Is it just me, or does it seem like most new PC games coming out are being set at a $45 or $50 price point at retailers such as EB, Babbages, Best Buy, etc? IIRC, even as little as a year ago, I recall nearly every new PC game coming out at a standard $39.99 price point. Now, most new titles I'm interested in are turning up at $49.99. I remember going to pick up up Fallout Tactics when it was first released, snorting at the $50 price tag and walking out of the store thinking, "WTF?" (I STILL see it at that price point at Best Buy, BTW) That was the first one I noticed - since then they all seem to be going that route. I know the PC game publishing industry is supposedly struggling, but a 25% increase in standard prices over the course of a year seems a bit much.
Just thought I'd start a thread for people to float theories about this development. The only major event I can think of is the inroduction of the PS2 and its games being set at this price point... perhaps the PC game publishers took this as a cue? In any event, Compuexpert has seen a LOT more of my money this year than they did last year.
By Brad Grenz on Sunday, September 23, 2001 - 05:44 am:
I look in the Circut City, Best Buy and Office Depot/Max ads that come every week with my sunday paper. And I hold on to any ads for stuff I want. The other week there was an advert for Max Payne for 14.99. I didn't get it cause that game would kill my system. And it might've been a typo the store wouldn't honor, but I could have walked that puppy over to EB and got them to price match. I bought Arcanum for 34.99 at EB with an ad from Best Buy. And I'm holing on to an advert for the BG II expasion for 19.99. I'll pick that up when I can afford it.
As for why the prices seem to have risen, I'm not sure. It could have something to do with publishers wanting to make up for the rise of used game sales in major chains...
By Roger Wong on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 08:03 pm:
I disagree. Computer game prices have stayed the same for the past few years. The games I want to buy is priced at $45-$50, and the games I don't want to buy are $30.
PS2 games have only one price point, $50.
By Roger Wong on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 08:03 pm:
I disagree. Computer game prices have stayed the same for the past few years. The games I want to buy are priced at $45-$50, and the games I don't want to buy are $30.
PS2 games have only one price point, $50.
By Sean Tudor on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 09:07 pm:
I have no problem with computer game prices. For the last 8 years or so full price games in Australia have always been $90 - $100 (US $44.44 - $49.38).
If game prices had kept up with inflation then realistically I would expect to be paying $100 - $150 now (US $49.38 - $74.07).
By Steve on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 11:52 pm:
Let's keep in mind that in the early 90s, Origin's games were all like $79.95, with $20 voice packs and such. I think game prices, as a whole, have probably gone down in the last dozen years.
But I think what they're realizing, and rightly so, that the majority of their sales come in the first few weeks, and people are willing to pay a premium in that time, so the games are priced accordingly to maximize their revenue. It's like the box office; if movie studios could charge more in that first week, where they make considerably more money, they would.
By Mark Asher on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 12:55 am:
OTOH, if they price the game with an MSRP of $40 the big chains may discount it down to $30 initially to get foot traffic.
I was talking to Phil Steinmeyer the other day and he said prices were falling a bit. RRT2 was $50 and Tropico was $45, or something like that. And Tropico cost more to develop.
By Bernie Dy on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 01:58 pm:
"I remember going to pick up up Fallout Tactics when it was first released, snorting at the $50 price tag and walking out of the store thinking, "WTF?" "
I noticed a lot of places do debut some games at the 45-50 range, but you can always wait for bargains or sales. Operation Flashpoint was advertised not too long ago at $29.99.
Also, if you don't have to be on the cutting edge, I've noticed now that bargain bins carry more than just today's crap. I see yesterday's hot games are now going to 'jewel case only' packaging, and are very affordable. I saw X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter plus the expansion pack at Wal-Mart and Best Buy for $9.99.
I also saw a funky paper jewel case at Wal-Mart that folds over and holds two games. Inside were Fallout and Fallout 2. $9.99! I already own those two, but what a damn great deal for the trailing edge folks.
By Dave Long on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 04:23 pm:
I'll go you one better, X-Wing Alliance for $9.99 at Kay-Bee Toys.
The Fallout two pack is nice, but it's not as good as getting the full, boxed Fallout 2 with the free copy of Fallout (and manuals for both I believe) at EB for just $9.99. EB has some good deals in their bargain games right now. Heretic II for $6.99, Total Annihilation: Kingdoms for $6.99, Thief for $9.99...just swing by EB and start looking for one or two year old big name games. Freespace 2 is just $9.99 as well.
By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 04:45 pm:
The $50 price point does seem higher. I too recall that new titles used to retail for between $40-$45. I'm curious if this is a retail markup, or a publisher markup.
I tend to wait for the second/third week discount, usually a promotional $35 price point on a recent release. Unfortunately, this too is up from the $30 promotional price they used to have. This is the only part that really annoys me.
By Bernie Dy on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 05:50 pm:
Those are great deals!
Say, in my local mall, EB that was there is now called Gamestop.com. Does anyone know if that's EB with a name change, or is it a different franchise?
By Bub (Bub) on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 06:01 pm:
Same thing happened to Babbages hereabouts. I think it's just a rebranding effort. Combining EB and Babbages. I mean, who wants "Boutique" on their letterhead anyway?
By Mark Bussman on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 06:44 pm:
"Combining EB and Babbages"
I've heard people talk about EB actually allowing people to return opened games within 10 days no questions asked. Does the above mean that Babbage's has/will have/should have the same policy? I'm asking because we don't have an EB here in STL, but we do have Babbages.
By Dave Long on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 06:45 pm:
EB and Babbages are two entirely separate entities. Gamestop.com is Babbages by another name. Barnes and Noble owns Babbages/Software Etc./Babbages Etc./Gamestop.com/Funcoland. Electronics Boutique is just that and is its own publically traded company under the ticker item ELBO.
What likely happened is your mall's EB was closed (they do that if they're unprofitable) and the Gamestop store was put in. EB does have a couple other storefronts they use. One is EBX and another is Stop and Save Software I think.
I worked for EB for almost two years. They're far better at managing their company and often have much better deals than the competition. The stores are based on discounting. If they can give you a lower price on something, they will immediately. This is unlike Best Buy which tends toward the high price followed by a sale. Their markdowns on regular pricing often take longer to show up in stores.
So EB is NOT Babbages/Software Etc./Gamestop.com/Babbages, Etc. or Funcoland. Those are all under a different roof.
By Mark Bussman on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 06:49 pm:
Yeah, it does seem like games used to be $40-45 when they came out, and now they're $50. I also tend to wait for games I know I want to go on the "second/third week $35 sale" before I get them. Or if I see a game on sale I'm not entirely sure about, I'll pick it up, that way if it sucks (B&W was a good example), I haven't wasted as much money.
By Dave Long on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 06:59 pm:
The 10-day return policy on ANY software opened or not is an EB-only thing. The Babbages chain stores (and all the others explained above) give seven days I think. They counter that plus by having the negative of NO PRICE MATCHING. So you pay their high price no matter what. The Babbages stores all have a reasonable bargain bin though and there can often be some gems in there too.
Overall, EB offers the best assortment of games (they get one of everything), the best policies and usually the best employees. They have a good training program that I participated in. They were also the first and only big chain to offer used games for the longest time. I provided some input into that project since we had a store here in Reading that murdered our store with used product. That guy still had the best set up for used games of anyone. He went out of business when a Microplay opened nearby and started renting in addition to selling new and used games.
In the formative stages of the EB used program, they took just about anything. They paid for it later with piles of used Madden and NHL cartridges they could never do anything with. Who wants the original John Madden Football on Genesis when you can get Madden '93 for a few bucks more? Pack-ins were another problem like Super Mario World. THey finally started giving like a dollar in credit for them which sort of worked.
I loved my EB days. I have fond memories of opening a store in Frackville, PA. Helped put it all together and everything and then managed it for a couple months afterward. They scoffed at the idea of even opening it and we blasted five other stores out of the water that opened in the same week. I had a couple guys from the home office come by and congratulate us. More satisfying was running into a guy I hired. He was at that time the manager of the store here in Reading. He was transferring to a big job at the home office in the next couple weeks. That was damn cool. I felt like I actually helped someone make something of themselves.
By Mark Bussman on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 08:39 pm:
I didn't know about EB's price matching until someone mentioned it earlier in this thread. I don't suppose someone could persuade them to open one here? :)
By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 01:48 pm:
The price matching doesn't always work. They usually call to verify the price, and to make sure the advertiser has it in stock. New titles at bargain prices tend to sell out, depriving you of the price match. For example, I tried to get Max Payne during the $14.99 fiasco, and nobody would price match since Circuit City didn't have it in stock.
The two main advantages of using EB are the return policy, and the rebate coupons. Of course, this assumes you have an EB nearby. *grumble*
By Dave Long on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 03:13 pm:
Well, that's the policy, it's working right. They're supposed to call to verify. If you ever get an employee that calls and can't get through to anyone, you can push the issue a little. We were always supposed to just do the match unless it was a misprint (like that Circuit City thing).
Combined with the returns and the rebate coupons, it's still a great place to shop. The only reason I DON'T buy there all the time is that Best Buy will price match for 30 days. When I know I have no intention of returning the game (probably 95% of the time with me since I usually have researched them quite a bit before I buy), I go to Best Buy. I've saved hundreds of dollars by going back and matching their sales in the flier. Which reminds me, I have to get back $10 on Hoyle Card Games tonight. :)
I'm expecting to get a return of $5 to $10 on Rails Across America in the next couple weeks too. Best Buy had it for $39.99 new (EB wanted $44.99) and I'm guessing it'll be in the flier within a week or so for $29.99.