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My gripe is with the computer games industry and how they have us over a barrel these days. They can basically get away with charging whatever they like for games and we just carry on and buy them! Cheap PC games are a thing of the past and I personally think that games are way too expensive. If they seriously want to combat piracy, they should reevaluate their over-inflated profit margins and sell PC games at a more reasonable price.
Online gaming in particular is a growing industry and I feel that consumers are being taken advantage of. I'm not a particularly serious gamer myself, but I like to play occasionally and feel that forking out somewhere between ?20 and ?50 for a game that I may get tired of or play only occasionally is a bit much. I'm referring to PC games here because that's what I play but console games are just as expensive if not more so. I've seen the price of the boxes in the shops, although that doesn't seem to deter the teenagers.
Why are the games so expensive then? Is the inflated cost because of the marketing, packaging and distribution? I know that a great deal of effort goes into developing games these days, but surely costs can be cut in other areas? Like many people who play games, even those of us who only play occasionally I hear about them on various web sites and discussion forums first. If they are good enough, the games will practically sell themselves.
Download rather than leave the comfy armchair
As for the distribution - with the advent of convenient online systems such as Steam and EA-Link, surely the more tech savvy gamer would be inclined download rather than leave the comfy armchair and brave the crowds down at the game store? There again, maybe that's their only contact with the real world!
The bottom line is I think way too much money is spent on tackling piracy and the excessive promotion of games. How about in-game advertising as an extra revenue stream? I'm sure most gamers would be okay with this as long as they can still shoot stuff. If done cleverly, this interface with the real world could in fact make the game more interesting.
If they could just sell them a bit cheaper, especially for copies of the game that are downloaded directly, then surely the target audience would increase proportionally and the money would roll in! It would either eliminate or seriously reduce the problem of piracy. An additional bonus would be more players online, a better gaming experience and of course more serious players queuing up to rent game servers.