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high rated
Just a small addition to this topic from our company side.
Pricing + package content in case of TW: EE worked for us very well. And in fact is still working. Game despite its age is selling constantly well (although not everywhere full EE is still available). We get very warm response from gamers from all over the world which translated into (among the others) extremely high ratio of sold boxes to voluntarily registered users.
So it was worthy, there is no doubt about it. Same as investing additional 1mln usd in creation of the EE and also giving it for free for registered users of the original release.
This philosophy is taken directly from our Polish market. Here, when we started company in 1994, there was 95% of piracy, caused by imported from ex Russian countries industrial pirated copies (done in normal pressing plants with a use of the same production methods as original games). So the situation was that original games cost let say 50usd, and pirated cost 7. There was no effective help form government, police and any other authorities, and the pirated copies were freely available in many places.
This made us to develop certain strategy. We started competing with pirates as they would be just other business entities, just next normal competitors:-) Surely we couldn't go as low as 7 usd per game. But we decreased prices of new releases to reasonable 30 usd (more or less PC games still cost that amount in Poland, which is now, still the lowest price point among western countries for PC games) and we raised a packaging and content quality to the level absolutely not reachable by pirates. In fact, we started adding things you could find in TW:EE, years ago. That happened first time with the release of BG1 and we follow this till today. We also started budget ranges below pirates price point (around 6 usd let say roughly) and superb collectors editions. Today we don’t have such a freedom and everything is more difficult cause western publishers observe Polish market after joining EU very carefully and any exceptions from global policies are not so much welcomed (but thanks to things like or TW we can still find good places to express our philosophy;)
The most important conclusion is that, there is a way to fight with illegal market – which those days means torrents and all other internet downloads. From our perspective, and I believe that it is universal rule, the solution is to find good balance between price and quality, to ensure that final customers are happy, or even better, very happy.
That is a basic truth. Unfortunately often not understood by bigger, corporate companies (with exceptions of course, fortunately). The bigger company is, the more often top guys forget that their fat salaries comes not from mysterious funds, investors, etc, but simply bit by bit from everyone who buys their products. Unfortunately popular way of thinking is to concentrate on how to please shareholders (and analytics, investors and others) and at the same time forgetting that this primarily should come as an outcome of pleasing company final customers. And they, thank to the fact that they are happy, buy more, and become more and more loyal. There is no other way around in long run. You can try to please shareholders and analytics, and investors without solid foundations just to a certain point after which big losses suddenly appears (EA?;) ..same with marketing, you can try to make people buy a new product by spending millions on the campaign (remember Matrix by Atari;) but even if many people buy it and the quality won't be delivered, franchise is dead or at least in big troubles (NFS;)
I know that someday everyone will need to adopt to those or similar rules. But this will take years and may require some changes on the bigger scale, which is separate, more philosophical topic;)
Coming back on Earth;) was very difficult to convince publishers to make EE same rich edition around the globe (with small exception in Russia). But with W2 we hope that we will have better position to negotiate similar things (we are not first time devs anymore;) So please expect the same policy.
..and if some day we will be able shape this kind of things from very beginning to the very final end completely according to our vision, you may expect something more, a lot more;-) We already have some cool ideas;) but for that, right time has to come. And some day will come;-)
Post edited January 27, 2010 by Mikee
captfitz: wow, mikee just laid some insight on us

I just wanted to add something about TW:EE, but then I've found out that without bigger picture it won't be complete. And when I finished I realized that It becomes "slightly" bigger that I initially planned;-) Hope you enjoy;)
regarding: "Lately big game publishers have been moving towards hollywood release model. Hype before release, release with big bang on high price tag and fade out quickly before fallout lands from users "
There is a pretty bad side effect of this policy affecting country distributors which is not so widely known.
Let say new game is put on the UK market with 35 GBP SRP. Then as a result of the retail price war, big stores drop the price very fast to 24.99-26.99 GBP. Then let say, they feel overstocked cause publisher push hard day one shipment and the game is not selling very fast (common problem;). Managers in retail chains quickly get into panic mode and start to sell their stock in all possible ways just to get rid out the problem. So UK whosellers, two-three weeks after release start to have their prices at the 12-16 GPB (they rebuy goods from big chains at their price level or even below if the panic mode is in the full operation;)
At the same time, before the release, big publishers put huge pressure on local, country distributors to buy certain amount of their games without the right of the return (full risk on the distributor side), at the their export price, let say 16-18GBP.
So what happen. Local distributor buy let say 1000 units, invest and risks its own money into the stock and often in PR&Marketing. Persuade local chains and whosellers to buy it in the price equivalent to 16-18GPB + its margin. If the game is good, it sells within first 2-3 weeks in 30-50% of the total amount (if it bad, sell through can be as bad as 2-5%).
And then what happen. After two weeks from the release smaller local companies (direct mailings, small whosellers) import discounted product from UK (free trade is their basic right, nobody have a right to tell them to stop it) in the price of 12-16 GBP. And the local market starts to be flooded by units cheaper than officially distributed. Of course publisher is not interested in solving this problem, actually is busy with persuading to buy next release;) Local chains demand discount to new market price point or they threat that the goods will be returned to distributor (all chains requite so called “right of full return”). Local distributor has to discount the goods, and starts to loose money which continue to the end of the stock – let say on 50-70% of the whole day one stock. Sometimes situation continues that way, that after next 2-3 weeks price drops even more to 8-12 GPBs (panic mode full ON;)
Basically, in most cases, the whole risk and investment is on local distributor side. And local distributor has very little power of negotiations because it can be always replaced by other local distributor.
This situation is not something specific for Poland. As far as I know in Russia and India there is similar situation (with reps of those two countries I spoke recently). Basically on 10 releases profit is made maybe on 2-3 titles, and hardly cover costs of company operation and losses on all other games.
So that give us another reason not to be happy from the current state of the market.
Fortunately there are companies which understand that this kind of policy has really short legs. Recently we were very positively surprised that MS (we distribute Xbox hard&software here) and Disney (we started distributing their DVD&Blue Ray films) have very fair policies in terms of cooperation with their distributors. Thank God:-)
Post edited January 27, 2010 by Mikee
Tarm: I think he's saying basically what gamers have been saying for years. Give me a product I like for the right price and I'll buy it.
Basic market economy competition.

The more basic it is, the more frustrating becomes the fact that it is not so widely practiced.
BTW: And I’m not sure guys, if you noticed, that this “customer treatment” problem is not only present in games industry? The idea of making money in a short run without taking into account broaden perspective is quite popular, here are two annoying recent examples from my everyday life.
My dishwasher broke exactly 1 month after the 2 years guarantee (how precise evil engineers design it!;))), and started pouring water all over the floor (good that I was around, otherwise my wooden floor would be destroyed and that would be reaaally annoying;). The best was when the mechanic came, I asked him which brand will be better in future (beware, I had AEG;) He said that those days all of them are the same sh.t and that before they were far more reliable (sic!)
And then cooker followed the dishwasher well known patch and completely refused to cook me anything;) It was also an interesting case;) It cost new ~1k usd, and estimated repair cost was 1.2usd (sic!) cause two so called integrated circuits get burnt and each of them cost in 600usd. How the hell they can cost more than the whole piece! So I trashed it (poor environment – it was pretty big chunk of different materials), and bought a new one for 800usd.
So that were my examples how strange the current free market works. And how the idea of earning money win over the idea of pleasing customer (or even meeting basic demand – not destroying customers household;)
So it seems that gaming industry is not alone. But I’m not sure if it is a reason to be more or less happy;)
Post edited January 28, 2010 by Mikee
Petrell: This is nothing new and been happening for past 20 year or so. The manufacturers simply do not produce spare parts making spare part prices sky rocket. Most parts cost almost the same as buying new one if not more. There isn't that many electronic repair stores here in finland anymore these days as it's not economically viable to offer repair services. Most repairs involve replacing the whole product these days anyway.

And this kind of policy is so extremely not responsible in terms of saving environment and natural resources..goooshh...
Tarm: Don't forget Media. Media of all kinds have exploded over the world since the 80's. This makes advertising a very very powerful tool. Products can now be known for a successful advertising campaign and not the product.

You're totally right. Marketing &PR is so powerful tool to fool customers those days...
akwater: ... I was thinking Warsaw go see the CDP folks :)

:) Actually, in second half of the March (around 20.03) we plan very big event, codename "CD Projekt Spring Conference" ~2 days long on which we will be talking about (and showing) many interesting things. It will be for media, investors, business partners but of course also for our beloved community members:-) somehow limited in number, as we cannot cater in our headquoter thousents of people. But except personal presence main keynotes will be available to view in the web as well, of course;)
So there is a real chance that there is a good reason to come and see us;)
Post edited January 28, 2010 by Mikee
"What's your thoughts as an insider on the way PC gaming is disappearing from retail stores"
Lucibel -> I'll reply to that a bit later, actually after 10th of Feb as I'm leaving for winter holidays just in hours:-D
but be sure I'll come back to that later
Post edited January 29, 2010 by Mikee
iuliand: Mikee, I have a small curiosity. When you put a title on sale, who will gain less: GoG, publisher or both?

I belive, in most cases, both. But it would be better to have a voice from somebody from licensing department. I cannot ask now cause I'm already in hurry to pack my stuff on holidays;)