Indie game pricing rambles

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papillon
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Indie game pricing rambles

#1 Post by papillon » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:53 am

Off-topic from the Downloadable Games thread so I'm posting here.
Strum wrote: With the exception of Kira Kira and Edelweiss bundle packs (since you're paying for two games), you won't find a single product on ManagaGamer for $50 and above.
Suika and Da Capo are listed for ~$65, "Shera My Witch" for ~$50. They may not list any *future* products for such high prices but those are still on the catalog.
Strum wrote: You mentioned furry porn games? There are at least one listed on the visual novel database. A quick search shows http://vndb.org/v314 Not exactly my cup of tea but, it exists.
Not in English, though, and it's kinda loli-looking and may not actually hit the tastes of the major English furry market. I'm not sure though as I'm not a furry. I do know of at least one indie furry game, but it was online-only and not the greatest quality AFAIK. I'm not saying people should rush out and make furry games, just that it's an example of a hardcore niche that isn't very well served and therefore might become super-loyal to someone who worked hard to give them exactly what they wanted.
You also mentioned that its possible for an indie game to sell for that much? If you've seen another example of an indie game being sold for $50 and above please give me the link to the seller's website. I would love to see what kind of indie game sells for so much.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#2 Post by jack_norton » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:52 am

In general wargames or complex strategy games can be sold for a good amount. Maybe not $50+, but $30 yes: http://www.crypticcomet.com/
Considering the pricing trends in recent years, even $30 sounds like a high price :)
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#3 Post by papillon » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:17 am

I think I heard rumors of some niche hunting/fishing game somewhere going for an impressively high price, but as it was COMPLETELY uninteresting to me I can't remember the details. :)

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#4 Post by Strum » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:40 am

Hmm, you're right they are. Ok, I admit my mistake and I'll retract my earlier statement regarding MangaGamer's prices. Interesting link, although I can't seem to access the buy link to see how much it costs right now. Their stuff appears top notch I never would have guessed they were an indie company if you had not told me so. I love how they display their awards on the sidebar.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#5 Post by papillon » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:01 am

Well, definitions of indie vary. :) As I understand it the makers of that product are a *small* group of people who do military consulting and have been in the wargames business for a long time. They're not exactly some kids in a basement. But they're not being funded by big publishers to create mainstream-market retail games either.

Defining what's "really" indie is a whole other flamewar...

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#6 Post by Jake » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:09 am

jack_norton wrote:In general wargames or complex strategy games can be sold for a good amount.
I can kind of understand it, because a wargame will usually need - for example - much better AI than something like a platformer or an FPS, and balancing will be pretty difficult comparatively. And there's a much smaller market for them in the first place, which tends to be made up of older people (in my experience) which means they're more likely to be able to afford stuff.

On the other hand, I also find it kind of amusing that for most types of game, gamers demand polished shiny graphics - and especially so when the price goes up. But for wargaming they often seem happier with graphics that resemble the two-colour cardboard counters that tabletop hex-and-counter wargames manage with out of necessity!
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#7 Post by jack_norton » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:23 am

Well in some cases having simpler art, is really better. For example I recently bought Fantasy Wars which is a remix of the great Fantasy General from SSI. The new, shiny 3d art is rather confusing, the units are hard to distinguish, and the cutscenes are nice to see ONCE, then I skip them instantly. So I understand why, I rather enjoy simpler art (ie. pixel art even) than full 3d stuff for such games.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#8 Post by Strum » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:31 am

papillon wrote:Well, definitions of indie vary. :) As I understand it the makers of that product are a *small* group of people who do military consulting and have been in the wargames business for a long time. They're not exactly some kids in a basement. But they're not being funded by big publishers to create mainstream-market retail games either.

Defining what's "really" indie is a whole other flamewar...
:lol: I'm not doubting what you've said, I'm just saying for an indie company they look very professional. I still couldn't see how much it costs in $ but in £ I'm like omg that's steep. I guess indie companies vary in quality greatly. However, I still say $50 for an indie visual novel is too much especially if its something you don't actually own and mearly have unlimited rights to play.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#9 Post by DaFool » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:34 pm

I sometimes feel that 'doujin' has more leeway than 'indie', though they're technically both the same. You could forgive totally crap graphics in the former, but not the latter. You can have teams of 10 or 20 in the latter for some reason. I think it has something to do with the fact that doujin works are often copyright violations (they reference known, popular works), while under the indie banner you have to be original as well as adhere to general professionalism.

There's even a debate in the other forum about hobby devs vs indie devs with a lot of emphasis on 'making a viable living' for the latter definition. I think most otaku types are accustomed to the 'doujin' / 'hobby' definition where selling your hentai doujin of popular character for a few hundred yen is totally acceptable and you're not really supposed to make back anything more than printing costs. Original doujin works whether printed media or games are exceptionally rare. Those would be the true indies in western definition.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#10 Post by kinougames » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:47 pm

I posted this there, but I'm C/P here for relevancy.

If you don't run around screaming about being an indie...I daresay most buyers won't feel the need, if they see a game they like, to go researching around to MAKE SURE it's an indie company that made it so they can get indignant at the price. If you make your game look like it's worth $50, people will buy it for $50. Setting a price sets the market, and most people understand that one video game is not equal to another, and most will buy accordingly.

(Not to mention that indies sell for less because they're usually not as good, not because they ARE as good and people just are prejudiced against their indie goodness.)

Lastly, there's a business practice where you guide your market based on your price, and it's actually extremely hurtful to your business image to lower your price.

For example:

Just throwing out numbers, let's say that...Cooking Mama cost 20K to make. I am an indie, and through various methods, connections, friends, whatever, I have a game that is just as good in objective quality as Cooking Mama, with a premise that is at least as alluring. Of course, Cooking Mama is a huge game, backed by Nintendo, and I am a little nobody. However, purely based on game quality, we're even for this.

Nintendo sells Cooking Mama brand new at the store for $40, plus the cost of the platform. So, what should my game sell for? Well, it depends on the personality of the developer. If I want sales numbers, I might go for a lower price. If I want money, I go for a higher price. If I am shy and don't really trust in my product and really am desperate for sales, I'm going to quote lower. If I'm superconfident, or overconfident, I'm going to quote higher. But what's the best price for the longevity of your business?

The faux pas here is often "go as cheap as you can" and people will buy. If you actually want to make professional money, you need to market your products on the same level. Charge $33-35. Not AS much (because you are still a no-namer), but close enough that people can call the difference a sale. If you go as low as ten dollars, even if your game is of a high level, people will see the ten dollar name tag and think "...huh. What's wrong with this? Why is it only ten when similar products sell for 40?" The only people who will rave about a "great deal" are people who are pretty darn broke already and broke people have less money! You want broke AND rich people to be interested.

Of course, this all becomes skewed because of game quality, but I'll tell you, Novus Magic Academy definitely isn't worth 50USD.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#11 Post by rioka » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:09 pm

The worth of anything is relative to how much someone is willing to pay for it. If you do not think something is worth at a price it is sold for then do not buy it. There's some games out there that I would love to buy but I do not agree with the price so I'm holding out on them till the price come down and thankfully, they all generally come down in time. There are only a few games that I would buy at full price but it all boils down to quality and how much I value said game.

$50 is a lot for any game, even if it's high quality but generally it's better to price your game high and later bring on the discounts rather than the other way around.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#12 Post by Adorya » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:20 am

Left 4 Dead is a cooperative first-person shooter video game. It was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve Corporation during development.
There are a lot of big game that were outsourced by indie pro dev team, people only know the publisher or those who show themselves on the camera/micro.
It's also the same in many media, like movies, book, tv...but also in this huge mmorpg that is called RL :p

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#13 Post by Mirage » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:05 am

Not sure if this is on topic, but like what kind of game would be worthy of 50 usd price tag? Or EVN for that matter. Does it have to be animated (like School Days), or it just have to be very long and well written (like Tsukihime), or the arts have to be extremely good, lots of CGs? Or a combination of all? Or EVN just isn't something that worth that much in most people eyes regardless of quality?

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#14 Post by Wintermoon » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:04 am

I wouldn't pay anything close to $50 for a book, and many books have better writing than any visual novel I have seen.
I wouldn't pay anything close to $50 for an animated movie, and many animated movies have higher production values than any animated visual novel I have seen.
If a book or visual novel tries to reach $50 value by sheer length, it becomes so long that I'm not even going to bother. I have more tolerance for long films, but I still wouldn't spend $50 on one.
Quality makes me more likely to pick one book/movie/VN over another, but it won't make me spend $50.

$20 is about my upper limit for games. I'm unlikely to buy an EVN at all for these reasons:
  • I still have a long backlog of free EVNs that I haven't played yet.
  • Japanese VNs have greater variety, are longer on average, and have better production values on average - but I still go to great lengths to avoid spending more than $20 on a single Japanese visual novel.
  • Japanese VNs help me practice my Japanese. My English is good enough that I don't to practice it.
If you manage to address these concerns by providing a EVN that's as good as the best Japanese VN, and you manage to convince me that's it's that good before I have to spend any money - keeping in mind that I don't even download demos to commercial EVNs - then you might be able to convince me to spend $20 on it. But never $50, because that's outside my entertainment budget.

Or you might try the casual market, which seems to have lower standards. But they're not going to spend $50 on a visual novel either.

(One thing that might possibly work is the episodic approach. Write the must-play visual novel of the year, and release it for free. Write a sequel and sell it for $10. Repeat until you have $50 worth of sequels.)

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#15 Post by Strum » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:26 am

Well said Wintermoon, your opinion represents your typical western consumer. From a consumer's point of view $50 is too much for a VN especially if its made by an indie. Heck $50 is a lot of money to begin with especially in poor countries (I'd gladly pay 50 Zimbabwean dollars for an indie game though :lol: ) Consumers don't care how much work or how much money has gone into making a game, they only care about the end product and the price.
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