Thursday, September 11, 2014

Steam Sales Create Blockbuster Hits For The Gaming Industry

I read an article this morning that cited a study about how PC Gamers are more likely to wait to buy a game after a price drop rather than pay full price. Then asked the question "Is this bad for the gaming industry?" ... ... ... Excuse me while I look for a crowbar to pry my palm off of my face. OF COURSE THIS ISN'T BAD FOR THE INDUSTRY!!!

Let me explain something that every woman already knows. We will buy shit we don't need or even want if it is on sale. How many times have you heard the joke about someone having hundreds of games in their Steam library and complaining that they have nothing to play? This question has already been answered years ago by the founder of Valve, Lord GabeN, himself. Valve is constantly experimenting on it's user base with different types of sales and analyzing the data, and have been doing this for years now. The results? People buy games on sale that they otherwise would never have bought at all. In other words, yes, this is good for the industry.

There is a completely different angle to look at this question as well that is not so obvious. I've got a feeling anyone between the ages of 20 and 40 years old probably remember renting a movie or perhaps a game from places like Blockbuster. Obviously these places simply do not exist any longer with a very small number of exceptions. I know I used to rent games all the time. I think the last game I rented was The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on the PS3. Had I not done that, I might not have become a fan of the TES series which is now probably my favorite game franchise ever. Imagine if rental places had already gone away, and at this time all these "Steam Sales" and similar sales did not exist either.

For the average joe, $60 is a lot of money to ask for when it comes to buying something you have no experience with or knowledge about. We've all been burned by a purchase at some point that afterward we realized it just wasn't worth it. Since rental places don't exist anymore and the "DEMO" has been extinct for quite some time as well, these sales are all we have left to go to if we want to try something new.

I can tell you there are games that I KNOW I want as soon as they come out... and I pay full price for them at launch 95% of the time, but those games are few and far between, and it has always been that way ever since I was a kid. I'm pretty sure it is that way for most people as well. But if there is a game I'm on the fence about, that purchase almost never happens unless there is something that takes away that risky feeling like a huge amount of good reviews, or maybe a 50% off sale. That is money going to the industry that otherwise, likely would never have been payed out.

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