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If You Love a Game, Buy It at Full Price says Days Gone Creative Director


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This is a quote from John Garvin, Creative Director and Writer for Days Gone taken from an interview with David Jaffe on his YouTube channel. 
 

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“I do have an opinion on something that your audience may find of interest, and it might piss some of them off,” Garvin replied. “If you love a game, buy it at f****** full price. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen gamers say ‘yeah, I got that on sale, I got it through PS Plus, whatever...don’t complain if a game doesn’t get a sequel if it wasn’t supported at launch”

 


Not that he’s bitter about it at all, clearly. 
 

Days Gone is an interesting one: it was showcased for what felt like years and years and, upon release, was seen by many as a functional but otherwise uninspired third person open world action game. Whilst it definitely had its charms and some die hard fans, the critical response and resulting meta critic score hardly set the world on fire. It very much looked like a distinctly average game from everything shown prior to release, and was met with a lukewarm reception. It was a game a good number of people came to love after picking it up cheap on sale, but this has meant any hopes of a sequel are slim to none. 

Funnily enough I hadn’t planned on getting Days Gone at all. I was properly burnt out on open world rpgs, had bounced of games like Horizon Zero Dawn pretty hard, but ended up getting Days Gone at release anyway, paying full price. I didn’t like it all that much, leaving it behind a couple of days later. I went back to it a few times to varying degrees of success, but never made it to the mythical third camp everyone who loves the game says you need to get to for the game to open up. 

 

I think for me, there are so many games where they look okay, but you’re not sure if they’re worth a punt at full price so you wait and pick up the game down the road a ways when it’s cheaper or, more often than not in my case, forget about completely.
 

I know my playtime is limited and I know I’m likely to abandon the game pretty soon after buying it. I do tend to buy games I’m interested in upon release and for full price, such as Last of Us 2 and Sekiro, but even those I abandoned before finishing them. The money isn’t the issue for me, personally, it’s the time and how likely I am to actually give the game my attention.

 

Another thing that has massively influenced my spending on games is the almost inevitable fact they’ll end up on Gamepass. I’ve been burnt too many times by that, buying a game a full of discounted price only for it to wind up on Gamepass before too long, to the point where I just stopped buying anything, really. 
 

Also, how can you know you’ll love something until you try it? David Jaffe asks this exact question in the interview and Garvin doesn’t really have an answer. For many people a £50-80 outlay only to find out it’s not for you is way too much and so people become risk averse to spending until they’ve seen reviews or fellow player opinion. 
 

I dunno. I get where Garvin is coming from, but at the same time it’s a buyer’s market and people do tend to vote with their wallets and if your game isn’t wowing the crowds in the run up to launch then you’re unlikely to see massive sales. 
 

Links: IGN article I read this in

David Jaffe’s interview with John Garvin


 

 

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Letting PS Plus subscribers stream the first hour of something like Days Gone seems like a good way to at least let people try the game especially if prices are going up. 

 

For instance, Returnal looks cool but it's €80 so not an impulse purchase. 

 

 

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That's the paradox of getting a sequel to a game you end up loving but only after you got it for cheap/free. It's also why game sales are measured by revenue, rather than units sold (see the Tomb Raider reboot for a famous example of the problem, buuhhh it sold X Million units, how can the publisher be so disappointed?!!?!?!)

 

It's a difficult to solve dilemma.

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Wasn’t the game fairly unfinished for a few months till it was patched up?

 

cant complain no one buys at full price when you release it unfinished

 

i bought it after a few months and it was brilliant.

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Yeah - I see where he's coming from, but games are

 

  • going to have a full-price £70 admission fee if the new gen is anything to go by
  • often being released without any playable trials
  • massive commitments of time if we're talking about the big budget experiences

 

Pretty much everything I decided to buy at full-price last year was a game I had been following for months and had already made up my mind about - FFVII, P5 Royal, Yakuza LaD. Most other purchases were - yes - from sales. Or they were nice surprises like P4G on Steam. Everything else is too much of a risk when they're all big commitments with big price tags.

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I get where he's coming from, the money isn't there to produce a sequel because most people bought it in a sale, or have now had it free with Plus. As others have already pointed out though, it's simply not realistic to expect people to shell out full price for a new IP with lukewarm reviews and in need of a patch.

 

However, since I've had my PS5, I've received various emails congratulating me on finishing a game. They have the metrics to see exactly how engaged I am with any given title. It seems to me that rather than relying on revenue to inform a decision, publishers could see how many people have played a game at any point in it's lifetime, see the time they spent with it or percentage completed stats, and make an informed decision from there as to how large a potential market there is for a new entry.

 

My guess is that they're already doing that, otherwise why would they harvest all that data? Presumably, Days Gone still didn't make the cut.

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I've seen a few indies devs talk about how discount sales hurt them while also needing to undercut themselves to sell their games at all.

There's a lot of reasons for why the industry is in such a sate with audiences not holding many games to a high cost value. Not the consumers fault really, both sides are victims of circumstance.

I buy a lot of games and want to experience as many as possible, but as I found out looking at the PS3 store recently trying to cover everything without the aid of discounts will burn a large hole in your wallet.

A friend of mine had an interesting approach to this. He loves the Kiseki series and while I don't know how much he paid for Trails in the Sky he has since mass purchased discounted versions of the game on steam so he can gift them to people who would have otherwise never played it. 

 

Did get me thinking; say I buy a game for 50% off and adore it to the degree of becoming one of my favourite games. Would buying a second discounted copy to gift someone who would have otherwise never purchased it balance things out? It gives the developers the full cost they actually wanted and potentially nets them a future customer.


I think such a take would be a nice bridge between the set price and "pay what you want" model in that the person wants to retroactively pay full price for the game but doesn't just want to give money away.

I think video games are missing something akin to the home release market where a film could still later go on to be a hit even if it failed in the cinema. Discounting games doesn't really have the second wind effect that home releases of films do.

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I do buy games at full price if, as others have pointed out, the pedigree of the developer or the series makes me confident it will be worth full price. The other factor is knowing I’ve either got a lot of free time coming up or that I’m confident I will love the game enough that I will make time for it. 

 

With so few triple A games appealing to me in general there’s less and less things that feel worth full price. Less franchises that I trust to deliver, less games I’m sure will get played before they’re £20, less fresh new games that I’m desperate to play. Most exciting new games I’m desperate to play are indies, and I’ve got hundreds of games I still need to finish including tonnes of reasonably interesting triple A games I got cheap in sales or through ps plus or whatever. For big games it’s pretty much just FromSoft I’m confident enough to buy at full price on day one. 

 

Mad that the creator of the new franchise that looks blander than plain bread expects people to chance £60 on it. 
 

1 hour ago, bear said:

Letting PS Plus subscribers stream the first hour of something like Days Gone seems like a good way to at least let people try the game especially if prices are going up. 


This is such a good idea. I’d be way more likely to buy games at full price if there was some way to know if I’d actually enjoy them.

 

1 hour ago, Harsin said:

 

With so many games that are half-finished messes at release you can hardly blame people for not rushing out to buy everything day one.


This is also a huge factor. The last generation I got absolutely sick of buying games at full price only to have the people who bought it six months later for £20 end up with a substantially better game than I got. There’s stuff I thought was shit and sold on that apparently got great later, but I’m not giving them another £20 on top of full price because they eventually fixed it.

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What an idiot! Days Gone is a brilliant game now but on release it was clearly unfinished and sales reflected that. It got polished, and fixed, and had a new mode added, and released onto PS+ and that's when I grabbed it, and loved it.

 

Blaming the consumers is stupid as well, when prices drop so sharply across the board. There are communities based around waiting at least 6 months before picking anything up. You avoid the hype, see a game get patched to what it should be, and see prices slashed. Written like that it seems pretty stupid to buy anything at all on release. 

 

The only argument he could have is how anything non-Nintendo gets cut in price quickly. But we're into old-man-shouts-at-cloud territory. 

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1 hour ago, bear said:

Letting PS Plus subscribers stream the first hour of something like Days Gone seems like a good way to at least let people try the game especially if prices are going up. 

 

For instance, Returnal looks cool but it's €80 so not an impulse purchase. 

 

 

The problem with that is that loads of games don't have a great opening hour - especially open-world or RPGs - so that wouldn't necessarily help.

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The only way I'll buy a game full price is digitally so I can share the purchase with a buddy. Which really doesn't solve the problem that Garvin identifies. Shelling out £50+ for something that you've had no direct experience of isn't going to happen; Brink put paid to that. 

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17 minutes ago, Gabe said:

The problem with that is that loads of games don't have a great opening hour - especially open-world or RPGs - so that wouldn't necessarily help.


The ideal scenario would be if more developers could put out a proper demo or ideally a unique standalone experience to demonstrate their game and its systems. The Resi VII and FFXV pre-release demos/segments were absolutely instrumental in me buying them. I know that the common response to that is that it’s not possible because developers are so overworked and barely have time to finish their games but that’s really not my problem, and them managing to budget for that is more likely to convince me to pay for their game than them acting as entitled and whiny as the Bend guy is about his awful looking game. 

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Over and above the dilemma I mentioned in my post on the subject in the Days Gone thread - and which has already been mentioned here - that games get both better (through patching) and cheaper (through discounting) - neither of which are problems created by consumers - there’s another big problem for anyone wanting to make money in the games industry right now, which I think has already been touched on here but not expressly voiced - I already have a huge backlog of games half-played, or not yet played at all. Why would I buy A N Other Game at full price with such a back catalogue to tackle?
 

And I have Game Pass!

 

I feel like I’ve stared into the abyss and seen the death of the full price AAA game development model. 

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34 minutes ago, BossSaru said:

The brass neck of complaining that customers aren't paying full price for a game that, on release, was not even fully developed.

And an over-done genre in a tired setting to boot!

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Also I haven’t watched the interview but does he mention the game took him 7 years to make? 
 

A game would need to do much more than just wash it’s face financially to justify a dev time that could have produced more than one game. 

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They should stop dropping prices so quick. I got sick of buying a game day 1, not playing it until 3 months  later and seeing it’s on Amazon for £17 when I finally crack the seal. Now I just wait.

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7 minutes ago, Sarlaccfood said:

Also I haven’t watched the interview but does he mention the game took him 7 years to make? 
 

A game would need to do much more than just wash it’s face financially to justify a dev time that could have produced more than one game. 


7 years to make a game that on the surface looks like pound shop The Last of Us. But yeah it’s all our fault that it failed because we didn’t throw them £60 for something we had no chance to try out.

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6 minutes ago, phillv85 said:

They should stop dropping prices so quick. I got sick of buying a game day 1, not playing it for 3 months then seeing it’s on Amazon for £17 when I finally crack the seal. Now I just wait.

 

Amazing logic here. Edit: actually ignore me; I see what you're saying now. If they want to sell them at full price ...

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1 minute ago, Broker said:


7 years to make a game that on the surface looks like pound shop The Last of Us. But yeah it’s all our fault that it failed because we didn’t throw them £60 for something we had no chance to try out.

I take full responsibility, I didn’t even buy it when it was discounted, in fact I’m partly responsible for all the games ever that didn’t do well and that I didn’t buy. 

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If I like the look of a game I'll happily pay full whack for it, especially if it's a smaller dev or publisher but I'm reluctant to pay out for the AAA experience these days. The last 2 I've bought have been major let downs and I just can't be arsed with it anymore. (Edit: just checked two of the last three, I bought Hit Pursuit remastered and it's ace).

 

I think most of the full price/new releases games have bought in the last year have been 20 quid or less. I'll have to check that.

 

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2 minutes ago, Camel said:

 

Amazing logic here. 


Well I figured I was always going to buy the game and play it relatively soon, so why not get the free DLC and whatever other nonsense for pre-ordering? I don’t have time to play everything as soon as it comes out, so now I just pick it up when I’m ready, often at a lower price.

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