“No Man’s Sky” is now up for pre-order at $59.99. And people are already up in arms.
Why? Because only AAA titles should be $60. I can’t say that I agree with that logic.
We’ve been pissed off at the established game companies for a while. EA was voted the worst company in the USA several times because of their over use of DLC, pay to win, and other money grabbing ventures. Warner Brothers released broken games for $60 and people screamed bloody murder. Mass Effect was $60 and everyone bitched and moaned about the ending being horrible.
Why do we automatically assume that AAA titles are worth $60 just because they come from a big game factory? Yes, they have more overhead, more people working on the projects, but that does not mean the games are good, or worth the price. In fact often it means just the opposite because they sneak in fee to play, multiple DLC, and buggy or just broken content and slap a $60 price tag on it then ship it out. They make us, the consumer, pay to be their de-buggers. They allow us access to make mods so that we can fix their multiple bugs. Then they encourage us to think they are better because ‘oooohhhh, graphics.”
Some of the most played games out there are less than $30, and have basic graphics. Minecraft, Terraria, Undertale, Binding of Isaac, Limbo, Super Meat Boy, Bastian, and the Stanley Parable… just to name a few. (Really, I had to stop, there are just so many!)
The Witness came out a month ago and had a $20 price point. I have to admit I baulked at the price too, but not because “it’s a puzzle game.” On the contrary, I believe the game is well worth the $20 price tag. All of the game play footage makes me want to play the game that much more, and from all the reports IT ISN’T BROKEN! It is a complete game with hours of content, beautiful graphics, and some really mind twisting puzzles. It is at the same time relaxing to walk through the beautiful scenery and incredibly aggravating to be stuck on a puzzle that you know you should be able to solve, but you can’t wrap your head around it. And watching someone else play the game is far worse than playing it yourself because I found myself yelling at the person to just turn around, or look at it from a different angle. It’s so frustrating to see the solution and not be able to implement it because the person on the screen hasn’t figured it out yet.
No, I didn’t get “The Witness” because I knew I’d be lost in it for hours and I have things to finish before I could allow myself to get lost in it.
I got into the indie game scene for two reasons. One, the price point. I can afford a lot more games at indie prices then I can at AAA prices. Two, time investment. Most indie games are less than ten hours long, or are broken up into bite sized chunks that you can play in one sitting. AAA titles, on the other hand, can be hundreds of hours long and take a great deal of investment. You can’t just leave Skyrim for months at a time and come back knowing where you are in the game.
Add to that all the titles I bought with bugs that made it unplayable, or ridiculous log in requirements that made just opening the game a chore (that means you, UPlay!) and I have just been burned once too often. Since SWTOR I refuse to buy ANY game without finding a review and some game play footage before laying down the cash. This has saved me a lot of headaches, and a lot of money.
I want to play “No Man’s Sky.” It looks like the type of game I could easily spend hours playing. I love survival, hunting and gathering, space flight, economy, exploration, discovering new things…I love this game, and it hasn’t even come out yet. It seems (SEEMS) to exemplify everything I love in a game.
Is it worth $60? I don’t know. I haven’t played it. I don’t know what the actual story mode is, or if it’s an endless survival like Minecraft. I do know that I have played hundreds of hours of Minecraft, and while Minecraft (which is still a best seller) might be slightly under priced, the price point of $30 has also meant wider adoption. Yes, kids play Minecraft, so do thousands upon thousands of adults, and some people have multiple Minecraft accounts because of that price point. The same people who bought, and love that game, might have hesitated if it had been $60.
So yes, I understand why people are upset over the price point of “No Man’s Sky.” But why aren’t you upset over the price point of AAA titles, too? Maybe we should change our thinking and start paying higher prices for good, well done, COMPLETE games that are made by indie studios, and stop paying AAA prices for broken games masquerading as AAA. Being made by a AAA company shouldn’t make a title automatically AAA. We should start downgrading titles that are utter crap. Call them the FFF titles of the major companies, and elevate some indie games to AAA. We should be rewarding good game design and punishing bad game design. And the best way to do that is vote with your dollars.
Yes, wait till “No Man’s Sky” comes out (or don’t, Steam has refunds). But don’t just discount it because of the price point. If you’re going to say it isn’t worth the price say that because of the game, not because of the studio.