Confusing Sales

I understand the mindset behind the Steam sales – a lot of times they are games that have been out for months – if not years, so getting $1.99 for a $19.99 game past it’s prime has some sense behind it – because normally, you would just get zero.

Regardless of what customers you piss off.

What I don’t understand as much is why prime games are discounting before they even launch. It is creating a culture (that is probably already created) of discounting that once you go down, you can’t get away from. This is why Subway now sells $3 meal deals where once they were $10. They discounted to $8, then to $6, then to $5, and now $3. Soon they will have to give you money for you to eat their “food”.

This first happened when Green Man Gaming discounted WildStar, arguably one of the biggest MMO launches this year (or even the past two years) offered me a 25% discount. Now they are at it again, with 25% off Civilization: Beyond Earth. A game I was happily going to pay full price for.

Yes, sure, perhaps the only thing getting hurt is the retail price of new games but all this is proving is that the base price of new releases is based on nothing anyway, and that we are just getting fleeced from the get go. As an industry this launch discount is a bad practice and hurts the industry overall.

Save the discounts for Steam sales after the game has had it’s run, not at the point where there should be the most excitement and most willingness to pay full price and support the game. I have zero loyalty to GMG for this and if the only reason why you are buying from a company is because of price discounting that company probably won’t have a long run at things – if pricing is your only advantage, anyone can easily copy that.

For an industry that has been around for so long, it still feels like it is making young industry mistakes.

2 Comments

  1. bhagpuss

    Bookselling is much older industry and it operates in much the same way. If you’re looking for bargains in new books the time to get them is in the first week of publication when 50% discounting or higher is common. The difference is that if you try to buy the same book a month later you’ll have to pay full price and successful books can go on selling at full price for years or even decades. I don’t think computer games have the same arc.

    Reply
  2. isey

    Aren’t launches reserved for upselling, expanded editions, and pay more for miniatures, maps and other collectibles – original artwork and the like?

    Reply

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