The boss of THQ Brian Farrell has said that the games industry must explore different retail models if it is to remain competitive in a market that consistently expects lower prices.
The idea of punters forking out anything up to 50 for console titles is one that is coming under increasing pressure. The rise of 59p iPhone games such as Angry Birds and the success of cut-price digital hits such as Dead Rising 2: Case Zero are, in the eyes of critics, eroding the viability of full price titles.
THQ has now said that the next release in its MX vs ATV series will be a reduced RRP release, and be smaller in scale to accommodate the reduction.
In the past, we've seen that we bring the game out at $59.99 and it does reasonably well – around 1m, or 1.5m units,” Farrell told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York according to CVG.
When we lower the price to a mass market price the thing really jumps. So what we're doing this time is we're coming out initially with a smaller game at a lower price point – the $29 to $39 range.
We're then doing a download model for different modes, different tracks, different vehicles. It's what we call a hybrid – it's a bit of the microtransaction and DLC model. I'm a big believer in monetising under the curve, so we capture that $29 to $39 user no matter what, and a person that wants to spend $100 on the product can do so as well.”
Farrell went on to explain that the publisher hopes to explore more of these emerging models in the future and possibly, low and behold, the adoption of free-to-play games in the console market.
I think that's the future of gaming,” he confessed. Whether it's this model or a take on the free-to-play model. It's where our industry is going and this is a very, very interesting experiment with one of our key brands.”