The Cost Of War: Battles From The Bulge

A wargame dev can disappoint his customers in thousands of ingenious ways. Getting the armour thickness wrong on a Panther glacis plate usually works, as does neglecting to model Russian anti-tank dogs, Polish cavalry, and Bren gun tripods. Strangely, one of the least used methods is steep pricing. Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge a game I talked about excitedly earlier in the year has just vaulted out of its halftrack and sadly, the initial hubbub seems to be more about the price than the promising AI advances.

Many of the posters in the rapidly-swelling threads at Wargamer com and Matrix Games (the publisher) seem to think £66 is too much to pay for a new digitally downloaded wargame, however high the quality. I’d be interested to know whether you agree.


  1. Archonsod says:

    £66 is way too high. I mean niche gamers tend to get gouged at the best of times, but it’s usually in the order of ten to fifteen quid more than a mainstream game. Not at a level where you could buy two mainstream games, at least not unless it comes as a collectors edition with novelty tat.
    And to be honest, it’s not like WWII wargames are thin on the ground either.

    • Fumarole says:

      The people that play mainstream games and the people that would play this don’t overlap much.

    • Rich says:

      I think many of the people here probably represent such an intersection.
      It isn’t going to sell millions of copies to XBLA kiddies, but then neither would the likes of Hearts of Iron.

  2. HidesHisEyes says:

    Supply and demand; best guess it’ll be less than half that within a year, and I expect most of the potential customers, owing to the kind of patience required to really enjoy these games, will be happy to wait.

    • TinyPirate says:

      Matrix Games have been known to pull a game from sale before any price drop. Look at some of their 5, 6, 7 year old games still selling at full price. The last game, Conquest of the Aegean, is still $60us. In fact, the price went UP $10 to “support the development of Battles from the Bulge”.

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    God, those linked threads are horrible. Definitely worth reading.


    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      Hmm, horrible in what way? After your comment I was sort of expecting a gigantic flame war with n00b calling etc. The one at least seemed like a pretty reasonable discussion. I was actually kind of impressed with the discourse between the community/developers/marketing.

    • Son_of_Montfort says:

      Yeah Kieron, I’m not sure “horrible” is appropriate. The discussion level (outside of the Religion and Politics forum) of the Wargamer forums tends to always be a cut above the rest. But they are “heated” in a strange way, as all forum topics that deal with money tend to be.

      As a side note, I do have the game and I’ll be posting impressions up at the Wargamer (either in the forums or as an article) once I have time to delve into it.

    • Spinoza says:

      on side note ,the wargamer forums are sometimes USA , Semper Fi etc flag waving oriented mildly suffocating on the good days . Alas , it seems to lower the level of otherwise enlightening forum. some of the moderators are the worst offenders.

      reply fail

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      Definitely a questionable business strategy – my guess is this will lose them a great deal of money in the long run . Ill wager there are very few who can justify the cost (me, for one) , I can understand the logic behind the pricing but it seems a little removed from reality. Sad because a title and developer like this deserves our patronage.

  4. says:

    What would the sales be like at £30? Probably not very high anyway. £50 might be a bit more reasonable – even at £66 it’s half the price of the basics you need to play ASL, but £50 brings it down to a more normal boxed hex & chit wargame price.

    I mean, this is never going to sell even as well as the Spiderweb games, simply because of what it is.

    • says:

      It’s not like I’m really in a position to tell people what to charge for their games, though, so reasonable should be “reasonable”, above.

    • Torgen says:

      I’ve always wondered WHY we haven’t seen ASL in computer form, multi-player preferably, with the computer handling the literal volumes of rules. Is it just beyond the ken of mortal men to design and build it, or is it whoever owning the copyright to the AH games being pissy yet never going to do it themseves?

    • ohnoabear says:

      Avalon Hill is owned by Hasbro, so I’m guessing the latter.

      Also, the superior computational power of a computer opens up a lot possibilities that aren’t necessarily possible in a board game. Having neither the infinite free time nor extreme table-reading skills required, I’ve never played ASL, but it’s possible that the best computer wargames are more complex and better simulations than ASL, anyway.

  5. Heliocentric says:

    I’ve not spent more than £7 in over a year and have had a steady stream of games (i’ve also been much easier to buy christmas presents for). So er… See you on 95% off sale?

    • Heliocentric says:

      Bad maths: 90% off will do.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      haha, you’re definitely not the audience for ANY GAME YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR then. what was the £7 used for?

    • Rich says:

      Methinks Heliocentric means more than £7 on any one game. An easy accomplishment if you don’t mind waiting and watching the bargain buckets.
      The most I’ve probably spent on a single game this year is about £10.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I mean per title. So a £20 bundle with a few games i want is not objectionable. But my official ceiling is £5.

      I spent a lot of money on the steam christmas sale…

  6. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    seems kinda lousy to complain about pricing if its something you want. i know that i would pay at least as much for another system shock or deus ex(of quality), regardless of distribution.

    • qrter says:

      Surely it would be even lousier to complain about the price of something you don’t even want?

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I really wanted to bring this to everyone attention. I just couldn’t find the right words.

      You two did it brilliantly!

    • Rich says:

      I agree with the latter, not the former.

      If you want something, have maybe even been looking forward to it, but find it’s been priced out of what you (and your bank account) can cope with, then poor you. You want it but can’t have it. Your only options are to suck it up or wait ’till the price drops (if it ever does)… or do the naughty pirate thing.

      If you don’t actually want something but think it’s overpriced on principal… what do you care, you never wanted it anyway. At most I suppose we’re all entitled to a quick scoff; “Puh, look at the price of that rubbish!”. Many of us did when MW2 came out.

  7. Britpunk says:

    Presumably the pubs used some kind of pricing model to determine expected sales versus development costs and came up with a figure that they believed would at least cover said development costs….

    ….however, £66 bleeping quid? blimey! My bloody shoes cost less than that! All of my shoes! That I’ve ever bought in my life! Combined!

    If the cost includes long-term support in the form of extensive additional content, then I guess the case could be made that the cost could be comparable to a years sub on an MMO, but for me personally, that price is far too steep to justify, regardless of the nature of the title.

  8. HermitUK says:

    The curse of niche markets, I suppose. Seems to me they might have been better served by having the pricing discussion before release – Tell people it’s going to be expensive, tell them why, and hope they’ve come to terms with that by release day. As it is, the overwhelming opinion from those threads is a general “Not buying this now” reaction. Whether people will stick to their guns or cave in later on is another matter. It’d be interesting to see some sales figures a month or two down the line.

    Funnily enough, I reckon they’d have got away with it if they’d gone with a DLC style approach – You’ve only got to look at RailWorks on Steam to see there’s stack of rather pricey DLC to add to the main game, and I don’t doubt for a second that there are people who own most, if not all, of it.

    • Britpunk says:

      Yeah, that describes my stepdad. My brother got him railworks for his birthday at like £40 or something. In the three months since he must have spent well over £200 on shinies. He used to do the same with the various incarnations of FS. Luckily for him though, he’s got a decent pension and few outgoings so he can afford to do that, and I’m sure there are many in the same boat who love the wargaming niche.

  9. Jimbo says:

    It looks like something Impressions would have put out on the Amiga about 15 years ago. So yes, I think £66 is too much.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      how about this, watch the video.

    • Jimbo says:

      I watched it. It looks like something Impressions would have put out on the Amiga about 15 years ago, but without the charm.

    • Starky says:

      I just looked at the video, and another, on 720p on a 32 inch screen and I can conclude…

      It looks like a 15 year old Amiga game.

      Icons, and a badly drawn map – It may have depth and lots of numbers behind the scenes, but it still looks like garbage.

    • Pishtaco says:

      The graphics get the job done, and the games have been excellent. The recent ones haven’t had demos but there’s still a demo of the first one out there, from 2002: link to

    • Starky says:

      They may get the job done, and I’ll forgive a lot for good gameplay, but for £60+ I demand a bit more than what I’d forgive in a £15-20 indie game.

      As has been said, seems the company just wants to bleed dry it’s dedicated fans rather than risk a lower price point to draw in new players.
      That is a business plan I’d never support.

    • cliffski says:

      Not all games are about the graphics. For small teams, they make a direct trade off between the two. I myself sell a game that is visually horrible (democracy 2 ) but it has an extremely rich and complex simulation behind it, which is what the buyers want. It still sells well 3 years later.

      People buying this don’t want shiny. They probably own Call of Diuty and Company of heroes already if they want shiny. people who buy this want depth.

      If people want to make video games that cost £66 and people will, buy them, good luck to them. One day people will make a niche game that costs £200 and it will still sell, and hopefully people will shut up about it.

      My car cost a lot less than a ferrari, but only a fool thinks ferraris are too expensive.

    • Jimbo says:

      I wasn’t really talking about the graphics, but whatever, you’re right. If they have faith that the market will decide their game is the “Ferrari” of games then they’ll do fine at £66 and good luck to them. I suspect that in fact won’t happen, niche or not, same as I suspect that trying to sell Democracy 2 at £66 would not have resulted in more profit.

      In truth, I don’t think price is strictly the issue for most of us – it’s the ever present risk factor. I would gladly pay double for the games I end up enjoying, if it meant never having to pay for the games I end up not liking and ditching after a couple of hours. If you drop £15 or £20 on a game and end up only getting a couple hours out of it and sating your curiosity, then it isn’t really an issue, but much higher than that and curiosity isn’t a good enough reason to buy the game.

      This is less of an issue with ‘mainstream games’, because you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get anyway – easier to make an informed judgement beforehand and therefore less risk.

  10. spelk says:

    best guess it’ll be less than half that within a year

    If Matrixgames catalogue is anything to go by, I doubt there will be a price drop anytime soon. They excel at selling really old wargames for “full” prices.

    Also with VAT it makes the price tag more like £70+ quid.

    Obviously this took them 5 years to develop and get out, but from what I’ve seen of it, its very much the same interface and setup, just more embelishments in the AI and the editor.

    Apparently the previous game in the series, Conquest of the Aegean , released in 2006 still costs £40+ and the jump up to £60-70 for the next iteration is what has a lot of people shocked and priced out. The claims of both the publishers and the developers that if they don’t sell it at this price they’ll have to stop development really come across as threats to their own playing community. The justification being that this is the “ferrari” of the whole series and it warrants that high price tag.

    I think they’re relying heavily on their followers to stump up the cash to carry on, and it seems from the feelings exhibited on the forums that a lot of the wargaming community are being priced out. When what they should be doing in opening up the availability/affordability of the game to a wisder audience, to boost their player community and assure their future as developers. They’ll just lose players from their existing community.

  11. Javier-de-Ass says:

    I was looking forward to this game. and would have picked it up immediatly if it was the regular matrixgames price, around 40 euro dollars or so. at this price. ehh, no. I’ll wait.

  12. LewieP says:

    This is a niche that I am not particularly familiar with, but it seems to me like they would have been better off taking a leaf out of the big nasty publishers book.

    Sell the same game with much less content, sell the extra content gradually as DLC afterwards.

    • says:

      It’s only got 27 scenarios, and an editor. Cut that down to 10, and sell the rest as DLC? You can hardly cut out a bunch of units.

  13. Berzee says:

    I saw this headline and thought it was going to be about how GAMING CAUSES OBESITY

  14. Dominic White says:

    Wargamer, Shrapnel Games and Matrix Games are all the worst kind of niche publishers. Rather than advertise and try to appeal to a wider market by pricing affordably, they just jack prices up as far as their loyal customer base will stand.

    Shrapnel in particular didn’t cotton on to the idea of digital distribution until about a year ago. It seems that the grognard publishers in general are living in a bygone age. It’s great that they still produce games like this, and I’d love to try them out, but £66 is approximately three times the upper limit of what I’d pay for a game like this.

    At least Paradox have at least moved with the times. Gamersgate isn’t the best of webstores, but at least they’ve got decent pricing and very limited DRM.

    • Sobric says:

      On the digital distribution side of things, the game is over 200MB shy of 1 GB, so it’s not like there’s much strain on their servers. I’ve downloaded demos that were bigger.

    • Sobric says:

      @ myself

      that should be “over 100MB”

    • cliffski says:

      People who will buy a game if its cheaper are looking for a quick bit of fun. I doubt this game is a quick bit of fun. I rpesume it takes 10+ hours to geta grip of whats going on and how to really play.
      If you are commiting yourself to a game that you will likely spend 50-100 hours of play on, then the price seems reasonable.
      They have a demographic, and they know that demographic. If you aren’t in it, lowering the price to you will make no sense.
      Niche pricing only has to make sense to the niche, not all of us.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      I like your style in this comment, cliffski. I think the recent simulator games like iracing, railworks and rise of flight are good comparisons. especially iracing as a lot of people seemed to have a casual interest in it but are put off by the monthly subscription and having to pay for each car and track. but for the 15k subscribers or how many there are each new car is a new game into itself, and the laser scanned track are definitely expensive to make but are so detailed they warrant the price. each time I put down the payment for a month of the game I leave satisfied because there are just so many hours worth of quality gameplay in there. having said that, I still think they went too far pricing this game. hehe.

    • Jimbo says:

      I think with a little bit of imagination they could cater to their die-hard audience without excluding the rest of us. I buy niche games that I really have no business buying from time to time, as I’m sure we all do, but I never have any intention of playing them for 50-100 hours, meaning prices like this just cannot be justified for me.

      Given that their cost per unit is virtually zero, it makes sense to be selling units to as many people as they possibly can at the price that works for them (and I don’t mean PWYW, because that’s bullshit). Or at least getting it in their hands in some form. If they (super-niche game developers in general really) made a time-capped, or limited-feature version, available for a more reasonable price -which could be upgraded if you do get hooked into it- then I’d be interested. It happens with non-game software all the time. GT5 Prologue was essentially an extended demo for a ‘budget’ price, and that sold about 5 million copies. I know it won’t do that, obviously, but it just shows that people aren’t necessarily adverse to paying for feature-limited releases.

    • Scott says:

      “Shrapnel in particular didn’t cotton on to the idea of digital distribution until about a year ago. ”

      Not true. We offered digital distribution back in 2005 onwards. Not all titles have been available for download but currently the majority are including of course Dominions 3: The Awakening. I think like the old Remote Assault is still only a physical product, and maybe one other old offering.

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      So scotty boy, wheres dominions 4? now there’s a title i WOULD pay $90 for.

    • TinyPirate says:

      Bygone age is exactly right. If you want this game shipped to you they deliver it on TWO CDs. Yes, DVDs have not yet been invented in Planet Matrix Games.

  15. Sobric says:

    To start: I am not a wargames fan, so this is just me sticking my opinionated nose in. But…

    This is insane pricing. I’ve browsed those threads, and the developers justification for pricing the game so high is a little off – essentially that they believe that the game is $20 better than the previous incarnation (Conflict in the Aegean I think? Some of the acronyms in those threads a mystifying to a non-wargamer).

    This strikes me as an odd arguement on a few fronts:

    1) Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t a sequel be better than the original game anyway? Isn’t that part of the point of sequels: to correct the weaknesses of the originals, while enhancing the overall experience? Charging significantly more for it is not common practice, and if it was games like Final Fantasy would have spiralled out of control by now.

    2) It’s bad business. C’mon this is very basic economics. That sort of price hike is always going to completely price people out, especially as the boxed version doesn’t appear to come with any “goodies” to sweeten the deal (cloth maps, lead figurines, whatever).

    3) Here’s a thought: perhaps this title isn’t $20 better than the previous game, but the previous game is $20 too expensive?

    At the end of the day it’s all about economics: if the market doesn’t think the game is worth £66/$80, then they wont make any money out of it.

    • Sobric says:

      Here’s one of the strangest replies/justifications (from the Panther games developer in the wargamer thread above):

      “Is this a good situation for our customers? No, it is not. Is it a good situation for us? Definitely not. But the choices for us are clear and stark. Sell at the old price and abandon further development or increase price and hope that we can stay in the commercial wargames business.”

      Just look at that first line “Is this a good situation for our customers? No”. Buhbuhbuhbuh. I just don’t get it?

      At least he’s honest. Brutal, but honest.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Frankly, that’s the argument of a bad business man who knows he’s running out of money. I can’t help but feel that they’re heading towards administration if they’re sprouting that guff.
      [Forum Edit] To elaborate, I’ve read the threads linked, and saw that one of the developers went without wages for a while. And I thought “Why couldn’t they release beta versions for pre-orders, like Arcen Games (the AI War devs)? Get their hardcore fans’ money early.”. And then I thought “Why didn’t they release on GamersGate, Impulse and Steam as well as their own sites? Get new blood to their franchises.” Obviously, it won’t do well there at $80, but you get my drift. They could do a lot to push that price down, and the fact that they’re wheeling out strawmen as their argument why they didn’t suggests to me a lack of business sense.

  16. Arsewisely says:

    I dunno. If you look at it from the perspective of board game purchases – of which there are many such war games – £66 isn’t loads if it’s an excellently composed game.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Board games, especially the “big box” grade games Fantasy Flight is known for, actually cost that much money to make. My StarCraft board game box is chock full of detailed plastic miniatures, quality printed board pieces on heavy, durable cardboard, shitload of cards and chits…

      What I’m saying is, it’s a scarce product. You can not price it any way you want, there’s a cost to making copies of it and the cost ain’t low.

    • says:

      £45-70 seems about normal. £100+ for allegedly playable monster games. Very few of them come with AIs or solitaire rules beyond “play both sides”, and setting the simpler games up can take an hour. If you can find someone to play with.

      Combat Commander: Europe <3 £45 for US, German & Russian OOBs, 12 maps, 12 scenarios, and a good random scenario generator, with expansions providing much more content. My third-favourite wargame after Command & Colors: Ancients (buy this used if you don’t fancy sticking literally hundreds of stickers onto both sides of wooden blocks) and, right now, Phantom Leader.

      Of course, wargames have a massive culture of pre-ordering, with publishers often not starting production until they’ve got enough (discounted) pre-orders to fund a print run – 500 is a common number. Not the best system, but it works, and it allows them to print games without worrying that bad sales will wipe them out.

    • says:

      Fantasy Flight have massive economies of scale compared to the grognard publishers, though. What they can get away with for Descent or Horus Heresy would cost twice as much from someone smaller. They’re big in board games, and serious wargames are a tiny niche within that.

      Take GMT’s monsterish game, Battle for Normandy.

      * One Rule Book
      * One Scenario Book
      * Five (5) 22×34” full color Maps
      * Nine (9) full color counter sheets
      * 8-1/2×11” Allied Air Allocation Log (laminated)
      * 8-1/2×11” Axis AAA Allocation Log (laminated)
      * 11×17” Turn Record Track
      * 8-1/2×11” Terrain Effects Chart (x2)
      * 8-1/2×11” Repl/Recon/Weather chart (x2)
      * 8-1/2×11” German Record Track
      * 8-1/2×11” Allied Record Track
      * 8-1/2×11” Combat Results Table (x2)
      * Dice – 3d6 and 1d10

      The latest version of the rulebook, from their website, is 32 pages. The latest version of the scenario book is 40, and in B&W. It comes with six scenarios – one covers everything, while three of the rest use only one map, one uses two and one uses four.

      It costs £102.99 from Leisure Games, and that probably doesn’t include the price of some sort of storage solution for the counters – GMT usually give you something, but not enough to have everything properly separated out, OCD-style.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Never been much of a grognard myself. I love deep and involving strategies but my ADHD combined with little opportunities to find someone to play these games with on regular basis pretty much make sure I stick to ‘lighter’ board games. But I do get what you’re saying and I would never grumble about the price of “serious” board games. It is like it is, publishers rarely have the ability to make them much cheaper. More importantly, a target audience willing to buy it exists.

      Now, I’m not even opposing the pricing of this game and I’m certainly not going to be offended that they “dared” to go over the industry standard. It’s not a game for me so it’s silly to say that I wouldn’t buy it. If it finds enough people to buy it, great, more power to them. I don’t even doubt that they indeed did spend a lot more resources creating it than some other benchmark game which costs some lower amount of money. I’m just saying, the price for it can be literally whatever they want it to be.

      Comparing scare to non-scarce products price-wise doesn’t really work. Imagine paying for electronic Encyclopedia Britannica the same amount of money you would for tomes upon tomes of the printed version.

    • Nesetalis says:

      these people really need to learn the term of ‘sunk cost’.
      the price you have paid to make something, is gone, thats in the past. you pay for your production cost with money from the past. you don’t EVER pay for the past with the future.

      media cost is another story, each copy of the game printed should be covered in the cost (unless you are doing something like the Xbox or PS3, where you recoop costs of systems with game sales)

      the price of media is not sunk cost.

      whatever money they make with this game, that will fund their future game. The economics of it, you do try to charge as high as your highest income can get. price * buyers. the higher the price the less the buyers, the lower the price the more buyers.. its a curve you cannot know ahead of time but if you have released something in the past, you can track it roughly.

      if you sold 15,000 copies of your previous war game, and this is just an update, you can assume 15,000 sales at the price you released before. hike the price, you will lose customers, lower the price you will gain customers… as long as the customers actually want your product.

      in that calculation you never put in the price of developing the software.

      the biggest thing i think they are doing wrong, is not hyping enough what they changed to make this one better than their previous one. where is it improved? what part of the game itself, makes it worth 26 quid more than their last? great they have a better AI… but.. how does that improve the gameplay? im assuming less micromanagment? this does not strike me as worth that much more. If I am a lover of these kinds of games, How much work it takes me to play one is not going to change whether I buy it or not, I’ve already purchased your previous game that was harder to play with more micromanagement.
      the only reason to make the game easier to play, is to attract the less enthusiastic customer. These customers are more risk aware, concerned about how much enjoyment they will get vs their money. easier to play is a slight step forward for them, but less important than the minimized risk.

      to attract those customers, release a demo (as long as your game is good.. a demo hurts you only if you release a crap game). next to the demo, lower the price to the same price you had before, or even lower. Make the game more accessable.

      Beautify the game… graphics artists are REALLY easy to come by these days, anyone and their mother can do 3d design and 2d art. if your game looks (as this one does) like something you might have played in 1989… people will assume the engine behind it is from 1989. You dont need cutting edge graphics, but make it look like something modern, even if its still just chits on a board. Think of the Total War games.. I played Shogun Total War quite a bit… and never in the 3d combat.. for me it was a great board game. But even the board looked good.

      in the case of this game, I would have gone with 3d terrain with 2d chits. everything is flat and featureless… do they take advantage of high ground? do they use mountains and valleys for ambush and cover? my assumption is no, simply because they do not display these features and thats the assumption most others would make.

    • Nesetalis says:

      and that was supposed to be a general reply :p oops

  17. Curvespace says:

    Wow, this is one of the worst pieces of market strategy I’ve ever seen. They are completely incapable of justifying these prices in the marketplace. They argue that this mark-up represents the development costs incurred. Now, an extrapolation of this would suggest that a AAA title would cost hundreds (actually, more likely thousands) of pounds. Also, they say that a gamer who plays 400 hours is only paying 20cents per hour – if that is how they intend to price their products and projections then why don’t they make a subscription model that charges the gamers account 20cents per hour?

    They’ve shot themselves in the foot. With a rocket launcher. I suspect that they’re gonna be forced into a situation where the only way to achieve any ROI whatsoever will be a significant price-drop…and the ensuing s***storm.

    • beatoangelico says:

      that “400 hour” bit (which I think may become infamous, like the Ferrari analogy) really shocked me. They really think that the average buyer of their previous games is such a fanatic to play only their games and little else. Which may be partially true for a monster like War in The Pacific, which had and still has a comparable high price, but that’s definitely not the case for a game made up by medium sized scenarios of a single battle.
      And yet I’ve seen Dave O’Connor (the main dev) post here sometimes. He should know that there’s an interested for his games beyond the circle of the one who are already converted. And now they are getting negative marketing from a “mainstream” site like RPS. That’s weird.

    • Curvespace says:

      It’s a total straw-man, as are pretty much all their arguments. It should be of no relevance to pricing.

      Similarly they speculate that this pricing also represents inclusion of the game-editor. Now, releasing that is a massive asset to the company – you’re getting content for free from your user-base. Why would you ever mention this in regards pricing?!?

      I can’t help but feel like they’d actually be far more successful if they broke away from the board-game pricing paradigm (which is yet another straw-man argument) and built a larger community based on the quality of the games (which seems to be in little doubt).

      I guess, the only thing of any relevance will be whether they actually manage to sell much of it. Given the number of fans on the official forums who are jumping ship, I’d be surprised.

    • qrter says:

      That number, 400, sounds completely arbitrary. They should keep going, you can play for 800 hours – only 10 cents an hour, and so on. They could even make the case that you, the player, holds the key to the value of your game – the more time you put in, the better the value!

    • says:

      The thread (IIRC, I read it earlier) said that 400 hours was derived from playing each scenario twice, once controlling each side. It’s not arbitrary. It’s high, and probably more than a few purchasers won’t get near it, but it is actually based on something.

    • Curvespace says:

      But still entirely irrelevant. Using this mode of thinking, if we imagine Bioshock to be say 20hours of gameplay then…well, let’s do the maths:

      Battles from the bulge: £66 / 400hours = 17p per hour

      Bioshock: 20hours @ 17 per hour = £3.06

      I can’t remember the exact figure, but I’m pretty sure Bioshock’s RRP was somewhat higher than three quid.

      Similarly, if you were to work out the maths on development cost versus retail price than the reverse would be true – Bioshock would likely cost many thousands of pounds. None of their arguments hold-up. However, if that’s how they want to price it and people are prepared to buy it, well, so be it. I guess.

    • says:

      I was nit-picking qrter – it’s not arbitrary, the number comes from somewhere. Doesn’t mean it’s not irrelevant, though.

    • Curvespace says:

      It’s all good :)

      With that user name I guess you work in QA?

  18. pinbag says:

    I have been active some time on the matrix Forums and yes they are very user friendly and provide allot of support. I realy like it on there forum :p

    And I am not disapointent i buyed Distant world.

    But I also think they should open up the market to other digital downloaders/stores.
    Because 80 euro’s for a game with a Download size is 897MB. Well you make the math.

    I fear matrix will have to broaden the horizon iff they want to continiue doing development of games.

  19. beatoangelico says:

    I’m one of the angry guys that complained in the Matrix Games forum. Their rationale is simple: we can’t attract new guys, so we use our core fanbase as cash cows till it lasts. Wargamers are more inclined to spend more on a single game than most other gamers for a variety of reasons, but this time they have gone too far IMHO.
    What saddens me is that this game is not a micromanagement monster at all – the series is much more accessible than your average hex/turn based wargame. I think HoI3, even if you don’t consider the bugs, oddities and bad design choices, is way more complex, and I bet Victoria 2 will be the same. But Paradox knows how to create a market for complex (some would say overcomplicated) stuff; Matrix Games just doesn’t care.

  20. Hippo says:

    I enjoy the odd wargame, I even bought an earlier game from the same devs (that got a publishing deal with CDV I believe). But there’s no way I’m paying this amount for a digital download of a PC game. There is just so much to buy and play that this price makes absolutely no sense at all.

    If it is true that they need to price it like this in order to make a profit, then something has gone seriously wrong during the development. My guess is that this is the last game we’ll ever see from this dev, and a cynic would say that they deserve going bust, because while they might be great game designers, they are incompetent game developers.

  21. Mario Figueiredo says:

    To be frank, yes. I would pay that money for a wargame. As a die-hard grognard, price is not a priority. Although, of course, it affects the decision. Just not as much as on other games.

    The biggest problem with wargames is the immensely complex Artificial Intelligence code that has to go into them. This is just not a matter of getting a balanced game experience. This is also a matter of getting an historical accurate gaming experience within a certain allowance. If you go to Paradox and ask them if they didn’t wish to charge some of their games $80, $90 or even $100, the answer is almost certainly they would. Not because “more money!”, but because “boy, that really would be a little bit fairer”.

    And then A.I. itself has to be designed in response to a whole lot of actual historical investigation and a very sane mind to numbers. The smallest details about an historical setting have to be studied and somehow incorporated to the game. And that is already a gargantuan task. But one has to also know how to pick a Panther Tank and a Sherman tank and translate into numbers their differences. And players demand nothing but absolute perfection in this aspect of the game. Which gets even more complicated if we think on the several models for just one of these tanks.

    I don’t want how to put this in a way that will raise a choir of protest. But wargames are among the most difficult games to develop successfully. Especially at the level of detail we demand of our games today. Have no doubts about that.

    Make no mistake, about all of the developers and publishers in this industry only tag their games at the $30-50 price range because of the market pressure. They really feel this does not cover their work, and sometimes even their expenses. Especially on a market that has so very few buyers. This is NOT the 9 million sales industry of AAA titles. And yet it often requires the same human and material resources.

    Now, as I see it personally, I look at those extra $40 or even $50 as two things:

    – More or less, one Saturday night I can stay home saving for the game. Sometimes I even spend more on Saturday nights.
    – Assuming the game is any good (aka I want to buy it), well deserved remuneration for what is a game type that I will be playing for years.

    • beatoangelico says:

      If Paradox would charge 80 € for their games they would go bankrupt. Their fanbase is very different from the wargaming one and you can say a lot of bad things about Paradox, but you can’t say they’re idiots about marketing.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I cannot say anything bad about Paradox in fact. It’s my favorite studio/publisher of all times.

      And I think you totally missed the point of my post. Unless you meant to echo exactly what I said: “Make no mistake, about all of the developers and publishers in this industry only tag their games at the $30-50 price range because of the market pressure.”

    • beatoangelico says:

      Your point is that every developer would love to charge very high prices, but they can’t because “market pressure”, as you call it, forces them to keep prices down. Which is completely wrong. You are a self-described grog and you think that way: I pay whatever price for the games I truly want. This may be a common mindset among wargamers, but most gamers don’t think that way and Paradox fanbase is [b]not[/b] made up by wargamers: if their prices would double, their fanbase wouldn’t halve, It would became 1/10 of what it is now.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Aren’t you kinda contradicting yourself?

      And do you know Paradox fanbase. I surely do. And we “all” play wargames in addition to paradox advanced strategy titles. Do you also actually know that many Paradox fans actually go on about buying several copies of the same game to support the company? That in fact, price is not a concern to them (within reason, of course).

      In any case, aren’t you just agreeing that upping the price has an effect on sales? So what exactly are you saying that I haven’t said already?

    • beatoangelico says:

      I’m saying that Paradox is not a wargaming company, their fanbase is made up mostly by non-wargamers , so you can’t apply your grog way of thinking to Paradox. I don’t know how to say it more clearly.

      I know the paradox forums, and guys who bought paradox games in other forums, and the average guy doesnt ‘even know that HoI isn’t the only game about WW2 on a strategic level, or they know and they just don’t care. The audience is really different, believe me or not, even on a demographical level.
      And yes I know that part of their core fanbase is fanatical enough to buy everything at release, even if broken, or even buys multiple copies to support the only developer that matters, i.e. Paradox. But there are a lot of people, including me, that buys their game thanks to their “generous” and frequent sales at steam, impulse, gamersgate etc. Needless to say, if they would change their pricing policy they would lost this chunck of sales and a big slice of their core users.

      In the end, the fact that you don’t have anything wrong to say to Paradox makes this wall of text probably useless. Amen.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Well we will have to agree to disagree then. And I’m not going to ask every member of the community to come here and sign Yes or No to both of our claims.

      But in any case, you should be paying more attention to the forums since you claim knowing them so well. What people have to say about the games they play, the type of support they give to the developers and what developers sometimes have to say about the type of support they get from the community.

      I’m sorry, but I’m calling you a fake.

    • beatoangelico says:

      So insted of just saying “yeah you got your opinion and I have mine”, you can’t resist to call me a fake. It’s sad to see when someone bails out of a conversation this way. Keep beliving what you want to believe man.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You are right. And I regret having said that. Please, accept my sincere apologies.

      It seems we have completely different — and truly incompatible — views of the Paradox Games community. Why this is so, I’m not sure. I suspect you are a newcomer. You are indeed entitled to have your opinion of the people there (some of us with 10 years of a constant presence) because things are to us invariably what we perceive them to be. My only task is to let you know you are indeed wrong. But that’s it. Take your time reaching that conclusion by yourself. Or one day, who knows, show me wrong.

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      Keep calm and carry on

  22. Dracogeno says:

    Well, the research for this one centers in only one battle, and one with a lot of bibliography already accesible, so that, as reason for the pricing, is debatable.

    On the other side, supposing that wargaming is so research intensive I have never understand how don’t they publish that research an sold it, bundled with the game or not. The same grognards who pay extra for the game will be more than happy to buy bibliography and more to have access to the data in print.

    The sad part it’s that the niche of wargames is shrinking, and instead of trying to open it to the general public and to attract new adepts they narrow it further with high prices that scare anyone willing to try. And this is even a source of pride for the grognards: The don’t pay 50€ for a PC game, they pay 80 for a WARgame.

    That is the same stupid attitude that plagued the simulator genre…

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I’m not convinced that lowering the price will increase sales in this genre. They have been declining more or less consistently and games have been priced at your usual street price for other genres.

      There’s a genuine niche here. And they will always stay that way; a niche. It’s also a genre where I personally don’t mind going overboard with cash. And this much is echoed by other fans. You have very little of the traditional passer-by gamer of other genres who buy solely for the enjoyment of the game. Grognards really invest their money and their time into these games at a different level (and non comparable. I’m not saying we are any better than anyone else). There are other aspects to historical wargames (and advanced strategic games) that have players interested in this gameplay to look for it for other reasons than just having a lot of fun.

    • Dracogeno says:

      What I’m convinced of is that upping the price of COTA three years after it’s release and then charging 25€+ for the sequel isn’t going to attract new players, and it’s quite clear that it’s scaring away all the undecided. And it’s a shame, because the engine of COTA is much more accessible to the uninitiated than TOAW3 or WITP. I always considered it as a great gateway to serious wargaming, and as such I have recommended HTTR and COTA.

      I payed similar price, grudgingly, for WITP:AE, and in that case I feel your arguments about research an historic accuracy are right. I thought that I’ll milk my 80€ in WITP thought the years. But here we are talking about one campaign and only in the form of canned battles. For me it falls short on re-playability, and clearly, there is no comparison. The set of rationalizations that I used to justify paying that same money for WITP are nonexistent in this case.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You do make a good point about this being essentially an introductory series into wargaming. I haven’t been considering that angle.

      Well done.

  23. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Well…given how many lines of cocaine you are getting…I guess it’s quite cheap, still :)

  24. drewski says:

    On the one hand, if you don’t like the pricing, don’t buy it.

    On the other hand, £66???

    On my non-existing third hand, that’s actually about the price of a new console game in Australia, so, yeah.

  25. Snidesworth says:

    Price gouging in a niche market? I’m reminded of the original digital download release of Blood Bowl, but even that was “only” £40.

  26. Mr Labbes says:

    After watching that video, it doesn’t seem all that appealing to me. It’s impressive that they came up with the macro management before Total War*, but Rome is absolutely fine if I want to live out my inner tyrant.
    It has shiny graphics, musics and sieges, too.

    *the first macro-manageable game I played was Shogun.

  27. Shadrach says:

    I guess I’m one of those cash-cow fans they are milking, as I’ve bought it and in the process of downloading.

    What’s a bit interesting for me is that the price of a computer game has basically stayed the same since the 80s, and seems to be unaffected by inflation and general prices. When I (well actually my parents) started buying games mid-80s they were about 500 NOK (~60 EUR), and they still are in retail on release, however the prices have even gone *down* for most titles because of download services and market pressures so now they are maybe 30-40 EUR, or 50-60 for the big titles on release.

    Conclusion? …. that gamers are a bunch of spoiled whiners ;)

    Well at least the game is getting some attention, even if its not very positive…

    • Nesetalis says:

      that is odd..

      when i purchased games in the early 90s.. they were mostly 20USD.. now new games range from 40USD to 80USD…

      there still are some companies who release games at 20 USD and less.. but usually are indi developers or smaller games.

  28. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I’m always in a battle of the bulge.

  29. BoneMarrow says:

    I own a lot of MatrixGames products and wargames in general. It’s a tricky situation given the niche market and stuff. For me it’s not so much the price, but what I’d be getting for the price. The scope of the game is too narrow IMO.

    I coughed up the money for War in The Pacific Admiral’s Edition and I’m happy with the purchase. The game is a monster and there’s nothing else like it out there.

    BFtB is focused on a small section of the second world war. If I’m going to pay £66 for a game, I personally expect more for my money. If there was more to it I might consider the price, but as it is I can’t justify that kind of money on the product.

    I wish them well as there are too few wargames out there as it is, but something will have to give before I part with my money.

  30. RadioactiveMan says:

    I’m a wargaming fan, and a boardgame fan, although probably not a grognard. I loved the original Steel Panthers game, and I enjoy playing the Axis and Allies boardgame with friends occasionally as part of a semi-regular gaming night. So, I think I’m part of the niche demographic for this game. Or, if not, I’m the kind of guy that maybe you want to bring down off the fence.

    That being said, I won’t be buying this game. The price is one reason- $66 is steep, and to me it implies developers that a) are trying to gouge their consumer base; or b) had some horrible inefficiencies in their game design.

    So, yes- the price matters. But the bigger issue for me is the graphics. They look like something I would have seen a decade ago. To me, gaming is about simulating something and getting enjoyment out of it. Chits, cards, dice and numerical abstractions have always been a necessary evil as the means to simulate. Games like this seem to have gotten that turned around, and the chits and abstractions have become the ends, rather than the means. A game like this, with lots going on “under the hood” behind crappy interface, is not what I am looking for.

    As an example of wargaming done right (from my perspective) I would look to the boys at Battlefront and their Combat Mission series. There is a tremendous amount of detail and AI “under the hood” but there is also an excellent visual representation. Company to battalion size battles with one-to-one vehicle and squad representation, good terrain modeling, relatively simple interface, and excellent we-go and real time play modes.

    • beatoangelico says:

      While I agree with you on most points, I think this series has a much better interface than the average wargame out of Matrix Games: it’s rational, not cluttered and with helpful and intuitive hotkeys.
      About the graphics, I think that operational games like this one can’t realistically have 3D graphics: Combat Mission is at tactical level which is a whole different beast. But they could have prettier 2D graphics and have a broader appeal, that’s for sure, but clearly they are going in the opposite direction …their target don’t care about graphics.

    • RadioactiveMan says:

      Beatoangelico- yes, you are right. Combat Mission is tactical rather than operational… and yes, its difficult to make operational stuff look nice. But, just as an example- look at something like RUSE, which recently had a public beta. Granted, RUSE is more like a Command-and-Conquer RTS than a wargame, but has some really neat zooming effects that take your view from a regional to local scale. And it looks great.

      This is the direction operational-level wargames should be headed towards. Rather than sitting on their laurels, this niche-market should push the envelope. I don’t want pixel-y unit icons on a drab-colored flat background; I want a zoomable, rotateable, Google Earth-like simulated battlefield with 3d elevations, vegetation, weather, etc. Think about what an improvement this would be: if you ported over all the AI and game dynamics into something like a Google Earth. It would be phenomenal, in my mind. Is this a realistic expectation today? Maybe not, but it should be in five to ten years. But, to do so, these wargame developers need a kick in the ***, or we will still be seeing the same wargaming style in a decade that we are seeing today, and that we saw 10 years ago.

    • beatoangelico says:

      I think probably something with only 3D terrain could be done, but in this case we would end in a “uncanny valley” territory…people would complain about the counters in a 3D enviroment. As for something full 3D…I don’t think it can be done. 1:1 representation of the soldiers would be an amazing body of work even with something like 2D sprites and minimal detail, like the earlier Total War, and it probably won’t find a market. I do think a lot of developers should take some lessons from AGEOD on how to make attractive a 2D wargame.

  31. Kazang says:

    I was interested in this, but not at £66, that’s ridiculous. It’s the same as my interest in CoD:MW2 I’m not paying that much for a game, regardless of how good it’s meant to be. When it comes to media, quality is not a reason to over charge, as there are plenty of other games that I can play.

    • Hippo says:


      How many RPS readers are interested in stuff like Armageddon Empires, AI War, Solium Infernum, Democracy, et.c.? Quite a few, as we probably all know. Is it so unnatural to believe that these people would be interested in some serious wargames if they a) knew they existed and b) were sold at reasonable prices? I don’t think so.

      And complexity is not an issue. Many people here play Dwarf Fortress, for crying out loud.

      Matrix: Tell us about your games. Offer them at prices that are low enough for us to try them (bear in mind that we might not play them for 400 hours and get all the “value” out of them). Don’t limit yourselves to your existing customer base of die hard grognards. That base is shrinking, you need new blood, and you’re not getting that by scaring us away with prices like this. In the long run, that’s suicide.

    • protorp says:

      If anyone can forgive them, have a look at The Operational Art of War III – at £24 it’s a steal, imho. No other game has been constantly on every computer I’ve had for as long – 12 years now – and still gets reularly played, even to the point of having scenarios I’ve yet to explore at all.

  32. Rugged Malone says:

    Those of you who are judging the game from its interface are missing the point…the vector-based map mechanic is unique and the way the fog of war is simulated is especially impressive. This game is all about the simulation.

    I’ve been watching the development of this game for several years now. I’m squarely in the camp of wanting to buy Conquest of the Aegean but just not quite ever being willing to pay that much for it (in terms of money and learning curve) at the time, especially given my continual backlog of games to play…but it’s definitely a game series I can appreciate.

    To be clear, I actually think the price is understandable, given the amount of effort the developer puts into their titles, and that it’s basically a one- or two-man team (IIRC) trying to develop for a niche within a niche.

    I personally think they might get more sales from a much lower price, e.g. I’d have bought COTA instantly at $15 even if I never ended up playing it…and I suspect there are a lot of other strategy fans that would be willing to “bite” at a lower price.

    All that said, as a developer you need to price your software so that it actually pays for its cost, and this niche little bun has been in the oven for a long, long time. The previous games in the series were award-winning games that received critical acclaim, and if they only sold X units in Y years in spite of being so well reviewed, it’s a simple matter of cost / X units for this title.

  33. Vinraith says:

    Isn’t that basically the same price War in the Pacific was released at? The reality is that niche wargames tend to be expensive toys. Whether they’re worth it to you depends on how into wargames you really are. A great one will last hundreds if not thousands of hours, so even a high price ends up being a relative pittance.

    Let me put it this way, I’d rather pay $70 for War in the Pacific than $100 for a few months of WoW. It’s all a matter of how you prefer your entertaining timesinks.

    • beatoangelico says:

      I have already said it: war in the pacific is in a completely different category: that’s a “monster game”, with an extreme level of micromanagement and, by all accounts, very time consuming. I woudn’t whine on the forums if a game like that gets an high price, first because probably it’s deserved, second because I won’t have interest in playing it.
      This series is really an introductory wargame, with small-ish scenarios, where the AI can do a big chunck of the job for you. You don’t need to read all the detailed manual to start playing.

  34. TCM says:

    I think Ferraris are too expensive, because I believe high-performance and luxury vehicles are completely stupid and pointless.

  35. leeder_krenon says:

    An interesting comparison might be Achtung Panzer, released by Paradox not too long ago. OK, graphically it is a lot fancier thant his but at it’s soul, it’s a hardcore wargame. The cost? $15. I bet it sold a large number of copies to people who wouldn’t have gone near it at $30+.

  36. Wednesday says:

    Anti-Tank dogs?!

  37. mrpier says:

    66£ is just a tad pricier than a new PS3 game where I live. It’s expensive, but if it’s something people want and get lots of hours out of then I think the price can be justified.

  38. Jeremy says:

    They need to repackage this game as an “Indie Wargame Subgenre”, sell it for $34.99 and they would probably get an increase in overall revenue. It seems throwing “indie” onto anything these days will get people to buy it, everyone wants to be independent and unique.

    Honestly though, I couldn’t comment on the price since games of these type are of no interest to me. However, I will say this, knowing I would have to pay $79.99 for a game pretty much guarantees that I will never find that interest.

    • Jimbo says:

      Help the Kitten with a “Pawly” Foot Indie Wargamer Charity* PWYW** Fundraiser Mega-Bundle Deluxe***!!

      * Not really for charity.
      ** As long as it’s at least £60.
      *** Oh, and I might not even bother sending you the game. xoxox.

  39. tyrspawn says:

    If you guys had any experience with tabletop wargames you would know that this is a realistic business model – basically tabletop wargames cost $200-500. How do they justify the price? Well, only hobbyists (not gamers) play the games, and are willing to devote the funds to make a hobby out of their product. Look at Eastfront or Eurofront. Just like that Panther knows they won’t survive if they market their games for a low price. Trust me, the 60 some odd pounds will not scare off hobbyists, only casual gamers.

    • Vinraith says:


      Indeed. Three words: “Wallet in Flames. “

    • Torgen says:

      Comparing the prices of tabletop/board wargames to downloaded computer wargames ONLY makes sense if constructing a straw man, and in no other sense.

    • Wednesday says:

      I like that I’m a casual gamer because I’m not into some expensive, hardest of the hardcore war sim.

      I’ll go hand in my mouse and keyboard and pick up a Wii at my nearest police station ASP.

    • Starky says:

      And let us not forget the VAST difference between tabletop gaming and computer games: Resale Value

      I paid about £300 for a 40K Ork army, greatly enjoyed many hours of playing the game, and at least as many painting my models.

      Then, when I decided to stop playing (for various reasons) I sold my collection for around £400.

      Given paint and other random costs I probably made a slight loss, but because my models were painted in extremely fine detail (I enjoyed the painting more than the playing) – I sold most for more than the original value. I sold an Orkified Predator tank for £50 (double what they retail for) because of the work put into it.

      So yeah, I’ll pay £60 for a PC game, when I can resell it 6 months later for 50-60% of it’s original value.

    • tyrspawn says:

      @Torgen no… the developer Battlefront goes off of the same philosophy in practice. Their games are expensive by commercial standards, given the APPARENT (key word) quality of the games. $50 for an expansion module (Combat Mission Shock Force) is excessive for casual gamers, because they don’t turn their game into a hobby, posting on the forums, using the editor, contributing and sharing content etc

      Personally I have no hesitations at all about paying these prices – because I want to see developers like this flourish. I could care less if it hits my wallet a little more severely. I rather have 1 quality wargame than 3 trash Call of Duty games. For me, any price is a bargain. Why? I am a hobbyist, I receive hundreds of hours of enjoyment and education from these games. The amount of research and effort which goes into these sort of wargames is astonishing. They are essentially doing the work of military analysts AND game developers.

      For thi

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      ‘Wargamers are desperate suckers’ (sic)


  40. durr says:

    What I don’t get is how they would even arrive at such a price?

    Even if the game was surprisingly costly to produce, especially then, they should offer it for a price that doesn’t turn away people before even checking out the game.

    Or is it some genius move (they sure know a lot about strategy) like how you can make more money in LA by selling stuff over-priced because people think that everything that’s expensive has to be quality? You know, like those horrible handbag designers that sell their abysmal creations for $10,000 to movie stars. Any movie star wargamers out there?

  41. Spinoza says:

    on side note ,the wargamer forums are sometimes USA , Semper Fi etc flag waving oriented mildly suffocating on the good days . Alas , it seems to lower the level of otherwise enlightening forum. some of the moderators are the worst offenders.

  42. ManaTree says:

    What an interesting situation. I’m not a wargamer myself, but the business model behind it intrigues me much.

    I think there are several factors to note when we’re talking about this. Audience (including potential audience, not just existing), price, timing, etc.

    It’s all a matter of perception, it seems. I think what a lot of people are trying to argue here (about the price), is that it may kill off a niche completely (if Matrix Games goes out of business). I feel like a niche is a small but steady audience, both growing and decaying at similar rates. Some people leave it, some people join it. To me, it feels like the pricing is simply leaving those people out. Leaving out potential niche-players. They probably do exist, it’s not like every gamer has played every game out there and immediately knows what he/she likes. There will probably always be gamers who are “on the fence”.

  43. Fumarole says:

    I find it amusing that there are more negative comments at RPS than on the Matrix forum. Can you imagine were it released on Steam? I think the internet would asplode.

  44. IvanHoeHo says:

    Maybe people would be more willing to invest the money if the devs stopped being stupid and actually released a demo (if at all) that actually showcases it’s strengths.

    It’s like asking people to buy a 100k pound car without offering test drives.

  45. The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

    In case no one wants to trawl through forums, eres the developers responce to concerns over pricing:

    Re Price

    I appreciate your feedback on the price. No one ever likes paying more for a product. I also appreciate that for many cash is tight at the moment. Trust me I am in the same boat. Developing professional grade software for a niche entertainment market is not a path to wealth that I would recommend.
    We contemplated this issue at length. On the one hand we would love to sell mega copies of BFTB. But we have to face the reality that this is a niche market and we will never be able to sell the volumes like AAA general market titles. Products like your First Person Shooters take dozens of man years to make, cost millions and need to sell hundreds of thousands of copies to succeed. The wargame market is unlikely to hit the tens of thousands of sales. So we have very small volumes and virtually no prospects of increasing those volumes, especially for a serious realistic simulation such as BFTB. Anyone who thinks that we are somehow going to be able to expand our sales volume significantly is deluding themselves.

    We have committed about 50 man years of development on our series. That is a huge investment and given the cost of further development cannot be sustained with the current income stream. Since we cannot increase the volume of sales, significantly, we have two choices. We can increase the price or we can stop further development.

    We are well aware of the potential impact of raising the price on sales volume. The laws of price elasticity affect all markets. However, niche markets in general are less affected primarily because there is limited offerings and hence limited competition and also because the customers in general appreciate that the unit price has to be higher than for a general market product because the cost of development has to be absorbed over a much smaller volume of sales.

    Is this a good situation for our customers? No, it is not. Is it a good situation for us? Definitely not. But the choices for us are clear and stark. Sell at the old price and abandon further development or increase price and hope that we can stay in the commercial wargames business. Even at the higher price we may still be forced to abandon development because not enough people buy it. Yes it’s a big risk, but it’s the only option that may keep us designing for the commercial wargames market. I cannot put it any more bluntly.

    Each one of you will have to make your own decision as to whether you think the price is worth it. I would like to think that when you consider the benefits you will answer yes. Please consider that there are 27 scenarios. Playing through each one once would provide over a hundred hours of entertainment. If you swap sides, you get another hundred hours. But with the way we have designed the scenarios and the use of generic objectives, you can play the same scenario many times and get a different experience. That is one of the beauties of the engine. I would estimate that on average most players will get over 400 hours of entertainment out of BFTB. Many will get thousands of hours.

    By providing a full construction set, with the inclusion of all the editors needed to create any battle, we envisage considerable content being developed by the community. This should translate into a stream of third party scenarios that will further extend the life of this product and provide even more entertainment value.

    Even at 400 hours the cost of entertainment for BFTB is just 20 cents per hour. Think about that.
    Also let’s put it in relative terms to other games that you have purchased. Estimate the number of hours you have played them, then divide this into their purchase price and I bet there will be very few that are as cheap per hour as BFTB.

    But also consider the quality of the experience you will get with BFTB. I am not aware of any other product ( commercially or for that matter within the military simulation market ) that better simulates the role of an operational commander. Certainly when it comes to artificial intelligence, BFTB is without peer. We have added so many features to the engine since COTA, features designed to enrich your experience and make it easier for you to assess, plan and order your forces. Go to the BFTB product page and read the long list of new features and enhancements and check out the New Stuff thread on the BFTB forum.

    So it all boils down to value and priorities. Only you can make that call for yourself. I do believe that BFTB is very good value for money. We will be putting out a demo in about a month or so. So you can always wait and see. In the meantime check out the Game Concepts movie. The first of the tutorial movies will soon be available for public release. We will progressively release more of these over the coming weeks.

    • leeder_krenon says:

      who plays a game for 400 hours??

    • Nesetalis says:

      I’ll just reiterate the point of my previous comment (you can search for it if you want :P it was quite large)

      Sunk Cost. you dont pay for development with your future product.. you pay for future development with your current product. if they cant aford to produce a game, you produce something afordable.

      worth is not driven by the work put in to it, but by the people willing to pay for it. this is why some companies sell 100,000USD software.. to 150 different people(read, buisness software) and other people sell 15,000,000 copies at 5$
      it simply depends on your target audience. Personally, I believe they forgot who their audience is. their niche is not so small that they should be charging rediculous prices. as other people have said in here, their game is like a gateway to wargames…. that should be their target. no price is too high if your product can find its niche, and no price is too low, if your product can find buyers. (as long as its not free :p obviously) but their product is not aiming towards the highest paying niche.. its made for the people just starting with war games.. atleast from what i can tell.

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      after some rummaging around : link to

      supposedly this is legit – although those eligible to VAT will have to oblige.

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      I should probably state that this is by no means verified – anyone out there know if this is real?

      p,s, $70 = roughly 50 quid (feckin American keyboards make Englishman abroad a dull boy)