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adamrobo
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« Reply #60 on: October 17, 2008, 09:52:33 PM »

As someone who is a fan of Tale of Tales, I think $30 and under is a fair price. I would be just as likely to buy it if it were $30 as I would if it were $15.

I think part of that reason is that I know I am going to experience something unique with one of your games, even if it is something that will take some time and some thought to fully appreciate.
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« Reply #61 on: October 17, 2008, 10:03:51 PM »

Quote
It's not like a game is something with independent needs or desires.
Yeah it's not like games are art or anything. Good point.
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« Reply #62 on: October 18, 2008, 06:22:14 AM »

As someone who is a fan of Tale of Tales, I think $30 and under is a fair price. I would be just as likely to buy it if it were $30 as I would if it were $15.

I think part of that reason is that I know I am going to experience something unique with one of your games, even if it is something that will take some time and some thought to fully appreciate.

I'd be just as likely to buy it too, since I'm also a fan, with the addendum that it might take me *longer* to buy it if it were 30$ than if it were 15$. 15$ is fairly expendable to me, $30 isn't. This is just me though, other people have different levels of disposable incomes.

Quote
It's not like a game is something with independent needs or desires.
Yeah it's not like games are art or anything. Good point.

I think it's insulting and ridiculous to say that if you believe that a price of a game has little to no bearing on its artistic message that you consequently have to believe games can't be artistic. If you're going to argue for your case, you should at least do it in a way that isn't like this. Zaphos and CraigStern made very convincing arguments, and instead of addressing their arguments, you instead pick out one tiny sentence and engage in wordplay implying they're philistines.
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« Reply #63 on: October 18, 2008, 10:44:10 AM »

If you feel I've misrepresented them, then I would welcome any specific examples. I just try to inject a little humor while simultaneously pointing out inconsistencies in their arguments. Less is more and all that. Besides, if I can attack the premise upon which they build the rest of their arguments, why would I need to bother with other subsidiary arguments?
Also, if you read the quote you'll notice that my response was not to the statement that game prices have no bearing on the experience, but that games have no needs that must be met. Isn't a reasonable prerequisite for art that it communicates? And is the setting of a price and method of distribution not part of that communication?
For example, I read about an art exhibit which was a massive stack of paper; each sheet of paper had 80 names or so of victims of gun violence printed on them. Visitors were encouraged to take a sheet of paper with them when they left. Would the message have been the same if they were encouraged to buy one for 50 cents?
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« Reply #64 on: October 18, 2008, 10:53:20 AM »

I think the problem I have with you and this discussion is that what's only a theoretical problem for you is a practical problem for us. For those of us who sell games, deciding on the price can mean the difference between being able to pay for rent or food and not being able to. So it seems as if you're speaking from no practical experience because (correct me if I'm wrong) you've never had to price a game yourself, you're only talking about what you'd hypothetically do if you were to do that. So it's hard to take your argument that seriously considering that context.

Besides, it seems as if you shift your argument as we go along. Earlier you were saying that we should just base the price of a game on instinct, based on what we feel is the worth of a game after years of living in a capitalist system where we have bought games for certain prices. Now you're saying that the price of a game is part of its artistic expression. Those two views aren't very compatible, because if the price of a game is part of its artistic expression, it makes little sense to base it on what the prices of other games are.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #65 on: October 18, 2008, 11:11:59 AM »

The price of something can be a part of an artwork's message. But it rarely is.

We ourselves decided to sell a "full version" of our The Graveyard game as part of the artistic message, not as a way to make our money back (we're not that naive Wink ). And in the world of contemporary fine arts there's also a few issues where the price of things was an integral part of the piece. But most of the time, in my experience, it's fairly irrelevant. And it's only when the price would be surprisingly low or excessively high that I think the user might interpret it as part of the artwork's message.

But I agree with Rinku that there is no need to turn a search for practical solutions into an philosophical debate.
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« Reply #66 on: October 18, 2008, 11:19:11 AM »

As someone who is a fan of Tale of Tales, I think $30 and under is a fair price. I would be just as likely to buy it if it were $30 as I would if it were $15.

That's heart-warming to know.  Kiss
But I don't think there's enough people like you around.
Feel free to pay $30 if we end up charging $15, though. Wink

We you need to sell several thousand copies, your audience suddenly turns into an amorphous mass that is very hard to judge. I think that's what confuses me. Before, it was more or less feasible to know every player personally. Then it is easy to decide how much to charge. You can even simply ask them. But if the group become so large that you can never hope to ever meet all of them, you have to start guessing and speculating.
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« Reply #67 on: October 18, 2008, 11:20:04 AM »

rinkuhero:
Your first paragraph I already ceded, back at the beginning. Of course, that's really just a way of saying that even though, yeah, some decisions are made for money, money is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT. I completely agree. Those decisions are still made for money though.

As to your second, there are parts of my stance which I revise, dismiss, and replace as I consider the situation further. Sometimes I will say something glib and ignorant, and revise that stance to something a bit more tenable but still true to my reasons for holding the stance in the first place. I think this is something everyone should be willing to do, though perhaps I should mention when I'm changing my stance so that people don't end up debating against 'old revisions', as it were, when they may in fact agree with where I stand now.

However, I absolutely do NOT feel that those two views are incompatible. The game emerges from the creator(s); so does the sense of monetary worth gleaned from living in a capitalistic society. So, yeah, the price of the game is affected both by the market and by its own nature. This isn't really unusual, because the artistic, musical, and gameplay styles of games are ALSO affected by both what is on the market and what emerges from the game itself. There is no contradiction.

JohnnyZuper
Quote
The price of something can be a part of an artwork's message. But it rarely is.
I would instead say that it always is but not necessarily to a noticeable extent. Sometimes, the price of a piece of work is a very explicit part of the message, such as in my earlier example. Other times, it becomes something more subtle. For instance, Braid's (at the time) unusually high price point was tacit declaration that the game was worth that much, that it was a quality experience. I don't even know if it was Jon Blow's intention, but I can't help but suspect that some people probably took the game more seriously than they would have otherwise.

I'm sorry if I, apparently, dragged this way off topic. Perhaps we'll just have to agree to disagree. If we want to just end it on that note then I guess that's okay, though I do find this quite an interesting conversation.
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« Reply #68 on: October 19, 2008, 11:00:03 AM »

Just a note, this thread has inspired me to try an experiment. Because I just released v1.1 of Immortal Defense, I'm temporarily lowering the price to $15. I'll see if that improves the rate of sales, or if it affects anyone's opinion on the game by causing them to think it's lower quality than it used to be (at $23).
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #69 on: October 19, 2008, 11:25:57 AM »

Cool. Please post the results! Smiley
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« Reply #70 on: October 19, 2008, 11:33:44 AM »

Quote
if it affects anyone's opinion on the game by causing them to think it's lower quality than it used to be (at $23).
I honestly don't think it will, first because that's not a HUGE change (~35% at a glance) and, more importantly, people are used to games being released and then having their prices later dropped to get additional sales from holdouts.
It will be interesting to see exactly what effect it will have, regardless, just in the interests of gathering data about how price changes affect indie sales.
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« Reply #71 on: October 20, 2008, 03:28:28 AM »

Just a note, this thread has inspired me to try an experiment. Because I just released v1.1 of Immortal Defense, I'm temporarily lowering the price to $15. I'll see if that improves the rate of sales, or if it affects anyone's opinion on the game by causing them to think it's lower quality than it used to be (at $23).
I don't think that the results will be clear enough to see how the price affected sales. After all, there are other significant factors involved - raise of quality with the new update and the marketing push related to the release. It would make more sense if the price would be the only thing that changed from v1.0 to v1.1.

For example - I could say that making the price higher raises sales, as when I released the version 1.3 of MAGI (which raised the price from $20 to $23) the sales went up significantly. However, that would be simply untrue - what promoted and sold the game was the quality improvement and using paid press release services for the first time. I would say that the price was the least important factor here.

On the side note - I had absolutely no complains on the raised price of the game. Not a single email, forum comment, anything. It was still that if someone liked the game, he/she purchased it without worrying about the 3 extra bucks. And if someone hated it, he/she wouldn't change his/her mind just because the game would be cheaper.

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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #72 on: October 20, 2008, 03:40:56 AM »

using paid press release services for the first time

So that works. I'm curious:
What service(s) did you use? Were you happy with it? How much did it cost? Do they cover non-games press as well?

On the side note - I had absolutely no complains on the raised price of the game.

That's interesting. So perhaps one could sell the game for 1 USD in the first week and add a Dollar to the price every week.  Grin
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« Reply #73 on: October 20, 2008, 05:35:14 AM »

Quote from: JohnyZuper
So that works. I'm curious:
What service(s) did you use? Were you happy with it? How much did it cost? Do they cover non-games press as well?
Yeah, it works like a charm. At least it worked for me so far. I was actually surprized that the outcome was as good as people on indiegamer.com say it is Wink.

Also, I handle press releases at my job and used most of the more popular services. Here's some info on them:

http://www.gamespress.com/ - a free PR distribution service. It's free to submit news, so there's no reason to not use it everytime you release something. The effects aren't as good as when using a paid service, but still some outlets will pick up your game.

http://www.softpressrelease.com - the most expensive and theoretically the best PR service. In practice, the difference between this and cheaper services is not that big (though, it's still there). We used it for the bigger news on our casual games. The effect was slightly better than when using other websites, but I'm not convinced it was worth it - sending a game-related PR is $140, so a bit pricey. Still, I only sent news on casual games through them, it might be just that their contacts are more hardcore/general gaming oriented.
Their system is also not very convinient as releases aren't handled automatically - sometime you have to wait for their employee to contact you and so on.

http://www.gamerelease.net/ - GameProducer.net PR distribution service. It has one huge advantage - you pay around $100 and can use the service as many times as you want for one year. If you plan to make many releases to build up hype or expect many updates, they are a very good choice. They always get you further than a free service and $100 is not that much for unlimited amount of releases. Their system is also very convinient and fully automatic.

http://www.mitorahgames.com/Submit-Game-Press-Release.html - Mitorah games is a small indie company offering to send PRs through their contact list. I send the news on the MAGI update through them and the results were great. I had almost no traffic and two days after the release I've got a concerned letter from my webhost that I suddenly started using too much bandwidth (20GB per day in demo downloads).
However, it might be just that their contacts were perfectly suited for my needs - MAGI is a strategy/rpg and these guys specialize in this kind of games. Still, I recommend them. Even if just to support fellow indies trying to make some buck by offering the efforts of their hard work.
The price is very competitive at $60-$85, though there's no automated system there - you have to get in contact with Tero and exchange few emails.

http://prmac.com/ - if you plan to release for Mac, I totally recommend these guys. Their system is very convinient and handy, the release costs only around $15 and your news are always picked very fast by all the major Mac outlets. They also have excellent customer support and really try to make sure you are satisfied.

Quote from: JohnyZuper
That's interesting. So perhaps one could sell the game for 1 USD in the first week and add a Dollar to the price every week. 
That could be too much Wink. The price change was justified by the fact that the new version had some major revisions, some new content (that costed me some money) and the dollar started to get really low on value.

Hope I helped a bit Wink.
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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #74 on: October 20, 2008, 05:39:11 AM »

Thanks for the very handy list! Smiley
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« Reply #75 on: October 20, 2008, 06:27:56 AM »

You should start a new thread with that list.  It's quite useful.
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« Reply #76 on: October 21, 2008, 12:43:03 PM »

I don't think that the results will be clear enough to see how the price affected sales. After all, there are other significant factors involved - raise of quality with the new update and the marketing push related to the release. It would make more sense if the price would be the only thing that changed from v1.0 to v1.1.

For example - I could say that making the price higher raises sales, as when I released the version 1.3 of MAGI (which raised the price from $20 to $23) the sales went up significantly. However, that would be simply untrue - what promoted and sold the game was the quality improvement and using paid press release services for the first time. I would say that the price was the least important factor here.

On the side note - I had absolutely no complains on the raised price of the game. Not a single email, forum comment, anything. It was still that if someone liked the game, he/she purchased it without worrying about the 3 extra bucks. And if someone hated it, he/she wouldn't change his/her mind just because the game would be cheaper.

To some degree that's true, but I don't think the changes were significant enough to affect the percent of people who buy it after downloading the demo. Although who knows, maybe you're right. But even so -- pricing is not an exact science, and sometimes you have to go by instinct. And I don't mean instinct like "what you think the game is worth" like we were arguing before, but rather instinct as in "when is a good time to try out different prices".
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« Reply #77 on: October 27, 2008, 08:33:41 PM »

Quote from: JohnyZuper
So that works. I'm curious:
What service(s) did you use? Were you happy with it? How much did it cost? Do they cover non-games press as well?
Yeah, it works like a charm. At least it worked for me so far. I was actually surprized that the outcome was as good as people on indiegamer.com say it is Wink.

Also, I handle press releases at my job and used most of the more popular services. Here's some info on them:

http://www.gamespress.com/ - a free PR distribution service. It's free to submit news, so there's no reason to not use it everytime you release something. The effects aren't as good as when using a paid service, but still some outlets will pick up your game.

http://www.softpressrelease.com - the most expensive and theoretically the best PR service. In practice, the difference between this and cheaper services is not that big (though, it's still there). We used it for the bigger news on our casual games. The effect was slightly better than when using other websites, but I'm not convinced it was worth it - sending a game-related PR is $140, so a bit pricey. Still, I only sent news on casual games through them, it might be just that their contacts are more hardcore/general gaming oriented.
Their system is also not very convinient as releases aren't handled automatically - sometime you have to wait for their employee to contact you and so on.

http://www.gamerelease.net/ - GameProducer.net PR distribution service. It has one huge advantage - you pay around $100 and can use the service as many times as you want for one year. If you plan to make many releases to build up hype or expect many updates, they are a very good choice. They always get you further than a free service and $100 is not that much for unlimited amount of releases. Their system is also very convinient and fully automatic.

http://www.mitorahgames.com/Submit-Game-Press-Release.html - Mitorah games is a small indie company offering to send PRs through their contact list. I send the news on the MAGI update through them and the results were great. I had almost no traffic and two days after the release I've got a concerned letter from my webhost that I suddenly started using too much bandwidth (20GB per day in demo downloads).
However, it might be just that their contacts were perfectly suited for my needs - MAGI is a strategy/rpg and these guys specialize in this kind of games. Still, I recommend them. Even if just to support fellow indies trying to make some buck by offering the efforts of their hard work.
The price is very competitive at $60-$85, though there's no automated system there - you have to get in contact with Tero and exchange few emails.

http://prmac.com/ - if you plan to release for Mac, I totally recommend these guys. Their system is very convinient and handy, the release costs only around $15 and your news are always picked very fast by all the major Mac outlets. They also have excellent customer support and really try to make sure you are satisfied.

Have you heard of this one? http://www.vgsmart.com/

It seems to specifically be for indie games, whereas the others aren't. Any experiences with that one?
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« Reply #78 on: October 28, 2008, 12:56:17 AM »

No experience with them. Though, I was put off a bit by the website design. If it's for indies, then why use that corporate stock image and so on? The price is pretty high compared to the rest too. I might try them at some point, just to see how it goes and post my opinion here.

Hmm... when I think of it, what's the diference between indie-oriented and not-indie oriented PR service? The point is to get to as many outlets as possible - indie and overall gaming oriented ones. 
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Tom Grochowiak
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« Reply #79 on: October 28, 2008, 04:31:36 AM »

I don't know if the vgsmart guy is still in this business. I know he is on indiegamer.com and he got a job in casual company shortly after starting vgsmart. Check him on indiegamer.com (forum name is terin)
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