January 24, 2010 | Filed under: Uncategorized0015
It’s very common for people online to state (on the subject of games pricing) that
“If you dropped the price, you would sell way more and make tons more money”
It is not that simple. I’ve done a lot of tests, and found that the twenty – twenty four dollars price is right for my games. Lowering the price makes me less money.
But why oh why do the steam holiday sales work then? here is my best guess:
The sales == attention == increased visitors.
Getting tons of eyeballs on your game will mean more sales. This is just basic business. There were whole websites dedicated to promoting the steam sale, no wonder games in the sale sell tons more
Also, this is not the whole story. When you hear people say “I dropped the price of game X, and made twice the money”. That is NOT the whole story. For the whole story you need to know what happened to the sales a month after the price reverted to normal. You really need an A/B test in different universes looking at the lifetime sales of the game in both scenarios.
You basically can’t tell whether the 100 extra sales are the 100 people who would pay $5 for the game but never pay $20, or whether they are the people who hadn’t heard of the game and would have paid $20, or the people who keep meaning to one day get your game, and will eventually buy it for $20, but bought it in the sale to save money.
It’s the last last group I find interesting. I suspect the vast vast majority of Democracy 2 buyers are in that group. I sold 4 copies of that game this morning (it’s an oldish game now, so that’s good!), and it’s $19.95. People who have been waiting since I released it in December 2007 for me to offer it below $19 are still waiting, and I see no urgent reason to cut the price now. If you really like the idea of a complex and serious government-sim, Democracy 2 is your best choice. It’s a love it or hate it game, and not something people buy for $2 on a whim. The price reflects that, and likely always will.
Theres some interesting analysis by a fellow indie of his ‘pay what you want’ sale here. Notice that if he basically just told everyone paying under £1 to get stuffed, he would only have lost out £2.40. If just two percent of those cheap-buyers had raised their price to £1, he would be in profit. In other words, you can ignore the cheapest-paying 85% of your potential market, and hardly lose a penny.
In more fun-related news I’ve been getting decent nebula renders arranged for the next expansion, and working on improvements to the graphics in GSB. Better engine glow effects (you will hardly notice, but subtly, subconsciously you might), and optimising for maybe some better particle effects. Come monday morning I’ll be doing real work on new ship stuff.