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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.