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GOG.com: Steam Sales Bad For Everyone

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
CD Projekt, Digital Distribution, GOG.com, Steam, value

GOG.com: Steam Sales Bad For Everyone

Two of GOG.com's executives have suggested that the massive, price slashing sales, such as one sees on Steam, are bad for all concerned, with fears of devaluing games when it comes to the industry, and worries over product quality from a consumer perspective.

Speaking to RPS, managing director Guillaume Rambourg and head of marketing Trevor Longino made the point that huge price cuts send the message that the product isn't worth terribly much at all, with the resulting effect seeing gamers simply wait for the next big sale, destroying long-term product value.

"Selling games at too high a discount – one often sees discounts above 80% off here and there -sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isn’t worth very much," they said. "Of course you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when it’s that cheap, but you’re damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale. Slashing the price of your game is easy. Improving the content of your offer when you release your game, that’s more ambitious."

The GOG.com boys feel that it all comes back to one of the central tenets of their site's ethos: ensuring that the day one package is rewarding a full price sale.

"Our industry failed to provide gamers with a fair and attractive offer on day one and therefore convince them to buy games when they are released, which is the best way to support a publisher or developer from a financial standpoint," they continued. "GOG has always been trying to add as much value as possible into their offer; and we hope more gaming companies will follow this direction.

"Heavy discounts are bad for gamers, too. If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn’t want just because it’s on sale, they’re being trained to make bad purchases, and they’re also learning that games aren’t valuable. We all know gamers who spend more every month on games than they want to, just because there were too many games that were discounted too deeply. That’s not good for anyone."

Although acknowledging that sales might help promote impulse purchases that might not have occurred otherwise, they suggested that "you need to reach a happy medium between giving someone a chance to take a risk without feeling like they’ve gotten a bad deal, and pricing things so cheaply that you tell gamers, 'this game I made isn’t worth very much.'"

Further on in the interview, they noted that the majority of revenue on GOG.com comes from full purchases rather than sales runs on particular games.

"The fact that the majority of our revenue comes from games that aren’t on sale shows that gamers–of course–are sensitive to pricing, but they’re equally attentive to value. I think we provide excellent value, even at full price, and our gamers seem to agree."

Add a comment14 comments
JonLester  Apr. 12, 2012 at 11:55

"Our industry failed to provide gamers with a fair and attractive offer on day one..."

Boom. Rambourg and Longino make several good points (and some very contentious ones), but this is the big one. Inappropriate, irresponsible and inflexible RRPs affect everything, from pre-owned games to Steam sales. IMO.

Last edited by JonLester, Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:38
uglymash  Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:30

well i for one spend over £80 quid a month on games and guess what i never ever buy new on release day except like 2-3 a year and they have to be dam special. Like im in work and im practially begging for someone to take my money, you only need to go on to each of the platform to see which one is more successful. I browse everyday to see if something takes my fancy and guess what i normally always buy steam sale games but when through gog website and didnt find anything on interest, sure there was a few games that i probably would have bough but its too much for a impulse buy for me. i find it funny that i wud rather spend over £40 on lots of smaller 2-3quid games than one large game. its like when i see a bargin i feel i have to buy them all so for me price to high you get nothing, price normally mite buy one or two but give me a good price and ill buy the lot!

Zeipher  Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:34

They make pretty good points, but I personally have never purchased anything from GOG.com. I'm very interested in the classic games, but people will always be swayed by money. For example, I'd like to pick up the Space Quest series. Always been a fan! I can get all 6 on Steam for £9.99, or from GOG.com for $19.98 (approx. £12.50). I find Steam very flexible, and love having all my games in one place. Even if the prices were reversed, I'd still buy it from Steam for this reason.

Personally I think these deals encourage people to try out games that they wouldn't usually try. For example, not too long ago I bought Costume Quest in a deal, and I think it's fantastic. Because of this, I picked up Stacking as well as donated toward their Kick Starter Project. I wouldn't have done any of this had I not taken a chance on the deal.

I would always hesitate in paying £5 for a 10 year old pc game when I can pick up a year old xbox 360 game for the same price.

These deals, in my opinion, are part of the reason Indie games are so successful lately.

hurrakan  Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:43

They make pretty good points, but I personally have never purchased anything from GOG.com.

Why the hell not?

I support GOG every chance I can - I even buy games that I already have! The games are awesome and there is no DRM.

DivideByZero  Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:54

The Steam sale is not a patch on what is once was.

As Jon said, if RRPs weren't so daft then it wouldn't come to this.

An RRP on a game you are pretty damn sure you are gonna like is fine, but if it's a game you are not sure about, why pay full RRP when you can wait a while and pick it up in the sale... and even if you take the sale side of things away, it will come out on Platinum / Classics etc.

The point that people miss when they **** off steam sales is the fact that people buy a load of games in Steam sales that we otherwise WOULD NOT BUY! This is a good thing all round.

The devs get some money where they would have got none and then, if it's a good game, they can gain some loyal fans.

I picked up Psychonauts on whim in the sale... I loved it and bought most of the other Double Fine games and even gave money to the Double Fine kickstarter... directly as a result of buying Psychonauts when it was not brand new and was cheap in the Steam sale.

So funny that Zeipher did almost exactly the same thing as me... goes to show.

Last edited by DivideByZero, Apr. 12, 2012 at 13:00
Zeipher  Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:58

I picked up Psychonauts on whim in the sale... I loved it and bought most of the other Double Fine games and even gave money to the Double Fine kickstarter... directly as a result of buying Psychonauts when it was not breand new in the Steam sale.


Spooky... See my post above ^^

Zeipher  Apr. 12, 2012 at 12:59

Why the hell not?


I've not seen anything that makes me go "wow!" that I can't get off Steam. Although I have had my eye on Master of Orion 2 lately...

phil16  Apr. 12, 2012 at 13:18

I can understand what their saying however to me I've always bought games cheap. Its rare I pay more than a £10 (Got BF3 on preorder for £17 and ME3 today for £13). Steam sales has resulted in me buying a lot more games and then caused me to keep an eye out for sequels - puzzle agent 2 being a good example of something I wouldn't have bought if not for 1 on a steam sale! I think they are overreacting.

JonLester  Apr. 12, 2012 at 13:19

re the Steam sale issue: As far as I know, Steam consults with developers and publishers before running a promotion in order to ensure that everyone gets a fair deal. Indeed, they're frequently approached by publishers who actively want to take part in a promotion. If everyone involved is happy, I don't really see the problem - though it's an important jumping off point for discussions about RRP and the intrinsic value of games vs actual monetary value.

Tsung  Apr. 12, 2012 at 13:40

Another effect of the Steam Sales I've noticed in recent months is new games being overpriced from the Start. So it looks like a bargain when there is 75% off. An example? Dungeons £39.99 on steam.. The game is worth £20 tops; clearly priced for a 75% discount.

I suspect more games on Steam will be "overpriced" with a view to sell them at a more realistic price during a "sale".

Zeipher  Apr. 12, 2012 at 14:16

ME3 today for £13


Ooh, where? Zavvi are messing me around ATM!

Dungeons £39.99 on steam


Was this shown as £39.99 on Steam? I recall it being cheaper during the sales. It's £19.99 on the store now. Some prices on Steam are still crazy. For example, Anno 2070 is £34.99, but I can still buy a digital copy elsewhere for a touch over £14.

Last edited by Zeipher, Apr. 12, 2012 at 14:17
phil16  Apr. 12, 2012 at 14:40

@Zeipher - Got mine delivered from Zavvi today - Was £15 with a 10% voucher they sent me for not shopping there for a while + about 40p Quidco = £13.05! Ordered it last Thursday.

Zeipher  Apr. 12, 2012 at 15:14

@Zeipher - Got mine delivered from Zavvi today - Was £15 with a 10% voucher they sent me for not shopping there for a while + about 40p Quidco = £13.05! Ordered it last Thursday.


Ah, similar to what I'm in the middle of. Ordered for £19.95 from Zavvi, then 2 days later they reduce the price to £15. I asked for a refund of the difference, and they said no... so I'm returning the one they sent me and ordering one at the cheaper price. Hassle... but I like saving my pennies, and don't like companies screwing me over.

davidpanik  Apr. 12, 2012 at 17:03

I don't buy any games at full price on Steam because I know that in 6 months time tops I'll be able to buy it for at least half that price. I would rather they had lower RRP prices and slightly smaller discounts during the sales.

I'd disagree that the Steam sales undermine an IP or franchise though, I've discovered a lot of great games that I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise because they were in the Steam sale. In fact when I see them giving indie games the same coverage as AAA games then I'm even more likely to give them a go.

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