FFD: Do sales devalue games?

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The annual Steam summer sale is here, ready to pillage your credit card account. It’s joined by a veritable cacophony of other sales from vendors like Good old Games, Humble Bundle, PSN and everywhere else. They allow gamers to pick up great games at ludicrous discounts, sometimes reaching 90% off of the sticker price. Are these sales actually devaluing games?

It could be doing so on two fronts. Not only do gamers expect to pay less for their games as a result of these sales, but they tend to care less about those games as a result of picking them up so cheaply. I’m sure every one of you with a gaming PC has a ludicrously large backlog of games that you acquired on the cheap, that you couldn’t be arsed to actually get around to playing – because you picked them up for next to nothing.

With regards to the cheapening of games and devaluing their brands, it was actually GoG’s Marcin Iwinski who called out the practise of discounting games too much.

Selling games at too high a discount – one often sees discounts above 80% off here and there -sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isn’t worth very much. Of course you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when it’s that cheap, but you’re damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale. Slashing the price of your game is easy. Improving the content of your offer when you release your game, that’s more ambitious.

And it seems that the games with the highest percentage of not being played are those that have been sold through Steam Sales at dumping prices.

There’s no denying that these sales are a great way to refine your skills at being a patient, cheap bastard. Do you think though, that they’re actually devaluing games?

Last Updated: June 20, 2014

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