EA wrote:I wish our competitors would raise their prices.
This. Look, we have a certain amount of disposable income. Lots of companies compete for those buckazoids. We choose the products we want based on a huge array of factors, only one of which is price. The big publishers over the last 5 years or so (OK, over the last 20 or so, but most egregiously the last 5) have focused almost exclusively on reducing their annual product development risk and maximizing revenue per gamer. That's fine--I'm sure their shareholders are ecstatic about that.
The end result--I'm looking at you, EA--is an annual release cycle at $60 of tweaked versions of last year's games with what used to be a fraction of a $60 game's content. Plus another $60 of add-on content to bring the title back to the 'normal' level of content. Of course
when a disruptor comes in and shakes things up by offering more reasonable pricing, folks are going to jump, and the incumbents are going to bleat. It's the same reason that the big publishers are moaning about Gamestop's used games racket--the publisher wants everyone to plop down $60 and hang onto that game forever, as though that's something that can happen. I'm not Gamestop's biggest fan, but you nuke the used game market, and you nuke a shit-ton of new game sales along with it. It's especially egregious with the EA Sports games--many of them aren't even functional games when they ship and require multiple patches before they're actual usable software. EA is surprised that some people would rather wait some time, then buy the actual finished game for $30? Bill Harris
has a number of posts
on this and similar issues.
Steam scares the living daylights out of the larger publishers, but I haven't seen a whole lot of moaning out of smaller or well-respected devs. It seems to me that if you produce a quality product and price it accordingly, Steam doesn't harm your profitability. Has any game development executive disputed this? Did cheap game availability on Steam harm Diablo 3's sales? Did multiple sales on Torchlight result in Runic Games going up in smoke? Has Skyrim's price cratered months after release? How about its revenue? It's pretty objectively clear that Steam isn't the problem.
TL:DR - When the big pubs are so transparently focused on getting the most bucks out of the lowest amount of development possible, of course
a significant subset of gamers are going to jump ship to a platform that offers games at their true market value. There was and is <Trent Steel> NO CHANCE </Trent Steel> of any other outcome once Pandora's Box is opened.