The Castle Doctrine Developer Thinks Sales Hurt Gamers

The developer of The Castle Doctrine thinks sales hurt gamers by splitting up the community between early adopters and people waiting for a deal.

Everyone loves sales.  I am hardly the only person with a Steam library full of games I am probably never going to have enough free time to play, and yet I still eagerly await each new sale.  Jason Rohrer, the developer behind The Castle Doctrine, thinks video game sales are actually a bad thing.  Not a bad thing for the games or the developers, but for the gamers and fans.

His reasoning is that sales split the fanbase.  He believes many people who would buy the game at release instead delay their purchase in anticipation of the game going on sale, causing online games to have a drastically smaller launch community than they would have had if not for those sales.

To a certain extent, Rohrer is correct.  The problem he sees is not game sales, however, but the understanding in the minds of gamers there will be sales.  It is a culture of sales, one with its own history and humor and expectation around it.  It is a culture the Castle Doctrine developer feels is inescapable now.

He notes that in order for things to balance out economically the culture would require a great number of people who buy games arbitrarily when they are on sale, creating a backlog of games they may never play.  Rohrer admits to having met several, and I can personally attest both to being one and knowing quite a few others.

This does nothing to actually create more of a player base for any of those games, however, thus raising the actual question once again.  Just how many people who are truly interested in a newly released game buy it at launch, knowing it will likely be on sale soon, and how many delay their purchase to wait until it goes on sale?

To balance out in terms of community, the sales would have to bring in a large number of players who could not afford the full price but were already interested in the game, another category I have belonged to in the past.

I suspect Jason Rohrer is somewhat over-estimating the damage sales do to gaming communities, but I could be wrong.

Hit the comments below to let us know if you wait until a sale or if you still grab games at launch!

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Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.

Published Jan. 16th 2014
  • Lou Page
    He makes some good points but I also think the problem comes from Publisher dropping the price on games rather quickly. I don't buy new games because in 3 months I can usually still get it new for half price or less. Personally I know I am in the minority but I think games are priced too high. I bought way more new games when the price point was $50 and not $60. I remember the console excuse was that discs and development were more expensive but when that balanced out then never balanced out the price either, I know that is business. Gamers did sort of catch on I think though. I wish that a publisher like Ubisoft would take a risk and sell a new AAA game at $45 as an experiment. I would be willing to bet the game sells 3 to 5 times as many copies than it would at $60. Anyways, just more stuff to think about.

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