Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I know you're angry...I'M angry!!!


Oh fucking lord. Will it ever stop? To those sites out there who are thinking I was being arrogant by saying the issue is none of the consumer's business....ya know, fuck you. I'm not even going to try to explain my point to you. Watch the video and then ask yourself if you ACTUALLY think I am saying customers should pretty much go fuck off and mind their own business and stay out of this argument and just bend over and take whatever price the publisher and retailer hands down....do you REALLY think that is what I said and the spirit in which I said it on the video? Well if so, you are an idiotic moron who has the listening comprehension skills of Helen Fucking Keller.

Oh and to the site that ACTUALLY INCLUDED IN THEIR HEADLINE THE FUCKING WRITER'S OPINION ON MY CHICKEN/EGG ANALOGY?!?! I mean....fucking really? You and your anal obsession with a fucking CHICKEN/EGG thing is the headline?!?! Not buried somewhere in the story, or put on a footnote to be read after the story....but IN THE GOD DAMNED HEADLINE OF THE PIECE?!? Fuck, glad to know that video game journalists are now fucking covering THEMSELVES and THIER FUCKING OPINIONS on analogies. What the hell man?!?

Amazing...simply amazing.


Ok...not angry really. Just thinking a lot about this whole used sales/rental market/game price thing... :)


-rallyRAYS- said...

First!! for once!... sorry, couldn't resist

Robert said...

beat killzone yet?

Ryan said...

I agree with you on all points. Digital distro is the tidal wave on the horizon that will do wonders for the industry. It's still in the early adopter part of it's life, as you get at in your post. Once distributors get their heads on straight about how to price and market it, I think we'll see it pick up.

One thing you forgot to mention about the limitations- storage! We're still in a stage of digital distro titles that are small in size like Braid, Flower, Calling All Cars. When we think about selling games like Burnout Paradise over PSN, there are only so many games of that magnitude that the little PS3 and 360 hard drives can accommodate! Because of this, I believe we won't see the "revolution" of digital distro on consoles until the next hardware iteration. It's already here on PC. =)

Gazzo said...

Comic books ARE absurdly priced. That's why I don't buy them anymore.

As for the games thing, I don't buy used games or even really rent games. I usually know what I want and I'll know if I'm going to like it.

As for the lower budget games...Sure. Hell yeah. I love stuff like that. I'm a big fan of flash game development, and there are some really good things out that people did with just their copy of Flash. I love the smaller and more original games, and that's why I think the WiiWare/PSN/XBL digital distribution thing is so cool. Really good video, I gotta run.

Keith K said...

Im of two minds on the subject of used games myself. I'm definitely not in favor of a complete digital distro model as an advocate of physical media, but I've definitely seen the benefit of the smaller game scale at a smaller price for download. As far as PSP games go, well I'm pretty much in total favor of digital as the scale and price mesh perfectly with the platform. The additional benefits like battery life etc are just a bonus.

As a consumer, physical media is just a part of my gaming economy. I buy 5 or 6 games at full retail and when I'm done with them, I'll trade them in toward the first of the next 5 or 6, I think thats a fair enough deal between myself and the developer who Im definitely trying to support. However, I think the retail market are ripping off the consumer, so the damage they do to the industry is unjustified on both ends. Fuck 'em.

As far as comics are concerned, you're absolutely right. As a guy who works at a newsprint webprinting shop, $4 for a comic? INSANE! A newspaper at 4-5 times the volume in paper and ink, including saddlestitching and trimming costs $25 with markup. Don't tell me there's any compromise in quality because there fucking isnt. Period.

Eudaimo said...

Great post, David. As someone who consumes a lot of games (new, downloadable, "AAA", indie, etc), I'd love to share my thoughts.

I think flexible pricing would do wonders for all sides. Right now we have $60 games and $5-$10 games and very few games that inhabit the spaces in between, even though many of them should

I hear the new 50 Cent game is a decently fun 5 coop experience. Sounds good, but it doesn't sound like $120. It certainly should not retail for the same price as two copies of Killzone 2 or Gears of War 2. So as a consumer, I have definitely said "I will wait until it's half that amount." I'm happy to buy a new copy if it's reasonably close ($35. MAYBE $40?), but experience has shown me that 50 cent will be $25 from used game sites before it hits $40 at retail). To me it seems like a game where $40-$50 would have been a more accurate reflection of value in the first place.

Riviera said...

Liked a lot of stuff you said but I'm not sure whether I agree with the view that game budgets have to go down with the price cuts. I don't think people would start spending less on games, but rather just start buying more (eg two games instead of one if there was a 50% price cut). Valve showed recently how their sales went up significantly when they lowered prices. They obviously have the advantage that it's digital distribution and their distribution costs are therefore close to zero so the volume of sales matters less compared to the revenue. I can't imagine that the cost of physical distribution is so high that budgets would have to be cut that significantly assuming that the amount spent stays the same. It's obviously a gamble to count on gamers really continuing to spend as much as the do now though.

Zripwud said...

I agree about the comci thing, but you have to think that lots of people collects them... and they don't want to collect a newspaper =P

Chris K said...

Hey David It's me chris....Again thank you for the christmas Card...looked awsome, and u dont have to give me an exact yes or no answer but do you FEEL..that you'll be announcing your new game this year?

CleanNJerk101 said...

Great post David. btw Wipeout HD was the perfect example. I also just bought GoW2 along with KZ2 last Friday & will start to play it soon. Having missed GoW2 I knew I had to go & play it. I played through the first level & damn my PS2 must've been dripping melted meta toxins the game is absolutely spectacular & actually looks as good as the 360 & PS3 action games out there. E.G Ninja Gaiden S & 2, Star Wars TFU WTF WTF. It's insane.

F1REST0RM said...

Riviera took the words right out my mouth. Basic price economics is that, assuming the supply is there (which, like he said, shouldn't be that much of an issue, especially with digital distro and even brick-and-mortar retail), if you cut the price of something, you raise the amount of demand because you've lowered the price into the acceptable range for more consumers.

Of course, that may or may not translate into more sales to the point of an increase in profits, or even an equal return as before, because there are a lot of factors involved and it's unpredictable.

However, like he was getting at, Valve recently conducted an experiment on that, and the results of which strongly suggest that yes, indeed, cutting costs will create enough new demand to not just outweigh the loss from the cut, but even increase profits.

Specifically, they did a sale on Steam for Left 4 Dead, 75% off, and saw a 3000% increase in their sales while the price cut was on. (As I understand it, the reason they didn't keep it up was business politics involving EA, their co-publisher, and brick-and mortar retailers.)

I don't disagree with the rest of what you said, I think there's a lot of room for growth with Digital Distribution, if anything not so much because of final pricing as the cost of entry, we can get more developers into the development space, and with the issue of retail shelf space gone, there's room for everyone.

Anonymous said...

PSN ID Sympozium_666

Used games are great like when you need this game and you get bloody get it plus the fact that EA loses money from they're games :D (its annoying though so many horrible sports titles)

But used games usually sucked there's times when I have Bought pre-owned games on Xbox 360 & PS2 and it would be badly damaged e* JAK 3, WIPEOUT FUSION COME ON!!!

Dennis said...

Great post David.. I think used games would be better for the business if EB Games and Game (I live in Australia, there's no Gamestop) stop screwing around the consumer with the trade-ins prices.

For example, in January I was thinking of trading in my Resistance 2 for Mirror's Edge. But they said we have too many Resistance 2 in stock, and they offer me AU$30 for the game, and I bought it for AU$100-AU$120 (I forgot the real price of the game, but all the games are around there).

It feels like I was getting robbed big time. If only they would give a fair trade-in prices, I would definitely buy more games.

Dreamsower Tippytoes said...

David, your points are awesome and I agree with a lot of what you said. This move towards digital distribution is something that I both enjoy and at the same time don't want to fully take over. On one hand I have a lot of titles I have gotten on XBLA and incredibly loved. On the other I do enjoy having hard copies of games, something I can't really describe.

With regard to lower budget/priced games, I feel sad about that stigma in the games market. It is very true that "consumers assume it's a cheap game" and I think that more heavily applies to customers in the store that don't follow gaming media (which is the primary consumer of purchasing games anyways). I would've been fine with paying $20 for some of the XBLA titles (Braid, Castle Crashers, Geometry Wars 2) if they had been released as budget disc titles in stores. If a game is released as a budget title and the media coverage has been that it is a great deal of fun I would snatch it up within a week of release if able. People gauging games purely on graphics/length/production and forgetting elements like joy one experiences in playing the game is a little disheartening (not that I don't like good looking/long/well produced games =D). Oh well, there will always all types of games so we always have the choice.

Also your point about comics is so true, they love inflating that price knowing that we'll eventually break and pick it up. Keep speaking your mind, it's refreshing and always a joy to hear. Knowing people like you are making games makes me very happy.

Steven said...

Do you know what the total development cost of god of war was? Do you think it would be similar to the cost of a game made today? How much would it cost to develop a game on the same level as god of war today?

I know these are stupidly big questions. Kind of rhetorical, just wondering about the comparison of then and now.

It's something I've been thinking over recently. God of war 1/2(along with many other games from back then) look fantastic. With the limits of the system you had to be creative to get what you wanted. It feels like a lot of modern games lack that. They don't need to work to that level, or it costs that much more.

I'm currently enjoying L4D and TF2. Trolls complain that it looks like it was released 5 years ago. But you get into it and it's a stunning looking game. Creativity and effort was put into everything to make it look as good as possible on any level of system running it.

These games don't fit the conventional profile of having fantastic graphics...but they do have fantastic graphics. If quality games that look good like this(Ie without 50 different types of hi res bump textures and 20 million polygons each) Could be developed and released at a lower cost, I'd be over the moon.

All of this is beside 'game play' mind you.

PM said...

There needs to be more tiers or games. i would pay $60 for an epic MGS4, or god of war 3 quality game. but not every game thats is sold for $60 is even close to that quality. i think the problem is that developers don't seem to be allowed to make "cheap, shorter" games. it just seems like every company out there is trying to make their game seem epic to justify the $60 price (this kind of goes back to your comments on how game commercials are not representative of the actual game). Publishers need to get more flexible with their pricing and allow a company to create and release a $20 short fun game to disk. Games could release at $20, $40, $60 depending on their development costs.

another thing that would get me to buy a lot more games would be faster price drops. Theres a shit ton of games out there right now that i would buy of they dropped into the 20-30 dollar range, but it seems to take so long for a good game to drop in price.

Hellhound30 said...

I think that Gamestop is one big rip-off!! How much profit did they make this last quarter? Wasn't it over 3 billion? Its funny to me that Game studios are being shut down everywhere around them and they are making a profit? Doesn't anyone see the irony in that? I went into a gamestop to buy Metal Gear Solid portable Ops for the Psp. The manager sold me a used copy as though it were new. I told the manager I wanted a factory sealed copy, and he was like to bad take it or leave it. He told me that it was the last copy in the store, and that Gamestop would warranty it like it was new.... "Whatever!" I bought it even though I knew I getting ripped off because, hey I'm huge fan of Metal Gear.
Either way me as a fan of the industry I get kinda scared. Why? because What if my forite studios start to collapse? What if Hideo Kojima had to stop making games? Tetsuya Nomura? Marcel Ancel? the list goes on.... Heck I don't even buy dvd's anymore. I save my money for my favourite games.
I spend my money on the company that makes it worth my dollar. I don't buy $20 dollar games either. When I buy a game I look for an adventure. I don't want a measly four hours.... To be honest I don't mind paying 64.75 for a brand new game. I mean I think I got the best deal possible. Someone just poured 20 million dollars in the game I only payed 64.75.... I'm the winner no matter how you slice it!!
David you're a funny man! love your posts dude!

chad said...

I agree with you. As much as I love a cheap used game I don't want to see the quality go down. I mean that's why we own ps3 is for the superior quality of the games. It's sad because retailers are the ones really winning. With out used games we would probably have alot more ps3 games to play now. Because developers would make more sales on evrygame. I think atleast a percentage of used games sales should go back to developers.Even 5 bucks a sale could be alot of money.But atleast there is dlc that developers can make some extra cash on.And dlc is great for gamers.I love it keeps my favorite games fresh.Hey David have you thought about trophy support for calling all cars.I think the game is fun and that would make it even better.Also if you love rpgs check out demon souls already out in asia.This game looks sweet surely a sleeper hit.Damn today I wish I was japanese they have demon souls and yazuka 3.How many here have heard of demon souls yet?Well that's all from me. peace Chad

Christopher G. said...

I despise what second-hand video game retail has become. I love many second-hand stores, especially for books. Got my friend a signed Glen Cook novel that way and it's great. But, I don't go to a second-hand store a month after the release of a new book to look for a used copy.

I believe the result of the abuse of the second-hand retail market is going to adversely affect me in that I despise digital distribution. I want a disk in my hand if it's more than 1 GB in file size. I haven't bought and played the Ratchet & Clank or the Siren PSN games because of this reason. Sure, I could get a larget HDD and fill that up, but I own close to 200 PS2 games alone and you know what the beauty is with those games that fit nicely on three shelves on my bookshelf? I can pull them off the shelf and play them in any room of my house or a friend's house, I don't have to worry about download limitations, I don't have to worry about losing them due to technical issues, I get all the information I need in the manuals provided, and with the latest games I know I'm getting the best graphics they can push into their engine rather than compressed graphics that typically rely on using even less colors so that things look even more brown and grey than usual.

I'd rather there be some sort of legislation that prevents the buying of used games solely for the purpose of their reselling, honestly. Sure, games are expensive and I wait as long as necessary before some games reach a certain price before I buy them (I'm looking at you Lair, Heavenly Sword, and the ever so god-awful Iron Man video games), but I buy them new, unopened (don't get me started on this BS w/GameStop's policy to open everything), and unaltered. If I buy a used game due to the game no longer being produced, I buy it to own it.

I have no opinion on game rentals other than perhaps the developers should get paid based on a leasing fee by the rental provider.

Anonymous said...


I agree with a lot of your comments, but I don't think Sony is trying to work with consumers on the PSN.

Take a game like Warhawk for example. The PSN version cuts out manufacturing and print costs and the big cut that the retail stores take. But what does Sony charge for it, the exact same price as the retail disc version! In fact, the retail version you may be able to get on sale somewhere! They're taking the extra profit to the bank, rather than passing on or sharing the savings with consumers.

If they want to be serious about people using PSN and not buying the used disc, why not make the PSN download the same price as a used disc:

Retail new: $29.99
Retail used: $19.99
PSN: $19.99

As is, if you download it, then you just don't get a box/manual and you spend the same price. There's no point.

da criminal said...

Anon- agree. The DL copy should be less expensive.

The Beaner said...

I agree comics are overpriced, but I really enjoy the quality of the one's I do buy. This whole debate reminds me of something Scott McCloud touched on in "Understanding Comics." Any serious comic fan would do well to check out his books. It's also interesting because, like David said, there are a lot of similarities between both industries. Even the topic of digital distribution is discussed, and that book is 16 years old.

Zodiak said...

lol Jaffe reads the funnys.

As for used games, I gotta make a blog out of this, I gotta say that I hate to buy them just because someone else had them, they write of them or the disc is scratched beyond repair, etc. but if I have to buy a game it would be new instead of used. But if a game is 20 bucks cheaper then I'd go for the used game. It's very sad to see none of the developers get some revenue out of the used game bin, even if it's 10% or whatever.

And whatever you do, don't get me started on getting those annoying 3 yellow stickers you have to slooowly peel off to get the cover in great shape. It's just sad to see the game industry try to rip off the game industry in terms of used games.

P.S. yeah I really need to get back to blogging =]

TrevDogg said...

right on point again ;-)

Anonymous said...


Lets not forget that some of the titles, that are available for download, are on disc(though they might be hard to find - say for instance "Castlevania:Symphony Of The Night").

So in this respect the developers and publishers would be creating another source of income from an older title that has ceased, or that has nearly ceased, to create any income.

For a title that is hard to come by this is a win/win situation all around because:

1. The consumer can get the hard to find game, though they may not get the jewel case, manual, and whatever else that came in the package. The consumer will also most likely get the game at a discounted price(also not getting bent over on eBay in an attempt to acquire the original release).

2. The developer and publiser are getting increased revenue with very little work at this point. Meaning... The game has been developed so all Sony/Developer has to do is create a digital manual, find a place to put the data(HD/DISC/etc.), and place it in the PlayStation Store(pay someone to add the code to the HTML) so that it appears for sale. Then "Presto" more money!

Obviously this is great for a game that has already sold out and is hard to find but for an un-popular title this probably wouldn't do so well because the consumer could go by the game used for cheaper then the download(most likely). They would also be acquiring the pysical disc, manual, and whatever else came in the package.

One last point then I'll give you a link to something else, that I recently found, disturbing.

Last point~

Lets not kid ourselves ... in the end the consumer is also the person who is going to pirate the game. They will hack it and distribute it for free or for a few dollars.

For example, look at all the Nintendo ROMs that are available on the internet. With all of these ROMs available it hurts Nintendos chances of increasing their revenue from older titles.

Why download Super Mario Bros. for a small fee to your Wii when you could download it and another 1,000+ ROMs for free to your computer(and PSP memory stick)?

So, in this instance, I would have to say that lowering the price of games, especially titles that have taken 3 to 5 years to create, a bad idea(Did I just say that? Did I take my medication today?). Yes, bad idea but I'm not saying that the price should be raised according to development time either.

I appreciated the fact that the Sony developed/published PS2 titles would be sold for $39.99 instead of $49.99(not all of them but a good number).

Ok, now for something else that I recently read that I have to call bu||$hit and made me just a wee bit angry!

Here is the title of the article and link(it was on Yahoo not MSN):

"Too much PlayStation may cause painful lumps"


My only reply to this stupid article is this:

I have been gaming longer than this 12 year old and so have a lot of other people. I have to say that I have never heard of anything like this occuring to anyone(consumer, tester, arcade gamer, or the likes).

If you punch an anvil really, really hard 20 times in a row your hand is going to be messed up and I think this girl might have been self-inducing these lesions.

If you squeeze a rope real hard and run your hand down it you'll get burned does that mean we need to invent a term "twine palmar burnitis"?

Wouldn't be suprised to hear that this girl is attempting to start some type of frivalous lawsuit against Sony.

Anyways, I hope you get a laugh and send the stupid doctor an email(Don't forget to remind him to take his medication).


Anonymous said...


Here is the disturbing link in full(was partially cut in previous post):


The last part is "/us_gaming_disorder"


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Protopet said...

I would get rid of used and rental game sales!
It is just hurting the developers. Let Gamestop have special pre-order bonuses and they can make the profit from that($20 more for the game figure or comic book) and other small stuff.

The budget for your games are only getting higher and the game prices are the same as last generation's prices. You guys are just getting screwed over by the used and rental game sales.

Also, make your game big, like you said you wanted to a while ago, and go for a $60 retail game. Like you said, people will think higher of it than a $20 or $40 game on the PS Store.

Sooth said...

Don't know if you saw this or not, but you're 71 out of IGN's 100 top game creators of all time.



TheUsedVersion said...

I recently revisited the God of War games playing them both back to back and decided that I would look into the literature of Greek Mythology. I have always been interested in mythology in general and have heard all the typical stories that kids are told when they are growing up. However, now that I'm almost 30, I have yet to read any definitive source when it comes to mythology specifically Greek Mythology. I have started looking on Amazon.com for books that I can order but I am having a hard time trying to figure out where to begin. I am looking for a book or series of books, hopefully in a modern translation, that detail most, if not all, of the characters and stories of Greek Mythology. However, finding the books regardless of translation would be my main objective.

Since I follow your blog and check it almost daily, I thought who better to ask about this than the creator of God of War. Are there any books that you can recommend? With this being the age of the internet, I am not sure if you read any books in preparation for the game or if you just consulted sources online. Regardless, any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Depending on your reply, you might consider posting the information I am requesting on your blog as I am sure that many would also be interested in your recommendations for Greek Mythology. Thanks.

da criminal said...

Used Version- you must not have watched today's video, eh? :)


Anonymous said...

Warhawk is a bad example though. I bought the download version specifically so it would always be there on my hardrive so I can jump into it anytime because it's a multiplyer game.Disc swapping is too much work , lol.

I do agree that Sony and Microsoft should do a better job of making sure costomers are aware of the stores and how to get casula consumers online with their systems. There's still some uneducated people out there that don't know what a router is , they'll have their PC's connected to the interent , but not their gaming platforms.

Anonymous said...

well if the games are really good, i will pay €60 for it! my god of war 1 & 2 & chains are all original.. killzone 2, uncharted, metal gear 4 and some other big ones are all original.. i love original.. but those big ass fuck up's don't deserve €60! i'm talking about games like: vampire rain.

you got to admit that! my opinion.. download them, then burn the iso, try the game out, and fuck it if it's that bad! if it's really good like your god of war games you wil get my money.. you deserve it!

by now i know i will get some bad reactions, but like tupac says: i don't give a fuck!

cash = cash

SonyJunkie said...

Great video.

I agree with you on the devs being mad about used video games. I am also somewhat angry at it. I know I can get the game for $5 cheaper which isn't that big of a deal but if devs aren't making enough money from profit, then there next games will have to take that hit which could result in a worse game for not having the money to make the game.

For the stores doing it, it makes more money for them, which will keep their business going and they will do that just like any human would. If devs could squeeze a few extra bucks out of the consumer to keep their business going, I think they would do it.

P.S. I watched that part with you saying funny paper like 50 times. It was hilarious. I could not stop laughing, my eyes started to water. It was great.

kv_sthlm_swe said...

Hey Jaffe.

I have never owned used copies, rented any nor resold games I have bought.
It never have crossed my mind, since I keep what I buy. The good as well as the bad ones.
I just like new fresh copies, and there is always some little thing I like about a game, so I do not feel like selling.
Having a small budget is not that limiting buying games, just need to find good deals.

As for digital downloads and distributions.
Sure, bandwidth and awareness is two issues. But payment methods, availability and legacy systems are others.
For me, bandwidth is not an issue with dedicated fiberoptic, no limit access nor awareness.
Payment issues are, it should be as simple to just pick up a pre payed card with a game purchase, and get home and input the code and go nuts.
That is my biggest complaint about Sony's efforts here in Europe. No pre payed cards at retail around here.
Then what about next generations of systems?. Will products bought online be possible to play on new gen systems?.
After all, physical (disc) based products can be played on a old system, or a system with BC.
Since I keep my games instead of tossing them out, it would be great if it would be possible to play older games on new systems or the old ones.
With digital distribution, it is not exactly clear if it will be possible.

Oh and Jaffe, you mentioned in the vid about games cost a lot of money to make.
High costs are so easy to fix, you just gotta eat less, ha ha! =P

Seriously though, something needs to be done if the games industry should stay healthy enough, to alow developers to try new ideas and approaches, that may not be that commercially successful.
Less money earned, less risk the big companies will be willing to make.
The games industry has always been struggelling with stagnating diversity, and recently it feels that all more games are the same.
But that makes the choices consumers have to make easier, since they either buy the same annual crap or just buy less games.

Anyway, the subject is a thought generator and I am all thought out, got to go and do "stuff" >=)
Take it easy Jaffe, life is too short to rush.

mango said...

maybe its just me but I actually think comic books are ridiculously cheap. sure you only spend a few minutes reading over it, but (and maybe I think this cuz I can't draw worth shit) a lot of work goes into that art. I dunno, I have never felt ripped off buying a comic. and I sure as hell wouldn't want a used comic... who knows what kind of grubby little hands have been all over it.

I get people complaining about game prices. Before I had money I did too. but I don't think its because of the lack of quality in games... its cuz we are poor that's all.

frankly i haven't bought a game recently that I have thought was not worth the money (I didn't buy haze but that certainly would be one that I would be pissed off about if I had spent the money) but thankfully games like haze are far and few between and the majority are great games.

now whether there is a market for great games in this economy is a different question all together. I hope so, I love great games. and if I have to pop 60$ for a game to ensure that more great games like MGS4 keep coming out then as far as I am concerned that's money well spent.


Charlie said...

Regarding the used games issue:

Personally, if I'm only going to save $5-10 on a game by buying used, I'll just get the new copy.

The problem comes with older games. Games that are over a year old I can get used for $30-40, sometimes less, but the price of the new copy very rarely goes down, except for greatest hits lines etc. To walk into a Best Buy and buy a brand new copy of Lair, Heavenly Sword, Ratchet and Clank, etc. are still $60. There is no incentive for someone to spend twice as much to get the new copy.

I think the problem is that new games need to drop in price quicker, and more uniformly. Maybe a $10 drop after 6 months, $25 after a year, or something along those lines.

Jack said...

This problem is one that extends far beyond the realm of games and comics.

People, as Mr. Jaffe said, will always be looking for the lowest price but, at the same time, will always be looking for the highest quality. The problem is finding the right balance.

A good start is to look at the extremes.

A. Games/Movies/Music/Comics/Food are all super shitty, but practically free

B. The quality of our products are sublime, but the prices ridiculous

I know this is nigh impossible, but if there was some way to measure the quality and quantity of all the work and creativity that goes into a game, then each game could have it's own perfectly legitimate price.

Example: I would pay much more than $59.99 for games like God of War, Metal Gear Solid, Gears of War, etc. but only if I could pay much, much less for fucking sports games that come out every year and are exactly the same! (I don't buy them anyway because sports games suck, but I couldn't think of a better example because those games still sell a shitload.)

Mark said...

The price of games is fine. I do not want the quality of games to suffer because of price. I play a lot of games after they become cheaper anyway, with things like the Greatest Hits line on PS2.

jguy275 said...

I think of games as a per hour type of payment. I mean I don't mind going to see a movie in theaters for the equivalent of 4 dollars an hour so why would I mind paying 65 dollars for a 15-20 hour or more journey. It winds up being cheaper than a movie in theaters.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jaffe! Intellectual thinking is what I like the most about your blogs. Always gives us something to chew on, so to speak.

There is no way that used game sales should, or would, be regulated by the industry no matter how much they hate it. If a person, or a group of people, an organization, is looking to go after Gamestop for selling used games, then they would need to go after the pawn shops that share the same business practices. But that won't happen.

However, used games sales is a predicament for the gaming industry as a whole, no doubt. So how can we solve this problem? Two things come to mind. Either the publishers/ developers open a store that sells everything from T-shirts, coffee mugs, even used games, to make a little money on the side, ala the Square Enix stores. Or digital distribution, which was mentioned on this blog.

And since publishers are hoarding their money in this man's economy, opening a store is highly unlikely.

Lucas said...

No one is saying that every game should be 20 bucks. And no body wants the quality to be diminished cause of that, what people are asking is for a more reasonable pricing structure that doesn't make EVERY GAME that releases to be automatically sixty bucks.

Here is an example pricing structure that I believe would be more reasonable:

$60 - Special Editions/Collectors (Games that feature a bunch of extras; ie, Behind the scenes, extra movies ect.)
$50 - Epic titles, including; online play or an extensive amount of game hours (Your Halo's, Fallout 3, Gears of War ect.) Games that feature an extensive longevity ect.
$40 - Single-player only or sports titles. (Games such as; Mirrors Edge, Uncharted, Heavenly Sword (even Valkyrie Chronicles) or sports games like; Maddens, Tony Hawks ect.) While I do love these types of games, paying sixty bucks for a game that may not even last you a day is insane!
$30 - Smaller titles or "mini"games. (Games such as; Boom Blox, Cooking Mama. Even games like DOAX or more "arcadey" type games) I'm just glad I got Boom Blox for 35 dollars via coupons.
$5-15 - Smaller downloadable games. (Such as; Pixel Junk series, Geometry wars, Peggle) This is already the case, but I don't want to ever see these getting to far from this price range.

Omnifarious said...

Would lowering the price of a new game to $40-$50 really hurt the overall budget THAT much? I'm honestly curious. I always wait until games drop to that range before buying them (unless it's a game that I really want).

Keith K said...

$40-50 would be a god send in this economy right now. Since about this time last year, prices here in Canada have been rising. The last few titles I've picked up have been $69.99. Valkyria Chronicles was $74.99 USED! (Which I paid because it was the first copy I had found in 8 weeks in any condition)

(small note, I made an obvious mistake in my earlier comment quoting $25 a copy instead of 25 cents.)

HairyAsHell said...

As a developer I think gamers are getting a bargain for their $60 experience considering the game is actually good like MGS4 or Gears2. Then again, for the same $60 you are getting games like X-Blades.

As for used games, I guess it does promote new game sales or gaming in general. But like the $60 issue its a bit of a chicken and egg thing.

I think as games head for digital downloads, smaller developers can get more exposure and gamers can get cheaper alternatives (smaller experiences). I think Sony is doing a great job promoting that platform and allowing unique games/experiences to be released such as Flow/Flower. All console makers need to do now is promote and market such digitally downloadable games so it becomes more mainstream. Also, I think retailers should also exist for $60 and disc copies for downloadable games as some consumers actually prefer hard copies of their purchases.

It can work like iTunes where digital downloads are cheaper than buying a CD. However, when it comes to CDs, they have higher sound quality. Maybe disc versions of downloadable games can come with extra content to justify the extra selling price?

hiphopgamer said...

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Anonymous said...

That's Great! Magnificent post David. Btw Wipeout HD was the perfect example. I also just bought GoW2 along with KZ2 last Friday & will start to play it soon. Having missed GoW2 I knew I had to go & play it. I played through the first level & damn my PS2 must've been dripping melted Meta toxins the game is absolutely spectacular & actually looks as good as the 360 & PS3 action games out there. E.G Ninja Gaiden S & 2, Star Wars TFU WTF WTF. It's insane.
Online Dating

Sadeq said...

I loved it when you said publishers should meet up in a warehouse like the mafia. It reminds me of the "group therapy" line by the Joker in the Dark Knight.

Back to the subject, I think that yes, disk-based games should go back to the $40-$50 model. Though in Saudi we have always purchased games at a much higher price since we import them ($70-$80 even for PS2 games, and we don't have any rental/used games model in any of the retailers).

About digital distrebution, what do you do to make the consumers aware of it? Do you force gamers to log into the PS Store everytime they start their PS3? I think that wouldn't be such a bad idea especially if it happens only when there is an update (i.e. every Thursday).

Seems to me some developers are more aware of the problem and that's why they have an easy-to-access in-game store for their DLC (look at Burnout Paradise where it take no effort to get to the store, and the game always take you to that hub-like page before you can play, which supports my suggestion to force gamers into PS Store). This seems like a better solution but it only works for DLC.

Lastly, thank you for stating it isn't the consumers problem to worry about the publishers/developers. And thank you for saying consumers should worry about getting the best deal they can. This somehow makes me feel relieved.

Asurastrike said...

Wait, you throw away comic books?

Lelik said...

this is why i love you david.

Tankzilla said...

I've been buying, selling, trading games for years now. These are my 2 cents as consumer,gamer.

Publishers can sell new games at retail pricing, but after game sales hit a wall, after everybody that is going to buy it new has bought it, and especially if you're game wasnt a smash hit, introduce AGGRESSIVE pricing. Valve pushed an older "okay" game to number #2 or #3 on their sales charts by putting the game up for $5 bucks! Do you know how many games I would buy for $5 bucks? Games that otherwise the publisher would never see a dime from if I waited to buy a used copy cheap. Games that I wouldnt even trade for, I would buy for $5 bucks, it's an impulse thing.

Now Im limiting this model to digital distribution, there is something maybe you can answer for me though since you keep saying digital distribution will solve everything. All these games up for digital distribution, does the publisher decide what the price is? I assume, or rather kotaku made it sound like it was a capcom/valve joint decision to price the game at $5. If thats the case, wont a big problem with digital distribution be, lack of competition? Will the consumer get totally shafted? Wouldnt it mean that the publisher can basically control the price across all digital distribution channels?

Help me clear that up, thanks.

Askia "SK5000" Gibson said...

The Hellen Keller line was awesome

Grayman said...

Hey David,
I would really like to see companies try to make some 5 million dollar games, or whatever they had to be to sell at $20.

As you could see if you played a PC game that you had more than enough hardware for outdated graphics can still look pretty good. Quakeworld's assets in a newer client do not look 15 years old. Using hardware and fewer digital pen strokes could probably be a big money saver.

If I was to buy lower cost games though I would I expect more out of the mechanics and replayability. Twisted Metal with 2 areas and 6 cars would be much better than one hour of god of war. A "sandbox" die hard experience in one high rise would be amazing while a rainbow 6 vegas scripted corridor shooter in one would not be worth buying.

Of course I do not represent all of the market. I guess you would also have trouble where your job of making it fun would take just as long but the art department would be done the project in a month or two.


Rasjedi said...

Hey David!!!
Just watched the video and it got me thinking about greek and norse mythology. What do you think, as a comics fan, about the Thor movie, and who would you think would make a cool God Of Thunder?
Also you looking foward to Watchmen, I really haven't seen you mention it at all.
Anyway, love the blog and hope to hear more about your new project soon, diyng to see what you've been working on.
Take care man!!!

Keith K said...


You're a Sony Boy David. The internet works really hard.. REALLY hard, to skew anything and everything they can to turn it against Sony and it's proponants. Imagine if Microsoft succeeded in buying YouTube...

We really look to you as a flag waver, so keep it up and dont let the fucking morons discourage ya.

jack said...

Not sure why I can't comment on the latest blog entry itself, but sine I can't, I'm doing it here.
WOW JAFFE! I have yet to see you go off on someone that hard yet. All I got to say is...DAMN!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey David:

Great Points!

By the way, the Wii FPS Onslaught is a great game for $10.00. Fun FPS with a basic premise, not complicated, decent graphics. It brought me back to the old days to the Atari 2600 -- where games were simple and just plain fun.

Hughes. said...

Gahh! Looks like some game journalist wants EVERYONE to know he's read Aristotle. How very proud of himself he must be!

On the subject of used games, I'm still unsure of the full legality of it, as I'm sure the license prohibits resale. While the purchaser owns the physical media and the packaging, they are only a licensee of the software that is on the disc.

Handing money over in a store seems to legitimise the process, but as far as the publisher and developer are concerned, someone is benefiting from their work, without them getting any recompense outside of the first copy sold, which could be traded in 3 or 4 times.

Effectively, the customer retailer partnership is the same as that between a pirate and someone who buys illegal copies, it's just the retailer's margin is smaller.

The counterpoint is, all figures given for lost revenue from piracy rely on the completely flawed premise that people who bought an illegal copy would have otherwise bought a full retail version, which is obviously not the case. The same applies for used copies.

da criminal said...

Hughes- good points but on the piracy thing: the issue is not only about how much money someone loses to piracy. It's the issue of the pirates disrespect to those folks who paid for the work AND the fact that if you are not gonna pay for it, then you should not get to partake in it. It's not a valid argument- and I am not saying you are suggesting it is-but it's not a valid argument to say, "Well, I wasn't gonna pay for it so I may as well get to enjoy it for free..."...as a creator, my take on that is, 'ok, you are not gonna pay for it? Too bad, but I appreciate your honesty. Doesn't mean you get to play the game anyway!'

Hughes. said...

I didn't say it was a good counterpoint :¬D

I do see used game sales and piracy as being ultimately the same, as far as the people who actually did the work on the product getting stiffed. I think the fact that people hand over money in a high street store kind of fuels a misconception that it's all okay.

R2D2 said...

I do agree with some of your opinions, but I also think that the problem is deeper and at the time simpler.
We’re always angry basically because we’re avoiding seeing the big picture. Doing things like God of War or Metal Gear costs money. Many people tend to compare games with the movies, saying that games are simply to expensive. But, as soon as I tell them that a movie ticket that costs around 10$ gives you entertainment trough 2 hours (something like 5$/h) and that a game like God of War costing 50$ that gives you around 10 to 15 hours of entertainment that you actually control (meaning 3$ to 5$/h) they soon tend to say “Yah, from that perspective it’s a cheap deal!”. What I really mean is that the angry guys on this matter are a bit stupid. While the smart ones, like big part of us, are frustrated when confronted with this kind things.
Of course, as soon as the digital distribution finally works, I’m sure we’re going to find other reasons to be angry or, hopefully, frustrated.

P.S. Loce your blog

Gazzo said...

I, personally, am against piracy. I don't really have a problem with emulating old games, but I do not believe in piracy. I think that "if you're not gonna pay for it, you shouldn't partake in it" is a great way to put it. I've heard a lot of people who pirate games use excuses like "Well, I probably wasn't going to buy it anyway, so it was a POTENTIAL buy." Which is bullshit. You're getting an illegal copy of the game and getting enjoyment out of something without paying respect (in the form of money, haha) to the creators of the work. I've also heard people say that they've "Been buying games all my life, I deserve some free ones." I guess that means that since I've been buying and using pencils pretty much all my life, Paper-Mate should just send me a couple boxes for free.

Anyway, on the subject of digital distribution, I like it. However, I don't think anything can really replace getting a game, and then just not being able to contain yourself from ripping the shrink wrap off of it and reading the instruction manual on the way home. Those were some of the most fun moments of my life. And, to be honest, even now I prefer to have something physical. I do not think digital distribution is a bad thing, but like people have said, if they're going to do it that way, they better damn well take 10-15 bucks (at least) off the price tag.

Gazzo said...

I thought I was done, but I don't think I am, because I haven't commented on the used games thing.

I was reading articles about your "used games are none of the consumer's business" statement, and I got to thinking about it.

You know, I actually agree, partly. As a consumer in a capitalist market, stores and companies compete. In doing so, prices are different, and it's up to the consumer to get the deal they want. In that respect, no. It's not really our business. All I care about is getting a game I want cheaply. Yes, it kind of sucks that game creators may not get paid for each consecutive time a game gets traded in used, but, ya know, welcome to capitalism. It's all part of it. And I wouldn't have it any other way, personally.

And I think used games are a good thing. GamePolitics made the statement: "Have you ever seen a young mom walk into GameStop with a little kid who is clutching maybe five bucks? It's a huge treat for a child like that to pick up a used GBA cartridge or two. The game may be old, but it's a brand-new experience to him. Who's to say that kid's only option is to buy a new game? At $19.99, maybe that new GBA game doesn't get purchased. Maybe that kid never really gets into gaming." Maybe I'm being too empathetic here. However, THAT'S why I love the used games concept, even if I don't personally partake in it very often.

Anyway, I'm aware that there are probably some grammatical errors in there, but I just wanted to get that off my chest, so to speak.

Tucker Ford said...

Fuck The Feed! Jaffe, they just want to piss you off because they're attention whores. Don't even give them the credit of calling them "journalists", they're mere flame-war starters.

Kould bE aNyone said...

Didn't calling all cars make a profit so you could make another game of similar scale? Why not port Calling All Cars to the iPhone, the wii, etc? The iPhone's videogame-stable is pretty bare right now so Calling All Cars could become a well-known ap. on it. I suspect part of what bothers you (though unsaid) is that a game that's quality for its' budget won't sell as well as a larger-production game. Yet some shitty wii products like wii fit have sold very well by bilking women. So make a cell-phone game where women can rotoscope in their faces for an avatar, dress their characters up w/real-life designer clothes at a hundredth of the real item's price, chat, show emotions through their avatar (blushing, slapping, tears), and have a dating sim chicks can pull real-life boyfriends into. Guys will hate "whoever made that damn game" [you] b/c their girlfriend keeps wanting to go on walks through the google-mapped streets of Paris while he's at work. But you'll be rich at a cheaper development cost.
There're small games like Braid and World of Goo folks go for but their ads are limited enough in scope n00bs don't know about them. That's the fact of every person: we're rationally ignorant. A man can't keep tabs on every development in the world so he specializes his body-of-knowledge to his field of interest. So a guy really into games (or anything else) will always be a connoisseur frustrated by the ignorance of folks who care less. After Jaffe's lifetime, when the current 12 year olds are grandparents, I reckon games'll be common enough that there'll be a much larger cheap-game market. There already are smaller-scale games but most businessmen are too stupid to promote them even if involved in game production. They witness a business model is profitable and ape it w/out comprehension of what makes it profitable, like savages who can pass along and preserve but not start a fire.

Cartman86 said...

As long as we still get the big story based games like Metal Gear, Bioshock, SotC etc. Braid has proven that it's possible as a small short downloadable game. I'm fine with options.

MK24ever said...

Jaffe.. man, I see you, has a see me, smart guys (not genius though), so let's get honest here, from what I could discover on all these years I here you talk I got to a pretty solid conclusion, you're one of those guys who are very focused on his own ideas and on how things should work, you believe that as a PROFESSIONAL game designer you are the one who knows how things must work, now you ask for *our opinion on how we believe a MP match should be set?

Won't that affect even slightly everything you said about it? Are you a good listener? I believe that has a Game designer you MUST be a good listener, and aprove other's opinions, but those others won't be *us (internauts), but yes other professionals, your internal team. Don't ask for opinions you despise.

Sorry my English, I'm Portuguese and my english sucks, I may have written things without much sense :P

DocBooch said...

I think the gaming industry needs to think outside the box here. Entertainers get royalties everytime their artistic license is used to promote something. The Gaming and Entertainment Industry should petition Congress for royalties everytime a commercial company re-sells their artistic license/product.

Anonymous said...

As a consumer, I do care where my money goes (the developer/publisher vs. retailer), because I know that if the developers/publishers don't get paid, they don't make any more games. I couldn't care less if Gamestop evaporated into thin air, but I do care if Capcom or Atlus goes under.

Anonymous said...

$49.99 is good start. that's but $10 off the usual $59.99; especially with the way things are going. at $20 i'm not prepared to make the sacrifice in quality or length.

ZoMbieHeaDshOtZ said...

"I can't believe I said funny papers" lol HaHa! Love your stuff dave been coming to this site since 07 but this is my first comment ever. Keep up the good work and I look forward to all your new stuff.

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