Games are too cheap, that’s why we invented Collectors Edition

20 01 2010

Price wars dropped the price of casual games from $19.99 to $6.99. It happened fast and didn’t leave us much time to accommodate. Now new problem arises. Prices are still low, but development budgets are getting bigger and bigger. Folks at Big Fish Games have realized that $6.99 games can not support development budgets of games like Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove and introduced Collectors Edition, packed with few extras and priced at $19.99. Great move. Especially that Dire Grove is not the only game that was released as CE.

Recently I found interesting post on BFG forums. Picman050967 tried to explain why BFG decided to have CE (picman is not just regular forum mod, he is most probably a man from BFG headquaters):

Why we offer Collector’s Editions

The nice thing is that this is totally optional, you have a trial version, it does not count as the New Game when it is released and you always get the normal game like before. Having a collector’s edition allows the budgets for future games to almost double. One of the big benefits is early access. The bonus features are there to reward folks who purchase for early access.

People complain a lot about how short games are lately. This is a way to allow the avid gamers to pay for early access and some extras to increase budgets without hurting those who are on tight budgets. These CE purchasers now help fund half the budget of future games so they can be longer and higher quality. Then in turn, the folks that wait for the regular game actually benefit from the larger game budgets paid for by the CE purchasers.

So if you wait for the regular version, that is fine for you, but realize that those buying the CE are allowing developers to increase their development budgets without going bankrupt! This game was developed with a budget that assumed the additional revenue from the Collector’s Edition…without it, the game would have been shorter or of lower quality to make it for less costs.

If we simply raised prices (like to $7.99), not only would there be a customer revolt, but we would sell proportionally fewer games and thus the developer makes no more money. Also higher prices would also hit those that are in tough economic times to be able to play less games. While some may not like to wait, this does solve a very real problem for both developers and economically hard hit customers.

So if you can’t afford it or do not like it you should not buy it, but you should also respect those who do, as it benefits you!

Just trying to share BFG’s and developers’ perspectives.


I highlighted most of the interesting sections. You can find the whole discussion at this link.

I’d also want to quote a post from govegirl, as she made very interesting points too:

I do not know Playponds financial status but I do know that Big Fish is not in danger of going bankrupt and 2 of 3 CE’s monies are for Big Fish.

What I wonder is this- those that pay $20 for a Collectors Edition- do they still buy the same amount of $6.99 games or do they forego those games to save up for 1 or 2 more expensive games a month? The importance people are putting on 3 punches indicates to me they buy fewer games for the same result of a free game. I can see smaller developers games getting even further ignored whilst the already large and successful developers charge extra for their games.

Unless all games launch with a $20 edition first then it cannot be equally fair for all developers. Those that only charge $6.99 are not getting the money for further development so does that mean they have to continue to develop short and inferior games? It sounds to me unless we pay $20 originally then those developers cannot make better games. It has to apply to everyone – not just the developers who suits them to cry poor.

Collectors Editions may be the first step on the road to increase average game price. Some portals sell games on premium price with success. Hopefully we can see the trend of falling game prices reversed.

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Don’t make cheap games

19 01 2010

In one of my favorite newsletters I read an interview with Bob Cox. It was quite interesting reading and I found a nice bit I would like to quote here:

I read (I can’t remember where) that it’s as hard to sell a pair of shoes as it is to sell something more expensive. The work is the same, but the sales commission is much greater.

Unfortunately we developers have little influence on the price of our games (except for our own sites). Keep in mind that it is better to make a bit better game to sell it for a bit more than make it look cheap and sell it cheap. Your efforts to market the game will be as hard or harder to promote cheap looking game, but revenues will be much smaller.

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How long is BFG Daily Deals queue?

18 01 2010

I already know, do you? I asked BFG to add Runes of Avalon 2 to Daily Deals on Dec 18th 2009. I expected that it will take few days to launch it there as I didn’t thought so many developers wants their games at such low prices. So there are many. Runes of Avalon 2 has been launched today.

Just 31 days in the queue.

Feel free to buy it for a bargain price of $2.99 or post reviews and comments on BFG forums.

Just one more day to check out the effect of this deal. Some games seem to do very good, the others not. Just like with launching games for the first time.

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In 2010 I will…

15 01 2010

It’s mid January so one can say it’s a bit late for New Year Resolutions. Actually I was very surprised when I checked Indie Gamer Forums on Jan 2nd and found out 24 posts already. Maybe most people fail to keep their New Year Resolution because they don’t put enough time to think about them, about what’s possible and what’s not.

Anyway, my list is short this year:

1. I will play more games
2. I will release a game every 2-3 months

The first one is quite easy to achieve, just needs a bit of balancing. You can’t play too much because you won’t be so productive anymore. And if you don’t play enough you just miss on all those great ideas that come to your head when playing others games (and a lot of relax).

The second point sounds a bit crazy. It takes usually more than 3 months to create a decent game. So how I want to achieve that? It’s possible because I want to finish 2 games I started in previous years (and one is 3 years old, but luckily the art is still up to date). But that’s just two games, so only 6 months out of 12. For the other 6 months I plan to be very uncreative. I was quite creative for the last 3 years and it didn’t pay out that much, so I am going to create a bunch of clones. Or spin offs of our own games. This way I can save a lot of development time and probably some in development budget.

Will I see 4 more games in my portfolio by the end of 2010? Time will tell, but I strongly hope so. I started to believe that I can’t risk 9-12 months projects that don’t sell well.

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