As free to play and low-cost games become more commonplace on Steam and mobile, how are Japanese game developers adapting to make sure their full-priced offerings stay afloat in a competitive market?
Necrosoft Games’ Brandon Sheffield posed this question during a roundtable with developers Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro, Koji “Iga” Igarashi, and journalist Masatoshi Touoka held at Reboot Develop. The result was a rather interesting conversation about pricing models and how to find creative ways to win the affections of players.
Bloodstained creator Iga notes quite frankly that the declining prices of games in Japan is a frightening aspect of modern game development but that there are ways to fight back.
“Honestly, it's scary. If we can sell more by making [games] cheaper, that'd be good," said Iga. "But with old-style games, as well as mobile and free to play games, the quality just keeps increasing, which requires more and more money. So it's very important to try and figure out how to make all that money back.”
He notes that one surefire way to combat this to avoid the issue by focusing development efforts on console games since console players are typically more comfortable with paying a premium for releases.
"Traditional console gamers want more console games," said Iga. "So I think the best thing for us to do is focus on that core group and deliver something that will merit a full price to them."
Meanwhile Swery, known for Deadly Preminition and D4, says that developers’ best bet is adding more percieved value to a game to justify whatever that higher price point may be, either through graphics, music, story, or personality.
For more on the state of the Japanese game industry from these three notable insiders, be sure to take a look back at the full transcript for the Reboot Develop roundtable.