John Riccitiello thinks game pricing should be tiered

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Videogames can cost a heck of a lot of money. If you’re part of the crowd that must have things on day one, gaming is a seriously expensive hobby. Former EA boss John Riccitiello believes games would do better if they took a cue from mobile games and adopted a variable pricing model. In fact, he thinks that the $60 standard pricing for most games is “a giant F-U to a very large number of people.”

“There’s not been a console game with even half as many installs as Clash of Clans,” he said at Gaming Insider Summit.  “Puzzle & Dragons has got more installs than any console game in history. Getting a larger audience through variable pricing is a really useful thing.”

He believes that games should function more as a service than a product – which is how many mobile titles function.

“More than anything, what the traditional game industry should learn from mobile is it’s really about service,” he said. “It’s an ongoing business. You’d think we would have learned this some time ago, but I find it interesting that WoW and Sim City and GTA and Starcraft and many other games all fell over at launch when they put their service components together.

“Some of the biggest brands – I’d argue almost all the biggest brands – fell over from lack of the testing and research that mobile people do in the regular course of their day.”

I do agree with him that the current pricing model for retail games is silly; something like Call of Duty Ghosts or Assassin’s Creed IV, both of which will give gamers hours of play, shouldn’t cost the same as Deadpool, which could be completed in five hours. I’m not, of course, suggesting that games should be priced as a direct ratio to the amount of playtime you’ll get – just that there should be a clearer divide between Triple A, and things that just aren’t. 

It’s something we’ve discussed before, and I’d honestly be far more keen to pick up a game that’s gotten decent, but not great reviews if it was R350 instead of R600 – and I think I’m not alone. Of course, the free-to-play movement is trying to address this, by offering good, and even great games that could potentially cost you absolutely nothing, but the pay-to-win ethos often overshadows those games inherent positives.

Last Updated: October 23, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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