I also think that if we are dissatisfied with our pricing here in NA, it has been due to tampering by a rather heavy handed NA mamagement team. I have heard that devs mention price points they would like to set and that Sony mgmnt gets final say. They tend to crank those prices up seemingly higher sometimes than all 3 of the other regions for the same product.
Yes its cliche, but NA management in the past has been the source of many woes in Home world. EVERYTHING they tend to have influence in goes wrong seemingly. That isnt to say I dont welcome Tempest_Fire's leadership without open arms, because I do. Historically there has been a disconnect with user and manager in this region but its not beyond the point of salvaging. We need to tighten the community up and support one another. Maybe another dev appreciation should be in the works?
This seems to fit the conversation. hope the author doesn't mind. A fair price to pay
Thanks! I hope I didn't give away too many secrets in the article.
Kudos for shedding some light on not just pricing but other issues as well. Maybe now certain people will stop attacking those of us that have been bringing these issues up for some time now.
The next time you see someone say Home is doing great and that devs aren't leaving Home due to not being able to make enough money, I hope they share this article and specifically the following quote:
Increasing prices is not about gouging, it is about survival. Sony set the pricing standards when there were very few items. Then they sold a ton of them. I know. I worked on a good chunk of those items. Then they walked out and left the place for the 3rd party developers. But several 3rd party developers left. Mass Media and JetSet Games are gone. Those two did not leave for any other reason than they did not think they could make enough money at it to make it worth their time.
There are only two ways to make more money: sell more units or raise the prices. Since we and most other developers are taking advantage of all the marketing opportunities in Home, the logical conclusion is that the only opportunity left is to raise prices. Not because we are greedy, but because we want to keep making things for Home.
One thing though about that article, you really need to use a different example other than your canvas chairs:
One of the experiments we did was to release canvas chairs at $0.99 and personalized versions at $1.99. If price was important, then we would have seen a large number of the plain chairs sell. Honestly, we sold very, very few of the plain chairs. We sold and are still selling a lot of the personalized chairs. So while it may make sense that lower priced items should sell more, they do not. What sells is functionality.
This is an online truism that developers openly talk about with each other at conventions. The difficult part of online sales is convincing people to buy things. Once convinced, the price is less of a factor. In other words, cutting your price in half will not double your sales. Our experience is that lower prices will tend to lead to lower revenue.
The problem with your example is it doesn't take in account several key issues, like;
1) There have already been several canvas chair items released in Home prior to yours, including free and reward versions.
2) LOOT even sells one that looks almost identical to yours for only $.25
3. The obvious reason you sold more of the personalized version despite the higher cost is that it was the first item in Home that allowed people to write on an item.
So it's rather meaningless to compare your sales data for an item with no comparable product from another developer to an item that your potential customers likely already got from someone else, and those that hadn't could buy the same style chair from LOOT for just 1/4 the price you are/were asking.
In fact, I am rather surprised you sold any of the standard versions, but more power to you if you did... But regardless of that, it simply isn't a meaningful comparison.
As I have said in previous posts, I definitely sympathize with you and other developers who are struggling to find revenue in an ever shrinking market... And while it's disheartening that an item in Home often sells for as much as an entire PSN game and DLC for a game that clearly has far far far more development costs than any item in Home. The reason for that is simple.
Unlike those PSN games and DLC which can and often do sell over a million copies, Home clearly does not have the "millions" of users some have pretended it does. If it did, then developers like Game Mechanics could easily charge less than a dime for every item they make and still make thousands of dollars for each item they make.
Wouldn't it be nice if most LMO items only cost a dime each? And they certainly could if Home had "millions" of users.
Unfortunately Home clearly does not have "millions" of users. And likely has only a few thousand active paying customers.
So what choice does a dev have, other than to quit Home like so many other devs have in the past or raise prices.
The problem though with these prices is that it isn't sustainable. When we see prices rise, and re-colored versions of LMO priced at $4+ it just turns people off, and as we have already seen, more and more active users are cutting back on their spending... Not to mention the many other issues with Home that have caused many active users to stop using Home altogether.
The only reasonable solution is for Home to grow it's user base substantially... And there in lies the biggest problem with Home...
Sony is doing almost nothing to bring in new users to Home. They haven't advertised Home in over two years, they haven't even mentioned Home at any Game conference for over two years. They wont even included Home rewards in any of their games, which would likely get some gamers to check out what they "unlocked".
The most Sony has done is a weekly blog post which if anyone has noticed has gotten fewer and fewer comments, and likely fewer readers.
Pottermore was promising at first, but it's reception while warm at first, quickly died down, and not only has there been little said about it outside this forum, even in Home those spaces are almost always empty now.
Now perhaps Sony has decided that it simply isn't worth it, and based on their actions and lack of actions regarding Home, and the current state of affairs, and ever growing list of unresolved issues with the service, it seems Sony is content just letting Home slowly wither away.
So I definitely sympathize with Game Mechanics and other developers. It's a shame that when you all are coming out with some of the more compelling and fun items in Home, you don't have the number of customers you deserve.
However, the problem with these prices is that they are likely driving more customers away, and thus will lead to higher prices which lead to fewer customers... Until, well I'm sure you see where that leads to. It simply isn't a sustainable business model. The only reasonable solution is for Home to increase it's active user base of paying customers. To do that all of the devs need to put pressure on Sony to turn things around and start giving Home the support it so obviously needs.
Sony's PlayStation Home updated mission statement...
"Like it never happened"
- Stand for something better than mediocrity and don't disguise it as adequate, when clearly it is far from that to anyone willing to be objective and unbiased. -
I got my numbers wrong lol. Here's the article about a guy that paid $16,000 for a virtual sword BEFORE the game was released. Is it worth $16,000? Not to me, but apparently it was to him.
I remember that. And here is my reaction to it
I think so...
what do you think about the Gouging going on in Home? What do you see that's outrageously priced?
It's been that way since mid Spring of 09
We were used to items being 50 cents until suddenly PSHome OG items were tagged for $1.
Aah....I remember so many people threw fits and posts like these were born
But I'll Always be D. Grayson
N52 Grayson 6