Large Discounts, Like Those on Steam, Hurt Games, GoG Believes

Both gamers and developers lose when major price cuts are made

Digital distribution services like Valve’s Steam have gotten gamers used with large discounts sometimes slashing 80% off a game’s regular price. This is causing a lot of damage to both titles and actual customers, at least according to retailer GoG, formerly known as Good Old Games.

Steam and quite a lot of digital distribution services on the PC usually run various sales and discounts each day, each week, or during special holidays. Throughout these times, lots of great games, both old and new, receive some pretty major discounts, starting from 25 or 33 percent to a whopping 75 or 80 percent.

This trend damages not just the perceived value of games but also wears out customers who feel the need to buy titles only because they’re discounted, according to GoG’s managing director, Guillaume Rambourgh, and its head of marketing, Trevor Longino.

"Of course, you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when it's that cheap, but you're damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale," they told Rock, Paper, Shotgun. "Slashing the price of your game is easy. Improving the content of your offer when you release your game, that's more ambitious."

"Heavy discounts are bad for gamers, too," they added. "If a gamer buys a game he or she doesn't want just because it's on sale, they're being trained to make bad purchases, and they're also learning that games aren't valuable."

The key to eliminating this problem, according to the GoG executives, is to make games cheaper when they arrive on the market and to make moderate discounts.

"We actually generate more than half of our revenue from full-price sales, simply because we keep our prices reasonable in the first place," they continued.

"Our average sale tends to be around 40 per cent to 50 per cent off; that's plenty of incentive to pick up a game if you're interested, or if you just think you might like to try it because you're not sure about the game. But not some crazy 75 per cent or 85 per cent discount that damages the long-term value of a game.”

Do you agree with GoG or do you believe that Steam’s major sales are beneficial to developers and customers?

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