Indie game pricing rambles

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kinougames
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#46 Post by kinougames » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:16 pm

Wintermoon wrote:
Visual novels have a lot in common with games, CDs, books. Almost all of the costs are fixed costs. They can be copied for free. Physical copies are cheap. A physical copy of good CD is produced in exactly the same way as a bad CD with the same materials, and may even be cheaper if it is made in a larger production run due to the economies of scale. In short, you can aim at selling a lot of copies for cheap, which scales a lot better than selling a few copies for a higher price. Relatively few people became rich and famous by selling high-priced luxury goods to a niche market.
It's not about being rich and famous as far as I'm concerned, but being able to make a living while selling a better quality, higher-priced product. Furthermore, you're treating CDs, games, books as if they are commodities. These aren't apples. If someone doesn't want to sell you their apples, you can go to the other grocery and get a highly similar, barely noticeably different product.

CDs with MUSIC do not work this way. I've seen several CDs cost more or less depending on whose music was on it. Music is not a commodity. Just because the physical CD is one, music isn't, and that's why every Joe Blow everywhere is not picked up by agents despite sellability. Why bother to pick and choose clients? Music is music, right? Why bother to hire experienced people. If you can put some notes on a sheet or click a mouse on your computer, your music is pretty much like everyone else's right? Wrong. That's why they sell differently. They're not fixed cost ANYWHERE on earth that I know of. You might be thinking of a price CAP, as in the maximum the average buyer can be expected to buy a single CD for, but even then, this is an estimate, a guess. Different people, as you can see, have different priorities for luxury items like games, books and CD music, and some will spend 1K for the right piece and some won't spend ten cents for holy musical Jesus pie shat straight into the tracks themselves.

The same goes for games. There are certain game topics and types that I would pay A LOT more for than others. I can't say I have a definite cap on games beyond what I can actually manage to get up; for example, I'll never be able to pay a million USD for anything. But on an RPG like Breath of Fire, or Golden Sun, or Kingdom Hearts, or a few of the horror JVNs that have come out, I'd pay even more than $50 if that was what it took to get it and I wasn't about to die. Other people won't piss on those games if they were on fire...but will spent upwards of $1000 USD setting up the perfect "DDR station" or "RockBand station".
In short, you can aim at selling a lot of copies for cheap, which scales a lot better than selling a few copies for a higher price.
Are any of the EVN sellers here rich from selling their lower cost games for $20?
You're paying extra for the better theatre.
If by better, you mean "can afford better movies", sure, you can say that, but as far as the movie theatre quality itself? Wrong. The quality of the service, accommodations as far as seating, even SIZE is pretty much exactly the same.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#47 Post by Wintermoon » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:08 pm

kinougames wrote:It's not about being rich and famous as far as I'm concerned, but being able to make a living while selling a better quality, higher-priced product.
Games/books/CDs/VNs aren't products, they're art. You can't make better art by throwing more money at it. You certainly can't make better art by charging more for it. You make your art, and people will like it or not. And sometimes they like it but still won't buy it because it's out of their budget, or because they see you as a greedy fuck and this automatically disqualifies you as an artist in their eyes. Mostly, they won't buy it because they never heard of you.
kinougames wrote:Furthermore, you're treating CDs, games, books as if they are commodities. These aren't apples. If someone doesn't want to sell you their apples, you can go to the other grocery and get a highly similar, barely noticeably different product.
It makes a lot of sense to charge more for a good apple. Apples are finite in supply, and the good apple may well have higher production costs associated with it.

It makes no sense to charge more for good art that can be cheaply reproduced. For one thing, your art simply isn't better than all other art in the minds of most people. People will see your price and think "I only payed $X for <my all-time favorite visual novel>, why should I pay $X+Y for this?". For another, the real money is in becoming a wide-spread cultural phenomenon, and luxury pricing works against that. A high price just screams out "niche product for hardcore fans only", which only works as a marketing strategy if you already sizable market of hardcore fans that is being underserved.
kinougames wrote:Are any of the EVN sellers here rich from selling their lower cost games for $20?
They're making a living, which is more than I can say for anybody selling (exclusively) $50 EVNs outside Japan. Getting rich and famous isn't really a realistic expectation in any artistic endeavor.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#48 Post by kinougames » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:32 pm

Wintermoon wrote:
kinougames wrote:It's not about being rich and famous as far as I'm concerned, but being able to make a living while selling a better quality, higher-priced product.
Games/books/CDs/VNs aren't products, they're art.
...art is not a product? I think economics disagrees with you.
You can't make better art by throwing more money at it. You certainly can't make better art by charging more for it. You make your art, and people will like it or not.
It's called gauging your market. Artists who do video games charge more for more detail/colors/time/difficulty/rareness. They do that because people will pay more, and obviously someone is paying more or no one would ever make living wages, and people would never get famous from art. The designer (who isn't necessarily the artist) has to find out what people will put out for. Art is such a vast market with so many variables that you cannot always look at even somewhat similar art and tell whether you'll do better, worse, or as well as a competitor. A video game, moreso, is a mix of several different arts, and fame comes out of having all the right pieces at the right time with the right marketing strategy and the right price. And the right price changes.

Furthermore, saying "you can't make art better by throwing money at it" is a serious logically fallacious statement, because once something exists, once ANYTHING exists, obviously it will not become better by a literal money throw. Nothing becomes better than it is because it was paid more for. It's simply about giving a price and using a marketing strategy that will work for you, at the time you are attempting to do it.
And sometimes they like it but still won't buy it because it's out of their budget, or because they see you as a greedy fuck and this automatically disqualifies you as an artist in their eyes. Mostly, they won't buy it because they never heard of you.
1) It's called saving up. People DO do it for something they can reasonably save up for.
2) Being a greedy fuck is a personal opinion, and opinions are like assholes.
3) People buy without having heard of someone all the time, but it takes a better marketing strategy, not necessarily a lower price.

It makes a lot of sense to charge more for a good apple. Apples are finite in supply, and the good apple may well have higher production costs associated with it.
It makes a lot of sense to charge more for a good video game. Video games are finite in supply, and the good video game may well have higher production costs associated with it.

Enough said. The logic here doesn't flow.
It makes no sense to charge more for good art that can be cheaply reproduced. For one thing, your art simply isn't better than all other art in the minds of most people. People will see your price and think "I only payed $X for <my all-time favorite visual novel>, why should I pay $X+Y for this?". For another, the real money is in becoming a wide-spread cultural phenomenon, and luxury pricing works against that. A high price just screams out "niche product for hardcore fans only", which only works as a marketing strategy if you already sizable market of hardcore fans that is being underserved.
If good art could be oh so cheaply reproduced, people would do it and never pay artists who took the time to hone their craft. Not all game makers, writers, fine artists are broke, just like not all of them are rich. There are some who make lower upper class money, plenty enough to be veeeeeery extremely nicely comfy and well off. Obviously someone thought they were worth paying for.

If you seriously think that people will not pay more for what they perceive is a better product, I'm not sure that you have an understanding of business, or economics, or marketing.

High price is relative. Your price on video games is a personal one. Stop talking about other people's perceptions, because you have no studies to prove them, nor are they true for each and every single person in existence as is proved by the fact that JVNs sell regularly for way more than the measly $20 tag you stuck on games.

Again, you are the only one talking about "real money". Real money changes on place and person.

Prove that "high price" automatically reads to even the majority of people "niche market".
They're making a living, which is more than I can say for anybody selling (exclusively) $50 EVNs outside Japan. Getting rich and famous isn't really a realistic expectation in any artistic endeavor.
I think you're not quite understanding what is being argued here. Who the heck do you know is selling an OELVN for $50? You can't "say anything for anybody selling $50 EVNs outside Japan" because they don't exist.
Last edited by kinougames on Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#49 Post by papillon » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:44 pm

You can't make better art by throwing more money at it. You certainly can't make better art by charging more for it.
People working on multimedia productions generally can hire better talent by throwing more money at it.

An individual artist who already has the skills may or may not be able to create "better" art by throwing more money at it, but they can certainly have a vast change in the materials available to them and be better able to accomplish their particular visions.
It makes a lot of sense to charge more for a good apple. Apples are finite in supply, and the good apple may well have higher production costs associated with it.
as I understand it e wasn't talking about the difference in price between hamburger and kobe beef, but between two apples of the same variety, possibly even from the same supplier, that are for all intents and purposes interchangeable... but sold in different stores for different prices. One granny smith apple is much the same as another granny smith apple.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#50 Post by Wintermoon » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:11 pm

kinougames wrote:Video games are finite in supply,
Sorry, I thought we were having a serious debate, not playing silly word games.

Copies of video games are most definitely not in limited supply.

The apple farmer can only sell a limited number of apples, because he only has limited a number of apples. His only option for recouping his costs is to charge a high enough price for each apple. The movie studio has no limit on the number of viewing and DVDs it can sell. That's why all movie tickets (in the expensive blockbuster theatre) cost the same, regardless of popularity, production cost, and artistic merit. That's why movie directors and actors often become rich and famous while apple farmers do not.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#51 Post by kinougames » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:28 pm

Wintermoon wrote:
kinougames wrote:Video games are finite in supply,
Sorry, I thought we were having a serious debate, not playing silly word games.

Copies of video games are most definitely not in limited supply.

The apple farmer can only sell a limited number of apples, because he only has limited a number of apples. His only option for recouping his costs is to charge a high enough price for each apple. The movie studio has no limit on the number of viewing and DVDs it can sell. That's why all movie tickets (in the expensive blockbuster theatre) cost the same, regardless of popularity, production cost, and artistic merit. That's why movie directors and actors often become rich and famous while apple farmers do not.
Half of your comment was proven incorrect (because I just stated that the expensive theatre has specials within it for indie movies) quite a few posts ago. I'll go as far to prove several other statements more incorrect by stating that all of the blockbusters within a given expensive movie theatre for regular cost are of a certain quality. If you want to get technical, quality would equal artistic merit. Low quality movies are passed over for high quality movies, and 3-D movies are charged an extra X amount because they have an extra -quality-...meaning that they DO charge based on quality by insisting on a certain level over all. Production cost shouldn't matter when it comes to quality anyway, since you can pay a lot and still receive a lot of crap, though generally, paying more when you do your research means higher quality. Conversely, you can pay very little and receive a LOT if you're good at networking.

Furthermore, people who pay at a movie theatre are paying for that theatre's SHOWING. The reason that not all movie theatres show every movie (besides space cost) is because the company has to pay a cost to be allowed to show that movie in their theatres. The price set is so that the movie theatre can make back the cost they ALREADY put out...and guess what? Some of those costs are undoubtedly more for better movies than poorer movies.

In this way, it's more similar to licensing and reselling than the direct cost of the movie (which has already been paid due to initial licensing cost).

It's difficult to have a serious debate with someone on economics when they ignores the parts of economics they don't agree with and replace that with anecdotal data.
Last edited by kinougames on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#52 Post by Wintermoon » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:52 pm

kinougames wrote:It's difficult to have a serious debate with someone on economics when they ignores the parts of economics they don't agree with and replace that with anecdotal data.
This.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#53 Post by kinougames » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:54 pm

Wintermoon wrote:
kinougames wrote:It's difficult to have a serious debate with someone on economics when they ignores the parts of economics they don't agree with and replace that with anecdotal data.
This.
Please stop doing it, then.

Also, still funny how you haven't addressed the other issues!
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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#54 Post by Mirage » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:38 am

Wintermoon wrote: Games/books/CDs/VNs aren't products, they're art. You can't make better art by throwing more money at it. You certainly can't make better art by charging more for it. You make your art, and people will like it or not. And sometimes they like it but still won't buy it because it's out of their budget, or because they see you as a greedy fuck and this automatically disqualifies you as an artist in their eyes. Mostly, they won't buy it because they never heard of you.
You know you speak like someone who thinks very highly of art and yet not willing to spend money on them because in your eyes they are priceless (which can be considered as worthless, since they don't worth your money.)

I am sad to inform you that the people behind those arts are human being. Human needs money to survive. With more money, I can have better drawing tools. With more money, I can get rid my jobs, and dedicate myself to drawing all day without worrying about bills. If I can practice all day, I am sure I can become a better artist. Why do I become a commercial artist? It's because I love art so much that I want to spend all days drawing. And then come people like you who talk holy mighty about arts, and yet they won't care about the well being of the creators. Because like of course artist apparently don't need food/clothes/house to survive, because art is their soul. Can't be exchange with money, RIGHT?

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#55 Post by DaFool » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:50 am

(*cough*, ahem)Anyway...

I'm curious about the rates of BMTmicro affiliation, for those EVN creators who use them. Particularly, if it would be better to just go totally independent with my own site and affiliate everyone else, rather than going under your umbrella since you're open to selling other people's games because maintaining a strong catalog is also beneficial to your business.

The turnaround for my first commercial game is between 8-11 months... clearly unsustainable (unless the game is a surprise hit, which is unlikely) if I were to do this full-time and maintain my own site while developing the next game. So even someone who has been making a living selling games for years would already have a sizeable audience to market to, which may be worth more in the long run than getting 90% of the cut of smaller revenue for someone who started with zero people in his mailing list.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#56 Post by Wintermoon » Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:51 am

Mirage wrote:You know you speak like someone who thinks very highly of art and yet not willing to spend money on them because in your eyes they are priceless (which can be considered as worthless, since they don't worth your money.)
No, I'm speaking like a starving artist (in the broader sense) who spends almost all of what little disposable income he has on art, but who is keenly aware of the economic reality of selling art. The customer doesn't care how much money and effort went into a piece of art, the customer only cares about what they get out of it. This can work to the artist's advantage - you can sell indie games made with a budget 1/1000 of that of a big mainstream game for half of the price of a mainstream game and make a living doing so, even though the indie game market is small and highly competitive - but it can also work against you.

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#57 Post by Strum » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:34 am

kinougames wrote: I think you're not quite understanding what is being argued here. Who the heck do you know is selling an OELVN for $50? You can't "say anything for anybody selling $50 EVNs outside Japan" because they don't exist.
Although what you say is true now. Someone on this very forum did try to sell an EVN for $50. That's how this thread was started in the first place. However, probably in response to the comments made about his prices, the offending product has since been removed from his site (either that or you now need to register to see his products).
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#58 Post by Topagae » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:25 am

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#59 Post by Topagae » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:36 am

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Re: Indie game pricing rambles

#60 Post by Strum » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:50 am

"An add to cart" or "Buy now" button means the product it relates to is being sold. Where as a "Preorder" button shows your game is not ready but will accept orders for it anyway but not their money. Your site was showing the "Buy now" button. I don't know any company which sets their page like it was going to sell something only to turn out they weren't and it was only to see public reaction. I only came to the same conclusion as anyone else looking at your site would, since there was no notice saying your game was not ready (unless its hidden in your blog that I don't read).

If what you say is true about your client setting the prices then I guess your client got a little too greedy. Perhaps a notice in the shop area saying all prices are set by the developer might help clear up any misunderstandings in the future. I mean if some deluded developer asks you to sell their game at $150 and you just go with it; that's going to harm your reputation. Actually ignore that last statement, how you run your site is your own business.
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