A reader argues that no video game is ever worth £45 and insists that no one should have to pay more.
I would like to broach what is, bizarrely, a sometimes controversial issue. Maximum value. How much would you pay for any given item or service? I have heard some disappointingly dim comments from certain members of this readership. Namely, the idea that they would happily pay any price for their favourite games.
Now, before you get on your free market, capitalist high horses – no, I am not about to dictate how anyone should spend their money. For a start, it’s not that high a horse and it’s about time he saw a vet. No, I shall not be endorsing any sort of totalitarianism today, you can rest easy. But I am galled and somewhat frightened by such willing idiocy.
I was recently taken to the Harry Potter studio tour for my birthday towards the end of last year. (Which is still recent to me, okay?) And as is the way of the universe, the prices they were charging for their tat in the gift shop, and the food, would turn anybody into a caricature Yorkshireman.
The wands, which were bits of wood and plastic, started at around £20 and could go high as £50, maybe much more. Mugs were about a tenner. I shouldn’t need to tell you who the real mugs were if you bought one. A basic cheese sandwich on white bread with no butter was £3.50!
You could get something much nicer from Greggs for at least a pound less. But, don’t run away! This isn’t just an old man rant from a guy in his mid-thirties! Well, it is that – but it’s also a call for a bit of common sense.
New games now are getting as high as £60 again. Personally, I don’t feel any game – no matter how high its quality – is ever worth more than £45. And that’s brand new, day one price. I refuse to pay a penny more than that and neither should you. There is no way such a price can be justified. Doesn’t matter how long it lasts, how pretty it is, how big its development budget was – there is no way.
As they do provide a significant amount more of entertainment value than a DVD or Blu-ray, then I consider around double that asking price to be roughly fair. I won’t hear ludicrous arguments like: ‘Oh, developers need to eat too, you know!’ Or: ‘Budgets for the very best games are so much greater than 10 or 20 years ago! Prices must go up according to inflation!’
What a load of rubbish.
Need to make more money? Sell more copies! Even an Apprentice contestant can grasp this, the most basic of economic concepts. And they won’t think twice on putting 1,000% mark-ups on pound shop junk.
Part of the problem with the often crazy pricing we have to put up with in this hobby, is the endless and childish feud between publishers and retailers. There are various pricing models for music, film, and literature that can suit any and every customer. Games don’t have this yet because retail and publishers refuse to talk to one another like adults and come to a sensible arrangement. But for us gamers, that’s not our problem. Please don’t fall for the lie that we must support the industry at any price. Don’t buy into it – literally.
Shopping around, even on day one, will always get you a more reasonable price. And if you have to pick up a physical copy off the shelf, then usually the supermarkets can be counted on to shave a few quid from the asking price.
So, please – shop smart. There must be a line in the sand somewhere. If more of us do it, publishers and retailers will have to diversify their pricing systems. Because you can be certain that the likes of GAME will do something about all those wallets walking away to online outlets and supermarkets. Well, eventually…
By reader DMR