Recently, I made the call to stop reviewing games on a regular basis for this site, for one reason: I’m getting married, and weddings are time-consuming and expensive events. I broke down the cost and found I simply couldn’t afford to buy every major game coming out every month.
So you can imagine how I felt, reading Cliffy B’s missive on Kotaku about how microtransactions and DLC are good things, and how games are cheaper than ever, so stop whining, dammit, just stop whining!
The whole thing’s here, if you want to read it, but I can essentially boil it down to this one quote:
Adjusted for inflation, your average video game is actually cheaper than it ever has been.
The basic argument is that the game industry now spends hundreds of millions instead of millions of dollars developing and marketing a game, and that being in a business is hard, so stop complaining about annoyances like microtransactions and DLC.
For some reason, game developers love doing this. Volition’s Jameson Durall wrote a similar piece last year, although focused more on used games. And to a point, it’s reasonable to have a push and pull discussion about games and their value, and for gamers to understand the economics behind the industry. If gamers are inadvertently screwing over developers, they should know.
But the blunt reality is this: Nobody cares about the value of games relative to the price of inflation. They care about it relative to how much is in their bank account. In almost any other form of entertainment, $60 is a premium price. In most cases, concert tickets are cheaper than a new video game, after fees.
Gaming is not a cheap hobby, and pretending it is insults everybody who enjoys it. A lot of gamers work pretty hard and can afford to buy, at most, one or two new games a year. There are a lot of kids saving their allowance, a lot of teenagers working crappy minimum wage jobs, and a lot of adults working day jobs they probably don’t entirely enjoy, and asking $60 out of them is a lot. For some gamers, that’s an entire day’s work, or a year of saving.
So, game developers, I’m begging you, stop writing this article. Yeah, we get that it’s not a lot of money relative to the value for you.
But please remember: You’re not the one buying it.