Sometimes I can only sigh and bury my face in my hands. (wrt. http://thecastledoctrine.net/seedBlogs.php?action=display_post&post_id=jasonrohrer_1389812989_0&show_author=1&show_date=1
To quote the text from Gamespot:
Independent developer Jason Rohrer believes game sales are bad for players and developers alike. In a lengthy and detailed blog post concerning his new game The Castle Doctrine, Rohrer outlined his thinking and explained why he plans to increasingly charge more for his latest game.
"To put it bluntly: sales screw your fans," Rohrer said. "Your fans love your games and eagerly await your next release. They want to get your game as soon as it comes out, at full price. But they are foolish to do that, because a sale is right around the corner."
Rohrer explained that sales can create a scenario where players who just paid full price for a game might feel like they've been taken for a ride. He further argues that because sales have become so commonplace (Valve itself runs five sales annually), the gaming community is now encouraged to hold off on their purchase until a sale pops up.
"This waiting game is likely decimating your player base and critical mass at launch by spreading new players out over time," Rohrer said. "And your fans, who are silly enough to buy the game at launch and waste money, get to participate in a weaker, smaller player community."
In addition, a culture of frequent sales can lead to a no-win situation for developers, he argued. Although developers can choose whether or not to put their game on sale, when so many other creators discount their games, you have to do the same to compete, he said.
Rohrer's own game, The Castle Doctrine, will employ an "ever rising" pricing model inspired by Minecraft, which increased in price throughout its transition from beta to full game. You can buy the game today, in its alpha state, for $8. During launch week on Steam you can get the game for $12, and after that, you'll pay the full $16 for the game.
"The rising price model is really just an inversion of the sales model," Rohrer said. "You get revenue spikes later in the life of the game, right before announced price hikes, which are very similar to the spikes induced by putting a game on sale. But there are no surprises, so no one feels screwed by the process."
"Anyone feel burned by that plan?"
Now, this guy tries to veil his plan of an ever-rising sales model as an attempt to fix the "unfairness" of discounts and sales towards people who bought the game at full price, but he deliberately avoids mentioning the "unfairness" of his plan towards the people who would totally miss the limited-time discounts and sales, either due to not even knowing about the game or not willing to invest in a game in alpha-stage before knowing whether it's worth the investment in the first place. He's just punishing people for not knowing about his game or for trying to save a buck, just as the traditional model "punishes" people who don't wish to wait for sales.
Also, besides the whole "unfairness" - business his plan caters to people who already are devout fans
-- what motivation would people who aren't familiar with his stuff or who aren't all-that-devout fans of his have to invest early-on in his stuff? What motivation would they have to invest in his stuff later on, knowing that it'll never be on sale? If it is never on sale the people who are on the brink of trying or not trying it will never go over the threshold, and the people who just aren't willing to pay the full price for his game will simply steer themselves and their wallets towards more appealing, and likely cheaper, alternatives.
The traditional model may hurt those who are impatient and really devout, those who want the game immediately, but on the other hand it rewards those who have some patience, whether they are familiar with the stuff from before or whether they're completely new to it. And well, new players, newcomers to your stuff, are what keeps your userbase growing, not the existing ones.
His plan, really, is geared towards ensuring steady trickle of profits, but it relies on having an already-existing, massive fanbase. It doesn't serve people who aren't his fans, and at least from a personal point of view it is more of a deterrent; at least I have no wish to take part in such folly, I am one of the people who don't like throwing money at things before they're finished or before I know what I'm getting, and with so much competition I'd rather then throw my money at something equally-pleasing, but cheaper, even if it means waiting for a while.