The last two weeks have been a serious drain to my savings account. This got me thinking. You see, I have to buy lots of games—my livelihood depends on it. But for people who don’t make a living from playing games like me (don’t hate); I understand that certain gaming sacrifices must be made. Games that, maybe you would like to play, sometimes have to get put on the back burner for awhile. In the past 2-weeks alone, Lost Planet 2, Skate 3, 3-d Dot Game Heroes, Split Second, Alan Wake, Red Dead Redemption and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands have all hit store shelves. And unless you had $400 extra dollars sitting around you are probably not playing all of these games right now. Unfortunately, the ones you could not afford this week will most likely end up getting lost in the sea of new releases coming next week. Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Wii drops in a few days. And in the next week, Blur, UFC 2010, and ModNation Racers land on shelves. The wallet punishment never ends! What’s wrong with developers? Why are they doing this to us, and themselves?
Besides our own personal gaming sacrifices, what about the developers? How do you think “Attack of the Movies 3-D,” which also released yesterday, is going to fare? At least Majesco was smart enough to release at a lower price point, but still, their share of the market for their choice of release dates can’t possibly be very much next to Rockstar’s and Remedy’s hype-machines. Why would anyone choose to release next to Alan Wake—a game that has been puffed-up for 5-years? C’mon! They flood us with all of these titles at $60 apiece and then complain when games are being rented, purchased second-hand and pirated. Developer reality check: At $60 a pop in a bad economy, something’s not getting purchased—you have created these alternative markets that are undesirable to you because of your own shortsightedness.
So, what can everybody do?
For developers and publishers, a proactive solution would be to lower the prices of games sooner and with more frequency. That way, you could compete and take a piece of the very large used game market. Why is “Alien vs. Predator” still $59.99 in stores? It was never worth $60! Instead of it just sitting on shelves preying on uninformed consumers, why wouldn’t you drop the price to $30 and sell twice as many copies to twice as many people willing to take a chance at the lower price-point? You guys need to react before the video game industry suffers all the way to the levels of the movie and music businesses.
For consumers, I would recommend doing exactly what you’re doing. Keep renting and trading games. You should do it while you can—just wait until the publisher’s war on the used game market really ramps-up—but that’s an issue for another time. Be a smart consumer. Buy used. Save even more money by buying from Ebay and Craigslist. Also, stop buying so much DLC (DLC is a gateway, it only encourages them). Eventually the publishers will get the message that we don’t have unlimited resources like they do and lower prices.
Before I ramble on-and-on while up here on my soapbox—the point is that something needs to be done. Games are still too expensive. And besides your Call Of Duty’s and Halo’s, even developers have to be missing out on sales because of the weekly saturation. What do you think?