PRICE WARS : Episode I

February 06, 2009 | Filed under: business

The indie games community is ablaze with much shouting about how one of the big portals (I won’t link to them) has just cut the price of every single game to $9.99, and is offering a lot of them for $6.99.

Where the developers notified in advance, consulted or given the option to opt out?

NO.

Some portals (the ones I prefer to deal with) are really good like that. They treat the relationship as a real partnership, they credit you correctly and link to your site, and try to co-ordinate any sales or promotions with you. Other portals act like WalMart treating it’s suppliers, and basically regard the game developers as people producing cattle-feed.

This price war is going to be a major kick in the nuts for people whose business plan amounts to “make what these big publishers want, and take what they offer me”. I have to say, it was predictable a long way off. I even wrote an article be-moaning the complete lack of independence amongst so-called ‘indie’ developers a while ago.

For me, the solution was easy. I don’t consider my games to be disposable throwaway match-3 clones and do not want to be priced the same as a game that even a child finds boring after 20 minutes, so I’ve sent out the emails that remove my games from that portal. I know another indie dev has done the same thing. We have decent direct sales, and we base our businesses on selling through multiple channels at the same time. This is true independence, when nobody can tell you what games to make, or dictate terms to you. This week, people with strong direct sales were able to breathe a sigh of relief that they are not 100% dependent on portals.

We live in interesting times.

3 Responses to “PRICE WARS : Episode I”

  1. Michael says:

    I notice they’re still selling Chuzzle Deluxe for $19.95. Apparently, quality doesn’t count for much.

  2. CaesarsGhost says:

    I think I saw your game on sale on Impulse recently… did they coordinate with you?

    Did Valve ever get back to you?

  3. […] Harris may make games about things he’s interested in, but he’s understandably concerned with how his games are […]