Skyrim director wants cheaper games

From the mixed messages department comes a recent interview with Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim director Todd Howard, where he discusses his belief that game prices have grown too high. "I do think industry-wide we would benefit from more games out at $19 or $29,” Howard said. “I would try more games. Because I'm not going to try a game for $60. It's a tough decision.”

Well, you know, except in the case of Skyrim, where Howard believes $60 price point is just right. "I don't put us in that category of course—for what we give you, for sixty bucks or however many 'quid' it is.”

While he’s certainly entitled to his own opinion, it doesn’t seem all that wise to speak too loudly against releasing $60 games when Bethesda, the publisher that signs his paychecks, published Rogue Warrior in 2009. For those who blocked that out entirely (we don’t blame you), Rogue Warrior had a three-hour long campaign and is currently one of the worst-reviewed games of the generation. We called it “a stinker.” We stand by that title.

And he also seems to ignore the obvious answer: developers and publishers are releasing their games for cheaper, and they’re making them available on Xbox Live, Steam, and the PlayStation Network. Looking at how well the Summer of Arcade games have been selling, and how much larger than Geometry Wars they’ve grown, it’s obvious that downloadable games are becoming the middle ground that Howard is searching for.

Whether or not we’ll see bigger games drop down to that downloadable price point once console-makers loosen up their restrictions on file size is yet to be seen, though we’d be shocked if the next generation doesn’t find some unique ways to help bridge the gap between $1 fart apps and large, epic games like Skyrim. For now, we’ll just keep having to pay $60, and hoping that more games are worth our 'quid'.

Aug 5, 2011

Source: PSM3 via CVG


  • timeaisis - December 15, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    Might be wise to hold off claiming your game is worth $60 until AFTER you've stomped out the thousands of ridiculous bugs.
  • VvSch - August 8, 2011 2:31 p.m.

    "You should produce cheaper games. As long as you do not use words that are also used in our own titles. Then we're gonna sue your ass."
  • raptorak - August 8, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    Everything is worth the price that you pay for it. If you buy a rubbish game for $60 that is your problem, you could have just waited for the price to drop. If the price drops after you bought something, again, that is your problem. If you paid $60 for COD, uninstalled after the campaign and then complained about value for money, who is the sucker? In the end I have no sympathy for suckers, because I have been that sucker myself many times before and you just gotta realise that people sell you stuff to make money, plain and simple. If you can't afford $60, don't spend it.
  • Spybreak8 - August 8, 2011 2:24 a.m.

    Yeah I'd love to have a Bethesda game come to XBLA but isn't that like against their big epic motto though?! It's crazy to know that XBLA almost didn't happen.
  • ConservativeGamer - August 6, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    Simple answer to this; a game is worth what you are willing to pay for it. Capitalism works this out for us. We pay for 60 dollar games for a new game that just came out because that is the medium price that the game industry has figured is the best starting point and that we as the consumer allows to happen. The price adjusts (both new and used) based on market factors, such as popularity, quality, and time on the market. Sure we have all been burned by games (I'm looking at you Two Worlds). But we have all got products that are worth more to us than what we paid. Overall, it is a fair system. Plus, this guy is kind of funny. "Games should be cheaper....but not my game of course. That is for other games. Mine is worth even more, you see. Those other games are the ones you have to worry about." The other companies think the same thing as him and want to make the most money possible.
  • jackthemenace - August 6, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    I'm fine with new game's releasing at 40 quid (In the UK), especially if they're big budget titles like Gears, The Elder Scrolls or Fallout. What annoys me is when games that have been out for years, like Halo 3, are still being sold at ridiculous prices. I think I saw a copy Modern warfare 2, which has been out for almost 2 years, has already had one (basic) sequel, and is due another, for £25 the other day. Not only is it crap, it's outdated.
  • rockbottom - August 6, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    I didn't post that twice, by the way. My PC has issues.
  • rockbottom - August 6, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    @Primed: Admit it, you're the head of Nintendo, aren't you? Haha. $60 is about 40 quid(£) $40 would be about 25-30 quid. Serious point: Lower game prices would weaken the pre-owned market. Dev's would get less money per unit but they would get paid for more units.
  • rockbottom - August 6, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    @Primed : Are you the head of Nintendo? Sounds like it. Ha ha. $60 is about 40 quid. $40 will be about 25-30 quid. Serious point: Lower game prices will reduce the pre-owned market. Devs may get less money per unit but they'll sell more units. Right?
  • oni - August 6, 2011 7:32 a.m.

    They should've put more worthwhile content in games if they are going to charge $60 for it. Splitting contents into DLCs is unwarranted especially when most of the DLCs are already present in the discs. Gone are the days when we have 100 cars to unlock in a racing game or 100 planes to play with in flight sims. No, we are paying $60 for 10 cars/planes and the rest are DLCs. Some games like Call of Duty MW have the Spec Ops component to add value to your purchase. But IMO the Arma 2 series is a shining example what other developers should emulate. Put aside the bugs and glitches, you get the obligatory sinlgeplayer campaign and multiplayer component, built in mission editor, an armory where you test the weapons but is also an awesome random mission generator and single missions where you can play custom scenarios. They even let you play with the DLCs first before you actually buy them, albeit at a reduce quality but it does give you a preview for what are you paying for.
  • ObliqueZombie - August 6, 2011 6:21 a.m.

    @Crofto Why do people fork over less money for a movie, like Transformers 3, when it WAS made for MORE money than Skyrim? Because movies have been a stable in entertainment for years, and video games have it's own niche community. (excluding CoD fans) Movies make more, because people wouldn't pay $15 or $20 to see something an hour and thirty minutes long, when they may or may not like it. Whereas in a game, we're pretty much guaranteed a solid 8 hours in a standard FPS of campaign, and many, many more hours in the multiplayer. And that's just SHOOTERS. RPGs typically run for dozens of hours, and MMOs are endless. RTSer are equal to that of FPSs. So if you bought the amount of tickets for a movie equal to that of a game's price, you'd be given more hours of entertainment, plus possibly being cheaper in the long run. (We don't need to buy popcorn or drinks to play a game) HOWEVER. I wouldn't mind cheaper SINGLEplayer games. If it contains multiplayer, well... it better be good.
  • snipes101 - August 5, 2011 11:16 p.m.

    Yes I think developers could turn a much bigger profit if games were cheaper. Hell, games that did not get as much shine like Enslaved, Vanquish or the like might have sold a lot more copies if they had been priced right. People will always buy more of something if they have to pay less if you ask me.
  • DeadlyViper95 - August 5, 2011 10:47 p.m.

    Uncharted 2 - worth 60 bucks Borderlands- Worth 60 bucks GTA IV- worth 60 bucks Call of duty- 10 bucks, IF im feeling generous Madden- no
  • rabidpotatochip - August 5, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    Kind of hilarious actually. "Everyone but us sucks and should lower their prices accordingly!" Mods made Morrowind and Oblivion enjoyable for me and I expect the same will be said for Skyrim. I don't mind waiting for all you modders to get something amazing together before I buy this game.
  • inkyspot - August 5, 2011 9:35 p.m.

    I would definately buy more games for that lower price. I think a lot a people would. The rental market love high price games, because they make the money. Most people will not want to pay 60 bucks for a 5 hour game. I'll pay this for skyrim, but n0t for most of the stuff that is coming out.
  • Crofto - August 5, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    There's actually no justification for the price point as it is anyway, and it's only through the stupidity of gamers that the price even gets higher. There's a reason why DVDs are a crap-load cheaper than games, and it's because people who buy them won't stump up more than what they think is fair. Say what you will about development costs, but it still costs more money to make a film like Transformers 3, than for Skyrim, yet Transformers 3 will cost, combined through a cinema ticket and a DVD, much less than Skyrim at retail. How is that logic? It isn't. Of course, we can make this debate even more ridiculous when we factor in -- and Skyrim will be perfect for this -- pre-order content and DLC. These days paying £40 for a game (I live in the UK) isn't the end now, instead we have to stump-up an extra £5+ for all the pre-order s**t that should have come with the game already. You know for a fact Skyrim will let shops have exclusive swords/armour, and then release it for DLC later. But yet again, cause we're gamers, we just crack on. Gotta love it. Of course, what Todd Howard says has been painfully obvious for several years now. No game has any right to cost more than £25, and it's as simple as that. Greed and stupidity make it what it is today, sadly.
  • r.c.leclaire - August 5, 2011 8:39 p.m.

    My main problem is in cases like Borderlands. I supported that game and bought it brand new for $60, then I spent an additional $10 each on all four DLC packs...which brought me up to a total of $100 for Borderlands. And my reward for supporting them and paying full price for brand new games? They release the game a little less than a year later as a "Game of the Year" addition with all four DLC packs included on that disc for $40. So I supported them and had to pay $100 whereas people who didn't only had to spend $40 to get the same thing I paid for. I don't mind spending $60 for a game I want, but I don't like when the industry screws me over and rips me off. I now wait months to buy a game because it will drop to $20-40 by then.
  • Defguru7777 - August 5, 2011 8:26 p.m.

    I agree fully. $40 would get people to buy more games. I sure as hell would. And while it's seen as a double standard for him to say that Skyrim is worth the full $60, in this case it's honest. If it's anywhere near the length of Fallout 3 or New Vegas, then yeah. He's just being honest. (if he'd said the same thing about Rogue Warrior, that'd be a different story) But yeah. $40 games and such. Yay.
  • Kage_No_Shi - August 5, 2011 7:43 p.m.

    Crackdown 2 is one of the PRIME examples of overpriced games where the developers are just shameless about the prices they demand. The game wasn't as good (IMO) as Crackdown 1 and was more or less a glorified expansion...Opening price? $69.99 CAN. That's the upper tier new game price, for those unfamiliar with prices for new games in Canada. To put that in perspective, it's the price most of the lower tier limited editions (IE: The ones that include simple things like bonus DLC and 'making of' disks and such). For a game that probably could have been shat out with less than a year or so of actual development (uses much of the resources of the first game), that is criminal...
  • Evanesco - August 5, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    This news comes out right alongside the announcement of a $150 Skyrim Collectors edition that has 2/3 of what should be in a collectors edition. Mixed Signals Department indeed.

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