Michael Capps: Consoles Game Prices Need ‘Same Level Of Freedom’ As Steam
Epic’s Michael Capps gave an interesting interview to Develop this week discussing the Gears of War developer’s plans for the future. Among other things, he revealed how Epic is currently working on 5 projects – pleasepleaseplease let one of them be a sequel to Bulletstorm – and on Unreal Engine 4. All interesting stuff, but the thing we’ll all be talking about is yet another developer bitching about the high prices of AAA video games.
Regarding the next generation of consoles, Capps said “I think it’s very important that a gamer sees an Xbox Next or PlayStation Next and can clearly see the tech is not possible on current consoles. Otherwise they won’t be a success.” He added that “PS3 is still very bad-ass – Heavy Rain looks great. To blow that away we need the hardware to do it.” But he indicated that the tech is only half the equation. The prices of console games and DLC also need to be addressed:
Game revenue has moved to the service model and the microtransactions model. Consoles need to start being comfortable with that. They need to be able to do something where small virtual items can be sold and bought for 20¢ without a long certification process and a price approval process.
Right now we’re not even allowed to change the prices of virtual content. We’re not even allowed to set the prices. I just don’t think this protectionist approach is going to be successful in a world where the price of virtual items changes on a day-today basis.
Double-A games will never come back unless we get rid of this notion of a game being $60 or not released. The console manufacturers need to let this happen. The best way of driving developers to PC is telling them they have no freedom in what prices they can set for virtual items. It would be great to have the level of freedom that, say, Steam gives you.
Capps isn’t the first person to complain about the 60 dollar price tag, and the idea makes a lot of sense. But how much of that is really due to Console manufacturer dictates? People have been complaining for years and yet nothing ever seems to happen. Likely it’s because charging less risks giving your game the appearance of the bargain basement ghetto. Until multiple top level game developers agree to cut the price of their games en masse, it’ll never happen.
Via Game Politics.