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Thread: SE's pricing of iOS games

  1. #1

    Default SE's pricing of iOS games

    With the announcement that Final Fantasy Dimension will cost $30 and the recent announcement of an HD Remake of The World Ends With You at $20, I've been hearing a lot of vitriol about how these prices are absurd... because it's on iOS.

    There are some passable and even decent arguments to be made about the price of games on iOs. Among them are that touch controls are sub-par for many iOS ports. The strongest argument is is against SE not making their gaming apps universal. For those who aren't aware. You can buy apps for iPod, or iPhone, or iPad. Often the iPad versions will cost more. But many app developers just make a universal app, meaning that you buy it for one price and it works on all of your devices (and generally syncs across them) so you don't have to buy multiple versions. This is something SE should certainly do. I love playing FF III on my iPad, but sometimes I wish I could just pull out my iPod for some quick grinding while I'm waiting for a short period somewhere.

    While there are some decent arguments against the pricing, I rarely hear those. The ones I'm hearing the most are basically arguments of "Other apps and games on iOS are cheap, so that means your game should be cheap too." This argument that the price should match the ecosystem is ridiculous.

    Some people have even gone so far as to argue that they would gladly pay $40 or $50 for the same game on 3DS or Vita, but on iOS suddenly the value is inherently less.

    So let's like at Final Fantasy Dimensions. This is a new game. In a world where many people are clamoring for nostalgic, sprite-based RPGs, this seems like a godsend. And if SE had released it for $40 on the 3DS you'd hear nary a whimper, but for some reason, the same game game being released on iPad at $30 is insane to them and suddenly not worth the price for a brand new, fully functional, probably 30+ hour game. A team of developers spent time on this. Their work doesn't have less worth just because it's not on the 3DS.

    Now look at TWEWY. This isn't even just lazy remake (which is another fairly reasonable argument someone could make). This has remixed music and has improved graphics. The game has obviously been reworked to function on a single screen. Honestly, I think the game would be more playable on a device with multi-touch than on the DS. The argument that the controls suck falls mostly flat (as it does with practically every RPG SE has released with menu-based combat on iOS).

    So I don't really understand all the hatred towards SE's pricing model for their high quality iOS ports. I actually am willing to pay because of the convenience of portability. My iPad, which is practically always with me for either work or a host of other reasons, is currently the optimal device for me to game with on the go. I still play my DS and PSP with plans to get a 3DS XL within the month (and a Vita after a price drop or at least some more games), but I play these mostly at home in bed because it's hard to justify carrying them around on top of my other devices that are actually multi-purpose. And honestly, with games I've been playing lately (like Trauma Center) it's hard to imagine playing them on the go. My iPad not only has my whole library of iOS games on it without the need to switch cartridges, but also has a lot of games that are really suited for quick play like Angry Birds or Tiny Wings. I can't really say that for most of the best DS, PSP, Vita, and 3DS games.

    So what is the issue between people and the SE pricing? Is it just entitlement?

  2. #2
    YOU BOYS LIKE MEXICO?! Jowy's Avatar
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    I paid 16.99 for FFT. I havent had a boring day at work since. Worth every cent.

  3. #3
    Shlup's Retired Pimp Raistlin's Avatar
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    I don't think the "ecosystem" argument is as unreasonable as you think. If people are used to games being a certain price, a sharp increase will raise some eyebrows and feel out of place, whether warranted for that specific game or not.

    I'm not sure "entitlement" is the right word, but I definitely think the reaction is based on simply not wanting to pay that price for the game. But if SE can make enough money on the game by charging that price, then there's obviously nothing wrong with their price model. If there was, the company would be forced to charge less. The people that whine the loudest are probably going to buy the game anyway.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Raistlin View Post
    I don't think the "ecosystem" argument is as unreasonable as you think. If people are used to games being a certain price, a sharp increase will raise some eyebrows and feel out of place, whether warranted for that specific game or not.
    The argument might be reasonable from an business angle. I bet SE could actually squeak out more sales if they lowered the price a bit and certain if they made the apps universal (I would actually pay more if they were). I also understand how psychology plays into this to make people perceive the price as too high on iOS when they would actually think it was a cut-rate price on any other device.

    Sure, that's reasonable, but the argument that a game is worth as much as the ecosystem it's on from a logical standpoint is silly. If you release the same game on iOS and Vita simultaneously does that make the Vita version
    worth $50 and the iOS version only worth $5 at best?

    I think entitlement is precisely the word. People have gotten used to paying 99 so they come to expect that to be the price and scoff at the idea of paying more. When Infinity Blade came out at $7 or so, even as a universal app, people balked. I understand there are psychological factors at work, but I really don't know if there's a more fitting label than entitlement.

    For what it's worth, I've also found myself affected. I'm less likely to say, "what the hell" for an app that's $1.99 versus $0.99. I will agonize before paying $4.99 for an app.

    But what I think about it in the context of life, that's so silly. How often do I spend $2-5 dollars (generally much more) on a quick meal or some other spurious thing? I'll gladly toss $2.50 here or 5 bucks there every day of a Steam Sale on games that I'm vaguely interested in, but realistically will never play (psychology again... artificial scarcity and 75% discounts). But when it comes to a $5 app that I'll use pretty much every day, suddenly it's a life and death decision.

    I've just noticed it about myself and think it's absurd and the same absurdity applies to games.

    I think it would be more reasonable for people to complain about $40 3DS games, $50 Vita game, or $60 everything else games than to complain about 15, 20, and 30 dollar iOS games.

    I feel like SE is pricing these games relative to the gaming market, not the iOS market. These are the prices for big releases on XBLA, PSN, etc. and they are pricing them accordingly.

    Another thing we should be complaining about that we aren't is the Tater Tot effect. There are some great games that should probably be priced at $20 or $40 on big consoles, but often are priced at $60. Much like with tater tots, people make a judgement of value based on the price and therefore, if you price a game worth $40 at $40, people will write it off as cheap crap. So you have to price it at $60 for less initial sales and then drop the price later which doesn't do anyone from consumers, to middle-men, to developers any favors.

    If people weren't so psychologically ****ed in the head about value we could have a lot of games at various prices probably for the betterment of everyone.

    But hey, we live in the world where I actually heard the argument that you should always buy games on PS3 because BR discs cost more to produce than DVDs (what 360 games are on), so at the same price, you're getting a better value in terms of materials.

    I don't wanna live on this planet any more.

  5. #5
    DMKA's Avatar
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    iOS is an Apple thing right?

    I thought anything connected to Apple products was automatically supposed to be ridiculously overpriced.

  6. #6
    tech spirit
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    I kinda have to agree with you, Yearg. I think it is ridiculous to expect the same price for vastly different applications. Just because I for example bought Scott Pilgrim on PSN for what was it... 10-15 bucks(?) doesn't mean that I can expect the newest retail game as digital release for the same price.

    Maybe angry birds in hyperspace or where ever they are now is worth just 3 bucks, but I don't really consider that to be in the same ball park as a Final Fantasy game.
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