Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why are games different prices on different systems?

This question was posed, and I shall answer, though belatedly.

Games prices are based on demand, not on how much they cost to make. Buying is a purely psychological exercise. When comparing 360 prices to PC prices, you have to consider why you're buying a particular game. Most people, when faced with the choice, purchase the console version of their desired game (with possible exception being when purchasing an MMO). There is more demand for the console version, so the price is higher. Also, there are costs for the developer for each game sold to Microsoft on Xbox systems, but I don't think that plays a big role (see the $50 start price for last gen games).

Add that 360 games are traditionally more expensive than PC games, and it makes sense. There shouldn't be any sticker shock because you can't compare the two to each other, you can only compare them to similar games on that system. People want to be able to play with their controller on their giant TV with their powerful new console. People who wanted to play on the PC will play on the PC at $50 but will consider anything more price-gouging. If you want the console version, odds are ten more dollars won't really matter to you. All your other games were $60, why shouldn't this one be too?

The console market and the PC market are not direct competitors because they are not direct substitutes. Different people play each, and even now where most gamers play both, they are looking for different experiences from each. They're mind tells them that a particular game is supposed to be played on a particular type of system. So the companies can price a little different and suffer nothing. It's not someone is going to refrain from buying the game because one is more expensive than the other, though it might, just might, cause you to buy the PC version if you're right on the edge.

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