Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, May 10, 2010

Arrrh! Sell Me That Game, Matey!

An interesting study conducted on Dutch file-sharers, as detailed in this Ars Technica article, shows that "file-sharers" (known to most publishers as "pirates") have pretty much the same buying tendencies as non-file-sharers. Except, when it comes to games, file-sharers tend to buy somewhat more games than non-file-sharers.

This is interesting, if for no other reason than it's hard data in an area usually devoid of data and filled with guesses (disguised as "industry estimates"). We don't know if Dutch file-sharers act the same as file-sharers in other countries, or if they are anomalous. The real interesting part of this study is where they surveyed people on what they felt were reasonable prices. Their perceptions of music and video "reasonable prices" were about equal to what videos and music are priced at, but their view of "reasonable price" for games was quite different from what's actually in stores. Those interviewed thought that a reasonable price for a game was (translating from the Euro) about $10, while games in stores cost about $60 to $70 (game prices are a bit higher in Europe).

Perhaps the most dangerous part of the success of the iPhone/iPod Touch has been its contribution to a perception of games as much lower priced commodities... along with the free-to-play business model that's been so successful. Especially when so many $60 games do not deliver that much entertainment value. We saw how the music industry suffered by maintaining their high CD prices for so long, and choosing to try and battle piracy rather than find new ways to deliver their products to customers. Let's hope the game industry doesn't make the same mistake, or at least not for so long.

As marketers, it's part of our job to see these sorts of shifts coming, and help invent and promote new business models that can revitalize the industry. It's a tough job, but it's vitally important.

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