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Subject: Why are board games more expensive than video games? rss

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sheppyboy wrote:
Toc13 wrote:
The real question should be, given the digital nature of the distribution, why re video games so expensive?


Why aren't they MORE expensive? Considering the extensive cost, short premium price life, and resistance to all "long tail" monetization efforts, for most studios, making videos games is a high risk, low payoff effort and one "bomb" could sink an entire studio, possibly even restructure/punish the publisher for 7 years or more. Seriously, we haven't seen a price increase in video games since the Xbox 360 launch and yet the cost of development has skyrocketed many times over.

Yeah video game prices haven't risen in ages. They've been $60 for waaaaaaaaaaay longer than they should have been. Stuff like microtransactions is making up a little of the distance but. Yeah, you're totally right.
 
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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
sheppyboy wrote:
Toc13 wrote:
The real question should be, given the digital nature of the distribution, why re video games so expensive?


Why aren't they MORE expensive? Considering the extensive cost, short premium price life, and resistance to all "long tail" monetization efforts, for most studios, making videos games is a high risk, low payoff effort and one "bomb" could sink an entire studio, possibly even restructure/punish the publisher for 7 years or more. Seriously, we haven't seen a price increase in video games since the Xbox 360 launch and yet the cost of development has skyrocketed many times over.

Yeah video game prices haven't risen in ages. They've been $60 for waaaaaaaaaaay longer than they should have been. Stuff like microtransactions is making up a little of the distance but. Yeah, you're totally right.


I remember when 2600 titles were in the mid-$30 range, perhaps higher, in the early 80s.

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Pete
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There is a downward pressure in the video game world because a video game has to compete with TONS of free to play video games and freemium titles. But for your mainline console game or high-end production house game, the prices are comparable.

Pete (rarely pays more than $30 for a board game, though)
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Daniel Holz
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Because people are willing to buy boardgames at a higher price than videogames, probably due to either the massive discounting of AAA videogame major releases a few months after they launch + the perceived 'value' of buying a physical product rather than a electronic/digital product + a greater overlap of people interested in boardgames & people with large disposible incomes.

Basically, there's a market for games at a price point above the price point for videogames.

MonkeyKnifeFight wrote:
Expect at least 200k(probably more) per developer per year


Video game devs get paid a lot less than this, even with the employer's overheads it wouldn't go much over 120k in a hot market like San Francisco.
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J J
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Are they?

I paid $79.95 last weekend for Super Mario Odyssey. The vast majority of board games I might purchase cost that or less. The last board game I purchased, Steam, cost me $44 back in May. True, that was a reduced price, but the full price (bearing in mind the Australia tax) is only $70.
 
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Nicholas Palmer
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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
sheppyboy wrote:
Toc13 wrote:
The real question should be, given the digital nature of the distribution, why re video games so expensive?


Why aren't they MORE expensive? Considering the extensive cost, short premium price life, and resistance to all "long tail" monetization efforts, for most studios, making videos games is a high risk, low payoff effort and one "bomb" could sink an entire studio, possibly even restructure/punish the publisher for 7 years or more. Seriously, we haven't seen a price increase in video games since the Xbox 360 launch and yet the cost of development has skyrocketed many times over.

Yeah video game prices haven't risen in ages. They've been $60 for waaaaaaaaaaay longer than they should have been. Stuff like microtransactions is making up a little of the distance but. Yeah, you're totally right.


Seriously, Chrono Trigger new on the SNES was $70 retail. Phantasy Star IV new on the Genesis was like, $100.
 
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By the way, I am on a budget, as most of us probably are, but I'm sure the majority is with me on the side of not minding paying good money if the game's components are high quality.
 
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Paradox Games wrote:
I'm sure the majority is with me on the side of not minding paying good money if the game's components are high quality.


There's a lot of games with nice components I wouldn't want even if it was free.
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Paradox Games wrote:
By the way, I am on a budget, as most of us probably are, but I'm sure the majority is with me on the side of not minding paying good money if the game's components are high quality.


The vocal majority (which is not the same thing) on BGG wants ever lower prices, preferably with higher-quality components.
 
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Sylvio Z
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Rasdel wrote:


Videogames have a higher player/customer count by far. Therefore they are more massive. They can get everywhere all over the world. Clear example I can get hold of any videogame... boardgames in my country are non-existant I gotta ship them here.






Yes, and i guess i can say the financial return is way way bigger in video games than boardgames. I mean, i don't see a great boardgame designer gaining a LOT of money with that, but if you create a videogame that makes success, you will have a more comfortable life, let put it this way. I don't even need to mention the companies. So, the industry gotta survive.




 
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falsedan wrote:

MonkeyKnifeFight wrote:
Expect at least 200k(probably more) per developer per year


Video game devs get paid a lot less than this, even with the employer's overheads it wouldn't go much over 120k in a hot market like San Francisco.


It's... complicated. Average game dev salary in San Francisco is higher than the rest of the US and obviously salary is just one component of employee cost. Salary + taxes + insurance + office overheads + perks, etc. It adds up.

Typically, in the past, gamedev employer estimate a cost per head, per month, of ~10K USD. In the Bay Area, in the current market, there's been recent estimates (related to the closure of a big name studio by EA) of 16K USD. That's effectively 200K.

Large scale AAA game development is expensive, even at 10K/m. 100 people, working for two years? That's 24 million.

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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
sheppyboy wrote:
Toc13 wrote:
The real question should be, given the digital nature of the distribution, why re video games so expensive?


Why aren't they MORE expensive? Considering the extensive cost, short premium price life, and resistance to all "long tail" monetization efforts, for most studios, making videos games is a high risk, low payoff effort and one "bomb" could sink an entire studio, possibly even restructure/punish the publisher for 7 years or more. Seriously, we haven't seen a price increase in video games since the Xbox 360 launch and yet the cost of development has skyrocketed many times over.

Yeah video game prices haven't risen in ages. They've been $60 for waaaaaaaaaaay longer than they should have been. Stuff like microtransactions is making up a little of the distance but. Yeah, you're totally right.


Considering how well some small team indie titles do, It's fairly obvious that that the triple-A VG business and production model have inherent flaws that no amount of microtransactions and gambling monetization can fix, in the long run. Not to mention most of those games compete over the exact same audience.
 
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Magnus Benzein
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There has been a clear shift in video-game business models the last 5-10 years. So many more videogames are using microtransactions instead of the usual up-front pricing model. We also have all the early-access models etc...

Boardgames are stuck on a more traditional model.
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J Vomkrieg
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It is completely to do with printing/manufacturing and shipping costs.

I think the best example of the difference between the cost of PC games and Boardgames, is cost is between a physical game and it's PC/App version.

Compare any boardgames price to it's PC port, app or tabletop sim DLC cost.

Same game, different platform, one requires printing/manufacturing and shipping and one does not.



 
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scifiantihero wrote:
Because...they aren't?

A good, new boardgame's 35-60 bucks. A good, new videogame is about the same.



Envious. Here in aus, I would say board games (not filler card games) retail at $80-$100 on average, and I have paid up to $200. Feast for Odin is sitting at $170.

Brand new video games are also fairly expensive, particularly popular ones, usually around $70-$90 and sometimes around $110. But that price often drops pretty quickly and second hand games (played by someone who completed in a week) can be picked up easily for almost half the price.
 
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The manufacturing costs of a video game are minimal to non-existent (hosting for downloads). So they can commit to very large volumes. They can gauge how many games NEED to be sold at X amount in order to get a return on development. If they produce too many. The left-overs can be sold cheap or just kept in stock for a fair while with little overhead. They can afford to wait and sell it later for less (once premium/early sales have died down) but still make a profit on the individual item vs it's cost (especially if they've already beaten their costs). They can also VERY easily produce more copies of a game for a purely digital market. Also digital release games (and even some physical disc ones now) require every player to buy the game AND cannot be sold on later. These games are ALWAYS available, so other buyers can simply wait for it to become cheap enough for them.

Board games are BIG, they have lower demand and far higher material costs (exacerbated by the lower volumes). Each game NEEDS to be sold to beat it's costs (material, transport and likely storage). If you produce too many, they either won't sell, or will need to be sold cheap (hereby reducing the products profit and long term value for late buyers). If they don't produce enough, then they will risk missing the demand for their game. They'd need to justify a second print run (gauging volume again)and hoping they don't miss the initial sales boom. Since these games require 1 game between 1-5 (or more for fewer games) players AND you can sell them on for partial profit later (which can be only a 10-20% loss if it's popular/in-demand). These games are not ALWAYS available. You could end up paying more for a game second hand than new in some unique circumstances (money which the game producer never sees).

TL;DR - It's really hard to fairly compare the costs of these very different products, but I don't see one being of more value than another. I take each product individually and gauge whether I feel it's worth the money to me.I saw Mansions of Madness 2.0 as a bargain. I saw Terraforming Mars as a bargain, Great Western Trail was an absolute steal. Fuse was a tremendous deal. I bought Pro Evo 2018 for just over £20 on PC and was very happy with that price.

I'll be waiting for the cost of Flatline to come down. I might buy some games in Steam sales that I wouldn't ever at full price.
 
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fenners wrote:

Large scale AAA game development is expensive, even at 10K/m. 100 people, working for two years? That's 24 million.


Still far less than the marketing spend though.

Comparing a boardgame to an AAA video game makes about as much sense as comparing a boardgame to a movie. Top tier game development follows a similar model as the Hollywood studio with similar results; they'd happily give away games if they thought it'd increase the value of the license.
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Cro1 wrote:
Over the past few years, video game prices have increased but so have board game prices, drastically in fact.

For example: New released PS4 games run at most $79 CDN nowadays, and that's a lot of money. As for board games, newer games now go from 20$ to 80$ to 130$ or even more, depending on the size, components, quality of course!

Now i understand that the games that tend to have a higher price have miniatures and thicker cards and better quality everything, but really, does that really justify the high price? Isn't it that creating and designing and programming a video game takes much more time and resources and a bigger budget? I mean, some video games use CGI even, real human movements recorded in studios by real people, even celebrities and stars, doesn't all that cost a lot more money? There is programming, sound, voice overs, effects, story, etc etc etc...it takes a whole team, and/or organization to make a video game.

I understand that there might be a bigger audience or demand in the video gaming industry but that doesn't mean that the pricing on a board game should be higher, does it?

I'm sorry, i'm not in this business really, so maybe my thinking is rather shallow, maybe i got everything wrong, and maybe these games that have detailed plastic miniatures really cost a lot more money to make than I thought, i don't know, enlighten me please. What's your take?

Thanks.



I'm assuming you're keeping up on all the posts thus far. Some additional points I'd like to add:

--MANY BG DESIGNERS WORK FOR LOW PAY.
This pay is often insufficient to pay the bills, mortgage/rent, and other expenses. As such, they have day jobs that cover those expenses. This is much less so in the vg industry. However, it's still a jungle out there. In worst case scenarios, marriages have fallen apart due to such ventures

--VG industry is just bigger
I can't quite offer details on how this game to be. Perhaps they can do a Sliders episode, or time "machine moment" where a new reality has their roles reversed... vg is a niche market, whereas bg are dominant. Either way, larger industry means more business, such as a $10 Billion business vs. say, a $50 million one

--distribution of vg is much simpler
What's the one thing that you hear a lot, that's been a bane of many board gamers? Shipping, kills, the deal. Vg either have digital only distributions*, or physical media is still much easier to work with than many bg. There are bg that do the BGG Store, "small book-sized" foot print, but many bg unfortunately are still huge. Even if they took away all the air, there's still much volume taken, as some bg do have that many components. Contrast that too optical discs, or the postage stamp sized, "SD cards" that the Nintendo Switch uses, and it's a world of differences right there.

They have Netflix for vg (called Gamefly IIRC?). How many of you have heard of Board Game Exchange? It's like Netflix (disc version, not the streaming service one), but for physical bg. I'm sure the company has worked out how to handle stuff like missing components, but the woes are still there. Unlike vg, the games media either works or it doesn't.



* internet still lags in the US relative to how it's supposed to be the birthplace of it, but at least it's sufficient to do updates, big games with some time, and the indie games that top out at 800MB are quite doable.



--they're more similar than you think
freemium/micro-transactions vs. Magic/CCGs/minis/X-Wing minis

The former has dominated the vg landscape. It's STILL possible to get traditional model vg (e.g. Nintendo, Sony, M$ first party games... for the most part, and many indie titles), but this is what we're contending with.

For the latter, us board gamers like to tout how great a value bg are where you have great, best case scenarios where one person buys a copy of a game, plays it 100 times in a 4p setting, and reaches that epic "0.5 cent per play per player" cost ratio. However, the tradeoff is, this isn't as great for the industry. FLGS for one still need to rely on CCGs and minis to make their money b/c the low foot traffic from regular bg-ers doesn't seem to pay the bills. Buying a copy of Pandemic, then Ticket To Ride... each of those every 1 to 5 months is small beans compared to the recurring revenue streams of CCGs and the like



scifiantihero wrote:
Because...they aren't?

A good, new boardgame's 35-60 bucks. A good, new videogame is about the same.

I had to wait 6 years, but I eventually got Super Mario Galaxy 2 (came out in 2010) for $20, vs. its original $60 list price. Although it's possible, I'm still harder pressed to see if I can get a $60 equivalent bg for $20 anytime soon. If it goes OOP, then "fuhgeddaboudit"
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Some games have DLC for extra characters, skins, weapon packs, vehicles, etc. That should be another consideration when comparing pricing.
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voodoochyl wrote:
Some games have DLC for extra characters, skins, weapon packs, vehicles, etc. That should be another consideration when comparing pricing.


How is that different than promos for board games?

~V
 
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Do you think promos are as prevalent as DLC? I actually am not sure. I guess you could also consider expansions for board games as another variable.
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Touchfuzzy wrote:
boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
sheppyboy wrote:
Toc13 wrote:
The real question should be, given the digital nature of the distribution, why re video games so expensive?


Why aren't they MORE expensive? Considering the extensive cost, short premium price life, and resistance to all "long tail" monetization efforts, for most studios, making videos games is a high risk, low payoff effort and one "bomb" could sink an entire studio, possibly even restructure/punish the publisher for 7 years or more. Seriously, we haven't seen a price increase in video games since the Xbox 360 launch and yet the cost of development has skyrocketed many times over.

Yeah video game prices haven't risen in ages. They've been $60 for waaaaaaaaaaay longer than they should have been. Stuff like microtransactions is making up a little of the distance but. Yeah, you're totally right.


Seriously, Chrono Trigger new on the SNES was $70 retail. Phantasy Star IV new on the Genesis was like, $100.


Cartridges were sort of in a strange space because they're part hardware, part software. They aren't just a data storage device, many later games would contain enhancement chips, which are additional coprocessors, ASICs and the like to augment the console's hardware for that specific game. This drove up costs a lot.
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voodoochyl wrote:
Do you think promos are as prevalent as DLC? I actually am not sure. I guess you could also consider expansions for board games as another variable.


I think promos are becoming as prevalent as DLC, likely following the same rate of growth as DLC did... it's just that the DLC popularity has already happened, where as promos are only just now on the rise. Micro-transactions are appealing whether they're for digital or physical products.

I thought about mentioning bg expansions, but I liken them too much to vg expansions. Though I can see an argument for bg expansions being noticeably more frequent than vg expansions. So, maybe that balances things out with promos vs dlc at this time.

~V
 
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negatrev wrote:
The manufacturing costs of a video game are minimal to non-existent (hosting for downloads). So they can commit to very large volumes. They can gauge how many games NEED to be sold at X amount in order to get a return on development. If they produce too many. The left-overs can be sold cheap or just kept in stock for a fair while with little overhead. They can afford to wait and sell it later for less (once premium/early sales have died down) but still make a profit on the individual item vs it's cost (especially if they've already beaten their costs). They can also VERY easily produce more copies of a game for a purely digital market. Also digital release games (and even some physical disc ones now) require every player to buy the game AND cannot be sold on later. These games are ALWAYS available, so other buyers can simply wait for it to become cheap enough for them.

... development costs may be one-off", but I suspect they're still hardly as trivial as some portray them to be. You need to reach "sufficient mass" to get your returns and if you don't, it's no different than a failed bg venture. The 6 to 9 figures of millions of USD is nothing to sneer at, and projects have been cancelled even with years of work put into it b/c management has deemed (both mistakenly and rightly so) that continuing with them will result in worse losses. Bg have these issues too, although I suspect we hear less of them due to how much less publicity it gets.


Also, digital bg have the luxury of NOT taking up any physical space. Contrast that to vg game boxes and discs that eat up precious space in a store, as well as bg for FLGS... they often need to move to make way for new products (although since modern bg are fairly low volume business models, this may not apply here). This is one reason why for example, Nintendo DS games on physical media (cartridges) eventually get discounted, but those on the Nintendo Eshop are still stubbornly holding fast at original list price.


voodoochyl wrote:
Do you think promos are as prevalent as DLC? I actually am not sure. I guess you could also consider expansions for board games as another variable.
YMMV. For some games, they're "mandatory". As in it's hard to get by without them. In others, you can get by just fine.

With bg, some games, promos may help. In other cases, exps aren't "mandatory", but to my preferences, they are. For example, Pandemic, Race For The Galaxy, and Dominion. Expansions make the game "infinitely" better in my view. It can double or triple the costs of those games, but the value far exceeds the cost. While it's the minority, I do have cases where I can go without expansions. A big one is Glory To Rome. I have the expansion via black box edition, but I wouldn't really be sad if I never touched them.
 
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blackmeeple wrote:
Do you really have to charge 5x your manufacturing cost?:

https://blog.foxtrotgames.com/2016/02/05/distribution-cash-f...


Great article, btw. Thanks for sharing!
 
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