Because the industry believes that people are prepared to pay the current price (the fact that most software publishers are currently losing fortunes because not enough people ARE prepared to buy their games is something they tend to quietly ignore). If we make it absolutely clear that we're NOT prepared to pay that price, the price will fall. That's the fundamental law of all business - what games cost is something that rests entirely in the hands of us, the consumers.
X


It's a complicated equation, unsurprisingly. But most of the slices of the cake are arrived at in percentage terms. Retailers pay a wholesale price based on a percentage of the RRP (typically around a 30-40% discount, which is the retailer's profit margin). The Government charges VAT at 17.5% and so on. What this means is that nobody's cut is a direct obstacle to a price reduction, with the exception of the hardware companies (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) who charge a flat rate fee of several pounds per game to the software publisher for the privilege of publishing games on the hardware companies' consoles.
X
If the price of games is to be reduced significantly, it's ultimately the hardware companies who will have to lead the way, either by cutting their fees (which is unlikely) or by changing them from a flat rate to a percentage of the retail price.

X


X

Yes, they often do. (The average figure for a game these days is around 1 million, and can rise much higher for certain titles.) But the cost of development has nothing to do with retail price. Albums can cost tens of millions of pounds to record, but you can still buy them for 11. Movies can cost hundreds of millions of pounds to make, but you can still see them for 5 or buy them for 15. Movies which only cost a few thousand pounds to make (like The Blair Witch Project) aren't any cheaper to see or buy than super-expensive blockbusters (like Titanic, which cost literally hundreds of times as much as Blair Witch). Books cost almost nothing to write, but sell for similar prices to albums.
X
What does all this show us? That the cost of development has no bearing whatsoever on retail price. Videogames publishers will tell you that music, say, has a bigger potential audience than games - but why is that? Could it be because games are four times as expensive as albums? It's a meaningless, self-fulfilling argument. If you make games much cheaper, more people will play them, and the audience you can sell to will be much bigger.

X

Pick your own figure, basically. Because 99% of the cost of making videogames comes in the development of the game's computer code, which is an up-front cost. Once the game is written, the cost of producing more copies to sell is tiny - a few pennies each (except for the licence fee mentioned above). So there's basically no limit to how low the price can be set, as long as each reduction brings about a proportionate increase in sales. It's not a matter of cost, it's purely an economic policy decision by the publisher. Fair Play's belief, supported by most of the industry, is that there's no reason whatsoever that games should cost more than, say, DVD movies, ie 15-20. Any figure above that is still a con on the public.

X

Nobody. That's the beauty of it. It's Fair Play's core belief that if the price of games were cut in half, sales would - at least - double. Because games are very, very cheap to physically produce once you've actually written them (duplicating a game disc and putting it in a standard DVD box costs mere pennies), there are next to no manufacturing costs to worry about, so if prices halved and sales doubled, everyone would make - at least - the same amount of money, but we'd all have twice as many games to play. Everybody wins.

X

Well, for one thing, make sure you're always paying the cheapest price possible. Most High Street game retailers offer "price-matching" policies these days, but if you don't know that the shop down the street is five quid cheaper, you can be sure that your first shop isn't going to tell you about it when you bowl up at the counter. Buying from online suppliers is nearly always significantly (5-10) cheaper than buying in shops, though some people are still uncomfortable with buying things on the Internet, or don't know where to look, or simply don't have access. Ultimately, though, the only thing we can do to stop the rip-off is get prices reduced at the source.
X


>><<