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Indie RPG pricing

Indie "niche" RPGs should be priced


  • Total voters
    142

Charles-cgr

OlderBytes
Developer
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
982
Project: Eternity
Following up on a digression that was hogging the grimoire thread. Let's lay it all out in the open and show off our mastery of the science of economics. Or make fools of ourselves. It'll be fun either way.

Current participants were commie, Jaesun, felipepepe, Metro, Coyote (by Contumace), ...
 

Charles-cgr

OlderBytes
Developer
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
982
Project: Eternity
Put it at $40 just to piss all the cheapasses off.

No matter how you put it, I don't like the race to the bottom model, and don't see how it's sustainable.

Oh wait this is a theoretical discussion. Not specifically about me. Not to say I won't have a particular interest in the debate. If it all revolves around me no one will participate :neveraskedforthis:
 

DarKPenguiN

Arcane
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
Messages
1,323
Location
Inside the Hollow Earth
Okay, I picked "Just below average" but I do NOT consider $15 to $20 to be "just below average".

That aside its entirely dependent on the title, overhead and time invested in the venture (along with how desired the product is)- An indie, especially niche is probably going to have a certain base who would pay anything, a larger base which would pay above average, and an even larger base of people who could be potential customers but would never pay above $25 for an indie title.

-A ton of low profit sales quickly trump a few high dollar ones. Look at some of the titles on Steam, Xbox live and PSN which sell for $5.99 or less but sell a ton.

The "worth" will be in the eye of the beholder, but staying a bit below average will most likely lead to greater sales and profit.
 
Self-Ejected

Brayko

Self-Ejected
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Feb 11, 2012
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5,540
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That's up for the developer to decide. You have to estimate how much it cost you to develop the game and how much you need to make back in order to provide funds for a sequel and pay your bills. If it didn't strain you too much go for a low price but if you put sweat and blood into it go a bit higher. Never ever try to compete with AAA prices though as an indie.
 

DarKPenguiN

Arcane
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Inside the Hollow Earth

mediocrepoet

Ligma, Brother of Sugma Dixon
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Combatfag: Gold box / Pathfinder
Codex 2012 MCA Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
I figure you should price it high and maybe come down over time. If the games look good enough, I'd consider paying $20-30 for an Indie... it's half the price or less of a normal commercial release and I'll usually enjoy them more even if they don't look cutting edge. Granted, I suspect most impulse buyers wouldn't buy the sorts of things I'm into at $5 either, so they might as well try and earn a living off those who are interested in supporting them.
 

eric__s

ass hater
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Jun 13, 2011
Messages
2,301
Yesterday I noticed a music DLC for Crusader Kings was only 49 cents so I picked it up. It's DLC I would have never otherwise bought, the music only plays under very particular circumstances that I almost never play in, but it was an absurdly low price and it didn't matter much. People are much more inclined to impulsively buy things at low price points, which is a big part of the success of games like Cthulu Saves the World, an RPG that has sold tens or hundreds of thousands of copies because it was only a few dollars. I think a price of $7-8 would be ideal for Swords and Sorcery, not because it's only worth that much, but because you're going to sell in much greater volume that way.

Supply and demand doesn't work the same way with digital goods as it does with physical goods. You want to sell at a low price and in high volume because you've got an unlimited number of copies; the more accessible you make the price, the more people will play it which will cause those people to talk about it, which in turn will cause more people to buy it.
 

mediocrepoet

Ligma, Brother of Sugma Dixon
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Combatfag: Gold box / Pathfinder
Codex 2012 MCA Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
Actually I should add that I'll buy most things I'm generally interested in for around $10 and more or less rationalize $5 as free when it comes to game prices - so that's a counter point to my original post. It's just a matter of whether or not the game is visible or flashy enough to attract the wider variety of impulse buyers.
 

Charles-cgr

OlderBytes
Developer
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Mar 13, 2010
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Project: Eternity
On a slightly more serious note... Arguments on both sides. Few in favor of average. Go one way or the other. So $20 is actually too cheap if following one logic or way too expensive according to the other.
 
Self-Ejected

Excidium

P. banal
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Aug 14, 2009
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13,696
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Third World
Depends on the game. The original S&S Underworld with stock art didn't seem worth a dollar. The spiderweb stuff was also horribly overpriced before going on Steam.

$5-20 is a good range.
 

DarKPenguiN

Arcane
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Inside the Hollow Earth
-It really depends on the game.

But...Yeah. I know that I personally have bought alot of indie RPGs but generally in the $5.99- $15.00 range. If its an indie I am hyped about (Grimoire and possibly AOD) I would pay much higher but thats only because I have been following those (recently learned of AOD) and I wold pay MUCH higher in those cases.

So its kind of a case by case thing to me.

An example is that if its turn based/party based/first person like Grimoire or M and M- I automatically will pay alot more since these are my favorite type game. Those same features would turn others off...
 

felipepepe

Codex's Heretic
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Terra da Garoa
As I was talking on the Grimoire thread, it should go through all of those. Allow me to rant a bit:

"Early adopters" are the consumers that want it hot and fast, and are willing to pay to dollar for it. Think on those guys on Apple store lines, just waiting to buy the new iWhatever (or MHC on Steam), they know they are paying more than most will pay in a few months, but they wanna own/play it now, while it's new, the hype is flowing or he just was looking foward to it for a long time. IMHO, 15$ is a good price for most of the good indies.

After 1-2 months, start the promotions. People willing to pay full price already did so, now you have to target those who were waiting for a discount, lower prices or more info/reviews/Konsensus on the game. $9.99 should work well, it's a good price, still single-digit and "feels" small. If you did a Kickstarter, to avoid backers getting pissed at you selling your game so quickly at "backers price", you should still make it a bit higher, like $9,99 if you asked for $8 on KS.

After 6-8 months, talk about your game has probably disapeared, so you should do a nice price drop and perhaps add a little free content to roll the ball again and even get some newspost on some forums/websites "Game A releases big patch/free DLC & lowers price". Here you should go 7-5$, depending on how sales are and what you intend to do next.

Few indie developers seem to understand this (KotC and Frayed Knight guys included), but if you're making a sequel/DLC/expansion, expanding your community is crucial. Is what Valve does masterfully, they give free heads for people to buy hats for them! You don't have to give them, but selling the game for 4,99 or even lower will ensure that WAY more people will know who you are/what you're selling when you appear with a new, full-priced product. And again, you can sneak in some nice newposts, something like "Game 2 release date announced, Game 1 now for 4,99!" that will help both your products.

Anyway, that's a quick view of what I think on the subject, one must never underestimate the power of low prices, ESPECIALLY with digital goods. You don't have any cost for each copy, profits for selling 10 games at $20 or 100 at $2 are the same, and you'll find the later way easier to achieve after a while. ;)

And yes, I think that >15$ is too much for a indie game...
 
Self-Ejected

Excidium

P. banal
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Though "indie" varies a lot. Could be a random joe making a text-based RPG or Obsidian/InXile with their millionaire projects. So I assume like the poll says we're restricted to those really small projects.
 

sea

inXile Entertainment
Developer
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
5,698
Depends. How big is the game? How many hours of gameplay does it offer? Is it replayable? What are the production values like? How much money did you spend making the game? What is your closest competitor and what price is it going for?

There are way too many things to factor in when determining price, and "what players want" is not necessarily chief among them. While charging a bit more money might turn away some potentially curious people for instance, the extra money made might make up for it, or maybe the people the game is targeted at are so starved for content that they will pay even full triple-A price for the experience you offer.
 

7hm

Scholar
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Messages
644
No offense, but if you think that 15$ is too much for an indie game, an indie developer would be stupid to target you. You're the lowest common denominator that gets picked up once the target market is tapped out. Also the idea that there is no distribution cost is a common one and its fucking ridiculous. The distribution cost is he removal of a customer for less than the max you could have got out of that customer. If you are selling for 5$ to someone who would otherwise be willing to pay 15$, you are losing 10$. Its hard to know when that happens, but if you drop your pants on price right away I guarantee its happening. Vogel was right. Games have value and customers are willing to pay for that. At the same time he did bend on his pricing when he got on steam and went after a completely different market. You have to know who you're targeting. Selling on iTunes is not the same as selling in a retail environment obviously.

There is literally no reason not to overprice your game though. If no one buys, you lower your price. You can't raise your price. People are pussies about setting prices though. If you don't ask, you won't get. Start high, always.
 

Overboard

Arcane
Joined
Mar 21, 2009
Messages
718
$5-10 is the optimum range. I'd say 'just below average' would be that range, rather than $10-15.

I don't like the race to the bottom model, and don't see how it's sustainable.

Slippery slope alert!

-A ton of low profit sales quickly trump a few high dollar ones. Look at some of the titles on Steam, Xbox live and PSN which sell for $5.99 or less but sell a ton.

The "worth" will be in the eye of the beholder, but staying a bit below average will most likely lead to greater sales and profit.

This. Also what cboyardee posted, as well as mediocrepoet about purchasing sentiment at $10 and $5 price points.

If it didn't strain you too much go for a low price but if you put sweat and blood into it go a bit higher.

This is retarded. You price according to the market, and according to what price point gives you the maximum profit, not according to how you feel. Otherwise you'll be feeling an empty wallet soon enough.

The first part of your post was semi-correct though. You estimate what you need to make back, and then you determine price dependent on how many units you think you can sell. Setting a high price isn't going to make you more profit, in most cases the opposite is true.

Charles-cgr This is your thread, my view on your pricing methods is still the same, as is my view on your game, in that it is interesting, but not $20 interesting. You tried only one promotion ever, and that being a post on another less prestigious forum, and held the promotion for 1 hour. 1 HOUR! That's barely enough time for people to read about it, let alone for word to spread. cboyardee's post is right on the money:

If you sell Swords and Sorcery for $5, everyone on the Codex will buy it. If you sell it for $20, 1/100th of the Codex will buy it.
 

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