Good Old Games managing director Guillaume Rambourg has plenty of reason to criticize Steam, being one of its closest rivals. His choice of criticism, however, may shock you. He’s chosen to admonish the service’s famous sales, claiming that their typically massive discounts are less healthy for gamers than our wallets may lead us to believe.
“Heavy discounts are bad for gamers,” he told Rock, Paper, Shotgun. “If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn’t want just because it’s on sale, they’re being trained to make bad purchases, and they’re also learning that games aren’t valuable.”
He argues that impulse purchases based on sale prices are “not good for anyone.” A bizarre claim, given that GOG frequently has large sales on a selection of games that are already very reasonably priced. According to Rambourg, however, GOG sales are different because they’re not quite as generous as Steam’s. What a convenient line of thinking.
“Our average sale tends to be around 40% – 50% off; that’s plenty of incentive to pick up a game if you’re interested or if you just think you might like to try it because you’re not sure about the game, but not some crazy 75% or 85% discount that damages the long-term value of a game,” he explained.
I love GOG and everything, but I think the man’s using some very vague logic to admonish Steam while keeping his own company in the clear. Product devaluation is a prevalent problem in the industry, especially in the retail market, but I don’t think Steam could be accused of adding to it with its temporary sales. It typically discounts games at a point where the only interested consumers left are the ones who were waiting for a big price drop in the first place. Not to mention, it’s fairly insulting to consumers to suggest they’re too stupid to keep their money in their wallets. While we’re all prone to the odd impulse buy, even small purchases are usually accompanied by a little internal debate. Only the very rich or the truly stupid will just dish out cash, sight unseen, just because an item is 75% off.
Now if we want to talk about $60 retail games that will become $40 within two weeks, we can talk about a real problem.
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