23 Comments
Posted by JayEH

I kinda of agree with the opening statement. Just recently I purchased Killzone: Mercenary and Spelunky on the Vita when they were on sale but I haven't really got into the games. I only purchased them because they were cheap not necessarily because I wanted to play them.

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam

I sympathize with point Rohrer's making, and I believe he believes this needs solving, but the truth is I just wouldn't be able to afford most of the games I've played in the past 4-5 years without bargain-hunting. Hell, a couple of times I've tossed money at a developer who made something cool even knowing I wouldn't be able to get to it anytime soon because it might help them make another cool thing and I don't want them to go out of business by the time I'm done with cool thing #1. Maybe it'd have clarified the message to hear his thoughts on discounting AAA specifically?

By the way, my solution to the recent realization that my pile of shame was about 30 games tall was to force myself to just... not buy into more sales until I'd made decent progress through that list. It's had the unfortunate side-effect that I basically played no new games in 2013, but wateryagonnadew.

Posted by Kraznor

This seems to be based on the notion that all games worth purchasing are also worth playing. I dabble with a wider variety of games than ones I know are things I'm going to like because of sales. I was very skeptical about Tomb Raider for example, looked pretty generic and not something I'd want to pay full price for. Then one day it was 12.49, that was enough to get me to buy it and I ended up liking it. Did the same thing with Dishonored, ended up not really liking it. I'm not "ashamed" about the list of games I haven't played yet because I intend to give them some time if I'm in the mood for the kind of experience they offer. I'm not habitually buying games just for the sake of it, I'm buying a lot of games because a lot of them are getting talked up a lot in various circles to the point where I want to check them out and I'm finding them less than satisfactory in a lot of cases upon actually playing them. Based on my personal criteria, that is. If your game takes more than an hour or two to even be remotely engaging for the player you may have to ask whether or not its actually a good game at all. My first hour with The Castle Doctrine just happened for example and I'm inclined to say a lot of things about that game simply aren't good.

Posted by cruxking

i once paid $35 for a game, just to see it go on sale for ten bucks about 5 min later. not like that's gonna bankrupt me or anything but damn do you feel stupid when that shit happens

Posted by tessawracked

Great interview! After reading some of Jason's website I definitely think I'll be supporting him and his games. I wish we could have heard the whole Skype interview!

Edited by patrickklepek

@deviousgrievous said:

Great interview! After reading some of Jason's website I definitely think I'll be supporting him and his games. I wish we could have heard the whole Skype interview!

We started talking about review codes at the end, so I had to cut it off. You didn't miss anything.

Staff
Edited by pslyy

@kraznor: My thoughts exactly. I'd happily buy games for full price if I was 100% sure that I like the game. It's just that I don't like playing even some of the most highest rated games these days. Not that they're bad games but playing them feels like work. The story might be worth it but I don't really enjoy the other half of the game.

Posted by JZ

Wow I always thought indies were pretentious hipsters and this just backed it up.

Posted by crithon

great interview, but he seriously has problems trying to find footing in an online market place. I know this from personal experiences from friends who sell products through esty other other online market. Any exposure helps, like appearing on a popular blog helped my friends sales just sky rocket and she was doing little stuffed dolls of video game characters.

I don't know, he really sounds a bit confused and could use better management.

Posted by Ouren

@jz said:

Wow I always thought indies were pretentious hipsters and this just backed it up.

O_O

Edited by JZ
Posted by Pezen

10 games for 60 or 60 games for 10? Mathematically speaking, I only need to play 1/6th of the games to have come out on top. I don't get in what reality that is bad for me. Most of arguments have very little to do with what we as consumers lose. It sounds more like; A; A developer's game might not recieve artistic appreciation. B; Are they really earning money or are they killing a game's value.

Neither truly negatively affect a consumer. A backlog of entertainment is a luxury problem at best.

Edited by jasondesante

Duders,

If you haven't bought The Castle Doctrine yet, get it. It seriously is one of the most unique and amazing gaming experiences I've ever had. It is a game where you design a puzzle and solve other people's puzzles. To learn and get better at the game means you are learning and getting better at making puzzles. It makes you a designer! Thats a very creative result from just playing the game and seeking to learn what it is about! :D

The world needs more people like Jason Rohrer, and we also need more Jason Rohrer interviews! :D

Side note...I think there needs to be a middle ground, where currently some Steam games go on sale way too often, because the music industry is totally different from games right now and it's sad because I think music could benefit from any type of sales similar to Steam as negative they are in certain cases they bring enough positive to outweigh it if we all make an effort to educate the lowest common denominator of players.

Also I have videos of me playing The Castle Doctrine on youtube, and even have my first time playing up on there. The game does take a week to understand like Jason said, but its not something that isn't enjoyable until then. It was instantly fun, and hooked me from the beginning and the videos are proof. If The Castle Doctrine went on sale in the future it wouldn't be a bad thing because it is a great game that is instantly enjoyable.

People are ridiculously good at The Castle Doctrine right now though, and things might have gotten to a certain point that it would be better to separate the different skill levels. I think the most important thing for the game to have a "mainstream" audience or whatever you want to say...mass appeal...is to just have premade rooms, kinda like bot characters, and have a world that is inhabited by real people but do some things so the horrible horrible players can still interact with something! and have some progress doing something! whether it be a different mode/difficulty level/server or something.

Edited by pocketroid

Before I got into Steam and PC gaming about a year ago, I witnessed Steam people throwing their money away on games they never played. That seemed like the thing to do. After I got into Steam, I fell into that trap. Thankfully, I caught myself and stopped. I've known since I was a teenager that "sales" are dumb and bad, thanks to my father. "Spend money to save money!" is the silliest thing. Since around the DS era, I've been very intentionally buying games at full price. I love supporting developers, so they can keep making more awesome games I like. I love getting one game, and focusing on that. Similar to what Patrick said at the end, which I've noticed for a long time, this sale problem is very similar to another phenomenon I've noticed:

-Person owns maybe 3 games for a system. Plays those games for dozens or hundreds of hours, over and over.

-Person gets into emulation, downloads 100 roms for that system. They play each game maybe 15 minutes each. If they do end up really getting one or two of them, they only end up ever finishing that game once, and then move on.

What happened to playing one game, for hundreds of hours, over and over? Instead of this modern mindset of: Buy a game for 60 dollars, finish it once, then buy the next latest hot game for 60 dollars, repeat. Then you have a shelf full of dusty, unplayed, junk games, while Greedy Gamesofts sits back and pulls you along on their leash.

Also, I know that Braid is 20$ on Jon's site, 'cause I paid 20$. So Castle Doctrine is less than Braid. I am fond of Jason Rohrer, but I don't know if I want to get into Castle Doctrine. I'll see where it is in a year. The idea that, there will be a small group of pro competitive Castle Doctrine players, is funny to me.

Also, with Inside a Star-filled Sky (which I bought at full price!), I really really want to like it, really! But the controls are painful. If it was easier to control, I'd be all over it. I wish it had controller support. I want to eventually get used to the controls, but I haven't had the motivation to.

Something that I think is really funny, is Early Access games... ON SALE. Haha - what the heck.

Posted by TheDarkOn3

I don't even disagree with most of Jason Rohrer's conclusions, but the way he gets to them and his tone throughout the interview were really aggravating.

Yes, creating a product that will have a high value to a core group of players can be viable. If that's how he sees Castle Doctrine, fine, but spare me the comparisons to Braid, a game that by his own accounts started giving players a glimpse of the cool stuff five minutes into their playthrough, not a week later. Niche doesn't have to mean inscrutable. If the majority of the people who disliked the game quit during the tutorial, then props to the people who stuck through it, but maybe there was something wrong with the tutorial.

Posted by PurpleSpandex

From what I'm hearing he is upset that people don't get his games and is blaming sales for it. The fact people give up on your game before finishing the tutorial is his fault not the players. If he designed the games better players would play longer no matter the price. Its incredible the amount of blame he is attempting to pass onto the culture.

Posted by thaumogenesis

Nothing like a game developer who probably doesn't have to worry about money anymore (He mentions his friends, his peers, are multi millionaires, I seriously doubt this guy is hurting for money personally) coming down on a sales culture that is the only reason certain people can even afford to get into a hobby that this dude has crafted a career on. He knows life is expensive right? And it's not getting (for many of us) any cheaper? Normally, I don't come in and slam ANY Giantbomb content because I'm so enthralled by all of it regardless if I agree or not, but this is actually insulting.

Posted by thaumogenesis

Also, wow, after reading his "essay" and swallowing some vomit in my mouth and getting through the last few minutes of this podcast, does anyone else notice that this guys ego is ridiculously out of control? He is slyly comparing his creations to Braid, and basically saying that the only way people DON'T like his games is because they don't spend enough time with them or aren't patient enough to get through his tutorials (how about make better games and turtorials instead of blaming your customer base for your failures?). Because it's not like people just might not like his game? Klepek, seriously, where was your head at during this interview? You let this guy go nuts jerking himself off and enjoying listening to himself talk about coming up with a clickbait-y "essay" for pointing out this "problem" and never called him out in favor of the opposition (who happen to be a lot of your readers judging from the comments section.) Also, as games age, do they not need to be cheaper to compete with what is new and exciting? I keep checking my omnibox in chrome to make sure I'm on Giantbomb.com because I expect better from this site.

Posted by DjDonFrancisco

Jeez. This guy just talks and talks. It's like he gets up on his high horse and no one's ever told him to get over it.

I've payed full price and slightly discounted prices (20% off) on games and neglected to finish them while, i've dropped a few bucks on a Humble Bundle and spent hours playing one game that was included. The amount of money that i've spent on a game has never personally been relevant to how much i'm going to enjoy or play it.

Heres an idea: If you REALLY want people to see your vision and play your game then just make it free, if it bothers you that much. I'm sure you'd be surprised at the numbers you'd see of downloads and plays if you were to take that route. Sure, you'll get a ton of people who will download it "just because", but the people who showed interest originally will show up and see your project through regardless. And guess what? Some of those "just because" downloads may start it up and finish it as well.

Also a sell can be used in different ways. For instance, it'll plant the seed in a person's head that they can get that thing they want at a "bargain". While it could also raise awareness for whatever it is you're wanting people to experience. At the end of the day, most companies couldn't care less if you actually enjoyed or played something once you've purchased it. And beyond that, if a person buys a game and neglects to ever start it up, let that be their chosen fate. They may come back to it later and discover something great. And if they don't, then so be it. Just be happy with your work and move on.

Edited by dr_mantas

The trading card and badge system, as silly as it is, made me play games I started just for that little bit more, and sometimes they really catch, and I play a lot more.

Valve can be very clever with these apparently useless things.

Edited by spiketail

@pocketroid said:
What happened to playing one game, for hundreds of hours, over and over? Instead of this modern mindset of: Buy a game for 60 dollars, finish it once, then buy the next latest hot game for 60 dollars, repeat. Then you have a shelf full of dusty, unplayed, junk games, while Greedy Gamesofts sits back and pulls you along on their leash.

Times changed. How often you can get your hands on a new games? Every day/week of the year versus every month or longer. How has the distribution also changed the model? Incredibly easier to get a game now then even a decade ago! Think how different it was 2 decades ago and holy cow has it changed. What about the mobile games and how that's changed the value of a game and the accessibility for any person with a smart phone? The amount of money & free time you have now versus then? How have your tastes in games changed?

Far too many things are now different than how it use to be 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, etc. I have no problems admitting I'm wasting money buying more games (Example: 2013 Steam Holiday sale. Spent several hundred bucks. Also spent 2/3rds of that gifting games to friends.) when I have a mountain of games that I own that I should play. But I'm spending an hour here or there on games, cycling through lots of them. Plus I'm a Kongregate user and I play through lots of the time sink there too.

I feel the question isn't 'Why are people buying too many games at cheap prices?' but 'Why don't people have the self control to stop buying too many games when they have games they should finish first?'. As someone who goes 'ZOMG cheap steam game I'm interested in slightly must buy!' and 'Don't! FINISH CURRENT GAMES!' everytime, I still don't have an answer to it but hopefully I'm curbing my spending habits some.

@patrickklepek - Great interview and was glad I got to listen to it. Thanks!

Posted by MrNood1e

The main issue I have with his argument is that he implies that developers are "tricking" players into buying their game and becoming rich because of it. Really? He thinks players are that stupid as to be tricked into buying a game? We're capable of free choice and we can make educated decisions like buying a game for a discounted price or not.