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  • Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

    I have been at computer gaming on and off since the late 80s, but serious gaming starting in 1998. I can remember buying games for under $40. I can remember buying my first computer game back in the Apple IIc, for just over $20. I balked the first time I paid over $40, but figured it wont climb that fast. I will suffer through, for the joy of gaming. I spend quite a bit of money on trying to keep my system up to spec for playing the most recent games. In the neighborhood of $500, yearly. I got alil irritated with BF2, spent $50, and then spend $10 for each of the three DLCs that were recently shortly after. Thats almost $100, mind you I played that game for close to 2 years. But it was the modding community that kept me playing.

    Thats another thing, these devs and cutting out the modding community. If a game is kept alive by this community, then the money spent was well worth it. But most of these greedy bastards are purposefully denying us the ability to mod, have dedicated servers, and killing any longevity of their titles. And then complaining they arent making any money on the games. So they jack up the price, charge crazy fees for additional DLC, and we as consumers, purchase their crap. Most of the time it isn't even a completed game. It's barely a beta, that is patched within the first few weeks or month. Then patched almost monthly. So we are paying to be beta testers?

    I know this has been alot of rambling, but I guess my point or questions are:
    1. Am I wrong in my rambling or am I missing something?
    2. Am I being a cheapskate?
    3. Should we be mad at the devs or ourselves for continuing to purchase?

    |TG-IRR|

  • #2
    Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

    Originally posted by Beinseth View Post
    I know this has been alot of rambling, but I guess my point or questions are:
    1. Am I wrong in my rambling or am I missing something?
    2. Am I being a cheapskate?
    3. Should we be mad at the devs or ourselves for continuing to purchase?
    I always link people to this article

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/1...own-with-time/

    Inflation would be the first big thing you are missing. That $20 for an Apple IIC in 1988 (I assume) today is $39.11 (scary isn't it? http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm). If you paid $100 for all BF2 content in 2004, you would pay $122 today.

    Add to that the fact that technology is getting massively more complex and takes way more people to make today than it did "back in the day" you are actually getting a bargain. Games should cost closer to $90 (which is what they are now with the DLC all added).

    Hardware has gotten massively cheap. I have a laptop today that a bought 2 years ago and it will play BF3 on medium. Cost me $700. I paid $1200 ($1400 in today's dollars) for a laptop that would play BF2 on low back in 2004. So the games look better and run on cheaper machines. (heck I have 2 5770s in my desktop... the fact that I can afford to have 2 albeit mediocre cards is quite something). It takes more and more money into R&D to eek out every little bit of graphics performance, but we keep getting it cheaper (thank you Chinese laborers).

    Quite honestly making the games today also takes way more than "back in the day." Today DICE employs over 200 people. Although not all of those worked on BF3, you are talking about orders of magnitude beyond 1942. Their salaries and health care costs have only increased since the 1980s. While there are self taught people out there, quite often it now takes a college degree to get a job at a AAA developer. This adds to the cost of the labor...of which you need more.



    And then there are mods.... oh the modding argument. (Before beginning I would say all this only applies to first person shooter multiplayer modding, singleplayer and RTS modding is completely differet.) .......Well first of all, it is easier than ever today to actually get paid to make games instead of making one for free. Mods that I loved like Age of Chivalry have become full retail products. Some modders, like those behind Insurgency, are seeking funding on Kickstarter. Look how fast DayZ went from mod to commercial product (not a great example as the developer of the mod was doing free lance work for Bohemia and wasn't exactly an amateur).

    Beyond that, mod teams actually have immense trouble these days holding on to their talent. It is hard to make a mod of the same quality as a AAA game today as you lose your artists and programmers every couple months to something that lets them pay for their rent.

    Game development tools are more complex and proprietary. DICE explained that their tools are actually based on a server farm and pulling it together into a single client would be costly and basically a secondary software development...that very few people would pay for if any. Making mod tools is a money losing proposition. Unless you are selling your engine (Unreal, Source, CryEngine) you have no motivation to blow piles of money to make your tools appealing and usable like that.

    Even if you get those tools, quality mods just can't come out fast enough. Red Orchestra 2 is built on Unreal and had mod tools shortly after release. There has not been a major mod released for it yet. But...since it released...we have had CS:GO, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Planetside 2 Beta, Black Ops 2, BF3 (with 3 dlc), Modernwarfare 3 and ArmA 2 DLC.... and that's just in the military FPS category. We already know the first major mod for RO2 is going to be sold as a commercial game at that.

    Finally (if you have made it this far I promise I'll wrap it up) The best mods these days are barely populated. Look at the Crysis Mods Casus Belli or Mechwarrior Living Legends... you will have a hard time finding more than 1 server populated most of the time for them (and yet Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 will have released before the mods were "complete").

    Those who want mod tools usually complain around the big populated games like Battlefield and COD. Why? Because they want to leech off of that population. Otherwise they would be out on their own trying to draw people like Brink, Far Cry 2, Breach, Homefront... and competing with free to plays like Blacklight Retribution, Heroes and Generals, Planetside, BF Play 4 Free.... Just look at how many people are playing BLOPS 2 on PC today compared to MW2. It is opening weekend and Black Ops is barely competing against TF2 http://store.steampowered.com/stats/. Back when MW2 came out it was hitting in the 200,000s. The are tons of options today and modding can't keep up. AAA games can barely keep up.

    If you get bored, there is a Steam sale around the corner and a couple hundred free2plays out there. How many of us have backlogs of games to play now? How many of us had that back in the day of mods? I know I wasn't sitting on 5-6 unfinished AAA singleplayer games back when I tried Project Reality the first time. Steam sales alone change this discussion quite a lot.


    TL: DR Gaming is actually far more affordable these days.
    Last edited by Misnomer; 11-17-2012, 02:05 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

      been getting games from independent companies and only paying like 20-30 dollars for them. i rarely been buying games from ea, or blizzard, or activision. but i agree, they really are looking for new ways to drain your bank account. with the game, expansion packs, and dlcs on top of it, your pretty much spending 100-200 dollars for these games. just like battlefield 3, they came out with the game, then after a few months they said...spend more money to buy every unlock in the game. now they are coming out with dlcs for it, and if you dont preorder the package, you gonna spend 10 dollars per dlc. thats why i'm buying games from steam or doing the kickstarter games, spend 20 dollars on a payment for the kickstarter games and i get a copy when it comes out. or get games from steam when they are on sale or something..

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      • #4
        Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

        I have a few reasons as to why it may seem as such.

        1: Life span and sales and being a Business

        The first year or two even less with more recent games, see a good 80-90% of total sales for pretty much every game ever released with a few exceptions, Most developers don't care for a long life span unless they plan on releasing expansion packs or DLC of some kind even then its for a year or two before they release a new game, a long life span makes very little difference in total sales. Its hard to find total sale numbers for most games, so this could be disputed, but In most cases the majority of sales are in the first year.

        They will always sell more copies with a new game every year or two, then they would ever get by selling a game with a long life span.

        11 million copies over 7 years with BF2, or the 60million+ copies from all the games DICE has released over those same 7 years.

        The simple truth is they are a business and they are here to make money.


        2: Like Misnomer said, games cost a lot to make.

        BF3 cost $150 million, Black ops 2 $200 million, With teams of several hundred people each,
        Doom was maybe around $200,000 with maybe a dozen or so people.
        Then your average title is somewhere in the $5-$50 million range, even some Indie games with small developer groups are starting to cost a good $100,000.


        3: Mods are not guaranteed income, If its just not worth setting up the players with mods, its just not worth it.
        Last edited by Brainhurts; 11-17-2012, 06:00 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

          Originally posted by Brainhurts View Post
          I have a few reasons as to why it may seem as such.

          1: Life span and sales and being a Business

          The first year or two even less with more recent games, see a good 80-90% of total sales for pretty much every game ever released with a few exceptions, Most developers don't care for a long life span unless they plan on releasing expansion packs or DLC of some kind even then its for a year or two before they release a new game, a long life span makes very little difference in total sales. Its hard to find total sale numbers for most games, so this could be disputed, but In most cases the majority of sales are in the first year.

          They will always sell more copies with a new game every year or two, then they would ever get by selling a game with a long life span.

          11 million copies over 7 years with BF2, or the 60million+ copies from all the games DICE has released over those same 7 years.
          This is a very good point. Many people don't realize that DLC is often what companies have developers do when they are done with their part of the core game. While everyone is waiting for Microsoft and Sony certification, they can crank out a few maps or a gamemode. Now this isn't always true, but the general feeling is that if you have a bunch of developers finished up you want them working on something that will make money...but you still need them around in case something slipped through and needs to be fixed.

          I remember reading something once that said IW started working on COD4 while COD2 was finishing up in development. Even before DLC they were pushing hard to get the next product that would generate revenue started.

          The other thing to mention here is that you said you feel like a beta tester.... I think this may be a product of the unsustainable marketing cycle. While games have always had bugs (i.e. BF2 game breaking commander glitches not fixed for 3 years), it seems like some games are released today in a barely functioning state...especially on PC.

          Well part of it is no cert on PC, they take the attitude that we are the much smaller market and they can always patch later. That wouldn't be so bad if they actually patched us more frequently, but the stance in most games lately is that they prepare 1 patch for all platforms that is released with DLC to save on certification. This seems to defeat the point of Steam or Origin as anything more than DRM to me. You have a rapid patching system required for playing the game, use it.

          The combination of certification, plus the cost of games in an industry where you have to get something out the doors in 3-4 years to prevent loss means that the large more complex games are coming out with more and more bugs I feel. MOH:W could have used at least another 2 months of development...but that would have put its release post Christmas and they would have lost the major benefits of the holiday season. They didn't want to be in the BLOPs release window either. So the result is a hard release window for the developers. Well if the game simply isn't quite ready and is getting shoved out the door, who do you screw...the smallest part of the community with the most costly quality assurance (PC) who you can always patch later.

          Now this blaming console development doesn't explain massively buggy PC only products like ArmA 2 or Red Orchestra 2 on release. I think that comes down to...games are getting super complex and you are not going to get business loans to keep doing bug fixes forever. At some point you just have to ship to pay the bills.

          So have FPS games gotten too big and complex for their own good? Maybe? But when game critics and gamers alike are blasting MOH:W for not looking as good as BF3 and not having as much stuff as BLOPS, you are somewhat trapped.

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          • #6
            Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

            Misnomer, your first post seemed too much like a response from a developer, so I didnt get too far into it, before moving onto the next post.

            I understand the business cycle end of this and maybe I just needed to vent. I also understand that the current generation of consumers are looking for the next best thing. Businesses are in it to make money and get paid, I understand that. It just seems they are more interested in making a product and less concerned with making a good product.

            Guess it mostly comes down to, the consumers they are marketing towards is not like me. Thank you guys for the posts, and I think I already knew alot of this, but just didnt want to accept these truths. The days of playing a good game for more than six months have gone.

            We have come to the age of cram out as much crap that fits what the current consumer wants, even if there is little difference to the old stuff. Also charge them an arm and a leg for it, they will pay. Then charge them to fix it and give you what you should have gotten the first time you bought it. Its sounding more and more like my time in FPS maybe coming to an end.

            |TG-IRR|

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            • #7
              Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

              Originally posted by Misnomer View Post
              TL: DR Gaming is actually far more affordable these days.
              Not, its not. The base game maybe; but throwing in the cost of DLCs and its like buying the game twice. And for what? A few more weapons, a few more maps? Rarely are there new game modes. And can you tell me that it took as long to make the DLC as it did the base game? So why are the DLCs damn near as expensive as the base game?

              Also, inflation numbers are BS. They are about as trustworthy as a politician.

              |TG-IRR|

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              • #8
                Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                Originally posted by Beinseth View Post
                Not, its not. The base game maybe; but throwing in the cost of DLCs and its like buying the game twice. And for what? A few more weapons, a few more maps? Rarely are there new game modes. And can you tell me that it took as long to make the DLC as it did the base game? So why are the DLCs damn near as expensive as the base game?

                Also, inflation numbers are BS. They are about as trustworthy as a politician.

                I might be more compassionate toward this argument if first you didn't deny the existence of inflation. But even with that... I am not saying that it took as long to make the DLC as the game, but....

                For BF3 we will have gotten, 16 maps, at least 3 new game modes (not counting conquest assault in Karkand), at least 21 new primary weapons, at least 8 new vehicles..

                That alone is more than BF2 had originally and only costs $40-$50 if you got it earlier (all of BF3 can be had for $60 now).


                But you put that DLC on top of the fact that BF3 shipped with a full co-op, a full single player, 5 game modes (3 more than BF2), built in destruction, best on the market graphics, best on the market audio, one of the highest player counts on a server on the market, unprecedented persistence and stat tracking, social backend integration...


                If someone sold you BF2 today (even with its audio and graphics updated) you would feel ripped off. The game would feel short and incomplete.

                Doesn't that say something? BF2 had massively less content and relied on mods to keep people entertained...but even with all the extra content BF3 players claim they don't have enough for the money.

                Sorry, I just don't see ever being able to put enough content in a game that you could simply not release any paid for content in the next 3 years. Just look at all the DLC and Expansions for ArmA 2.


                If you think this model is too pricey I suggest you go try Planetside 2 or other free to play games. Then you will see what true nickel and diming looks like. But since it will take you 3 or 4 years to unlock everything for free...maybe that will be a game that can hold your attention.

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                • #9
                  Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                  Originally posted by Brainhurts View Post
                  ...even some Indie games with small developer groups are starting to cost a good $100,000...
                  Unless the game is rather simplistic and only needs a very small team, often times $100k isn't even enough to fund the project. Even indie games development for a single game nowadays can cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million.

                  I think Bein's point was that some of these DLC contents do not justify the amount of money we spend on them. Take Call of Duty's current DLCs, they are map packs. At $15 a pop (or $50 for all of them), I think they are very expensive and not worthy enough content updates.


                  Given the current economy worldwide, well, has gaming become more expensive to the individual?
                  |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                  TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                  Former 9th & 13th

                  Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                  Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                  SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                  TG Primer and Rules

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                    Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
                    Unless the game is rather simplistic and only needs a very small team, often times $100k isn't even enough to fund the project. Even indie games development for a single game nowadays can cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million.

                    I think Bein's point was that some of these DLC contents do not justify the amount of money we spend on them. Take Call of Duty's current DLCs, they are map packs. At $15 a pop (or $50 for all of them), I think they are very expensive and not worthy enough content updates.


                    Given the current economy worldwide, well, has gaming become more expensive to the individual?
                    I'm trying to remember how much some of the map packs cost for Quake I, Quake II, Doom, Blood, Duke Nukem, etc. I think those were $15-$30 when they came out, which probably would be $22-$45 nowadays while the $15-$50 map packs cost $10-$32.94 back then. (1995 was used as my basis set.) We got a new campaign, which was nine extra maps, maybe a new bad guy to shoot, and maybe a new gun. There was never anything that ground-breaking in expansion packs, but everyone enjoyed playing them. Don't quote me on the numbers, because I can't remember how much they cost back then. I was quite young.




                    "Certainly, being bombarded with 105 millimeter shells is bad. But the knowledge that you've armed your enemy thus, with your sloth and your ineptitude, unfolds in the heart like a poison." Tycho from Penny Arcade in reference to the nuke in MW2

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                      Originally posted by Mech__Warrior View Post
                      There was never anything that ground-breaking in expansion packs, but everyone enjoyed playing them. Don't quote me on the numbers, because I can't remember how much they cost back then. I was quite young.
                      Exactly. There is nothing new here. Look at the 2 "expansions" BF1942 had versus the Call of Duty: United Offensive expansion. Today United Offensive is just a different game. Back in the day I believe that United Offensive cost nearly the price of a full game, but it required you to own the previous game.
                      (but it did come with tons of new maps, an sp campaign, new game modes...).


                      There is nothing radically different here, it just seems offensive to many people because of how many options there are.

                      It is simple... you have to choose. You cannot have "everything" in COD, BF, and whatever for simply the cost of three base games. You can get a significant amount of content (more than ever before) for just the base price, but you the consumer are then left with the decision whether you liked the game enough to pay for the DLC.

                      You are choosing if COD mappacks are not worth as much as BF3 DLC packs to you. You are choosing if you would rather get Chivalry: Medieval Warfare for $25 instead of two mapppacks from Activision.

                      While this cost of DLC makes it difficult for communities to stay focused on one game because it expects a great deal of commitment to one game....gaming itself hasn't become more expensive. How many shooting games did you buy from 2004-2008? How many have you bought since 2008?

                      I will agree with the premise that the cost of playing "everything" has gone up, but that is because there is more everything out these days.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                        If you take out buying AAA console ports and their associated DLC within the premium priced launch window - pc gaming is getting quite cheap. Hardware prices continue to drop and the digital game sales out there come fast with firesale level prices within a year. I have a backlog of titles I bought at "why the hell not" prices that just keeps growing.

                        Good blog to follow if you want to save money: http://pcdddeals.com/
                        |TG-12th|mantis

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                        • #13
                          Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                          I hate to say it, but as the games become more complex (because that is what we as gamers expect) they cost more to produce. Some of the games are more like epic movies in the way they are produced. For that I don't mind paying. As for the part about being able to mod the games, that is a attributed to the catering to console gamers. I miss the old school CS and all the crazy mods that had, i definitely got my money worth playing the variations for years.
                          "The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws." -Machiavelli

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                          • #14
                            Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                            No. In fact the agents that were seeking to make gaming too expensive for their own personal gains (at the industry's and medium's cost) are being fought against by crowdsourcing and a burgeoning indie market.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Cost of gaming, is it getting too high

                              Originally posted by Beinseth View Post
                              Not, its not. The base game maybe; but throwing in the cost of DLCs and its like buying the game twice. And for what? A few more weapons, a few more maps? Rarely are there new game modes. And can you tell me that it took as long to make the DLC as it did the base game? So why are the DLCs damn near as expensive as the base game?

                              Also, inflation numbers are BS. They are about as trustworthy as a politician.
                              In some respects it's definitely a lot more affordable, it all depends on the games you're into and what you're buying though. With the accessibility of indie titles now (which usually sale at a much cheaper price point), along with the raise of digital distribution it's now pretty easy to find great games on the cheap.

                              Take NS2 for example - $25
                              Chivalry - $25

                              Both high quality titles every bit as good as the big names and for half the price.

                              Being a hardcore FPS fan I find most of the games I play very cheap also.

                              CS:GO - $15
                              Quake Live - Free, but I bought a cheap membership just to support the game. I think it's only a few dollars a month..
                              Warsow - 100% free
                              Shootmania - I think I paid $15 for that as well

                              So there's four games that I play constantly that don't even add up to the typical price of a game four or five years ago.

                              Add to that the huge popularity in F2P titles, too many of which to name and the case for gaming being relatively affordable can certainly be made. Of course there are games like BF who will nickel and dime but their business model isn't indicative of the entire industry. But, that's exactly why I hate EA and will never purchase anything from the BF series, haven't done so since BF2. Add to that the gameplay isn't even up to par and has been a downgrade since BF2, but that's preference.

                              Putting together a gaming PC is fairly inexpensive as well. Heck you can buy a used Q6600, OC it and still run everything that's out there. Of course every game won't max, but I have an i7 @ 5.0 and 670 GTX OC and still can't run everything at max, so what's the point? My build will still last me a good 5 years though, which I say is good value.

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