#1 Posted by FritzDude (2273 posts) -

So I was strolling Steampowered today and saw you could pre-order both Assassin's Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4. To my surprise both games cost 60 Euros, which is the equivalent of 80 US dollars. This isn't exactly the first time I've seen this, it was the same with Watch Dogs - another Ubisoft game - however that game had a 49,99 price-point if you pre-ordered it. I used to see new PC games at 30-40 Euros, but now they're at least 50, and if it's available to consoles, 60. So when did PC games cost just as much as a next generation console game? Or is this something Ubisoft are pushing forward now? Whatever it is I don't like it especially from a developer who can't develop games properly for PC's.

For both these games I will definitely wait for a price cut as they wont see me paying full price, but what about you?

#2 Posted by AlexW00d (6446 posts) -

There are certain publishers who charge £40-£60 (EA, Ubi etc), but then there's still nice ones who still charge £30. (Square Enix and PC publishers)

#3 Posted by FritzDude (2273 posts) -

OK, so it's just with Ubisoft and EA games? I did only pay 39,99 for Divinity (great game by the way). I do would like to know why they increased the price to 60 though. I mean do they cost more to develop? And what I find strange is that I can get both Unity and Far Cry 4 for much cheaper retail, with boxset and pre-order bonuses, I just don't understand why digital has to cost so much more when they offer less.

#4 Edited by Corevi (5044 posts) -
@fritzdude said:

OK, so it's just with Ubisoft and EA games? I did only pay 39,99 for Divinity (great game by the way). I do would like to know why they increased the price to 60 though. I mean do they cost more to develop? And what I find strange is that I can get both Unity and Far Cry 4 for much cheaper retail, with boxset and pre-order bonuses, I just don't understand why digital has to cost so much more when they offer less.

Because they are big enough to get away with it.

#5 Edited by mrcraggle (1979 posts) -

PS3 downloadable titles are an absolute con with Ubisoft and EA often charging £50 or more for new releases. On the PC side of things, AC:U is £49.99 as is FC4. EA also charge the same price for new releases on Origin. It does seem that these prices are pretty much the norm when dealing with AAA games from these publishers and which is why we see games such as DayZ, Divinity and The Forest thrive while Watch_Dogs currently sits at #62 on the top sellers list.

#6 Posted by Raven10 (1925 posts) -

I think big publishers have decided they can charge as much for the PC version of a game as the console version. I don't see why it should be any different.

#7 Edited by MB (13139 posts) -

Just noticed this when I went to look at the $59.99 price of Far Cry4 on Steam. HAH!

Moderator
#8 Posted by pcorb (150 posts) -

@raven10: It's cheaper to publish on PC, seeing as they're not passing any money on to the platform manufacturer for one thing.

#9 Posted by Droop (1916 posts) -

Yeah fuck that. I'm pretty much done buying AAA games directly on Steam anyway. There are always better deals elsewhere.

#10 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3508 posts) -

Man console games are 69.99 in Canuckland now and it's fuuuucked.

Sorry for your loss. That's *crazy* for PC.

@raven10 said:

I think big publishers have decided they can charge as much for the PC version of a game as the console version. I don't see why it should be any different.

Well in the past the logic was that they aren't paying Sony/MS/Nintendo a cut so they would pass the savings on to the consumer.

But sure, from a purely profit-facing perspective there's no reason it should be any different.

Personally I do think it makes companies look bad when company A charges 10 bucks less and company B charges 10 bucks more, "fair" as it may be. Not sure how much it matters in the grand scheme.

#11 Posted by Hunkulese (2875 posts) -

If you're offering a superior product, why would you charge less?

#12 Edited by CornBREDX (6059 posts) -

Ubisoft and Activision always price their games at 60 (console price).

#13 Posted by jimmyfenix (3753 posts) -

£50 for Far Cry 4 on PC is fucked when i can get it for £43 on PS4.

#14 Edited by Virtualpolecat (66 posts) -

@jimmyfenix said:

£50 for Far Cry 4 on PC is fucked when i can get it for £43 on PS4.

I mean if you have a better computer why would you ever play it on PS4? Just wait for it to go on sale on steam a year from now and you are golden, it is not like you are going to die if you don't play it at launch.

#15 Edited by FritzDude (2273 posts) -

I think I got the information I needed. And to conclude; it seems pretty much the games I want on PC (Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed: Unity, The Sims 4 and The Witcher 3 [49,99 as pre-order]) are same prices as consoles (€60 £50). So I think this is, or will be, normal pricing for AAA games on PC. Because of this I will be waiting or purchasing retail because every game are actually cheaper there, and they also include these pre-order-things aswell as steelboxes, manuals, maps, soundtrack et cetera.

Thank you all for contributing.

#16 Posted by Raven10 (1925 posts) -

@pcorb: They give Valve 30%. That's the exact same amount they give Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony (and Apple and Google on mobile phones). You can release a PC game directly from your own site and not use a storefront like Steam but that is going to drastically limit your sales. All digital games cost about $5 less a game to release which is why Valve usually sells games for 10% off on release day. But outside of that the costs are pretty much the same.

#17 Posted by mrcraggle (1979 posts) -

@raven10: So what's the excuse for price hikes on Origin? EA aren't losing 30% to Valve as they no longer release new titles on Steam yet they still charge £49.99.

#18 Posted by Schlorgan (259 posts) -

It was a big deal in 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was one of the first, if not the first, PC game to be $60 instead of $50.

#19 Posted by GaspoweR (3526 posts) -

It was a big deal in 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was one of the first, if not the first, PC game to be $60 instead of $50.

Yeah, I remember it being the very first one on PC to adopt the $60 pricing at launch.

Man, now this makes want to buy Divinity: OS now.

#20 Edited by Rorie (2987 posts) -

If anything, it's amazing that games don't cost more than they do; they've remained pretty consistent in price over the last 30 years or so, despite inflation. I distinctly remember paying 60-70 for games like Double Dragon, Final Fantasy III, and some of the earliest CD-ROM exclusives. The fact that I'm regularly getting top-shelf PC games for 10 bucks in Steam sales would be a bit of a miracle if I could tell my 9-year-old self about it.

Staff
#21 Posted by ToTheNines (840 posts) -

I know this is off topic, but back in the day I saw Quake for N64 in a store at 900 DKK, thats 162 USD. So today I can live with 80 dollars for a new pc title.

#22 Posted by Raven10 (1925 posts) -

@rorie: I always say the same thing when these types of threads pop up. While games did traditionally cost $50 (which is a hell of a lot more than $60 in today's money) quite a few games, especially RPG's, cost $70 or more. And the prices were much, much, higher is much of Europe. Steam has brought prices down so much over the past decade that people either don't know or don't remember that PC games used to cost just as much as console games if not more. In fact the first game I can remember that cost more than $50 this century for the base edition was Warcraft 3. I believe Blizzard sold that for $55. And Doom 3 also went for that if I recall. Valve pushed prices down with Steam but it's not like making PC games has gotten cheaper and sales aren't that much higher than they were 10 years ago.

@mrcraggle: Well it's the same reason Microsoft doesn't charge 30% less for Halo or Sony 30% less for Uncharted. You can't undercut your licensees. If EA sold Battlefield 4 for $40(or Euros) then other publishers would have trouble selling their games for $60 on the same storefront. As a platform holder part of your job is to manage prices. If you start selling your games for much less than others are able to charge then it will reflect poorly on those other companies. And that 30% you make off hosting other company's products is almost pure profit. Unlike a retail store you don't have to buy the copies and then sell them to consumers. Outside of server hosting, every single game another company sells makes you pure profit. That is how Microsoft and Sony make money off of consoles. It's not their own games or the boxes themselves. It's that 30% from 3rd parties. So it is incredibly important to make those third parties want to publish games on your system. And part of that is making your first party AAA titles cost the same as the 3rd parties. Of course I'm not going to deny that EA is also trying to just make as much money as possible, but I would also point out that they hold pretty regular sales on their first party lineup, and give away at least one game a month for absolutely nothing, no strings attached. I think they are doing a good job of keeping third parties happy while also offering their first party stuff for decent prices.

#23 Posted by MB (13139 posts) -

@raven10 said:

...it's not like making PC games has gotten cheaper and sales aren't that much higher than they were 10 years ago.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/131790-PC-Gaming-Market-Will-Hit-25-Billion-In-2014-Research-Firm-Predicts

My general sense of things is that there are far more people playing PC games today than ever before - if we're looking at a 15% increase from just 2013 to 2014, it seems like if we were to go back ten years to 2014 that number would be a fraction of what it is today. $25 billion is a lot of money. Was that statement just based on what you think, or is there some study out there comparing development costs and sales from a decade ago to today?

Moderator
#24 Posted by OurSin_360 (947 posts) -

If you pay it, they will charge it.

#25 Edited by Fattony12000 (7579 posts) -

I paid £7.49 for a Steam copy of Saints Row IV in June 2014.

A digital copy of Watch Dogs was available for around £15 during that same period, although not from Steam.

There are upsides/work arounds to PC gaming, and the price points that can be found within that sphere.

#26 Posted by Raven10 (1925 posts) -

@mb: The thing is that most of that money comes from just a dozen or so free to play games like LOL and DOTA2, not from the sale of AAA titles. The NPD doesn't give exact numbers anymore, but from my understanding the PC version of a game will sell between 10% and 25% of each of the console versions. According to VGChartz which isn't entirely accurate but is usually a good estimate, even Battlefield 3, a game that is much better on PC than on consoles only sold about a third as many units as the 360 and PS3 versions. And to bring this back to Assassin's Creed and Far Cry, Assassin's Creed 3 sold about 5 million units on the 360 and PS3, and only around 750,000 on PC. I'm not using AC4 just because VGChartz tends to increase in accuracy by a wide degree after you wait a year from release. And Far Cry 3, another game that was vastly superior on PC, again sold only about 750,000 units on that platform compared to about 3 million on the PS3 and 360. So while I can't actually tell you for certain how many copies of AAA games are sold on PC today compared to a decade ago (no one can outside of a handful of analysts and executives and they aren't allowed to say), I can say with a degree of certainty that while the PC market today is much more healthy than it was a decade ago, those increases are coming almost exclusively from the sales of free to play games as well as cheaper indie titles.

#27 Posted by Amafi (924 posts) -

@raven10: So what's the excuse for price hikes on Origin? EA aren't losing 30% to Valve as they no longer release new titles on Steam yet they still charge £49.99.

Might be to do with them not wanting to piss off their retail partners. Or they just figure they can get away with it.

#28 Edited by Vessel28 (141 posts) -

@raven10: Doesn't VGChartz not include digital sales?

#29 Posted by Amafi (924 posts) -

@vessel28 said:

@raven10: Doesn't VGChartz not include digital sales?

That's correct, it's only physical sales. For PC numbers it's entirely useless.

#30 Posted by charlie_victor_bravo (1047 posts) -

@oursin_360 said:

If you pay it, they will charge it.

Exactly, and they will raise the price as high as it is profitable. If large enough percent of potential customers are willing to pay $100, they will charge that. You can wait for couple of months and pay less than $10 for that game that you want, but people these days are so impatient that for most this wont be a suitable option - hence higher prices.

#31 Posted by pcorb (150 posts) -
@raven10 said:

@pcorb: They give Valve 30%. That's the exact same amount they give Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony (and Apple and Google on mobile phones). You can release a PC game directly from your own site and not use a storefront like Steam but that is going to drastically limit your sales. All digital games cost about $5 less a game to release which is why Valve usually sells games for 10% off on release day. But outside of that the costs are pretty much the same.

That's if the sale is made on Steam. And Steam, although dominant, is one of many competing online marketplaces on PC. And that 30% isn't a license fee going to the platform holder. If I buy a $60 PS4 game from a Gamestop, 30% of that is going to Sony, as the platform holder, and a similar amount is going to Gamestop, as the retailer. If I buy a PC game on Steam, or Amazon or Gamestop for that matter, there is no fee paid to a platform holder. Ultimately, the publisher is sharing less of the profit, so it's hard to see how it isn't cheaper to publish on PC, even through Steam.

#32 Edited by MB (13139 posts) -

@raven10 said:

@mb: The thing is that most of that money comes from just a dozen or so free to play games like LOL and DOTA2, not from the sale of AAA titles.

See...again, is that just what you think or do you actually know? You're saying it like it's a fact but I don't recall seeing any concrete numbers on this stuff. Not trying to argue but when someone says something like that ,I'd like to know for sure if it's a fact so I can learn more and expand my own knowledge.

Moderator
#33 Posted by Raven10 (1925 posts) -

@mb: I can't give you exact numbers, as I said. That data requires you to pay various research firms hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And even if I did have the data to back that up, due to the NDA I would have had to sign to get that data I legally wouldn't be able to share it with you regardless. What I can give you are some links that show various trends in the MMO, MOBA, and F2P markets and attempt to analyze them and extrapolate on that data to show you how I came to my conclusion.

Here for example you can see that MMO's represented 21% of the total global gaming spend in 2013. Pay to play games are split into their own PC category which represents only 8%. According to the same report MMO's (including MOBA's) earned around $15 billion in total compared to around $6 billion for traditional PC games. We also know from this report that the total free 2 play market in 2013 was likely between $9 billion and $10 billion. Now I think it is a pretty fair assumption that while the MMO and F2P numbers don't specifically mention PC, we can say that at least 75% of that income comes from PC games. You can base this on the data shown In this report, that shows that income from just the top 10 F2P PC games totaled more than half of that $7 billion or so. What we don't have here is data for previous years.

In this chart you can see that F2P will make up to 60% of MMO spend in the US by 2015. You can also note that F2P made up 39% of the total spend ($2.5 billion) in 2010. That is about $650 million which means that P2P made up $1.35 billion. In 2013 F2P made up 50% of spend ($2.9 billion) or $1.45 billion. That means that P2P grew by $100 million, or not much higher than the rate of inflation. Spending on P2P MMO's in the US was therefore almost flat.

So the question that I simply can't answer for you is what the historical global spend on PC games has been. I can say that in 2008 the NPD said that retail PC releases in the US made around $1 billion. That is the last year I could find data for. But the overall gaming market in the US contracted between 2008 and 2013 in every single category, so I can't imagine retail PC game sales grew during that time. The problem is that these days the NPD merely gives total physical sales and total digital sales without breaking things up by platform. But that $1 billion was almost identical to the numbers for the five years leading up to that point, while overall PC revenue definitely increased during that period. We know that in 2008 World of Warcraft had around 10 million subscribers paying $10 a month for subscriptions, meaning that WOW was making more money on its own than the entire retail PC game market that year. And that free to play chart above shows that the top MMO right now is also making about that type of money.

Now the question is merely a matter of if digital full game sales have grown by a large enough amount to not only offset the drop in retail PC game sales, but to increase total full game sales as well. That's a question I can't answer with certainty but if you compare the total digital spend this past year in the US of $7.22 billion, and noting that MMO's made up $3 billion of that and according to this report mobile gaming made up another $1.75 billion you then have $2.47 billion remaining. This report predicts that console digital revenue will exceed PC revenue in 2013. So let's assume that of that $3 billion in MMO's $1 billion is from mobile and console games. Now if console game digital revenue is higher than PC digital revenue that would mean that console revenue would be somewhere around $3 billion. Add in the $2 billion from MMO's that are only on PC and you get $4.5 billion. Now add $1.75 billion for mobile which comes out to $6.75 billion which leaves PC digital full game and DLC sales at $500 million, or less than half of 2008 retail sales counting for inflation. Even if you peg physical retail PC game sales at $1 billion still (an insane number. It's probably no more than $500 million) then what you have is barely any growth in the PC full game market considering DLC for full games also has to be subtracted from the $500 million in digital spend.

Since full game sales are simply not a factor in the BRIC nations or Southeast Asia where the majority of PC income comes from, I just can't imagine that full PC game sales worldwide have increased by a substantial amount, considering the only data we haven't fully accounted for is Western Europe, the only other large source of full PC game sales. So based on all this data and my analysis of it, that was my conclusion. You can do your own research if you want but that is about as good as I think you can get it.

#34 Posted by Hunkulese (2875 posts) -

@raven10: So what's the excuse for price hikes on Origin? EA aren't losing 30% to Valve as they no longer release new titles on Steam yet they still charge £49.99.

It seems a lot of you don't understand simple economics. No company is out there asking what's the lowest possible price we can sell our product at and still survive. Every company is trying to find the price point that will maximize profits, it's not just EA being evil. Every publisher would stop selling games on Steam it if they thought they could maintain sales. The only reason games are published on Steam is because it means more sales. We're just lucky that price point has stayed at $60 while the cost of making games has increased dramatically.