The price is right: how much should you pay for a game?

Posted Aug 09, 2012 at 8:31 pm in Threads > Games

I see this coming up in the discussion almost every time we post about a game, so I thought I’d ask here:

What is the sweet spot when pricing a game in Google Play? I know there are lots of variables, from game type to perceived value, but how much is too much when dealing with a mobile game? What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a game?

Lately it seems like anything over a couple bucks is too much, with folks griping at almost anything with a $6 or $7 price tag.

Sound off!

  • mojeda

    It’s hard to put a price tag on a game since they vary so much. Would you pay $6 for a puzzle game rather than paying $6 for an action shooting game?

    I guess the best way to break it up would be to split the game prices between casual gaming and “hardcore” gaming?

    I would price casual games to be from $1-2 and “hardcore” games to be up to $10.

    Some people only will play the games for a short time, some a lot longer, so some may not want to part with $10 to play a game on their small screen for about 2 weeks very sparingly.

  • Anthony

    Like what mojeda said. If it’s a game like Draw Something or Unblock Me, it should be priced around 1 buck.

    But if it’s a game that I have to download another 600MBs to actually play it, 5-7 bucks seems about right. Like modern combat or cod zombies.

    • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

      It’s weird that Draw Something is worth less because it’s simple, yet it’s the game that lots of folks have logged the most hours in, while some super-high quality games, like Shadowgun for instance, can be beat in under an hour.

      • Fugu

        You also have to look at the fact that Draw Something also has in app purchases. So that initial $1 you spend really ends up being more unless you pore hours and hours into it just to open up basic functionality.

        I definitely pay more for quality of art and design over time in game. There’s a balance there but if you’re looking at the game for hours, it should be an enjoyable experience in that way.

    • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

      So we pay for “quality of experience” despite how long we actually enjoy that experience?

  • Zagrash

    I’ve bought all of the Kairosoft games, most at about $5 per, with a few exceptions from sales, and I would honestly say that I’d do it all again, I’ve played Game Dev Story alone more than some $60 console games, so I will pretty much always get my money’s worth.

    I think a lot of the discussion really depends on the game though. The most I’ve spent on a game was $7.50 for Spectral Souls (at 50% off!) during the Because we May sale. I am a sucker for strategy RPG’s, but was hesitant to pull the trigger at $15.

    For a game that I’m willing to pay to try, somewhere in the $1 – $2 range is “impulse-buy” enough (as has been proven by the Google Play sales, etc.) but once it gets higher than that, personally I’ll need to do my research, and have a better idea about whether or not I’ll really be into a game before buying.

  • jordanfritzsche

    I was trying to think of a good long explanation for types of games, public opinion, game quality, etc. But really all it comes down to is this –

    Beyond $15-$20 for any app is starting to push it. I won’t buy something like that unless it is a revered as a fantastic product. But $0.99 – $2.99 I will buy almost any app, as if I’m downloading a free app, if it looks worth it in the slightest.

    Any game/app between those two ranges and it comes down to this one characteristic –

    HOW WELL THE DEVELOPER HAS PORTRAYED THE APP IN GOOGLE PLAY, and there are a ton of factors to that – screen shots, description, demo video, etc.

  • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

    Does form factor come into play at some point? Would you pay more for a tablet game? Specifically one that you played with a controller? Perhaps while hooked to a TV?

    • jordanfritzsche

      If people are realistic I think it will play a part. It seems like so many people with smartphones think, well I already paid for the phone everything I can access inside of it should be free. But that’s not realistic. They play Xbox and they fully understand they have to go buy games, and do. So I believe that would translate into playing games on your TV like through Ouya. But I don’t think it registers with tablets or phones. I know it’s only a slight shift in form, but I’m thinking people will pay for it.

      As for an actual price point, I think people would be very comfortable playing for $10-20, sometimes even up to $30 because they will draw the comparison to regular TV consoles and realize that this way is much cheaper.

  • skugern

    For a mid to high quality game that isn’t a widely recognized name (like Final Fantasy), the most I’d pay for an Android game is $5. The big reason I’m loathe to pay for many apps right now is the very restrictive refund policy.

  • LukeT32

    Lets put it this way… Counter-Strike: Global Offense is only $13.49 on Steam right now… I will play that 100+ hours and will purchase it no questions asked… Any game on Android that is only $5 I won’t even waste my time with. If I am going to game, I am going to my desktop. Not my cell phone. If the game is in the $2 to $3 range I would buy it. The hardcore games are not on my cell phone….

  • Laurel laurel25

    I think that $1 for simple games, $2-3 for useful apps (non-game), and $4-6 for complex games is about where I’d set my limits. That being said, I don’t really play many complex games on my phone because the screen is just too small.

  • Himmat

    For a casual game, I would pay 0.99/1.99. Casual games are usually of the arcade/puzzle genre.

    Then for hardcore games, I could pay up to 6.99.

    I have no paid more than 7 bucks for a game.

    I hate the current trend of freemium games. I just hope devs start pricing their game again.

  • kwills88

    it depends on the in app purchases these days, if there are none and the game quality is like that of a Dead trigger, 6bucks isn’t a bad deal if the game play is long. games with in app purchases should either be free or cost around 1buck.

    But in a overall standpoint…simple games should cost 99cents, while high graphic games should be up in the 5-6 mark.

  • MoSDeeb

    For any item on sale the price is the perceived value. If I saw metal gear solid in the play store I’d throw $30. I’m speaking of the PS one version.

  • theviper21

    I typically don’t buy any apps above $6. I will buy apps on a whim from $1-3 bucks, but it takes some definite replay value for me to pay even the $6. If it was an app/game I could see myself using a ton and was developed by a name known for quality, I could see myself paying as much as $10 for it.

    Tablets/Smart phones/e-readers have really changed the game as far as pricing for digital goods goes. For instance, a lot of authors that have quality work but don’t have a lot of exposure will put their books out at $1, though they may be the same quality as books that are $10. I’ve gotten so used to paying only $1-3 for quality e-books that I know will mostly rival the quality that I pay for a big publisher that I rarely will pay more than $3 for an e-book these days. Apps have gotten to be the same way, for the most part. Gameloft and other big publishers can charge up to $6, but higher than that and I bet you’d see sales drop off quite a bit.

  • Z.Kew-Denniss

    Asphalt is only 69p! I consider that rather cheap!

  • brandnew234

    I’d pay 20 or 30$ for a REALLY good plot, you know like how the older games are amazing, for their story line, and unique game play (and not so much graphics).

  • Zach Stewart

    Games pricing is really dependent on what you are getting. When I look to buy a game it is because I really enjoy the game. Take Granny Smith, I cranked through that game and I bought it for .99. To me after playing it I would have paid 3-4 bucks.