High Cost of Planetary Annihilation Not Deterring Players
Uber Entertainment recently launched Planetary Annihilation on Steam as a part of the platform’s Early Access program. This alone wouldn’t have created a fuss, were it not for the asking price—$90.
Needless to say, there’s been some controversy—and anger—over the pricing structure. Charging for early access isn’t anything new – Mojang, for example, sold Minecraft during both its alpha and beta stages. The difference however is that Minecraft’s initial price as a pittance. As the game neared completion, the price rose until it was only barely below the final retail price. Planetary Annihilation is taking the exact opposite path, charging $90 for alpha access now, and $60 for beta access later. No discount for early adopters, it seems.
Though it does indeed seem outlandish, Uber Entertainment justifies the high price as a show of respect for donors to Planetary Annihilation’s Kickstarter campaign late last year. Backers who contributed $90 to the Kickstarter were promised early access into the game’s Alpha, along with numerous other perks. Backers who contributed $60 were promised beta access at a later date.
Unhappy players have voiced their complaints on the Steam page explaining the high price. “The fact that some people think this pricing is acceptable is beyond me,” said one complaint. “Kickstarters put up money of there own free will. Using that as an excuse to charge gamers these sorts of amounts is despicable.” This comment was typical of complaints.
The Executive Producer at Uber Entertainment, Chandana Ekanayake, told Game Front that the studio is well aware of the fuss, but that their first priotity was to the players that backed them for Alpha during the Kickstarter phase last year. “Alpha access is priced at what our Kickstarter backers paid so we don’t screw them with a lower price,” he said. “Over the next several months the price will come down as we get closer to release.”
It’s worth pointing out that backers of Planetary Annihilation on Steam receive everything that their counterparts on Kickstarter did: early access to the game during its Alpha and Beta, and uninterrupted access after Planetary Annihilation releases; the Theta commander, a unique shell design available only to those who purchase the game early; a soundtrack; desktop wallpaper; and a digital artbook. In essence, the $90 price point is the equivalent of the game’s “Galactic Edition” once the game is launched. The basic version of the game, also known as the “Combat Edition”, will be sold for $40.
Now a week after the alpha was made available, it appear that most users have accepted the high price for early access. Planetary Annihilation was the 3rd most popular game on Steam for several days in a row, and currently holds the number seven spot.