The new THQ president Jason Rubin has always been outspoken about the future of the industry. A few years ago he got into a heated discussion on Gametrailers.com show Bonus Round about the future payment system for the industry. Basically his point boiled down to, that the future of gaming was heading down a micro transaction method of payment. He has actually been partially right about that, as free to play games with micro transactions have seemingly sprung up everywhere over the past couple years.
Well in a new interview Rubin professes he thinks the industry will be moving away from $60 boxed games. Although this is nothing new as everybody in the industry seems to want to tell us that going all digital is the wave of the future. However, Rubin sees the console industry moving more towards the PC in terms of payment and game sizes:
“As time progresses, the entire industry will move closer to what we see in the PC model emerging now, which is a lot of different-sized games and different types of games that all get a place in the sun because you can buy things that aren’t $60 boxed goods,”
Rubin then went on to talk about how difficult it is for companies in the middle to compete, when having to go against Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Assassin’s Creed:
”The way the industry has been set up with all titles selling for roughly the same price at retail next to each other is that there’s been a race to make the biggest, baddest-ass game. If you walk into a store as a gamer and see a massive $120 million dollar game next to a $30 million dollar game, and a $80 million marketing budget backed that $120 million game up, it’s likely you’re going to pull that one off the shelf.”
Personally I am not a big fan of Rubin, but I do agree that something needs to change in the industry because the middle tier games are suffering. The big budget games are doing fine, it is the middle where the gaming industry is suffering and I can see where Rubin would want a new pricing structure. Where a game like Binary Domain would probably sell a lot more copies if the price started out at $49.99 instead of $60.
But gaming publishers are hesitant to switch to a new model where you price a middle of the road game like Binary Domain or Asura’s Wrath cheaper than Call of Duty; mostly because they think we are all idiots and will assume the game sucks because it is lower priced.
So I would like to hear some suggestions on how to produce better selling middle tier video games, do you lower the price or maybe only sell them digitally to reduce cost? How do we fix middle tier gaming?