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