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Valve permitting devs to control pricing on Steam to drive PC game prices to mobile levels – Lovell

Tuesday, 4th March 2014 22:02 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Nicholas Lovell, author of The Curve and founder of Gamesbrief, is of the opinion that Valve allowing developers to control game pricing during Steam sales will drive prices to mobile levels.

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Lovell also feels this will in the long run provide Steambox a pricing edge over traditional consoles.

“The thing that drives the cost of products down, particularly in the case of digital products with low marginal costs, is competition, not piracy,” he wrote. “And by removing itself from the pricing process on Steam, Valve has just made its platform hyper-competitive.

“But what if [Steambox's] unique selling point had thousands or tens of thousands of games for free? What if it competed with consoles by taking the Steve Jobs’ approach of an open platform with the price set by developers (and hence likely to tend to free, according to Bertrand Competition).

“What if Steam wants the PC market to go to free because it will be a powerful competitive weapon as it battles the console manufacturers?”

Lovell said if that is indeed the case, he would expect Valve to open Steam to “many more developers (Greenlight) to make games available fast (Early Access) and to give the market control over pricing (developers set their own sales).”

Thanks, GI International.

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3 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    The silly thing here is that between Steam sales and Nuuvem, computers (and thus, Steam boxes) already have a pricing advantage over consoles. A huge one. The notion of a ‘sale’ on a console marketplace is laughable compared to Steam sales, where you can pick up AAA games for just a few quid. The more I looked into this… well, the more I realised that that consoles, due to being monopolised closed platforms, are just for people who’re bad at math.

    I mean, sure, you may save yourself a little by buying a console initially, but you’re losing out on money with every single game you buy — royalties and all that. So the difference between a console and an open platform like a PC means that the competition on the PC results in lower prices per unit. So each game carries a lower price. You’ll make the difference up between a computer and a console in the first six months, and then you’ll continue to profit after that.

    A lot of console gamers paid $60 for Revengeance at release. I paid $15.

    A lot of console gamers paid $60 for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes at release. I paid $15.

    And so on. And so on. And so on.

    Over the short term, even, the PC has always been the fiscally wise choice.

    #1 6 months ago
  2. Arnvidr

    Prices tending towards free will not work the same on pc as it does on mobile. The revenue models for those free games are ads and micro-transactions. That just doesn’t fly in the same way outside the casual involvement people typically have to their mobile games. If your “real” games had those same kinds of artificial limitations many (most?) people would rather just play something else.

    #2 6 months ago
  3. Arnvidr

    Not that games like Dota2 doesn’t show it to be possible, by all means, but outliers always exist. There are expensive mobile games too.

    #3 6 months ago

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