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Steam Sales and Devaluation

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Project_Nightmare 1st August 2012, 05:33 Quote
You are forgetting that selling digitally is cheaper than a physical copy. Yet publishers still rip of the digital consumer by requiring them to pay just as much for the digital copy as the physical counterpart. You also need to consider the physical counterpart for used games, since digital games cannot (yet) be sold used. So the game isn't as devalued as much as you are stating.
sHr0oMaN 1st August 2012, 05:57 Quote
What do you mean by devalued?
Is the game playing experience "devalued"? Are games art, and somehow "devalued" if everyone owns a copy?
I guess you mean "devalued" in the sense that developers / publishers lose money? Do they have no control over whether their games are "devalued" by being put on sale by Steam? Do they even lose money? Do sales not enlarge the potential market for games?
pantalaimon 1st August 2012, 06:02 Quote
What Nightmare said. It's devaluing something that is overpriced to begin with.
Mentai 1st August 2012, 06:44 Quote
I buy more games than I would otherwise because of Steam sales, games that aren't the greatest ever or not in my usual genre. The purchase risk is greatly reduced when they're $10US instead of the $80US publishers charge on day 1 in my region. Previously I would have just pirated them instead of taking that risk, and purchased the sequels if it turned out to be a series I really enjoyed.

I still buy games brand new if I get caught in the hype, like with Skyrim or anything put out by Valve, so my brand new purchases actually haven't decreased. It used to be that I would put most of my time into a decent multiplayer game, but now I try to get through my backlog of single player games instead, simply because I can't resist a good deal on Steam. I spend more money today on gaming than ever entirely due to Steam sales, so I think it's a positive thing for both consumers and the industry.
barrkel 1st August 2012, 06:45 Quote
Like Nightmare says, Steam games are only competitively priced in comparison to even Amazon when on sale, never mind residual value of resale.
Adnoctum 1st August 2012, 06:52 Quote
Consumers will pay for what the product is worth to them, even if they don't have much choice in the matter.
If people are only buying games at Steam sales, then they are paying for what they believe the games are worth.

Secondly, I am getting ripped off by publishers compared to consumers in the US and UK (hard to believe, I know). Due to economic woes around the world, exchange rates have gone all screwy and making the value of my currency higher against the US dollar than normal. Has the price of games/software gotten lower? Of course not! Therefore I am being asked to pay 100% more than US gamers.
During the Steam summer sale, Skyrim was 50% off its normal price, but it still cost more than it would have to buy via grey imports from the UK/US. COD MW3 was 66% off at one point (I think, because I still wasn't interested) but was still 50% MORE than a grey import because the normal price for MW3 is STILL $99 on Steam. F**k you, Activision.

Why should I be made to pay for publisher greed? The last game I bought at full local prices was The Witcher 2, because I wasn't being asked by the publisher to pay more than US gamers would. The rest I have grey imported from the UK for 50% less including Skyrim, Max Payne 3 and Rage.
Steam sales are the only way I don't get ripped off.
FvD 1st August 2012, 06:58 Quote
I'll happily buy a game that interests me during a sale.
The fact that major titles are usually more expensive on steam than brick&mortar shops or amazon while not on sale is quite baffling to me as server upkeep should be less expensive than the publishers costs for shipping/packing the game to the distributers.
That and the f'ed up pricing regions. Even Valves in-house titles tend to have bad pricing.
Imported Portal2 for 30EUR including shipping from the UK while it was on "sale" in the steam store for ~34EUR.
I think this was about half a year after release.
Alice: 50EUR/20USD

Moral of the story: shop around. At least I refuse to buy a game for 59EUR on first day, regardless of how good it is.
I still do not own ME3 for that very reason (considering the mandatory first day DLC).
fooboi 1st August 2012, 07:05 Quote
I generally use the sale to buy extra copies for friends, or games that I am keen to try but don't want to pay full price for. That said there a still games today that I pre-order, So I don't see this as devaluing but rather increasing the target market. I would have never playe the original Batman game as I felt it wast my kind of genre but ended up buying it in sale a while back and then pre-ordered Arkum City because of it.
atlas 1st August 2012, 07:31 Quote
The article doesn't mention that games are overpriced in the first place so perhaps a little devaluation is exactly what they need. 60 euro for a game is a little ridiculous and the steam sale tends to knock these down to about half that which makes them far more reasonable. I would never have bought Max Payne 3 otherwise for instance.
chimaera 1st August 2012, 08:05 Quote
This is a toughie. There is a merit to the argument presented, but on the flip side I generally think the prices for third party games are a little on the high side on Steam relative to the rest of the market - maybe not so much at release (although sometime) but once a game has been around for a few months. For example I just looked at Darkness 2 (mainly as I was tempted to pick it up in the sale) - On Steam its currently £39.99. On Amazon? £14.99

Sale or not if a game is coming that I really want I'll buy it - for example Arkham City. The sales I tend to buy either DLC (which I think is way overpriced normally) or games I'm not so sure I'd enjoy - this time round for example I didn't buy much at all (Frozen Synapse RED DLC, AC Harley Quinn DLC and ArmaII).

I do wish I'd picked up Max Payne 3 though... maybe at Christmas :)
Parge 1st August 2012, 08:47 Quote
To put it simply, I buy games in the Steam sale to 'try out' that I would never have bought otherwise.

I also buy the occasional full price game for titles I'm very excited about. Did want to try out Oil Rush at £12.99? No not really. Did I want to try it out at £2? Yes I do.

I want to buy L4D2 for a friend so we can play together. Do I want to pay £20 for this? No I don't. Do I want to gift it to a friend at £3.74? Yes I do.

The bottom line is, the games industry would have a lot less of my money if Steam sales didn't exist.
MachineUK 1st August 2012, 09:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parge
To put it simply, I buy games in the Steam sale to 'try out' that I would never have bought otherwise.

The bottom line is, the games industry would have a lot less of my money if Steam sales didn't exist.

Exactly right imo. Games that I want to buy on day one release, be it PC / console I will probably get. When I browse the steam sale, its normally not for games I have waited to buy, its for a game I may not have bought because I was on the fence when it came out. Metro 2033 for example.

On the other hand:
The majority of opinion would be that most games are bought on console, so the steam sales might not make a huge difference to the gaming market. Perhaps then, should I be more worried for PC games? Will it be PC games that suffer from game company neglect as a result of the sales? Will this push even more companies towards the console market?
Spreadie 1st August 2012, 09:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parge
To put it simply, I buy games in the Steam sale to 'try out' that I would never have bought otherwise.

I also buy the occasional full price game for titles I'm very excited about. Did want to try out Oil Rush at £12.99? No not really. Did I want to try it out at £2? Yes I do.

I want to buy L4D2 for a friend so we can play together. Do I want to pay £20 for this? No I don't. Do I want to gift it to a friend at £3.74? Yes I do.

The bottom line is, the games industry would have a lot less of my money if Steam sales didn't exist.
Very well said - my sentiments exactly.
liratheal 1st August 2012, 09:21 Quote
I buy stuff in Steam sales that, like many others in this thread, I'd never buy otherwise.

In fact, looking back, that's about all I buy off Steam, with a handful of exceptions.
Shirty 1st August 2012, 09:29 Quote
Lest we forget, part of what we are paying for when we buy through Steam is Gabe's next KFC family bucket the convenience of being able to play a triple-A title within a short time of purchasing it, without even getting off our arses.

Like it or loathe it, as broadband speeds increase in the UK Steam and other digital download platforms allow us unrivalled convenience, and many of us are willing to pay a little extra for hat service. Not me though. I'm tight as **** :D
badders 1st August 2012, 09:29 Quote
Personally, games have been devalued for me due to life circumstances - the arrival of our daughter in October last year means I have maybe an hour or two a week at the most to spend playing games.

This means that it's much easier for me to justify waiting for a game to drop in price significantly before I buy it, as I would get no benefit playing it as soon as it comes out, or even shortly after - if the equivalent time between full price and heavily discounted is only 10-20 hours of play, then I can very well play something else while I'm waiting.
law99 1st August 2012, 09:33 Quote
I think £30 is fair for a new game. Given how much more time I will get out of it compared to say a movie or worse, a cinema ticket. Although that poses an interesting question for books considering I will give them considerably more time than a film, yet expect to pay no more than £8 as I don't buy hardbacks.

For some reason though, I don't like paying more than £20 for a game that is over a year old. Even though I am not an online gamer, I feel that I have missed the party. I don't want to pay full whack now. This may be the result of some conditioning on the part of retail anyway and I personally feel, that the price that is settled on after the initial release has milked the cow for all it is worth, is a more fair price.

I think we all know how this stuff works, they want to squeeze the most cash out of you in nice little segments; maximising the sales at each level. And the price retailers pay, and indeed the industry, for such a practice is conditioning us to expect to pay less for something that is brand new just because it is old.
proxess 1st August 2012, 09:39 Quote
If I feel a game is going to be worth paying retail, I will buy it. I used to never buy games unless it was the creme de la creme (Valve games). I'd pirate everything. Thanks to Steam sales, I've actually bought a few of these pirated games I thought well worth it in the past. Penumbra, STALKER, etc. Actually, a few of these games I bought at the normal non-discounted Steam price, like Amnesia. I wouldn't have bought them if not for my pirating/Steam mix. I bought a few that I hadn't tried during Steam Sales as well, but smaller titles, like Braid.
N17 dizzi 1st August 2012, 09:40 Quote
I disagree that devaluation could stop developers being 'less inclined to innovate'.

What's the FPS that is incredibly successful at whatever price, but is the antithesis of innovation?

So the opposite may be true there Joe. Innovate, or be unsuccessful.

Admittedly I may well have bought MW3, if it was a fiver.


As Parge rightly said and its the same with me, there may be 40 games in my steam I wouldn't own if it weren't for the sale. Some of which I've really enjoyed and when or if a sequel comes along, I may well buy at full price - thanks to the steam sale.

(Though that doesn't always work out, I bought Cliffs of Dover on pre order)


More importantly, who else now plays arty farty music in the background when reading something by Joe? :D
Da_Rude_Baboon 1st August 2012, 09:43 Quote
The only people devaluing IP's are the publishers with BS day one DLC releases, season passes and pre-order exclusives which fracture the user base from release. Instead of patronising us by telling us what we want or telling us how happy we are with the current generation graphics go and fund some thing which is actually new and interesting.

Basic economics: Something is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it. If Batman sells more copies at £15 than £30 it's value is closer to £15. Publishers artificially inflate the retail price to make as much money as possible in the initial launch period before sales drop and I think steam uses the DFS tactics of keeping the price higher than it should be prior to a sale to make the discounts look bigger.

Sales are a regular part of the retail industry so why do games publishers and devs cry butt hurt over sales? I've never heard the film industry complaining about retailers selling DVD's for £2?
Shirty 1st August 2012, 09:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by N17 dizzi
More importantly, who else now plays arty farty music in the background when reading something by Joe? :D



And asks their better half to introduce the article for that authentic feel.

I also like to sit in a smoking jacket sipping high-end whisky whenever I listen to Joe speaking. It just feels so right.
XXAOSICXX 1st August 2012, 09:47 Quote
This is quite a complex subject and one that I commend you for tackling Joe. I've made the same argument to my colleagues and friends fairly recently and found the same split of opinion the comments here are showing.

People fall into one (or more) of three different camps:

1) The release price of games is perceived to be too high to start with so people consciously wait for the inevitable price drop on Steam before buying a game they have psychologically committed themselves to buying.

2) People who use Steam to try out games they would be very unlikely to EVER buy were it not for the Steam sales, or to buy copies for friends at an affordable price.

3) People who don't get too excited about the sales and buy because they're looking for a game to play straight away and don't have an agenda behind their purchasing decision.

Taking these in reverse order:

(3) A person who isn't trying to save money and is just looking for something to play (and doesn't have a 1000000-hour back-up of games from previous sales to play) isn't affecting the industry one way or another.

(2) This is how we should (and how I do, mostly) treat the Steam sales - as an opportunity to dip my toe in the water with a publisher I don't know - with a view to buying future titles AT FULL PRICE and for buying games for friends at an affordable amount also with a view to them buying future titles at full price.

(1) This is where the damage is done. If I were able to produce a list of all the comments that I've read on Bit Tech over the last couple of years where people have said (about almost every single game reviewed on the site) "I'm going to wait until the Steam sales", "This is definitely one for the Steam sales", "I'm going to wait until this comes down in price in the sales" etc, then the list would be, frankly, enormous.

Of course, we're all guilty of it - I've bought games in the Steam sales for a tenner having waited months for it to come down in price only to realise, upon playing it, that the game was worth FAR more than "three pints of beer" and has given me many hours of enjoyment. These are the purchases that are harming the industry. If a game is completely crap then fine, you've wasted your money, it's a lesson learned; don't give that publisher/developer your business in the future. If their products truly are that poor they won't last as a business anyway.

We'd go to the cinema to watch a 2 hour movie for £10 but wouldn't pay £30 for something that might like 10, 20, 30+ hours? We've forgotten the value of what we have.

In the UK, certainly, we have a culture of wanting everything cheaper than it is, with little regard to the time and effort that went in to producing and delivering the product we have in our hands, or on our computers.

It's taken a conscious effort to make myself not wait for Steam sales and to buy titles that I want when I want them. I *want* to the developers to make more money, I *want* them to make more games that I'm going to enjoy. If there's a developer (like Activision and Ubisoft) that I won't want to give my money to then I don't give them my money.

By waiting for the sales we ARE devaluing the product - which forces the hands of the developers/publishers to seek additional ways of monetising their product, be it through in game advertising, even-more-DLC, micro-transactions and so on...and nobody wants that.
wuyanxu 1st August 2012, 09:54 Quote
let's not forget only games that have been released for a long period of time gets on big sales.

Batman Arkham City goes on sale for 50% off, while older games like Mirror's Edge gets on sale multiple times for 75% off. (besides, i bought AC on GMG for £15 on its release) the whole steam sales system have a way of calculating price, it doesn't devalue a product more than the unstoppable ticking clock.

take ARMA 2 Combined Ops for another example, £19 is where it's been sold everywhere else, £15 was on a one day offer at publisher's website. Steam sale sold it for £15, in line with its current market value, devalued by time, not sales.
Spreadie 1st August 2012, 10:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
We'd go to the cinema to watch a 2 hour movie for £10 but wouldn't pay £30 for something that might like 10, 20, 30+ hours? We've forgotten the value of what we have.

I don't think that is a valid example.

1. If our local cinema charged £10 a ticket, I and many others wouldn't darken the doorway ever again. It's currently less than £4, and it can't be the only one.

2. Even if we accept £10 as a representative ticket price, producers will cough up $70 million just for the likes of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in the same movie - that's a lot of money to recoup, and it doesn't compare well (I'd imagine) with the business model a games developer uses (I'm sure they'd love that kind of budget)

3. Ever decreasing returns - movies tend to be around the 2 hour mark, whereas the likes of FPS games struggle to top 6 hours these days - they used to last at least twice as long. Yes, you still get the Mass Effect type games weighing in with 30+ hours of gameplay - but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule. We are left to make do with a few maps and online deathmatches.
OWNED66 1st August 2012, 10:16 Quote
u guys do know that the games that are on sale are
A.are a failure in the first place and there arnt many sold to begin with (ie nexuiz only has 5 servers now)
B. are old and sales have been down (ie doom3 etc)

steam sales were riddled with old or failed games
and the games that were doing well/old had only a small discount - small as origin discounts so i still dont understand whats wrong
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