Wednesday, January 12, 2005

This just in: Giving consumers what they want is bad!

Just saw this on gamasutra (sign-in required), where Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was quoted from a speach in which he...

'branded Take-Two’s budget-priced ESPN sports titles as “irresponsible” and “disruptive”. Although highly successful for Take-Two and developer Sega, Kotick commented that “we find [the budget pricing] entirely unnecessary, and I think that as you move towards more exclusive content, you will be able to eliminate that as an issue.” '

Disruptive? Yes. Irresponsible? Please!

How is giving consumers a product they are happy with at an attractive price irresponsible. Along this lines of thinking, $50 "good enough" word processors are irresponsible, as are Linux, budget CPUs (e.g. Celeron), no-frills flights, no-frills automobiles, and no-name-brand breakfast cereal.

Look, if Sega/Take-Two want to price their games at $20, that's great. If activision wants to price theirs at $50, that's great too. However, if they can't give the end user a good reason to pay the delta of $30, then that's their fault. Get with the program and compete. Either offer more, or sell for less. Welcome to the free enterprise system!



roBin said...

I wonder what impact GameFly is going to have here. I know lots of people (gamers and developers alike) who are renting regularly now...

Games like Rumble Roses used to get a few bucks off of the curious. But now? It seems like the price points are going to have to drop to compete with this kind of thing.

KimPallister said...

It'll definitely have an impact. Perhaps it already has?

If it is, or becomes like, the movie biz, I've heard (but never checked) that the EULA for DVD movies stipulates that you can't rent out the movie. If you want to buy a DVD that you can do that to, you pay more. Perhaps the same thing for games? If not now, later?

On a related note, when I was in Japan (not at TGS, but the trip before that one), an ISV showed me a bunch of data about the hit their business is taking from from sales of second-hand games. On the sale of a new game, the retailer only gets their regular margin (say, 15 points) but that on the sale of a second hand game, they get 100%. So a new game selling for $50 makes them 7 bucks, but a second hand game selling for $25 gets tehm... $25. This particular publisher was lobbying to have laws passed against this, or at least for them to recoup some of the costs.

With next-gen consoles going online, I wonder how many ISVs will do a 'steam'-like thing, selling the SW as more of a service, so that more money & control is in their hands. If they do that - what happens to gamefly?