Those are some wise words from Junction Point Studios' Warren Spector, also known for his outstanding work on the Deus Ex games. Spector is convinced that pricing is one of the biggest challenges to the gaming business. While gaming is more mainstream than ever, there are still a few hurdles the industry needs to leap before it becomes as ubiquitous as movies, music, and books. In a recent interview with Gamesindustry.biz, he said:
Spector certainly has a point about game pricing. Not many people make $60 impulse purchases. One of the reasons downloadable games have been so successful is that the price point is so attractive. For $10 to $15, gamers can quickly download a game to their console and enjoy it straight away. A lot of consumers won't think twice about parting with $10. $60, however, is another matter.
Of course, the larger problem is that games are expensive to make. As consoles have become more advanced, development costs have risen. Eat Sleep Play's David Jaffe pondered the situation, but wondered if gamers would be down with shorter games with less features at a lower price.
It can be argued that gaming is at a crossroads. Millions of consumers are fine with paying $60 for a game and $400 for a console. To get to the next level of mainstream penetration, Spector is right to say games have to get cheaper. That would require publishers and developers to drastically change their approach to the business. Then again, they might not have a choice in the matter. Cheap, downloadable games for consoles, iPhones, and other alternatives are keeping millions of people entertained. If traditional gaming gets more competition from newer sources, then cheaper games might be the only way to compete.
Obviously, you'd all love cheaper games, but do you think that's the future of the business? Will Spector's $20 dream come true? Would you buy games like the ones used in Jaffe's suggestion? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).