Home Gaming How much are you willing to pay for games?

How much are you willing to pay for games?

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Can t afford the cat

It has been a sad week for the economy – exchange rates are plummeting, interest rates, gas (because it’s short for gasoline which is what you actually put in your car, not petrol) is set to rise and eTolls may or may not find you. The last straw was Gavin’s article that we can expect game prices to soar this year. So, how much are you willing to spend on a game?

Obviously the type of game is a big part of price determination. AAA titles are released a fixed price in the US – the rest of the world tends to fluctuate in prices depending on exchange rates with the US Dollar. This is bad in South Africa, but at least we can predict the cost of AAA titles upon release. Other games – indies and games from smaller studios – often get to set their own price, or even pricing structures.

When Jason Rohrer said that Steam Sales were bad, he was striving for the Mojang approach to pricing. Start off at a reduced rate, minimizing the risk for early adopters, with the price increasing up to a set point over time – those who buy the game at its highest price are paying a premium on knowing that the game has been out long enough to be fully functional and worth their money. He argued that this was far better than charging full price at launch, and then practically giving the game away during Steam Sales, thereby punishing your early adopters.

Of course, there are a few issues at play here. The first thing we have to discuss is the mentality of console gamers vs. PC gamers. As a general rule, PC gamers end up paying more for their gaming rig and less for their games. Before everyone jumps all over me, sure – you can get a budget priced gaming rig. But the reality is that most gamers like to upgrade their gaming PC with components that can cost as much as an entire console. When you add the accessories (gaming keyboard, mouse, headset) you can end up spending a pretty penny to play games. However, AAA titles generally release for cheaper on PC (despite looking prettier for the most part), plus there are always Steam Sales and Humble Bundles and other ways to pick up great games for cheap. As such, prices that console gamers are willing to fork out for games will often be way higher than those paid by PC gamers.

Expensive or poor

However, the main point of contention is value for money. This is where many games, both AAA and indies, fail the test and get a lot of flak for being over priced. Broken games can come in all shapes and sizes – whether it’s the flop that was Battlefield 4 at launch, or the uproar over DayZ, consumers get upset when they are charged full price for a game that doesn’t work. However, it’s about more than broken games – it’s about value.

What were some of my favorite games that I bought last year? Mark of the Ninja, Ni No Kuni, Thomas Was Alone, Fire Emblem, The Walking Dead. All the PC games were bought on special – Humble Bundle or Steam Sale. Ni No Kuni and Fire Emblem were bought at full price. All those games were fantastic value for money – they were excellent games and offered complete experiences. Would I have paid full price for those experiences? Of course. Did I have to? No.

The reality is that I’m willing to pay $5-6 on a Humble Bundle, or even $10-15, if I think even one or two of the games will be enjoyable. There were plenty of games that came with Mark of the Ninja or Thomas Was Alone that didn’t grab me at all. A Virus Named TOM sat on my Steam library for ages before I installed it, and I stopped playing after a relatively short period of time. I didn’t resent the money I paid for the bundle – it was more than worth it for some of the other games. However, if I had paid $5 for that game, only to not enjoy it, I probably would have been more hesitant to buy other indies in the future.

With prices soaring due to an atrocious exchange rate, it’s only natural that gamers will be more circumspect when considering their game purchases. Why buy a game at launch for over R1000? What if that game is broken or too short or of poor quality? The same game priced at R600 can be more acceptable – I have no problem paying R1000 for a game that I’d rate 9 or higher; anything worse than that and I’d be upset. However, if I’d rate a game 7 or higher, I probably wouldn’t mind paying R500… and maybe trading it in when I was done. Or, if it’s available on Steam, I could just wait for the next Steam Sale and see if it comes up for a better price.

Too much month

I predict that reviews and recommendations will become more important as prices rise. Pre-orders and launch sales will drop as people wait to see if the game is worthwhile before throwing wads of cash at them. However, with distributors and retailers being forced to import at such high prices, I can tell you now that we won’t be seeing price drops on those games anytime soon.

What is your price threshold? Sure, Collector’s Editions are a whole different kettle of fish, but how much are you willing to pay for a game, and under what expectations?

Last Updated: January 31, 2014

63 Comments

  1. Umar Break Dancing Cyborg

    January 31, 2014 at 15:36

    I can’t just justify a game at R1000 … I would rather wait for a price drop. Hell I don’t even usually buy games at launch price, I usually wait a few months. Some games I would buy right away like TLOU. But threshold for is R500-R600 (But not every month)

    Reply

  2. Hammersteyn

    January 31, 2014 at 15:38

    R1000 is a lot of money meaning maybe a game every three months where it was every two months. I wonder if the second hand prices will rise as well?

    Reply

    • Trebzz

      January 31, 2014 at 15:41

      Well I doubt we’ll see PS4 second hand games anytime soon. I wouldn’t pay R700 or whatever for a new game and run off to BT and accept their useless offer.

      Reply

      • Umar Break Dancing Cyborg

        January 31, 2014 at 15:41

      • Umar Break Dancing Cyborg

        January 31, 2014 at 15:42

        I also Saw Cash Crusaders have a few PS4 games for sale

        Reply

        • Trebzz

          January 31, 2014 at 15:45

          Ok then those are some crazy folk selling it for that cheap and only a month old as well o.O I suppose money is needed to fund the next game but for me I plan on keeping every single last game even if I never go back to it.

          Reply

          • Umar Break Dancing Cyborg

            January 31, 2014 at 15:46

            It’s exactly that though, I do it too, I would love to collect games but unfortunately time won’t allow second playthroughs really so I usually play once then sell to fund next game. Not trade in though gosh, trade in value is harsh

          • Trebzz

            January 31, 2014 at 15:55

            Agreed if you can find someone to give you a good price or do a trade of something you’d like to play then by all means, but going to a place like BT where the guy stares into you eyes and offers you R250 on a game that came out 2 weeks ago and then next week you see it’s being sold for R450 is a huge blow πŸ˜›

          • MakeItLegal

            February 1, 2014 at 11:48

            That makes my tits wobble , I wana know how they justify that

          • RinceThis2014

            January 31, 2014 at 15:58

            I won’t sell mine. OVG has a first come first go policy when he sells them, I like my collection though.

      • Hammersteyn

        January 31, 2014 at 16:00

        Saw Fifa 14 the other day ;P Dunno what the price was though.

        Reply

        • Trebzz

          January 31, 2014 at 16:06

          Damn I wish I bought it so I could play as Utd and win every game πŸ˜›

          Reply

          • Anon A Mouse

            January 31, 2014 at 16:08

            Just watch the Liverpool games and you’re sorted. Trolololololololololololol

          • Hammersteyn

            January 31, 2014 at 17:36

            Hahaha at least you will have a better season than them.

    • Umar Break Dancing Cyborg

      January 31, 2014 at 15:42

      Yup, this again highlights the appeal of PS+ .

      Reply

    • Milesh Bhana

      January 31, 2014 at 15:52

      also I just found out that BT no longer allows you to save the credit on trade-ins. So if you trade in games, you need to take something immediately. πŸ™

      Reply

  3. Admiral Chief in Vegas

    January 31, 2014 at 15:38

    FIVE DOLLAHS

    Reply

  4. Trebzz

    January 31, 2014 at 15:39

    R700 at most is my limit but anything higher I’m sorry it won’t be possible.

    Reply

  5. Devourer of Small Bunnies

    January 31, 2014 at 15:42

    When PS3 first came out and games were already in the range of 700-800 I dropped the whole notion for a few years of ever bothering. Waited for the second hand market to boom (and thanks to guys like BT) and I was sorted. Making games 1000 bucks is not going to bode well for those of us already struggling to keep our super expensive hobby afloat.

    Reply

    • Umar Break Dancing Cyborg

      January 31, 2014 at 15:43

      Lolz same here, 2nd hand market boomed big, a lot of my games are 2nd hand. And I don’t feel bad about it

      Reply

  6. Unavengedavo

    January 31, 2014 at 15:43

    My brother always use to ask me how I could spend so much money on game time for WoW when I was still playing it, and he stated that it was such a waste of money. This while holding a drink in the one hand and a cigarette in the other.

    I don’t mind paying for games, as long as it’s worth the price, because it’s my hobby/”habit”. It’s what I use to relax because I don’t smoke or drink all that often

    Reply

    • CypherGate

      January 31, 2014 at 16:04

      Still the price for one game at R700 is a lot honestly and now its moving to the R1000 range is just plain mad. Yup drinking and smoking costs a lot of money as well, but for quite a couple of people who are social drinkers or social smokers wouldn’t end up spending R1000 on those things in one solid go. Thats just how i see it though. my buddy used to smoke 1 pack every second day at R25 a pack and that worked out to R600 a month for him. He doesnt drink though.

      Reply

      • HvR

        January 31, 2014 at 16:16

        Packet of 20’s range from R30 to R40 (for proper legal brands, after new taxes in March it will probably be closer to R40), your average smoker will smoke pack a day (if it less they are lying).

        Reply

        • CypherGate

          January 31, 2014 at 16:21

          True the packs nowadays costs a lot more than before. Maybe i should have said at the time when he used to smoke which was 1998 onwards to about 2009 he stopped.

          Reply

  7. ElimiNathan

    January 31, 2014 at 15:46

    $1

    Reply

  8. Uberutang

    January 31, 2014 at 15:49

    R399 for a game with MP that will keep my playing for at least 150 hours.

    R200 for SP games with up to 20 hours of play time.

    Fortunately I could (for the most part) keep to that rule of mine to date.

    I think for 2014 and beyond I will end up playing my MP longer and I have all ready decided to never ever pre-order anything again (thank you COD GHOSTS for teaching me this life lesson)

    Reply

  9. RinceThis2014

    January 31, 2014 at 15:51

    R600 to me is a lot. I won’t pay more than 750 for a ‘special’ game like GTAV (even then I had to bite down like a choir boy in rehearsals). Over R1000? No, I won’t do that.

    Reply

    • Verrayne

      February 1, 2014 at 10:35

      Should have gone to Makro then. R600 for GTA since release.

      The thing that gets me is I want to have the collector’s editions for blizzard games (have all starcraft, diablo and warcraft collector’s) as well as Final Fantasy. But havign to fork out R1k for an expansion’s collectors is just insane.

      Other brilliant games I would get a collector’s every now and then but usually I wait it out. I picked up Uncharted 3 collectors for R400 5 months later. my mate dropped R1200 on release.

      Reply

  10. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    January 31, 2014 at 15:52

    The max I would be willing to pay for any game is R500. That’s for a new release AAA title. I cannot and will not try to justify almost R1000 for a game. Ever. Anything that takes up just under half of my budget for food. No ways. Not happening.

    Reply

    • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

      January 31, 2014 at 15:55

      Agreed with this. I actually don’t like paying more than R200… I wait for specials.

      The only times I have broken this rule recently has been D3 exp Collectors for R899, because I have a problem and it needs feeding and then Thief I just pre-ordered for R440 from TakeALot. BUT I paid using a R100 voucher they are currently running and eBucks o/

      Steam sales is where I get all my stuff from in general. Well online special. GoG, humble bundle, indie gala, greenman gaming etc etc etc… There are TONS of them.

      Reply

      • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

        January 31, 2014 at 15:59

        With you there. I honestly think that waiting for specials is the best bet. Gaming shouldn’t be as expensive as it is

        Reply

        • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

          January 31, 2014 at 16:01

          I normally I actually pirate the game. Then I play a bit and see how I feel. If the game is good enough I straight out buy it. This is rare, because games are expensive. Then I wait for a good special. I always buy a game I finish after pirating it. They deserve the money and I believe in voting with my wallet. I will however wait for the cheapest possible sale normally.

          My Steam is on 225 games… I feel very comfortable about the fact that I contribute to gaming o/

          Reply

  11. CypherGate

    January 31, 2014 at 15:56

    Expect the piracy industry to boom after this.

    Reply

  12. SheHulkNigri

    January 31, 2014 at 15:56

    Nice write up. But I am seriously questioning how financially responsible it is to pay R600 for a video game these days…

    Reply

    • RinceThis2014

      January 31, 2014 at 15:57

      Agreed. One thing a year ago, with everything happening now it is dangerous…

      Reply

    • CypherGate

      January 31, 2014 at 15:58

      One things for sure. My gaming hobby is slowly coming to an end because of all this negativity happening in the gaming industry. These prices are almost impossible to afford. Imagine buying a game once every 3 months or more? Petrol prices are already so crazy and not to mention food prices. The more essential stuff we need to survive on.

      Reply

      • SheHulkNigri

        January 31, 2014 at 16:13

        I can almost say my gaming hobby is officially over. I still play a bit, but I cannot tell you when last time I bought a game. I just had it with gaming companies telling me I got a new game, when in fact I have “played” their new clone before.

        Reply

        • CypherGate

          January 31, 2014 at 16:18

          Yeah indeed and because of all this happening…. can one REALLY enjoy a game? The reason why i ask that is because games are so full of monetizing that it also deviates you from the experience in some way. I think that nostalgic feeling we all used to get from great games of the past is because with those games it had its “innocence” pure fantasy without the sense of greed hidden in there. We never used to really worry about what they all advertising in the game. How they creating a game to maximise profits etc etc. Those days gaming was a lot more pure than how it is now.

          Reply

  13. RinceThis2014

    January 31, 2014 at 15:57

    Where’s OVG, we need some propper rage from this day, and yesterday. Man, sucks to be a gamer right now… I want Witcher 3 to make me feel cold inside, way too hot right now to feel warm inside!

    Reply

  14. ChampionSuper

    January 31, 2014 at 15:59

    R500 is my threshold so I doubt I’ll be buying anything new in a long time

    Reply

  15. Double-O-Six and a half

    January 31, 2014 at 16:02

    For a lot of gamers this is a social as well as entertainment experience… get together with a couple of mates online and play… Pretty much the same way that a group of buddies go and play golf, or action cricket, and a set of gold clubs could be a damn sight more expensive than a game or three, granted golf clubs should (unless you play like me and end up breaking the damn things after a few months) last a lot longer than the replayability of games, but nobody bitches at golfers, or cricketers or cyclists for the fortune they spend on their hobbies…
    Having said that, My outer limit would probably be the 700 – 800 mark but I only buy games that really interest me, so that wouldn’t be every single month…

    Reply

    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      January 31, 2014 at 16:05

      The difference is that a game isn’t going to keep me going for years at a time. If you used that argument for online gaming and subscription fees then I’d 100% agree. in fact then it would be cheaper than golf.

      However 1 game lasts a week or 2 maybe for SP. A month or 2 for the MP. By then if we want to continue with our hobby we have to get a new game.

      So, yeah I can see what you are trying to say but unfortunately the hobbies can’t be compared really

      Reply

    • Anon A Mouse

      January 31, 2014 at 16:14

      Photography is one of my other hobbies but when the next lens you want is R80k it’s time to accept that you will never do a model shoot for a magazine. lol

      Reply

      • Xexo

        February 3, 2014 at 10:33

        I have to concur, I am also a photographer…. I would indeed rather buy the lens than a new game… πŸ™‚

        Reply

  16. The Kenn

    January 31, 2014 at 16:03

    I am vehementy against piracy in all forms so I buy games, if I can’t buy it, I don’t play it. It’s gotten to a point that I can play less and less than I did a few years ago. So I choose my games carefully. I have a list of 4 games that I will buy immediately this year, others if I want them will wait for deals, specials or GOTY editions, or I look for free to play games like Guildwars, The Secret World etc. (Yes, I pretty much play MMOs and RPG’s)

    Reply

  17. Anon A Mouse

    January 31, 2014 at 16:11

    I haven’t bought a new game for full price in about 5 years and will not start now. Most of the games I buy is in the R200 – R250 price range which means that for the price of 1 new game I get to buy 4 or 5. That keeps me busy for a few month as well, therefore I don’t really miss out buy not buying games on day 1.

    Reply

  18. RageMerc

    January 31, 2014 at 16:25

    playstation plus, and my adsl line id rather pay just under a grand a month for that, get free games and play what im given…R900 plus not a chance doesnt matter how good the game is…a game a month 12k a year noooooppppeee

    Reply

  19. oVg 60fps > 30fps

    January 31, 2014 at 16:25

    VIDEO GAME CRASH SOUTH AFRICA 2014.

    No way retail like MUSICA or CNA is going to be able to sustain this very expensive luxury considering this year marks a shift into next gen consoles.
    Its R750 for current gen games right now, not to mention that most of these games are on average 10hours long and the second hand market is slowly being crushed by electronic sales.

    Almost makes one want to buy the SKYRIM GOTY edition and be done with 2 hours of daily game play for a year.

    Reply

  20. Estian Hough

    January 31, 2014 at 16:30

    I would pay a Rand for every 13 minutes of gameplay.

    Seeing as how I –usually– get bored of a game after 120 hours it would mean I would pay no more than R550 for such title.

    But that’d have to be one good damned title.

    Reply

    • CAE9872

      January 31, 2014 at 16:44

      That is one odd number…why 13 mins!!!

      Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      January 31, 2014 at 17:29

      that’s like the old rule i used to have – $1/R10 for every wear of clothing. So, no problem spending $50/R500 on an article of clothing if I know i’m going to wear it 50 times. If it’s one use, not worth that cost

      Reply

  21. CAE9872

    January 31, 2014 at 16:43

    I don’t think there is one specific price point. Comes down to the game and how much you want it. Nowadays I rarely by full price – OK did for GT6, PS4 games. But those happen once in a while.

    As for going forward, my most anticipated title for 2014 is Destiny. When time comes I will pay – now assuming that is Sep ’14 as predicted and Rand/Dollar evens out at the current or slightly higher rate…Maybe R800. Given what’s expected of the title it could be money well spent with many hours to sink into it.

    Rest of the 2014 lineup – look for specials, etc.

    Zoe – like me you want an Xbox One as you have mentioned before. Was giving this some thought – we could be looking at between R9 000 and R10 000 JUST FOR THE CONSOLE. I don’t think I want it that badly! You?

    Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      January 31, 2014 at 17:28

      nope! i’ll probably end up getting one later in the generation… no way i can justify that cost πŸ™

      Reply

  22. Alien Emperor Trevor

    January 31, 2014 at 17:10

    The only game I’m buying at launch is Witcher 3, I’ll happily pay R500, I’ll grumpily pay R600, more than that & I have a dilemma. I’m very happy with my newish wait & see stance on new games & their related DLC. I get to see consensus on how good it really is & I can play the whole game at one time.

    Reply

  23. Aussious

    January 31, 2014 at 17:15

    So ultimately 5 games equal a brand new game next gen game console?

    Reply

  24. Kromas

    January 31, 2014 at 17:45

    Games on my list 2014: (All Pre-Order all CE)
    1. Diablo
    2. Witcher
    3. Dragon Age
    4. Wildstar
    5. Elder Scrolls Online
    6. WoW

    Rest are all steam sale games and this has been planned out financially last year already using R1000 per collectors edition. Also every month I add $5 to my steam wallet.

    Reply

  25. ALKi1234

    January 31, 2014 at 17:58

    Game like The last of us R899
    Game like Killzone 2 R799
    Game like Bioshock R600
    Game like Devil my cry R250
    and it just go down from there!!

    Reply

  26. Brenz

    January 31, 2014 at 19:28

    I get annoyed with paying over R700 for a game, I can afford R1000 as mentioned above, but I cant justify it, no matter how good a game it is.

    Reply

  27. Ryanza

    February 1, 2014 at 06:10

    Since I have been back with the PC playing games, R400 is what I am willing to pay for new games.

    But buying games on the PC is not that simple as just playing the game. You will have to add ADSL and uncapped internet costs to that R400. And now that I do not have ADSL, I can not buy any new games, let alone play the games I already bought.
    So is a R1000 worth a game that you can just play out of the box? I nearly paid R1000 for GTA 5 for the Xbox 360 and I can still play the game without internet.

    So when the Wither 3 collectors edition with tin case, no DRM, comes out for the PC, I wouldn’t mind spending R1000 if I could play that game for the rest of my life without internet.

    But that’s a special case with special games. For the rest, I will do the same as I did with Xbox 360, buy a console years from its release and buy cheap second hand games for around the R300 mark.
    Or Telkom could just give me ADSL already.

    Reply

  28. MakeItLegal

    February 1, 2014 at 11:50

    600 tops absolute tops , considering dlc , subscriptions , premiums subscriptions more dlc , dlc and last dlc

    When u think of it after paying 600 for a game , then around 200 to 400 on dlc u paying about 1000 for a “complete” game

    But now to start the base price at a 1000 or so …. Dark days ahead

    Reply

  29. Rags

    February 1, 2014 at 18:52

    I am very surprised how much you are willing to pay for a game Zoe. R1000 for a game? That’s insane. My limit is at R500 for top rated highly anticipated AAA. But that would only be like max 1-2 titles a year. R300 is still a okay figure for non EA/Blizzard(because they have both lost the fucking plot) games.

    For instance I payed R320 for Mass Effect 3 CE. That is what games should be priced.

    With that said, I’ve spent about $230 now on Star Citizen, but only because FU publishers who won’t support my favourite genre. ;P

    Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      February 2, 2014 at 13:07

      only if it’s a fantastic game that would get a minimum rating of 9 out of me. πŸ™‚

      Reply

  30. Willem Swanepoel

    February 3, 2014 at 07:11

    2014 will be one awesome year to work on that Steam backlog. I have enough games to keep me busy for 5-6 months and if I put R300 away every month then I will have enough to buy 2-3 AAA titles that I actually want to play…

    Reply

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