Games might not follow the F2P model after all

Excellent article on game prices.

I don’t think free will win. For two reasons:

– Hardware is no longer the tractor beam it was once in fact, it’s boring. Today after a decade of digital miniaturization people don’t care what hardware they run as long as they are comfortable with it. All platforms are OK. There is no “much better platform” out there.

Valve is trying to disrupt that but looking at how hard it is for console manufacturers to ship stable, desktop-class hardware (we’re in the billions of transistors per machine, imagine the clusterfuck) even with decades of experience, it’s probably insane for them right now with Steamboxes.

Why hardware fatigue is important? Because it means we’re maturing and that people will differentiate themselves with apps, not free apps that everybody can get but paid apps that could even be pricey. That’s my bet.

“Yeah, it’s an app to do [X] and it’s really awesome. They respect everything about me, no weird phone book access or shady server connection, it’s all local and private stuff. The experience blows the competition out of the water. It’s quite expensive but it was so worth it.”

See what I mean? Second,

– Developers, now that they know that they are just a commodity for Apple and Google, either they still try hard to get the jackpot with terrible odds against them, or they start thinking about making some money too to sustain their butts. Then they’ll start thinking trial/paid like the good old shareware model or Win8/WP.

They’ll start thinking shipping real nice stuff, SaaS, they’ll start to think about the user experience and how it shapes so many things instead of releasing software with such poor design that it shouldn’t even be released to the world even if it solves a problem for someone. We’re drowning in apps and software mediocrity. There is room for “star developers” that you follow like you follow a band or a movie director and you don’t need to master 3D like John Carmack to make great software or games.

So short term, yes game prices will go down as so many young developers are desperate to get traction and have heard about the ridiculous amount of money you can get from a sale or featured slot but in the long term, if you want to sustain yourself making games and software without depending on sheer luck, you’ll need to bake shit perfectly and sell it with pride.

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