Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do cut price games devalue gaming?

[Cheating a bit here. I originally wrote this in a comment to an RPS article]

Recently I have been doing a bit of soul searching about the personal impact of the ever reducing price of gaming on the PC.

It has gotten to the stage where I have grown used to and in fact come to expect that I can enjoy an endless stream premium quality gaming on my PC for , if not quite free, as close to free as makes no difference.

While this is absolutely terrific on one level I have to wonder whether it actually devalues the experience of gaming in some way. We are strongly conditioned to equate the value of something to the price you pay for it. When you can get a six month old triple A game for less than a tenner, does it still feel like a triple A gaming experience?

One consequence of this is that my expectations of longevity have shrunk. Ten years ago when I payed full price for Deus Ex or Homeworld I was making a major investment in gaming entertainment and I fully expected that game to keep me busy for up to a month. Nowadays when I pick up a title in a Steam sale for €10 I am happy if it lasts me a weekend and then is promptly forgotten.
Don’t get me wrong. If you offered me a choice of going back to the bad old days of expensive gaming I would refuse but I am simply wondering if something of the awe and reverence we attached to big name games has dissipated because they have become so cheaply available?


Thallian said...

Additionally, do we now increasingly expect to always get gaming goodness for free just by virtue of the fact that we have a pulse. Will new mainstream gamers be unwilling to shell out for so much compared to their predecessors? I know angry birds seemed ok, but I am glad I didn't pay for it because it was over so fast, to give one example, and I'm really glad I tried Allods Online for free instead of paying anything for it. But I wonder if free to play games will result in low quality games or games so fun they compel us to buy the access to further content. Or perhaps a wide spread between the two. What do you think?

mbp said...

I think that events like the Allods cash shop debacle (and perhaps the Eve cash shop debacle) although sad for the developers involved will eventually teach game companies what is and isn't acceptable in a free to play game. As long as there are high quality free to play games without abusive cash shops I trust gamers instincts to shun abusive games in favour of better quality titles.