Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pay me what you think I am worth.

I am actually glad that I already own World of Goo because if I didn't I would probably feel it necessary to avail of their current  "Pay what you think it is worth" offer. Its not the first time I have seen an offer like this but it is the first time I have seen it on a game that I was interested in and it creates an interesting dilemma.

If I was going to avail of the offer I would have to decide what to pay for the game. I try to be honest. I don't want to steal the game but how much is a game worth anyway?

The easiest cop out would be to note that  the game was on sale for €20before the offer and to pay that amount but that would is not an honest answer to the question of how much I think the game is worth.

How much is any game worth? In truth  I think that all games are overpriced. If I ruled the world there would be a price cap of €25 on AAA gaming titles. I don't have a logical explanation for this its just what my heart tells me and although I do sometimes spend more than this to get  a premium title shortly after release it always pains me to do so. I suppose I could scale back from that figure for an indie title that doesn't have the big budget budget glamour of a AAA but is acknowledged to be a gaming classic and great fun to play. Perhaps €10? On the other hand maybe even that is too much for a game that I could have for free if I wanted.

Economists argue over whether the value of an item is intrinsic (ie the cost of producing the item) or subjective (determined by supply and demand). Applying the intrinsic value principle I have to accept that it costs time and effort to produce a game but to supply me with one extra downloaded copy costs little more than the badwidth involved. The intrinsic value of a downloaded game is as close to zero as makes no difference. Subjective value doesn't help much either - regardless of how great the demand supply is effectively unlimited so even by this measure the value of the game is zero.

The more I think about this the more I become convinced that the only honest response to an offer like this is to download the game and pay nothing at all. Zero. Anything else is not an expression of value but merely a gesture of charity towards the suppliers of the game. If you feel the game suppliers are in need of charity go right ahead and make a donation but otherwise the only logical answer is "I think your game is worth €0.00".

7 comments:

Cap'n John said...

Crap. I was contemplating getting this for the Wii but apparently update 4.2 has a chance of bricking even non-modded consoles so I disabled my Wii's WiFi connection so the kids wouldn't brick it when they tried to access the Mii Channel and it insisted on dling 4.2

Phew! Take a breath.

I might have to do the update myself and hope all works out okay. And no, I don't have a modded or chipped Wii, I just have an irrational fear of turning my Wii into a brick :P

I guess in the meantime I can always play World of Goo on my PC :)

mbp said...

In my opinion its more of a Play it on the family TV kind of game than a PC game so the Wii version does make sense. My wife and kids love it while I find I could take it or leave it myself.

Thallian said...

Maybe I should spend my spare Wii points on it. I didn't know this offer was available for the Wii version though, I thought it was only for the PC one.

mbp said...

The offer only stands for PC Mac or Linux Version sadly.

Zoso said...

How do you expect Bobby Kotick to keep rolling in bathtubs of money if you're not forking over £70 a time??/?

( http://www.vg247.com/2009/08/06/kotick-i-would-raise-game-prices-even-further/ )

mbp said...

Do you know I think they are fighting a losing battle. The quality of free games is getting better and better all the time. I have always been a strong opponent of piracy but I think that content providers in every industry are going to have to accept that eventually content is going to be free.

Cap'n John said...

As mbp noted, the free (I mean, pay what you think it's worth) version is not available over Wiiware. I just gritted my teeth, performed the dreaded 4.2 firmware update, hit the Wiiware channel and found World of Goo costs 1500 points. So yeah, the offer is only for PCs, Macs or Linux.