Gaming moving away from $60 boxed goods - THQ exec

Newly appointed president Jason Rubin says console market will move closer to PC model with options beyond the standard retail package.

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THQ makes most of its money from the standard model of $60 retail packaged games, but the company's newly appointed president thinks those days may be numbered. Speaking with Game Informer in a recently published interview, THQ president Jason Rubin said gaming is moving away from the area in which his company specializes.

THQ president Jason Rubin.

"As time progresses, the entire industry will move closer to what we see in the PC model emerging now, which is a lot of different-sized games and different types of games that all get a place in the sun because you can buy things that aren't $60 boxed goods," Rubin said.

THQ's previous attempts to expand beyond that model have met with limited success. The microtransaction-driven Company of Heroes game was cancelled while still in beta form, its WWE free-to-play game for the Asian market was scuttled before even getting that far, and the subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium was changed to a traditional RPG partway through development. Last year, the publisher also sold its mobile division THQ Wireless. It has remained active in other emerging markets, launching the Jimmy Buffet-licensed Facebook game Margaritaville, as well as offering downloadable titles like Nexuiz and Stacking.

Rubin said his long-term plan for THQ is to focus on fewer titles and make them better, but stressed he was not looking to go head-to-head with the biggest of the big.

"In general, how do you succeed with games that aren't Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Assassin's Creed," Rubin asked. "The way the industry has been set up with all titles selling for roughly the same price at retail next to each other is that there's been a race to make the biggest, baddest-ass game. If you walk into a store as a gamer and see a massive $120 million dollar game next to a $30 million dollar game, and a $80 million marketing budget backed that $120 million game up, it's likely you’re going to pull that one off the shelf."

However, Rubin did add that THQ could compete with "a Naughty Dog-sized game" that is a step below the scope of the games with the biggest budgets. Rubin co-founded the Uncharted developer, but left after it had completed work on the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series.

Discussion

0 comments
Glupie
Glupie

Price been wrong for years. Disappointments have been made for years.

 

No more $50-$60 prices per box.

 

Why when a consumer can get an indie title that offers twice the fun, at a lower price with easier PC modding abilities?

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

I agree, I would pay full retail price for a lot more games if the value was set right. Max Payne 3 was worth every penny I paid, but The Amazing Spider-man (while still 60$) Was probably only worth 30-40.

 

The price isn't right Bob.. the price is wrong.

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

You see back in the day, only "AAA" titles cast $30, $40, or $50 dependng on which generation we are talking about and other games would be "bargain" games that would cost less...on release.  Think of it as direct to DVD vs Hollywood blockbuster and back then some of the bargain games really were a bargain.  These days any piece of crap thrown in a box costs $60 new whether it's CoD or the latest Cabella's piece of crap.  Maybe if the budget games didn't cast as much as $200 million games people would buy more of the budget games.  I don't get why that can't be done now as its how I remember it being done in the past like on NES. SuperNintendo, Sega Genesis days. 

ZOD777
ZOD777

A crappy game can spend all it wants on advertising and marketing.  That doesn't change the quality of the game, rather it only informs unaware people of it's presence.  Most gamers are well aware of what games are coming out, and which ones they want despite advertising campaigns.  I think these companies overvalue the effectiveness of advertising, and I would not be surprised if many of the layoffs and studio collapses are due to overspending in that area.

 

Games sell themselves with very little advertising if they are good.  The power of word of mouth is greatly underestimated.  Costco Wholesale does next to zero advertising.  Ever been in there?  Freakin madhouse!  I will pick up the game I want, not the game that had more commercials.

tmarbleii
tmarbleii

Actually... THQ games generally are horrible.... maybe THAT'S why sales are dropping on their products... Make BETTER games, THQ, and maybe you won't have money problems!  I'll happily pay $60 for a quality game, but I've not seen a quality game under the THQ name.

SS1Link
SS1Link

When I go into a game store I am in there to get a certain game, not to look and see what game had a higher budget. I get a game because it looks good not because of the budget

thegroveman
thegroveman

Ironically, the complaint that a few AAA franchises dominate the industry while others struggle isn't a sign of stagnation, it's a testament to the embarrassment of riches that we have as gamers.  I buy a fraction of games that I want, and my backlog is still months long, with a dozen fantastic games that I own but haven't played, and at least another dozen games that I would like to play but don't own yet.  Asking me to buy into a new IP is asking me to weigh it against all of these other games that I have on my list, and that list is already full.

 

As others have expressed here, the way to work into someone's backlog isn't to offer a competing $60 product, it is to offer something to "fill the gaps."  Using myself as an example again, I haven't purchased several big name games I would like to play yet (Dead Space 2, Dark Souls, Diablo III, GoW 3, Dead Island, etc, etc) but I have bought quite a few downloadable games to enjoy in any particular week.  I suspect that I am not alone in approaching my purchases this way.

 

In my view, the biggest flaw pricing-wise in the industry now is the dependence on generating so much revenue from day one purchasers.  Those people are the biggest fans of a game, and asking those people to buy collectors editions, have an account with every publisher under the sun, locking content in the disc to sell later, stripping out content and selling it as preorder bonuses or later DLC is eventually going to sour a lot of people; and when your business model is so dependent on those day one sales, it won't be good.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Just to let you know, since THQ is one of my fav. publishers: I grab most of your Steam deals (when they are really sweet ones) in action games. Hell, I even purchased homefront and it wasn't bad at all when you know you didn't pay more than 20 bucks for it.

bliciant
bliciant

I just want a new WH40K: Dawn Of War game :(

KillzoneSnake
KillzoneSnake

next gen i wait for price drops and buy very few games. i'm tiered of DLC milking

swantn5
swantn5

i do agree that 60 dollar games are alot of money dont forget you have taxes so it adds up a bit more then straight 60 however i think the problem is when there is a good game out there they have to combat mayjor games to me it comes down to the quality of the game 

rmartinezdl
rmartinezdl

The problem is not the $60 price tag(in some cases), the problem is the games are not worth it, they release crappy games with a sh*+load of DLC. Lower your prices and make GOOD games. thats why there are big companies now, they didnt got where they are by releasing shitty games with DAY 1DLC at $60.

Meteora1991
Meteora1991

actualy 60$ is too much already, price should b 45$ + as for the format changing, thanx but no thanx we like it boxed on store shelves.

fadersdream
fadersdream

That's a lot of words that all mean price increase.

CalamityKate
CalamityKate

Varying price points depending on game content was the model during the cartridge years, though at that time it was a matter of hardware manufacturing costs that made the difference.  It cost more to produce a cartridge with a massive amount of storage space, on board memory for game saves, and a battery for writing to and from those game saves as compared to something that followed the arcade model of relatively short, but so hard few people ever finished it. 

 

It was only with the advent of disc-based media and cheap, standardized manufacturing that prices became standardized, first at around $40, currently at about $60.  That $60, though is a bargain compared to games that could cost anywhere from $40-$70 each in the '80s and first half of the '90s in real money cost.

 

Where you will see more variation in price relative to content is in the online marketing of smaller games for relatively smaller prices.  First-rate games such as Limbo, Braid, or Bastion for anywhere from $20 to less than $10 if you wait for the right sale, games with as much content as a premium full-priced retail title in the 80s.

 

It would make sense to have the new cost of packaged games reflect development costs, with cheaper games costing less, and thus needing a lower price point for the same profit margin.  I'm not sure why game companies don't take advantage of this idea, discount day-one pricing for games with lower production costs or shorter campaigns to boost sales.  Perhaps those games are simply bypassing packaged goods altother already in favor of digital download to avoid physical production costs.

 

On the other hand, if you don't like $60 for a new, day one game, don't pay it.  Wait a few months and you'll get significant price drops and at the same time send the developers a message regarding how much their product is worth to you. 

 

Packaged videogames drop in price much faster than the vast majority of packaged retail goods; buying day one is like buying in hardcover; the primary advantage is that you don't have to wait for a cheaper version (paperback, price drop, platinum hits, complete edition, etc.)

Antillio
Antillio

60 dollar retail for all games is also the reason why so many game companies go down under, not all gamers are stupid enough to pay 60 for games that are worth 10.

The-Big-Dirty
The-Big-Dirty

Also, at least you don't pay an average of $99 a game like we do in Australia!

 

musalala
musalala

just put steam on consoles already....

The-Big-Dirty
The-Big-Dirty

When you access Xbox Live Marketplace and find that Oblivion is $29.99 for the core digital copy of the game, then you find a hard copy of the complete edition for $19.99....something is horribly wrong. I have, up until lately, been an Xbox loyalist but after I discovered the joys of Steam, it's hard to look back!

GreySeven
GreySeven

I think they should be cheaper without the boxing and shipping and shelving costs that normally go with games, right? 

AmnesiaHaze
AmnesiaHaze

first they should lower prices for digital then i may consider it, though i still prefer hard copys , but now digital games cost more on psn than in store so theres no reason to buy em

itchyflop
itchyflop

what happened to THQ, they almost dissapeared after the Xbox and ps2 days. I personally love THQ games, like naughty dog with it vibrant color in games they have a distinctive style. I can remember booking a week off and finishing the last level of red faction before the bomb, it took me all week to get the equivalent of a few hundred yards, happy memories. Lets hope Rubin takes THQ to not necessarily a big competitor to the better funded digital Goliath's of gaming but back to simply great games we ENJOY playing. 

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

"If you walk into a store as a gamer and see a massive $120 million dollar game next to a $30 million dollar game, and a $80 million marketing budget backed that $120 million game up, it's likely you’re going to pull that one off the shelf."

 

Hell no, I would buy what I ****ing like. So, people don't have brains nor taste? What a disgusting comment, and world, if it really works like that for them.

gargungulunk
gargungulunk

On the cusp on /next-gen/-modern tech,

Everyone might be too busy trying to predict things...as opposed to actually making games.  Good games simply sell...I can wait.

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

No wonder THQ is in the toilet. Sounds like he has some pent up issues with Naughty Dog and their success. Sorry brah but I have played a lot of THQ games and not one is on the same level as Uncharted as far as production values go. Perhaps THQ should shoot for a lower price at launch to entice buyers. I would have never bought Inversion had it not been on sale for 19.99. I'm glad I did one of the best cover shooters I have ever played.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

No matter what you have to offer both. Some people just can't do digital only. Especially if you only play on consoles. (not me) All these problems come from games being the $60 boxed model. I missed out on a lot because of that model. Oh well I will continue using amazon deals and Steam until something happens.

Diamondsoulz
Diamondsoulz

Bredan SInclair looks alot like Jason I think?

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

I don't know why people make it more complicated than it already is. Give us a complete boxed game for a lower price. It's pretty simple! You want to offer digital, fine, make it even cheaper.

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

They'll swap their $60 retail box for a $60 download.

wyan_
wyan_

You don't say...

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

 @tmarbleii Agreed, I wish the Warhammer 40K franchise would wind up in a better publisher's hands.  WB games is my current favorite with TakeTwo a close second

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

 @santinegrete Exactly, but it wasn't a $60 game at any point, they shoulda offered it at like $40 brand new day one and made more on sales

killa32130
killa32130

 @Meteora1991

 I recall N64 games being 70$+, although the quality of games back then were much better.

bazinga01
bazinga01

 @The-Big-Dirty we pay more for games in Australia like we pay more for everything in Australia and thats because Americans average wage rate is like half of ours...its to do with the Australian economy and inflation. not targeting you its just that everybody in Australia complains we pay more for everything but our wages are higher than most other countries so it all works out in the end to be about the same percentage of our income.

mont345
mont345

 @The-Big-Dirty exactly i have dumped my xbox and now use steam for pc games way cheaper, and looks and plays better. my only consoles now are ps3 and vita..

Doobsac
Doobsac

 @AmnesiaHaze no new games cost the same digital as they do hard copy, quit making up false info.

jorge69696
jorge69696

 @Mega_Skrull Of course you are going to buy what you like. But you can't like what you don't know.

Marketing puts those AAA games in your brain all the time. Would you buy a game you don't know anything about or a game that , at least, you know what it's about?

itchyflop
itchyflop

@Mega_Skrull  well said i think ?? im not sure if it warrants "disgusting comment", i do think however Mr Rubin was trying to convey the big dog little dog situation of the giants of gaming and how like the film industry (such as the 160 million dollar batman movie) THQ simply get overshadowed by EA and a well known shooter they have branded (well too).  Though that's what i like about your comment, preference of taste. I have been a strong follower of THQ and naughty dog, infact i loved the red faction series, and juiced i still play that now !! 

itchyflop
itchyflop

 @Ghetto_ninja red faction was awesome and a big hit on the ps2 with revolutionary physics engine number 2 didn't look too hot but i enjoyed that too. Your right though something has gone terribly wrong at THQ. Juiced was quite an in depth and pretty game, but again nothing on the later consoles.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @nonfanboygamer1 Steam already does that on PC. Which is what he is getting at. I like to see someone do that on consoles already.

The-Big-Dirty
The-Big-Dirty

 @Doobsac I beg to differ! There is no false info here, it is not only games that have been released for a decent amount of time getting this treatment! Go anywhere Xbox Live and you will find your "false" info

AmnesiaHaze
AmnesiaHaze

even if they cost the same which they dont , why would they cost same when its just a virtual copy ?

killa32130
killa32130

 @Serpentes420  

 

Do the research, most games brand new back then were $70 & sometimes $80.

 

This is because the game cartridge was large & made of plastic = more cost to produce then a disc.  

 

The-Big-Dirty
The-Big-Dirty

 @Doobsac Don't attack someone if you have no idea what you yourself are talking about!!