Indie games should be cheaper and should not launch at a cost in excess of $20, says Zeboyd developer Robert Boyd.
In a post on NeoGAF, Boyd, who has worked on games such as Cthulhu Saves the World, said there had been a disturbing trend recently toward releasing games at higher prices. He stated that only recently the norm for indie titles not on mobile was between $10-$15.
He added that it was baffling that prices higher than this were often celebrated by non-developers as a ”stance against ‘the evil mobile empire’”.
Boyd explained that lower pricing benefitted both players and developers. More people would be willing to pay for a game sold at a cheaper cost, and such a pricing strategy could also result in better reviews.
“Lower prices often means more total revenue for the developer as dropping the price in half often results in WAY more than double the sales,” he stated.
Boyd admitted games can do better with higher pricing, but this shouldn’t be the norm for every indie game. He later clarified that games shouldn’t be priced as cheap as possible, such as for free or $1, but developers should instead look for the sweet spot where they can encourage impulse buys.
“I feel like once you reach $20, you’re no longer at an impulse buy level,” he said.
“Now you’re competing directly against triple-A games that came out a few months ago. People will buy your $20 game if they really want it and that’s about it. Whereas at $15 or especially at $10, you’re much more likely to get people who have some interest, see positive reviews, and decided to buy it on impulse.”
Using the example of his own games, Boyd said there’s also no reason why developers can’t have a successful sale when its price was low to begin with.
“A high starting price conditions people to wait for sales,” he said. “And by the time your game goes on sale, there will be a lot less buzz and excitement around your game. Plus, there’s no reason why you can’t have successful sales when your game price was lower to begin with – our most popular game normally sells for $3 and 4 years after release, we can still do a big sale & manage to sell thousands or even tens of thousands of copies in a week.”