said is that the constant high discount sales have undermined gamers consideration as to the purchase valve of titles across the board (‘why buy a game new when in 3 months it will be likely much cheaper?’). He’s not opposed to discount sales (GOG have them), he just feels that the seasonal fire sales (the 75-90%) have lead to a glut of overbuying because games are so absurdly cheap people can’t resist and everyone more games than they have time for. They’re not buying them because they necessarily want them, they buy them because they are cheap and they can’t resist a bargain.

          • Shooop says:

            That’s hardly a problem though if the customer is happy with their purchases and the makers of the games are making money.

            Sometimes people even collect games they’ve had before because of fond memories and someday may play them again. I jumped at a sale on id’s entire Doom series going on sale and I don’t regret that in the least. The very opposite, I’m still very happy I did. The very first PC game I ever played, and it’s aged surprisingly well.

            Just because someone buys a game doesn’t always mean they’re planning to load it up right away – games are like books and movies and can be set them aside for later. Unless Steam and other digital retailers is in danger of vaporizing and taking everyone’s purchases with them there’s no problem with this.

  25. Delusibeta says:

    In the UK, unless you’re Nintendo, Blizzard or your game is Call of Duty, all games will be half the launch price at retail within three months and if your game bombed it’ll be available for sub-£10 within six, regardless of format. Ultimately, CDProjekt putting blame on Steam is probably misguided and probably more to do with local markets and conditions.

    There’s also countless cases where major Steam sales increases revenue (not sales, actual number of dollars being sent to the developer) by a factor of five or ten, so I honestly don’t buy this argument.

  26. cassus says:

    I kind of feel that the reason game prices seem messed up at the moment, and the reason people don’t feel good about 60 dollars is the fact that indie developers have become the real innovators, and also they make substantial games of a high quality whereas the big developers crank out sequels that offer nothing new, run on the same engine with the same graphics year after year. Basically they’re selling standalone expansions for full price. That does not make my wallet feel good at all. Also, they’re massive evil corporations, which again… Not good. I’d much rather have some starving indie dev have my money than some asshat with 8 houses and 12 cars.

    • Kadayi says:

      Notch, Jonathan Blow, Dylan Fitterer & 2D Boy all applaud your rallying against the tyranny of the ‘man’ from their tiny cold garrets.

      • Demonbooker says:

        And Ubisoft, EA, and Bioware applaud your heroic attack on anything that distracts from their next cookie cutter game with a different frosting and sprinkle arangement.

        • Bhazor says:

          I believe that Kadayi’s point is that Notch and Blow (“they’re cops”) are both multimillionaires at this point. I’d say they’re certainly richer than any lead developer working in an EA stable.

          • Shooop says:

            Still a ridiculous thing for him to say because Notch and Blow aren’t blatantly exploiting their fans. There’s no reason people who do good work shouldn’t be rewarded for it – there is something less right with people doing mediocre-at-best work and getting rewarded just as much.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Bhazor

            Indeed. Well spotted. however I fear the reality that bar being vested you’re more likely to become a millionaire these days as in indie developer Vs in a corporate enterprise is last on our friend.

  27. Roshin says:

    “Heavy discounts are bad for gamers.”

    Fuck right off.

    I’m losing respect for GOG at an alarming rate.

    • Shooop says:

      His “explanation” for it is what’s truly revolting.

      It boils down to, “We have to help people remember the amount of entertainment you get from a game and its price are directly correlated!”

      Because a dumb ol’ consumer can’t possibly have bought a game for cheap, played it enough to get what they felt was their money’s worth from it, and then move on. Oh no!
      They didn’t think about buying it through enough and therefore that entertainment they got from it is really a lie! A sham! We must save these poor people from their delusions!

      It’s like the thought police for video game consumers. He’s either insane or putting on the most condescending, insulting PR spin for “stop buying stuff cheaper from our competitors” I’ve ever seen.

      I may actually write to him about these comments because it’s just utterly shocking to read something like this from a company that has been touting itself as extremely customer-friendly.

      And yes I’ll be polite about it. I do know there’s a difference between an internet forum and writing that actually matters.

    • alundra says:

      Definitely, it should read, heavy discounts are hurting GOG.

      What I hate the most is the attitude that gamers are brainless fucks who can’t decide what’s good for them, mindless drones unable to perceive if the return of the investment is good or not.

      A product that at launch time is bugged to the point of unplayability, full of 0day DLC, no disc, no printed manual, no box, no nothing, lately even half the code,

      They expect people to full full price for just just a license??

      Cry me a river.

      • Shooop says:

        That little detail alone unravels a great deal of his argument.

        People are buying games with less in them for more money! Has he seen the record sales of the Modern Warfare series? Of Battlefield 3?

        Wouldn’t by his logic people would have scrutinized them more closely and refused to pay $60 each because of missing features and day one pay-for DLC?

        I’m going to explode and my ashes are going to spell out “DOES NOT COMPUTE”.

        • Kadayi says:

          I’m, fairly sure the people who buy MW3 & BF3 get plenty of value out of their $60 given the endless hours of multi-player they wring from them.

          • Shooop says:

            …Which are both copy/paste rehashes of games before them. So we have very definitive proof the argument quality and price are not correlated.

            MW3 is Black Ops with different guns/skins/sounds. Shouldn’t it been sold as an expansion pack to it then instead of a $60 game if price and quality are in fact inseparable according to Rambourg’s logic?

  28. Ultra-Humanite says:

    What an interesting concept, the ability for me to now buy more games due to a discount is actually bad for me *rolls eyes* I’ll like GOG a lot more when they don’t let their managing director make such outlandish and idiotic statements in public.

    • Shooop says:

      It’s only bad if you didn’t like what you bought. But who is Mr. Rambourg to decide what customers did and didn’t like on such an intimate level?

  29. MythArcana says:

    And here comes the herd of Valve fanboys to defend their plastic deity. People come on here and complain about quality in games, but yet they don’t want to pay more than $1.99. Wake up, folks.

    • Kadayi says:

      “Devs should be damn grateful that I’m prepared to give them even that much. In fact generally their games are so bad and low quality they should be paying me for wasting my precious time playing them.”

      A likely response. The degree of begrudging people making a living producing the very things people claim to love is frankly bizarre it has to be said.

    • alundra says:

      Nice, so a developer doesn’t even care for proper Q&A before release and wants full price for a product released in beta status, and you think it’s our (we, the customers) duty to pay full price and that piss poor quality is our fault because we refuse to??

      Wake Up Devs!!!!

      • Kadayi says:

        Which bus did you get off from exactly? Which developer? When, where how?

        • alundra says:

          Yeah yeah, don’t act ignorant, let’s take ID software and RAGE for example, but hey, let’s not go far, let’s take a game you were quoting earlier for example, Alpha Protocol, do you actually expect people to cope up with the bugfest it was upon release?

          Their poor Q&A actually worked against them, as soon as word got out about how bad it was people adopted a not worth it/wait and see attitude.

          Right now it’s the same with DLC, people are adopting a wait and see stance, will it have too much (or any 0 day) dlc?? if yes, how much will everything be worth?? Customers, in this cases gamers, are not stupid, they are realizing that some times they end up paying twice or thrice the prices with the base game+all dlc, so they wait, they wait for a goty release with most bugs patched and all dlc included, at a bargain price.

          Who is to blame for this, really? do you really believe customers are at fault for not mindlessly wasting their hard earned money?

          I return your question, which bus did you get off from exactly? You are not speaking from a customer perspective, and certainly not speaking for our (we, the customers) best interests.

          • Kadayi says:

            “don’t act ignorant”

            Given the sheer complexities of the amount of hardware skews out there in the entire PC world given all the myriad processors & GPUs (plus of course not everyone keeps their machines OS or driver up to date) it’s unfortunately a case of occasionally you’re not aware of the problem until it comes to light through feedback.

            PC games have been patched post release for decades. If you’re unhappy with that reality and resent developers for being unable to release 100% perfect PC titles, maybe you should get a 360 because there’s only the one hardware skew for the Q&A to worry about there.

            Right now my copy of the Witcher 2 is busted. I updated to the 2.1 patch yesterday and the game crashes at launch due to a windows exception. Am I pissed? Yeah of course I am. However I’m also aware that they’re releasing an update in a week or so that should fix the issue. That is the way of things.

          • Kadayi says:

            If you hate patches, get a 360. Given the myriad number of hardware combinations, plus operating systems and drivers on the PC that games ever come out that don’t require post release patching is more of a miracle. It’s nigh on impossible to find everything through Q&A.

          • Shooop says:

            Oh now you’re just being stupid Kadayi. Plain out-and-out stupid.

            id worked on Rage from May 2007 to October 2011. And not only did it have some annoying bugs, it wouldn’t even run for some people.

            There is no excuse for a retail game from a major developer with that many resources being sold to customers in a state that needs that much repair.

          • Kadayi says:

            IIRC the crux of the problem was down to ATi being slow with their drivers. Still your continued indignancy on all matters does amuse me. Perhaps when you grow up and can show all these developers how it’s done.

  30. Enikuo says:

    As a customer, I’ll decide what’s good for me.

    As far as the industry goes,if the prices are too low to support the amount of games we have, we have too many developers making games. It’s not like we’re talking about sweat shop workers. Game developers have desirable skill sets – they can find another job. They choose to make games.

    I’m happy to have so many games and ways to buy/fund games. It’s just that these arguments strike me as condescending, as if the customers and developers are not responsible enough or intelligent enough to make their own choices – The customer is too stupid to not buy games they don’t actually want and the developer is too stupid to change their career path when they’re not making enough money to support themselves. I just don’t believe that.

    • Kadayi says:

      ‘If the prices are too low to support the amount of games we have, we have too many developers making games’

      An interesting suggestion, but variety is the spice of life.

  31. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Steam and GOG need to die anyway. C’mon developers, use your ingenuity!
    You. Don’t. Need. Publishers. They’re middle men. They’re leeches trying to profit on your talents. Pirates are better than publishers for Adam’s sake!

    • Bhazor says:

      A-ha-ha-ha.

      You’re joking.

      You’re joking… right?

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Maybe I’m a dreamer.
        If only there was a way to transfer data from one computer to another without using another storage medium…
        If only computer games were purely data without physical parts…
        If only I could acquire a game without going to a store…

        I know it’s cool to love Valve, but Steam is simply a middle man and developers do not need them if they want to self publish. It works in music, why not any other pure-data form of entertainment? Actually it works in video games, too, but it is a fairly new thing to self-publish. It is growing, and no I’m not joking. Middlemen like Steam and GOG will die in the future, unless they are developing their own games (which Valve certainly does).

  32. terazeal says:

    I though Valve was hurting gamers by getting them to put stacks and stacks of eggs in their one basket.

  33. sonofcaine says:

    I love GOG, whenever I have the chance I buy from them. Shame we don’t have as many games as on Steam, but GOG is definitely a winner. I get to keep my games and all the perks, I feel I’m being treated with dignity and respect. I like Steam but they sort of have their own DRM, because to play offline mode first I need to be online. Not optimal for me, although I know that is not the case for many people.

  34. TwwIX says:

    “Heavy discounts are bad for gamers,”

    I stopped reading right there. What an idiotic statement to make.
    The only thing that Steam’s discounts are hurting is your profits.

  35. nuggetbomb says:

    I think a lot of people are missing the actual point. Let’s take Dark Souls for example. Let’s assume Dark Souls is going to be on Steam and launch at $50. As a consumer, knowing Steam has sales that let’s just say have an average of lowering the cost of a game by 50%. Because I know that a game will presumably be half of what it is, I don’t consider it worth $50.

    I won’t buy a game because I know that it will be cheaper due to past Steam sales.

    If that’s the case and many people think the way I do then the game will sort of have a $25 value. It’ll be $50 for those who can’t wait but the general consensus, by quantity of purchases at $25 compared to $50, says that Dark Souls is a value of $25.

    Another example, if diamonds became available for a limited time (and let’s assume quantity available is limitless) at the price of $1 a pound, then that would reduce the value of diamonds. If everyone has a pound of diamonds then the value of diamonds goes down.

    Selling games the way Steam does reduces the value of games throughout the year, and not just in “lull” state. If the value of games goes down then the quality will follow because if you’re not making enough to support the quality then the price drops.

    So game quality will go down to meet the price the games sell at. What if gamers then cut that in half because “STEAAAAM SALLLE!!!” Well you continue to diminish the value of games.

    This is ignoring all the subject elements of “games” like quality and what consists of it since we all have different perceived values of things. The general assumption is that if you devalue something (like with consistent sales) then the quality will follow.

    EDIT: Okay, to elaborate some more: Let’s look at this post on NeoGAF. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=36496355&postcount=1000

    They want the game but not at the msrp. So instead of having the patience to wait for a game’s price to drop over time they want the game to “bomb” so it hits $20 quicker.

    Why would they want a game to bomb? Because according to past history, when games bomb the price is lower much closer to release. Now let’s replace “bomb” with sale. If people know that if games go on sale then they won’t buy for that much more appealing lower price.

    Sales are meant to entice people to products they’d never try, not be the reward for holding your money away from a product you want.

    • Kadayi says:

      Well said. Sales are great for profitability, but their frequency is undermining the retail value that dictates their investment.

  36. bit_crusherrr says:

    They have a point though. Every time an amazing indie game comes out rather than buy it loads of people start harassing the dev to get it in an indie bundle or wait for the inevitable sale. Feels like I’m one of the few people who is willing to pay for an indie game if it looks good.

  37. Unaco says:

    I think he’s right on the discount thing. I’ve always felt that Quality is more important than Quantity.

  38. Gurraymold says:

    Discounts hurt gamers? Pffft, yeah tell that to the guys from steamunpowered.eu or steamgifts.com!

  39. ABearWithAGun says:

    Unless you’re planning to gift it, why would you buy something that you don’t want? That sounds like a mental health issue, not an economics one.

  40. wererogue says:

    “ponderous yolk”? Somebody’s been reading too many reviews of Dizzy games.

  41. CommanderZx2 says:

    Oh the irony gog.com are running a 50% sale, dropping many games to $2.99, just days after claiming valve is devaluing games using sales!

  42. SmittyBit says:

    “If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn’t want just because it’s on sale, they’re being trained to make bad purchases, and they’re also learning that games aren’t valuable. …” I like where he is going with this, but take it too far and you have what we currently do; Games are priced far too high. If Joe Schmoe wants to pick the bargain bin clean, he will do that, same as pirates will pirate.

    Steam and GOG are great, and short of PC titles that I feel are worth $60 to me (not many), I instead spend $60 on Steam, GOG, and if it’s a good project, even Kickstarter etc.

  43. nightcabbage says:

    This view is far too narrow and doesn’t cover all the other variables involved. It’s a shame GOG thinks this, as it shows they don’t understand the market as well as I had hoped. Interviews where Valve discloses some of the statistics they’ve gathered on sales and pricing gives further insight, and there are some good counter points about how this actually benefits EVERYONE (other than Publishers, HAH!) located here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/how-valve-devalued-video-games-and-why-thats-good-news-for-developers-and-p

    Plus, I hate when a company thinks it knows what’s good for a consumer better than the consumer market does. Thanks GOG, but I’ll take Steam sales any day! If I can’t utilize the vast amount of information provided by Steam to make a good choice (trailers at hand, Metacritic scores at hand, popular selling game insight, noting which of my friends own the game, looking at my friends’ own reviews of the game) and I waste $5 on a sale, I don’t think I’ll be blaming Valve for that (or the developers that decide what price points THEY want on their games based on their own experience and the flexibility a system like Steam gives them).

    I guess the point here is that you should let developers and consumers speak for themselves rather than try to pretend like you’re the all knowing third party connective tissue. That’s too reminiscent of Publish PR BS.

  44. DrCruel says:

    Let’s be honest. STEAM is giving us access to cheap games with the understanding that we will never own a copy – we’ll only ever have a conditional access to them, on STEAM’s terms. As for GOG, they think they can make some money on old games that would otherwise have become free abandonware.

    This isn’t about doing good by the gamers, It’s about extracting the maximum amount of revenue from them for a minimum of effort. That said, I prefer the GOG purchase model to that of STEAM, because even though I’m still cheated out of a physical disk, manual and case, at least I get something resembling my old ownership rights. In addition at least some attempt is made to make these games workable with more modern versions of Windows, which is actually a good selling point for GOG.

    I really hate where the game industry is going, and especially the phenomenal greed of these new third-party game vendors – many of which have nothing at all to do with actually making games. But if I’m going to buy any new downloadable games in the future, it’ll be through a vendor like GOG rather than STEAM.

  45. rentonx says:

    Claim Free GoG games here, they will purchase the game and gift the game to you as a serial code.

    http://free-gog-games.webs.com/