Skip to main content

We live in an era of game pricing madness.

There used to be a fairly established pattern of game pricing. New releases were sold at top prices. If you shopped around you might get a special offer or pre-order discount but otherwise you could wait about a  month and get the game for perhaps 75% of its new price.  Six months or so after release most games could be picked up for half their new price and after a year those titles migrated to the bargain shelves at a quarter of their original price or even less. This was a very reliable pattern - only a tiny number of titles had sufficient staying power to buck the trend of price decay. Age of Empires and Medal of Honour Allied Assault being two that I can remember but they were  the exceptions that proved the rule.

The last year has seen a revolution in pc game pricing spear headed by Steam and their fellow digital download distributors.  They have finally broken free from the artifical restrictions which held digital download prices higher than the high street (a restriction apparently imposed in order not to annoy traditional distributors). Their only variable cost is internet bandwidth so they can sell the game for almost any price and they do. A game that is priced at €49.99 today may well be on sale for €9.99 tomorrow but don't delay because the day after the price may return to €49.99 or why not €59.99.  While bargains are great for the consumer the total unpredictability of the current pricing situation makes for some very confusing game purchasing decisions. Should I buy this game I really want to play today or will I wait in the hope that it features in next weekends sale?  Unfortunately there is no real precedent to help you decide. The old rules are gone and a new pattern has yet to emerge. We live in an era of game pricing madness. The current Steam Christmas sale is perhaps the most obvious statement of this. A game that was on sale yesterday for a 50% discount may today feature at 75% discount. If I bought yesterday should I be pleased with my bargain or disappointed?  It all makes for confusing but interesting times for a game purchaser.

I suspect that this current unpredictability is just a reflection of what happens when any old regime falls and new rules have yet to be established. Once the initial heady excitement has passed new patterns will probably emerge. My expectation is that these new patterns will mean generally lower prices all round reflecting the underlying economics of digital distribution,. I strongly hope that Activision's €60 price tag for Modern Warfare 2 remains no more than an anomaly - a spirited last sortie by a soon to be extinct pricing model.  


Thallian said…
I totally agree, it bounces around so much I never know if I've gotten the best deal, but one can usually figure what's a "good" deal at least, though not ever the "best".
mbp said…
Hi Thallian. Sometimes I wonder if these sales are counterproductive. I find myself not buying some games I would like to play just in case they come on sale.

Popular posts from this blog

My First Gaming Mouse: Logitech G300

I bought a gaming mouse yesterday a Logitech G300, here my initial thoughts. What is a gaming mouse?  There are a wide variety of devices available classified as gaming mice but a few features  seem common: 1. Wired rather than wireless: Although some high end models are wireless wired connections are just better and faster than wireless so most gaming mice stick with wired. As a bonus wired mice don't need batteries so the mouse is lighter.  2. High response rate: 1 to 2ms response rate so the mouse immediately responds to input.  2. High DPI. Gaming mice invariable boast high DPI numbers from 2,000 DPI upwards. This makes the device very responsive to the smallest movements.   3. Adjustable DPI . High DPI improves responsiveness but reduces precision so gaming mice generally allow you to adjust the DPI down for precise work such as pulling off headshots in sniper mode. Generally the mouse allows dpi to be changed on the fly by pressing a button.  4. Extr

Portal 2 two screen coop on one PC.

I mentioned before that I intended to try Portal 2 in "unofficial split screen co-op mode. Well split screen on a small computer monitor is a recipe for a headache especially when the game defies gravity as much as portal. However a minor bit of extra fiddling allowed us to drive two seperate screens from one PC. The Steam forums describes a complicated method of doing this that I couldn't get working so this simpler method which worked for me might be of use to someone. 1. First I followed the instructions in this post to get split screen multi-player working: A minor issue not mentioned is that you need to enable the console from the keyboard/mouse options menu I am using keyboard and one wired Xbox360 controller as suggested. Getting the controller to switch to channel 2 was tricky at first but as Chameleon8 mentions plugging it out and in again during loading works. The trick for me was to do the plug / p

Android Tip 3: Sharing a Folder between multiple users of an Android device

Android has allowed multiple user logins for quite a while now. This is can be very useful for tablets which are shared by family members. Normally Android erects strict Chinese walls between users preventing them from using each others apps and viewing each others files. This is a useful security feature and ensures your kids don't mess up your work spreadsheets when screwing around on the tablet and should also prevent them from buying €1,000 worth of Clash of Candy coins on your account. Sometimes however you really do want to share stuff with other users and this can prove surprisingly difficult. For example on a recent holiday I realised that I wanted to share a folder full of travel documents with my wife. Here are some ways to achieve this. 1. If you have guaranteed internet access  then you can create a shared folder on either Dropbox or Google drive. Either of these has the great advantage of being able to access the files on any device and the great disadvantage of bein