Editorials and Features
Article by: MrCHUPON
Discussion: The Thriftseekers [Written 2006-07-06]
Sound familiar? Well, except for the plague part. Earnings reports over the last few months haven't been especially kind to videogame publishers. The latest victim is Atari, with readjusted losses for fiscal year 2005 mounting to $69 million - $6.2 of those for the fourth quarter.
While it's entirely possible and likely that these losses were due to many, many factors in the industry, it begs questions that refer to us - the consumers. I see you amongst the crowd, with your shifty eyes and your unshaved patchy facial hair... oh wait, that's me looking in the mirror. Let me put down this mirror and - yes, I see the lot of you. Thrifty game players with Gamestop Member cards that allow 10% off of all used games. Cheapassgamers who look up CheapyD's awesome bargain lists day and night for the next cheap deal. Why, I just scored Indigo Prophecy for the Xbox for a cool $8.96 from Circuit City.
Hm. An Atari-published game, no less. Strike while the irony is hot, oui oui?
In a corporate management policy briefing, Satoru Iwata recently had this to say about game retail prices:
"We believe that each software should have its own price point depending on its volume, theme, contents or energies and time spent for the development, namely, the development costs... once the suggested retail price is announced, we should stick to it. If the suggested retail price of any and all software is marked down in 6 months or 9 months, the customers will learn the cycle and wait for the discounting, which will simply aggravate the decreasing sales of new software."
How many times have you found yourself NOT chomping at the bit for the latest release, because you know that it will be in the Used Game bin within days? What about that ultra-niche, high quality title that will inevitably fall in price because you know no one other than yourself is going to purchase it? Or what about that supermodel-hot franchise sequel that you just know will sell 796 billion copies, and go on to be a Player's Choice, Greatest Hits or Platinum Hits title for a cool $19.99 only a year later?
Let me bust out my calculator to see how many times I've done that - late-lifecycle sales, used games, you name it.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door for the Gamecube at $14.99 online.
KOTOR for the Xbox at $9.99 online.
X-Men Legends for the Gamecube at $5 online.
Wild ARMs 4 for Playstation 2 at $8.96 - from the same Circuit City sale I found Indigo Prophecy at.
A used copy of Riviera for the Gameboy Advance, at $19.99.
A used copy of Mario Golf: Advance Tour for the Gameboy Advance at $13.99.
There are plenty - oh yes, plenty more times where I've played the miser and "not supported" our beloved videogame industry by supplying them with healthy revenues on their tasty, high quality games.
Can we as consumers really be blamed, though? Isn't thrifty shopping simply the way to go? How does any industry expect us to "support" what we like by paying full price instead of waiting for a sale? By the same token, why is it that sometimes I go out of my way to support? Why did I pay full price for the 24 game, knowing full well that $39.99 minus the $3.26 that it's worth means a waste of $36.73?
So fine friends, I ask you. Do you buy at full price out of love? Out of frothing demand? Do you buy at bargain prices out of necessity? For the thrill of "beating the system" and being "TEH UBARTHRIFTY"?
And will the game industry suffer from the simply natural, unavoidable tendencies of the common consumer?
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