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Why shady? It is normal to have an advertising budget. If this budget is used to cover the losses of a big sale, then it is still simply used for advertising.

In tourism we see hotels doing fake reservations, so they pay the websites their comission and get to show sales and profits for the website algorithms, and so the "guests" can write reviews as "verified guests". 

That is shady.

 

Getting potential customers to give your store a chance by cutting your own throat, that's pretty basic marketing.

Not asking the Devs/publishers is problematic. Should be covered in whatever agreement of course.

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2 hours ago, Wormerine said:

If this act of devaluing the game is as undesirable as it seems, devs might be more cautious about signing with Epic, if they keep up this behaviour. Especially undesired for non-exclusive games to have their game on sale. ONI is to launch next month I think, clearly a bad idea to have it discounted by 10 pounds. 

This is just a sad indication of what happens with no used sales and mostly digital distribution.
Not long ago we were told that without physical inventory we will be swimming in great sale deals.
Now publishers get to say just how cheaply you are allowed to get games. 

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But we are being drowned in deals, completely devaluing everything.

We no longer buy something because we believe products are worth the price. We either buy them to support developers or on sale. And we know the next sale is always just a month away on any given platform. 

We have a wishlist and that tells us when something we want is at the low price we  feel we have gotten the great deal and tricked the man.

And if we buy something full price we seek a moral justification of supporting creators: that a product may simply be worth a price is rarely part of the discourse.

Being cheap has become a virtue and we need to justify ourselves when we aren't.

Heck, I have been told that my willingness to pay full price for things I want is an indication of poor impulse control and compulsive behaviour...

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37 minutes ago, melkathi said:

Why shady? It is normal to have an advertising budget. If this budget is used to cover the losses of a big sale, then it is still simply used for advertising.

In tourism we see hotels doing fake reservations, so they pay the websites their comission and get to show sales and profits for the website algorithms, and so the "guests" can write reviews as "verified guests". 

That is shady.

 

Getting potential customers to give your store a chance by cutting your own throat, that's pretty basic marketing.

Not asking the Devs/publishers is problematic. Should be covered in whatever agreement of course.

I think there may have been a mix up. I find that the publisher/developer suddenly pulling their game (that was on sale) out of the store to be shady. It on the base level it shows either greed by the publisher/developer or incompetence on Epic part.

I think that the slashing of prices is common and a given in the marketplace but covering of that cost is what concerns me. This is the first time I've heard of a company pay the difference for the slashed prices and I just don't know how long Epic can keep covering that cost. They may be making bank with Fornite but not everything remains popular forever.

I'm sorry if wasn't entirely clear about that part in my previous post. 

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Seems kinda overblown to me, at least from the consumer perspective, as there's always a risk of a sale and you paying more than if you just had luckier timing. I'd file it under things that would be more generally accepted if Valve was doing it. Speaking of which, didn't Steam sales used to be crazy low prices back in the day? I don't know if Gaben was eating those loses entirely on his end and I may be misremembering but I do vaguely recall Steam sales actually being a can't miss event way back when.

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18 hours ago, Wormerine said:

While we are at Epic, the Epic Store Sale is an interesting topic.

What initially might seems like a swing into the other direction: attempting this time to bribe consumers into coming to Epic, instead of paying off devs/publishers, might have somewhat backfired, I saw somewhat, because I don't know what exact intentions were - I imagine the deals are good enough to get new people into the Epic Store (success!) but they might have pissed off publishers/developers (not good!).

Here is the short version: Epic store has currently discount on every game they sell: old, new, pre-orders. If the game costs more than 13,99 pounds (UK prices from me) they decrese it by 10 pounds. Some results are crazy - just announced indie John Wick game can be purchased for 4,39 (less than a 1/3 of its price), all ports of David Cage's older, ekhm, games can be bought for 5.99. 

How did Epic convinced game owners to do such drastic price cut before games are even out. Well, they didn't. They didn't ask for their permission, and didn't actually lower the cost for them. Epic is covering the missing discount and paying devs the full share.

All good then? Win, win? Not quite aparently. Game owners don't seem to be happy with their game getting devalued, often before they even launch. There was some brief attempt from Supergiant to raise price of Hades earlier then they planned, the big boyz Borderlands3 and Bloodlines got temporarly pulled from the shop for the duration of the sale.

Fun times.

So they would be charging "unrealistically low prices to drive out a competitor"? Hmm.

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4 hours ago, pmp10 said:

This is just a sad indication of what happens with no used sales and mostly digital distribution.
Not long ago we were told that without physical inventory we will be swimming in great sale deals.
Now publishers get to say just how cheaply you are allowed to get games. 

I don’t think it’s is not unreasonable to be able to set your own price points. I will not defend AAA endless desire to sell less for more, however, some cases in this sale are extreme. A 10 pounds off Borderlands3 or Bloodlines early pre-order discount might not sound disastrous (one should never preorder anyway!), however:

-Just announced John Wick game is sold for 4.39 (originally 15.99)

-Just released Shakedown Hawaii is sold for 4.99 (originally 14.99)

-pretty good EAccess Hades is sold for 5.49 (15.49)

-delightful Oxygen not Included, on its way to exit EA might have costed about 8.99 (18.99 on steam, it got pulled from Epic)

i wouldn’t want to see my game being sold for 1/3 or half the price before or right after release. As it is, sales come quick and often, and a division of early adapters, waiting for sale, waiting for deep deep sale is very real. One one hand, all this sale might do is allow early adapters to buy the game early for the faction of the price, possibly moving some folks from “waiting for sale” category into early adapters - all on Epics tab, and at no cost to game owners. 

I am really curious what the potential damage here is. That people who tend to buy games after the launch, might not do so, seeing as the game got heavily discounted already?

1 hour ago, marelooke said:

So they would be charging "unrealistically low prices to drive out a competitor"? Hmm.

Interesting, but it specifically applies to companies holding a monopoly, and driving potential competition away, and that seems to be Epics dream, but not current situation. Sounds to me more like what Apple is getting sued for now, in US. 

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Green Man gaming did crazy pre-order sales when they started out.

I got XCOM 2: war of the chosen in a flash deal ... 35% off on pre-order?

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And the whole discussion made me think of Andrew Ryan.

 

I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a game dev not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

No, says the man at Valve. He should be happy if people are willing to buy it at merely 50% off during the Steam Summer sale.

No, says the man at Humble. He should be happy if it gets in a $1 Bundle.

No, says the man on the torrent site. He should settle for my appreciation.

 

(also, No says melkathi, I'll ask Shady for a key in the Giveaway thread, because people are not grabbing enough of those keys)

Edited by melkathi
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54 minutes ago, melkathi said:

I am [Andrew Ryan] Tim Sweeney, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a [game dev] publisher not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

No, says the man at Valve. He should be happy if people are willing to buy it at merely 50% off during the Steam Summer sale.

No, says the man at Humble. He should be happy if it gets in a $1 Bundle.

No, says the man on the torrent site. He should settle for my appreciation.

 

[minor editorialising]

I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Epic Games Store.

A vendor where the artist would not fear the distributor's cut; where the publisher would not be bound by petty morality; where the great would not be constrained by GabeN!

And with the redistributable binaries of your software and a signed guaranteed minimum sales agreement, EGS can become your store as well.

Edited by Zoraptor
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12 hours ago, melkathi said:

Green Man gaming did crazy pre-order sales when they started out.

I got XCOM 2: war of the chosen in a flash deal ... 35% off on pre-order?

That is true, however, Green Man Gaming isn’t exactly a game store, in a way steam, gog or Epic is. There has been some shade thrown on GMG due to how they acquire their keys a while back. If I remember well, sometimes they even sell games they are not authorised to, by buying keys from 3rd parties. I have been curious about how GMG operates as their offers do tend to be suspiciously competitive. They seem to be more of a “game key reselling marketplace”, though rather then just acting as a middle man like cdkeys or g2a, they seem to be buying the keys and reselling. Whenever something dodgy is going on (like buying for cheaper due to regional pricing and reselling it in other regions) I can’t say. 

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2 hours ago, Wormerine said:

That is true, however, Green Man Gaming isn’t exactly a game store, in a way steam, gog or Epic is. There has been some shade thrown on GMG due to how they acquire their keys a while back. If I remember well, sometimes they even sell games they are not authorised to, by buying keys from 3rd parties. I have been curious about how GMG operates as their offers do tend to be suspiciously competitive. They seem to be more of a “game key reselling marketplace”, though rather then just acting as a middle man like cdkeys or g2a, they seem to be buying the keys and reselling. Whenever something dodgy is going on (like buying for cheaper due to regional pricing and reselling it in other regions) I can’t say. 

GMG were having it both ways, they were authorised partners for some publishers (like Humble), and for publishers they did not have deals with, they sometimes resold keys (like CDkeys).

Can't say I have a problem with that. It happens less so now but I used to regularly buy keys from smaller resellers who in actuality were just stores in Europe that sold physical copies of games, and simply opened those copies and scanned the CD keys themselves for overseas customers. And like regular brick-and-mortar stores, it's simply the age-old retail model in action: store buys goods from a certain price from their suppliers, and sell it at whatever price they like to end-users. There are some laws around predatory pricing of course but that really only applies to the market leader in general.

The advent of Steam means the agency model where the supplier has exclusive control of pricing is now ascendant, and while I live with it, I'm not a fan of it on general principles. The likes of Miele and Apple do the same thing with their retailer partners, and I prefer not to deal with that. It annoys me when a department store for example says "20% off everything!*" with an exclusion list a mile long.

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Complaining about games being devalued seems a bit too late.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I don't know, maybe I'm not getting something, but my understanding is: Epic is covering those 10 bucks off of every purchase. because the games I bought all have two listed prices: developer's price and Epic's price below, where it says Epic gives you 10 USD back for every purchase over 14.99.

so the game's actual price stays the same, but Epic just refunds you for a part of it. 

unless you guys have info on Epic doing it at the devs' expense, I don't see what the whole "Epic is bad" is about

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Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

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I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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The problem in theory is the perceived value of the product. While you are paying less and the publisher/developer getting the same, your expectations of what a good pre-order deal is may be altered. So in the future, when Epic isn't offering that deal anymore, your expectations will be for a better deal than the publisher/developer were prepared to offer.

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Yeah, pretty much what melkathi said. Games keep their momentum with gradual price decrease as games sales get lower. That’s why games which sell really well don’t see a price decrease and games which sell poorly get heavily discounted really quickly. Some of the smaller titles got their price already slashed in half or more. The worry is:

1) will people later buy game at full price, or feel that they are overpaying as the game was already sold at a fraction of the cost.

2) How much the game will need to be discounted in the future to make the sale attractive?

there are also other considerations on game by game basis:

1) some discounted games were crowdfunded or in early access. In general, due to risks involved, EA games and basic crowdfunded pledges are cheaper then the final game. But discounts brought games like Oxygen not Included, Hades or Phoenix Point to a lower price points (one of those tried to raise the price, another pulled from the sale entirely), making people’s decision to back the project early disadvantageous due to higher risks and higher price point with no, or little to no disadvantage. (As a disclaimer I bought all three of those, as soon as they were available, and paid more for each one of them. I am not butthurt, as it is Epics doing, but I have already seen complaints and demands to be compensated).

2) some of those games are available on multiple platforms and this discrepancy might not be in game owners interest. Possible they want to not offer worse deals to other consumers, or they want to favour their own platform (like Ubi and Uplay). 

I don’t think it is a “crucify Epic!” kind of story, but it does highlight some of the issues this company constantly runs into. I think it would be fair to call it a mirror of traditional Epic exclusivity deal:

1) when a game becomes an exclusive, consumer are upset as they don’t have a choice in what platform they want to use, and I forced to support a platform they dislike, or which doesn’t offer them necessarily support, be it social features, controller support, achievements etc. Etc. Publishers/devs response is: what’s your deal? It doesn’t cost you anything, we get money, all you have to do is install a piece of software which doesn’t cost you anything.

2) with this sale, consumers get to get games they want at a significant discount, at cost of game owners ability to set the price, control the rate at which games get to be sold. An argument that they loose nothing, as epic covers the losses, while consumers get game cheaper is a valid one. And yet, Gearbox has decided to pull their game of sale, just like many others. Curious!

 

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20 hours ago, melkathi said:

The problem in theory is the perceived value of the product. While you are paying less and the publisher/developer getting the same, your expectations of what a good pre-order deal is may be altered. So in the future, when Epic isn't offering that deal anymore, your expectations will be for a better deal than the publisher/developer were prepared to offer.

So the problem is publishers will have to drop prices, if this continues ?

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Well, cheaper games is better for me.  But I doubt it'll really get 'worse' than it is now, plenty of people go out and grab it Day One and pay that price or pre-order, etc.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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