Game discounts. What does it mean for a game?

Sonic Angel Knight

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Something of interest had hit me as of late and if you can't tell what it is by the title of this topic, well keep reading. It's not a easy topic to discuss, it could be controversial as it feature more opinions from consumers than the facts developers or publishers are willing to give to set consumers. Is possible no one can agree on many aspects of a discount. But just to be clear, what a discount is to me?

What is a discount? (In my opinion)


"When the paying price of a product has decreased from the initial sales price issued by the provider" Basically anything (or game in this context) that starts as one price when first available to consumers, and then having a lower one sometime later. Some discounts known as sales are temporary and some are permanent known as "price drop" and the cause of those are many factors.

Permanent sales of games are usually because it becomes less relevant. Time pass on and so the game is either forgotten or not being produced. To get rid of surplus stock, making them lower price is appealing to whomever. Some are rebranded as a shining achievement like Playstation greatest hits or Nintendo Selects, where it just showing a consumer "Look at me, I sold many copies. I'm popular, buy me, many people like me, you will too and at this low price may I add."

Back on track as to why I started this topic, the thing I want to do is analyze the pattern of discounts for games. Because I'm no expert on games, I will not pretend to be one. I only speak at a consumer level because that's what I am. The big question that... honestly I'm not sure how to put into context. So the best i came up with is "Are game discounts a big deal to the value of the game?"

The FLAGS



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One main reason why I bring this up is because I was curious if others felt the same way I do. Some things don't sit right with me when I see some sales now and days. One of the sales I can point out (see above) had a discount costing us only EIGHTY-NINE CENTS! :blink:

Oh my gosh, are you joking? This is a joke right? Well no way it can be, it was high on the sales chart in the Nintendo Eshop during the sale. This is insane, but is not the first time I seen stuff like this. Fear Effect Sedna is another game that had similar sales. $19.99 normal and $1.99 with discount. These are some extreme cases especially for console games. This is Eshop by the way, not Playstation store with the Playstation Plus better discount or steam or humble bundle or fanatical or whatever with their ridiculous discounts. NO, THIS IS CRAZY. :wtf:

The one that got me the most was Team Sonic Racing, that game is $39.99 and within less than FOUR WEEKS a %50 discount. That's so fast, less than four weeks the game released and already discounted for half price? And this happens often. If you haven't noticed by now, these are some extreme cases. You probably wondering what is my point here? I wasn't really trying to make one. I was just curious if you consider this a bad sign of things.
  • Why is the price so low
  • Why is the sale so frequent
  • How did they let a sale happen this soon after release
All of this could make you wonder, if the game just bad? That is usually how I see it. These are just some of the recent ones I picked out because it is extreme. There is many reasons for such things to happen but is isn't always explained to the consumer. I usually just see the pattern, have it noted and then wonder if the game is so bad, is begging people to play it. I don't like to assume things but I can't help but think something is up. The most common reason for discounts is usually lack of sales. Not always that it means a game is selling poorly, but more like a significant flow of it has been slowing down since it took off.

Conclusion


So have you made it this far? (Be honest) if you did, then you must have something to contribute to this topic. I'm just asking what do you guys think of this because as you can tell, I am already dumbfounded about the crazy things. To be more open, it is never fair to completely judge a game without experiencing it. But it doesn't mean that you as a consumer with logic and decision making wouldn't ignore signs like these as it can influence your choices. I can be making a big deal out of this, but is it a big deal to you? Do you find it a bit suspicious if you were looking to buy new games with leftover money to spend? :)
 

Taleweaver

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I remembering reading (or watching on eg extra credits) that the first two weeks after release date makes or breaks the total sales. After that, there is only a small resurgence if a major patch is released or some dlc (or perhaps a new game in the series). And yes, discounts go along those.

I'll be honest : I very rarely buy at full price now. Not because I think the games are bad, but because I already have a huge library. Even the weirdest indie games have a hard time convincing me that I should play them instead of one of the sometimes dozens of unpaid games in my backlog.
But I'm a sucker for discounts and bundles. By obtaining, it won't hurt my wallet as much, and I won't feel guilty if I don't play it after I'm grown bored of it (which, admittedly, happens much faster when spending less).

My philosophy is that all games end up on sale sooner or later. It says little on their quality and more on the viewpoint of the developers. Factorio, for example, won't see discounts because it just lingers in early access for all eternity. And they can afford it because they have a strong fan base and release updates often. But likewise I remember having (small) games on my stream wishlist that simply outlasted many steam sales undiscounted. It just happens...
 

Ryccardo

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You know, while for the past 5 years I've always bought new digitally (but most things I buy are used), you just made me notice for the first time a disadvantage of digital distribution - by cutting out the middleman (through making stores' products directly controlled by the manufacturers), concentration of power and potential price fixing or discrimination is the result....
 

FAST6191

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Always a fun thing to contemplate for me.

Above it all there is of course "something is worth what someone else is willing to pay".

I imagine in the cartridge era this was somewhat tempered by cart cost, and said thing seemed to be the reference for most games going forward. Today I find the high prices somewhat odd as money wise games cost and sell about that of films and music but cost multiple times as much. It gets even odder when they try raising prices but at least people are inclined to push back against it (even if they go and give it right back in terms of subscriptions, planned DLC and microtransactions*).

*one probably ought to consider how arcades play out in all this as they were the original microtransactions.

Some also consider that there are people out there which will drop a few hundred right away. Ideally you would seek to capture those and then extract money all the way down to the will give a pittance set but such things are hard to do without the former feeling ripped off.

All that said unless your game had some kind of artificial price or obscurity generated multiplayer pool going on and letting in the plebs will crush the quality as a result I would go with "play what you want to play".

By the way if you are interested in using data to do fun things then https://towardsdatascience.com/predicting-hit-video-games-with-ml-1341bd9b86b0 is a bit heavy going but still a nice read.
 
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