Weak Economy May Bring Cheaper Games

By Chris Faylor, Dec 29, 2008 3:46pm PST The oft-cited "economic conditions" that are forcing publishers to cancel projects and lay off staff may also reverse the trend of new Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games being priced at $60, according to Forbes and research firm Lazard Capital Markets.

The theory goes that as consumers seek to cut excess spending, they'll buy fewer full-priced games, forcing publishers to lower prices to increase sales.

In fact, Lazard analyst Colin Sebsastion suggests the trend may have already begun, as Activision Blizzard unexpectedly lowered the MSRP of Call of Duty: World at War, which released in early November, from $59.99 to $49.99 just before Christmas.

"While the move may be part of an annual promotion, we believe a $10 discount on one of the industry's top holiday releases highlights the risk of lower software pricing moving into the new year," he wrote in an investor note.

Along with Call of Duty: World at War, Sebastian noted that Guitar Hero World Tour got a price cut, as well as some titles from publishers Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.

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  • I buy more games if I can get them at lower prices. Surprise? I don't think this has that much to do with the current economic state. This is always true. My game buying slowed down when games sat on store shelves at $59.99 for months on end. I find myself just waiting it out for better deals and sales. I'm NOT going to pay a dime over $30 for L4D.

    Let's not ignore how the situation has worsened overall for game buyers. It's not just the economy. I've got a good job and to be honest the economy is not really hitting me personally. I just think I'm getting less for my money so I'm just not willing to pay as much. Loaded DRM that I worry will make my purchase more like a 3 year rental, shorter games, lack of resale rights (see: Steam). I honestly don't feel like giving these people my money some times. I vote with my money, and if you want a job in the game industry you will meet *MY* needs. You give me less rights, I give you less money or no money at all. I'm not going to hide the fact that I'm developing a bad attitude about the whole situation. I feel at every purchase I have to carefully wade through a pile of legalese to make sure I'm not getting screwed and that the deal is worth it. It's not just "pay $X, get Y" anymore. It's too complicated. My purchases especially at MSRP have to be very carefully thought out now.

    I paid $38 for COD5 on 360. I bought several cheaper games off Steam due to the sale. A few 0.99 games, STALKER:CS, a few other casual games for the hell of it. I wouldn't have spent as much if I wasn't getting good deals. Good deals cause people to buy. No surprises.