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Is Street Fighter V, a cost adjusted game? By now you have heard about Street Fighter V, and the (for a lack of a better term) bull s**t condition that it launched in. I have bought Street Fighter V, and I bought it for one purpose, to play fighting games with a few friends offline and online, which it does… and that is about all it does.  Street Fighter V might not the worst example of a game being pushed up to meet some corporate deadline or for some arbitrary reason, but it is the latest. So are we under paying for our media?

Over the past year it has been apparent that games are struggling with releases for a huge number of reasons. Cut content, price points, day one patches, ports, you name it.  The issue is that the cost of development. It is no surprise that as consoles and PC’s get more powerful that the expectations for games has grown. Realistic lighting, physics, 1080P 60 FPS, enhance light defusing in multi layer skin textures, online features, PVP, PVE, PVPVE, companion app, social media integration, and the list goes on. You think back to the PS2 era, and you had a single player campaign and maybe a split screen VS mode.  Expectation for “standard” features in a game have grown to what might be considered absurd levels for so called “Triple A” games.

So how can this be fixed? Well the fact is that developers have already come up with a solution, it just sucks. It is releasing a game that is for the fans and updating it via robust online networks to support the game, then supplement the development cost with microtransactions and DLC. For example Splatoon released extremely light on content but it had a lot of support in the following months, but it all was for free which was awesome, in a way, but why not just release the game whole?  It is all about appearance, if Splatoon appeared to be just barely worth the $60 it costs to play, then all the free content looks like a gift, when players get gifts they get excited and tell other people to buy it. Sounds like a clever word of mouth marketing scheme.  The flip side to this is you have a feature rich game and then you say, “here is the season pass for $30”. It is literally the same thing approached from a different way. All these methods are trying to the revenue flow on the game started as quick as possible.

HERE IS A BETTER SOLUTION

F**K THE $60 STANDARDIZED PRICE POINT!

Call of Duty might be a manufactured product but damn it does provide a lot of game for $60. Oh wait its banking on the fact that you will pay $120 for it when all is said and done for all the DLC.  Instead of making me pay piece meal for every thing in the game, why does the industry hang on to standardize pricing? I have no idea. People were in an uproar over the $10 price hike in 2005 for Xbox 360 games. Here is some interesting data. In 2001 the average price of a game was $49.99, in 2005 that $49.99 would be adjusted to $55.14, to keep pace, and it did, Games went up $10 allowing for a few extra dollars for development of online features.  Applying logic to 2005-2016, a $60 game in 2005 should now cost $72.79 (all numbers were used with the CPI Inflation Calc).  This pricing is further proven to be absurd when you realize that back in the early 90’s cart games didn’t have this standardized pricing and were more expensive. Want proof?

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(so much 90’s it hurts my WYSIWYG)

I know its hard to accept but maybe we should be brave enough to allow a company to fairly price their game to see if if it is a better value. Think of you favorite current gen game… now add the cost of DLC on to what you paid (collectors editions mean you did pay more, I am looking at you Fallout Fans) and is that price getting close or surpassed the $72 mark?

People think that media is a product and not art, and that is where a lot of the issue comes in. We see a movie like James Cameron’s “Avatar” as a movie and we see M. Night’s “The Visit” as a movie as well, and pay the same $15 dollars to see it, despite one costing more by orders of magnitude. (also consider how movie ticket prices have doubled in the past 10 years because of 3D, Surround sound, IMAX, lounge seating, and POPCORN can be considered DLC ).  Is it time that we as consumers who call their preferred medium “ART!” treat it as art, and not as a consumer product? Maybe just maybe be OK with a small price hike to get more value from it?

Just a thought.

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