Leading Publishers Comment on Indie Game Prices and Changing Consumer Perception
With indie games having become an integral part of the games industry, several publishers have weighed in on the topic of pricing indie games and consumer perception about them.
Team 17’s (The Escapists) Debbie Bestwick is of the view that indie games are sometimes undervalued and that the industry needs to work collectively to address the gap between “pillar indie games” and the rest. She also believes that indie games shouldn’t be taken as “cheap and low quality” titles.
As an industry, in some sections yes, we are undervaluing indie games.“Collectively we all need to work at this, there’s a big gap between pillar indie games – with a sales potential in excess of 500,000 units – and the rest.
The bigger challenge is changing the consumer perception of just what indie means. It doesn’t mean cheap and low quality, but instead more creative freedom and agile approach to both business models and consumers.
Rising Star Games, which has published a plethora of multi-platform titles since 2004, believes that the industry should be charging more for indie games “for the most part.” Rising Star’s Martin Mathers said that it all comes down to entitlement in what is a buyer’s market.
For the most part, yes, we should be charging more for indie games. But there is a difference between ‘indie’ games and larger projects. The whole thing comes down to entitlement. The reason why a lot of games can’t be priced at more than £15 is because it is a buyer’s market, especially on PC. Users will sit there saying, ‘No, you entertain me. I deserve this, I’m entitled to this.’ My response to that mentality is: ‘No, you’re not.’
Curve Digital’s (The Swapper) Simon Byron holds a slightly different view, however. According to him, competitive pricing gives indie games an edge.
The indie sector has to work harder to push itself up ahead of gamers buying anything else. Price can be one of the best ways to do that. But I don’t think that publishers are undervaluing indie games. From our point of view, we are picking the price points that we know work for the types of games that we are publishing.
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[Source: MCV UK]