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Perry

Waiting on iPad version...

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I think those who are unfamiliar with the iPhone/iPad market and feel that the iPad version is unreasonably cheap need to understand that selling Avadon HD for $25 on the AppStore would be like offering the Windows/Mac version for $99. Only die-hard fans would buy it, and to everyone else it would seem outrageous.

 

Even at the current price of $9.99 it is among the most expensive games in the store and Jeff may have made more profit if he had offered it for $4.99. (And even $4.99 would be in the top 20% as far as AppStore prices for games go.)

 

It's not about whether or not the game is worth $25. For me, it's worth more than that, so of course the $9.99 for the iPad version was a super deal in my eyes. But if I didn't also play on the PC platform and had not been paying $50 for pretty much every new, non-indie game that I have bought in the past thirty years, and had instead "grown up" with iPhone and iPad games, I would have had a hard time justifying ten dollars for a game.

 

Prices need to be looked at in their relative context, and that's not limited to just Avadon or even video games.

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Well, I used to sell cars. I would always ask people for list price for every new car. I found that the people who went ahead and made a deal without a whole lot of haggling were a lot happier with their purchase over all than the people who fought tooth and nail down to the last $5 of the purchase price. The fact is, it's a good deal if you can afford it, you are willing to pay the price, and you get the car you want. It doesn't matter if someone else got the car for $500 less.

How and why does that apply to this situation? The principle is the same. I was glad to pay $30 for the Windows version, even though I had to wait for it. I thought it was an excellent value for what I got. If someone else got it cheaper, why does that have to make me unhappy? Why can't I be happy for them that they got a good deal, and maybe we brough in a new user who will get addicted, and now have to buy Nethergate, Avernum 1-6, and Geneforge 1-5?

Frankly, even for the $9.99 price, I would hate to have to use the I-Pad version. I am so used to mouse and keyboard, that I think the game would lose some of its flavor for me. I also max out the resolution, and enjoy the more panoramic views.

 

I'm still happy with my purchase, though I do wish the Windows port could happen a little faster.

 

It seems to me that outrage in this matter may be a symptom of an attitude that will not serve well in any quest for inner peace. Oh well, some people are happier with outer outrage.

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I agree with most of what's been written here. I think what gets some people so upset, though, is the feeling of being taken by surprise. In other words, if the game was released all at once for $25, $20, and $10, I don't think Agnates would be so upset. Rather, it's the feeling of being taken advantage of: "I could have waited and bought this for $10? Why didn't they tell me?" Emphasis on "feeling": it's clear to me that there was nothing manipulative about this, and in fact I know Spiderweb to be the opposite of that, forthright and honorable. But I can see how it might feel different to someone not previously acquainted with Spiderweb.

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I was stopping myself from buying PC version because I feared this might happen. Shame I was right. I see that at the site Windows version is stil 25$. I won't be buying it at that price. I feel like the developer is exploiting pc gamers here. I do realize that on Appstore 9,99$ is pretty much maximum, but if so then after it's launched PC version's price should be lowered to that to. While I'm interested in this game, I just can't with clean concience support this kind of treatement.

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The iPad version is a stripped down version missing several features that some players want.

 

Besides if Jeff could I think he would have had the iPad version price even higher.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
The iPad version is a stripped down version missing several features that some players want.
Apple takes 30% cut on their appstore, which doesn't happen when he sells through his website. THat should more than cover few additional features.

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He didn't intentionally cut pieces of the game out to make it worse just so the price disparity would seem more justified. That's just how the app store works.

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Originally Posted By: AdrianWerner
I was stopping myself from buying PC version because I feared this might happen. Shame I was right. I see that at the site Windows version is stil 25$. I won't be buying it at that price. I feel like the developer is exploiting pc gamers here. I do realize that on Appstore 9,99$ is pretty much maximum, but if so then after it's launched PC version's price should be lowered to that to. While I'm interested in this game, I just can't with clean concience support this kind of treatement.

The iPad price is making people pretty upset as it is. Can you imagine how upset people would be if the Mac and Windows price dropped without warning too?

Dikiyoba.

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Perhaps Jeff could have announced in advance that the iPad version would be cheaper than the regular PC / Mac versions, because he has no choice in the matter, but that it would also be limited in functionality a couple ways, again because he has no choice in the matter. Assuming he knew all this a few months back. Saying all this up front might have allayed the concerns of those who might now feel misled about the prices, and would give a chance to make explicit his limited control over the price the the App store. At least no one could claim they were blindsided by his perfidious treachery that way. smile

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Originally Posted By: Dikiyoba
Originally Posted By: AdrianWerner
I was stopping myself from buying PC version because I feared this might happen. Shame I was right. I see that at the site Windows version is stil 25$. I won't be buying it at that price. I feel like the developer is exploiting pc gamers here. I do realize that on Appstore 9,99$ is pretty much maximum, but if so then after it's launched PC version's price should be lowered to that to. While I'm interested in this game, I just can't with clean concience support this kind of treatement.

The iPad price is making people pretty upset as it is. Can you imagine how upset people would be if the Mac and Windows price dropped without warning too?

Dikiyoba.
No, I can't. Why would they be upset? It's not like they're loosing anything by it. So any negativity would have to stem from childish character. I think that would be the best way to be honest. Make the game PC/Mac only for 6-12 months and sell it for 25$ price then and after that release it on iPad while dropping PC/Mac price to 9,99$. I don't see any problem with this strategy. Especially since people kind of expect game prices to fall after a while. It's only natural.

Of course, I'm simply not a fan of Spiderweb's games. Avadon was the first that caught my attention. If I was a long time fan I would just swallow this bitter pill and buy it. I did something like that a year ago, when Command Ops launched for 80$. It was expnsive, but I was a fan of developer's previous works so I still bought it.

But with Avadon I am not yet a fan, so emotions don't rule my wallet in this case. And I just can't get myself to support developer who discriminates one group of customers so much solely because they dare to play on different platform than iPad.

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Originally Posted By: AdrianWerner
No, I can't. Why would they be upset? It's not like they're loosing anything by it. So any negativity would have to stem from childish character. [...] I don't see any problem with this strategy. Especially since people kind of expect game prices to fall after a while. It's only natural.

People who buy a SW game when it first released at $25 do so in part because they expect the game to remain at $25 for several years to come. That's the way Spiderweb Software has operated for years and there's never been a hint that it would be different. Other game companies may reduce prices on games, but that's not how it works here. Suddenly dropping the prices would result in a huge outcry.

Dikiyoba's thoughts are similar to Triumph's. It doesn't seem to be the prices themselves so much as the upset expectations, which means information about the iPad pricing should have been announced earlier.

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Originally Posted By: Gerry Quinn
If you really feel that the price advantage of the iPad is so important... you could always buy an iPad.
Nah, I'm using convertible Windows laptop, so iPad for me would be kind of useless.

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Originally Posted By: AdrianWerner
And I just can't get myself to support developer who discriminates one group of customers so much solely because they dare to play on different platform than iPad.


So basically you don't think Avadon is worth $25. There's a money back policy for that, but I wonder why you bought it in the first place, since that should have been apparent from playing the demo.

Prices are always decided only based on one factor: How much the target market is willing to pay. Anyone with half a brain (maybe depending on which half is missing) could have predicted that this means a lower price point on the iPad with that market's particular sense of entitlement and its habit of playing every new game for only half an hour and then getting the next iteration of Angry Birds and playing that for half an hour. It's a shame really if the PC/Mac market is moving in that direction as well now. I remember when desktop players were proud of being serious gamers with quite higher standards than random console junk food, but whatever floats your boat I guess.

It's unrealistic anyway to expect prices to be the same across platforms. You could only have that expectation with a very one-sided view of the video gaming market. There have always been premium priced platforms and discount platforms, with Windows somewhere in the middle. I find it reasonable to expect customers to do their market research before committing to a platform; nobody can do that for you.

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Originally Posted By: goblindolf
I am wondering how porting future games to iphone and ipad will affect the design


I don't know about the iPhone, but so far, Avadon on iPad is almost the same as on a desktop and my opinion is that the desktop experience benefits from the changes from previous titles even more than the iPad version. In other words, if there is something particular to the iPad that influenced the UI design of Avadon, it's something that has to apply to the desktop too, at least to some extent. E.g. the larger terrain view is more or less necessary on the small iPad screen (even though older titles with smaller views were sort of playable), but on the desktop, you get even more out of it. Things that work better on the iPad exist, like being able to use touch controls, but previous Spiderweb games didn't have better mouse/keyboard controls than Avadon, so this is not something that happened because of the iPad port.

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Some of these posts are starting to cross the line into personal attacks. Everyone, please try to refrain from insulting the intelligence or maturity of posters who disagree with you.

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Originally Posted By: Danny the Fool

So basically you don't think Avadon is worth $25. There's a money back policy for that, but I wonder why you bought it in the first place, since that should have been apparent from playing the demo.

Prices are always decided only based on one factor: How much the target market is willing to pay.

Och...I didn't buy it yet. I knew there would be iPad version, so I expected this might have happen.

You're right about one thing..it all boils to how much one is willing to pay. And I'm just not willing to pay almost three times as much as iPad owners do. I see no reason to let the developer make almost four times as much money from me as he does from iOS gamers.

Despite being interested in the game I just can't buy it knowing I would be encouraging similiar treatement of pc gamers in the future.

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Originally Posted By: AdrianWerner
You're right about one thing..it all boils to how much one is willing to pay. And I'm just not willing to pay almost three times as much as iPad owners do.


The question is, why? Does the lower price on the iPad version somehow make the game worse than it was before the iPad version was released? If you don't have an iPad, then the iPad version doesn't take anything away from your game experience, or does it? Spiderweb Software has been releasing games at this price point for almost 20 years now. How does the arrival of a cheaper title on a different platform change anything with regard to how PC customers are treated? They are still being treated in the same way as they've always been and opening up a market that is not willing to pay $25 for a game due to different gaming habits does not change that.

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I see no reason to let the developer make almost four times as much money from me as he does from iOS gamers.


One problem with that is that it's only true when you compare an individual PC gamer to an individual iPad gamer. Yes, that one PC gamer will pay more. The question is whether the PC market would be a viable target at all if people were not willing to pay $25. The alternative may well be skipping development for PC entirely, instead of lowering the price point, because the developer may not be able to make enough money from the PC market in total. For this same reason, I've been paying higher prices for games on Mac OS for 15 or so years now - for a PC user it'll be a fairly new experience of course since the PC used to be the cheap platform.

As an example, the US Mac App Store lists 35 ratings and one review for Avadon since it was released on the Mac several months ago. The US iOS App Store lists 52 ratings and three reviews for Avadon just from the last few days. I don't have sales numbers of course, but it looks like the iOS market seems to be much more willing to impulse buy Avadon, rate it and leave reviews in exchange for the affordable price. (I know that Mac users can technically buy it outside MAS, but the MAS version is cheaper due to similarly limited functionality as the iPad version.)

I can understand that you want to pay the lowest amount of money you possibly could, but I think it's unfair to blame Spiderweb for the different market situations that they had no part in creating. There is no way to be profitable on the PC with niche titles at $10 or less, and there is no way to be profitable on the iPad at $25, so what else is there to do than stick to established price points that are likely to make the entire project viable?

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Originally Posted By: Danny the Fool


I can understand that you want to pay the lowest amount of money you possibly could, but I think it's unfair to blame Spiderweb for the different market situations that they had no part in creating. There is no way to be profitable on the PC with niche titles at $10 or less, and there is no way to be profitable on the iPad at $25, so what else is there to do than stick to established price points that are likely to make the entire project viable?

Oh..I don't blame them. In the end Spiderweb does what makes the most business sense for them. I just refuse to pay three times more solely because I've chosen different plaform to play on. Buying this game would make me feel like a terrible sucker to be honest, which is not a feeling I would aprecieate after spending 25$. Heck...25$ is very high price for low budget indie game anyway. I am willing to pay this much only when I want to not only play a game, but also show my support to the developer. With Spiderweb..well.. I don't want to support developer who thinks it's ok to charge three times more just for playing on different platform.

If I would own iPad I would buy Avadon, but I see nothing about pc version that would be worth such extra price tag, so I will just pass.

And comparing number of user reviews is pretty silly. Didn't it occur to you that it might be selling more on iOS becaue of how cheap it is? You think Terraria would have sold almost half million copies in first month if it was priced 25$? Maybe the extremely high price of Spidersoft games (compared to other indie games) is the reason why they can't break though to bigger market. After all..I don't see many pc gamers doing 25$ impulse buys. Such money is spent mostly by people who already know what they want.

Plus let's be honest..Mac gaming is pretty petite part of the market and much less popular than iOS gaming. PC is bigger and has more popular distribution channels. Bassicaly you could directly compare sales of Avadon on differet platforms only if PC version would be priced the same as iOS one and if it would additionally be sold at Steam. Without that the conditions of both cases are just to different to make any sort of direct comparision possible.

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Originally Posted By: AdrianWerner
If I would own iPad I would buy Avadon, but I see nothing about pc version that would be worth such extra price tag, so I will just pass.


So you just don't like the game enough - which is okay, but has nothing to do with the price on a different platform. This isn't about supporting the developer. Nobody is talking about supporting an indie developer for the sake of supporting an indie developer. Besides better performance, larger screen, keyboard shortcuts, moddability and so on, those $25 buy you the possibility of playing Avadon on the PC. If that's not important to you that's fine, but you can't expect the developer to support your chosen platform at a loss.

Quote:

Didn't it occur to you that it might be selling more on iOS becaue of how cheap it is?


It's not actually cheap in iOS terms. It is at the upper end for games and very expensive for an indie title. In this price segment, it's competing with games like GTA:CTW, Lego HP, Sim City, and so on, that are $40 and above on their respective other platforms.

Quote:

Maybe the extremely high price of Spidersoft games (compared to other indie games) is the reason why they can't break though to bigger market. After all..I don't see many pc gamers doing 25$ impulse buys. Such money is spent mostly by people who already know what they want.


The games it competes with, like the Eschalon series, all are at the same price point.

I don't know how likely PC gamers in general are to buy $25 titles on impulse, but Spiderweb has been selling at this price point forever, so arguably, it's proven to be the price point that makes their games viable.

Quote:

Plus let's be honest..Mac gaming is pretty petite part of the market and much less popular than iOS gaming. PC is bigger and has more popular distribution channels.


The bigger PC market also means a lot more competition. On the Mac you pretty much have Spiderweb and a very low number of other similar indie titles, and that's it, if this is the niche you're interested in.

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I know that Jeff is a Mac guy. I know that this means the PC version will always be later and expect that it will cost a bit more. Does this make me get mad and say, "He shouldn't release the MAC version until the PC version is ready too! It's not fair!" Why does it hurt me that the Mac folks get to play the game before I do? As long as I do not read too many spoilers on the forums here, I get the same experience that they do when it is available for PC. If enough people get upset about the extra $5 for the PC version and refuse to buy it, what will happen? Will Jeff lower the PC price, or will he decide that it is not worth the hassle to do the port to PC any more, making this a Mac only game? That would be a real shame.

The way I see it is this: The Mac buyers are paying for the development of the game. The PC buyers are paying for part of the development of the game, and for the port of the game to Windows, which can be a pain in the nether regions, and takes a lot of time. The iPad buyers are paying for the port of the game to iPad, which does not take as long, and is not as expensive. If you want to wait for it on iPad, and only pay $10, and deal with the limitations, good for you. I hope Jeff sells a hundred million iPad copies (as long as he keeps porting to PC first)!

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Originally Posted By: Danny the Fool
I don't know how likely PC gamers in general are to buy $25 titles on impulse, but Spiderweb has been selling at this price point forever...


Actually, $25 is a slight step DOWN for Jeff's games - for a quite while Jeff's standard price point for his games had been $28. It's not a huge drop, but still worth noticing, to be fair.

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We tend to have a natural but illusory belief that an an item has a fixed objective value. This serves us well most of the time. We know when a merchant is charging above the odds, or giving us a bargain. We are careful with the good china. We are impressed by certain shiny stones and metals. Best of all, we can work out what this value is without the impossibly complicated task of calculating it - all we need to do is look at what others are paying!

 

Which should be more expensive, platinum or silver? Do we go by shininess, conductivity, tarnishability? No, we just check out what others are paying. Some of the more boring newspapers print long tables of such things.

 

Most of the time, we are not confronted with the illusory nature of this belief. Subconsciously, we know that prices are much cheaper in places where the average income is low, and we get to enjoy that when we holiday there - but it doesn't affect our baseline values. When we eat in a fancy restaurant, we let our belief fool us a little - we are not really getting fed ten times better than in a greasy spoon, are we? "Oh yes we are", we say. In fact, the high price makes the food taste better, when it should logically do the opposite! And if we bring somebody for a meal, they may in most cases be more impressed by an expensive meal that indicates our wealth and generosity, rather than a cheap meal that indicates our wisdom and frugality, even if the meal is exactly the same.

 

The problem is that sometimes this illusion comes slap up against market realities, and that can put our noses slightly out of joint. It is more likely to happen with products such as computer software, which have very little cost per extra unit of production (though there is a big upfront cost before anything is produced), and where distribution and advertising costs can be very variable.

 

We can see examples of this where software is sold outside the developed world. Often it is almost unsaleable at a standard cost. What should one do? In many cases the easiest option is to forget about it and let them pirate. To actually sell it, you'd need to charge a quarter of the developed world price, and even then you probably wouldn't sell many. But sometimes it is done. I haven't seen anyone having a go at Blizzard for selling cheaper subscriptions to World of Warcraft in some countries, even though their profit per unit is much less. Suppose Jeff sold Avadon for $5 in countries with a very low per-capita income. Would that bother the folks complaining about the iPad price? If things could in practice be done that way, wouldn't it be a win-win situation for everyone?

 

What if Jeff did that, and people in the US and Europe started boycotting his games until he charged $5 everywhere?

 

Now of course the folks with iPads tend to live in the developed world, and are probably richer than average. Maybe that's what is bothering people most. But in practical terms, the situation is the same. Jeff can only charge what the market will bear.

 

Sometimes there is only one good market, or two with similar price-demand curves. That is the way it has been up to now. But if there are promising future markets, he has to dip his toe into them too, if he wants to keep on feeding his family. Maybe some day the iPad will be a dominant platform.

 

I can only suggest that those who are perturbed by this ask themselves what they would do in the same place!

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Adrian Werner wrote: "After all..I don't see many pc gamers doing 25$ impulse buys. Such money is spent mostly by people who already know what they want."

 

That is 90% of Spiderweb's customer base. People who want old-skool isometric CRPGs and don't care about (or perhaps even actively dislike) fancy graphics.

 

It will be interesting to see how Avadon does on iPad, in that it may well turn up a greater percentage of customers who do not know exactly what they want!

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I think the market figures on the iPad will very well be worth seeing. On basic cost-benefit analysis, is the outrage of the people, who for some reason believe that the iPad costs hurts them, worth whatever extra sales are brought in? If no, this may be the only iPad game.

 

To everyone who does feel angry, wait until the October Sadness sale, and then ask yourself if the demo was fun. And if so, I can promise that the rest of the game will be fun enough to deserve the on-sale cost, if not the full price overall. Or just buy an iPad and get the game from there.

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What I see is a lot of crybabying over a product that costs less than dinner for 2 at Denny's, no matter which operating system you buy it for.

 

Even paying the higher $25 price, that works about to about 50 cents per hour of entertainment, assuming zero replay value. McDonald's employees in BRAZIL make more money than that.

 

Seriously. Maybe, MAYBE 2 turn-based rpgs come out PER YEAR that are even remotely playable on the PC, and 50% of them have Jeff Vogel's name attached to them. To cry at him because he wants to charge a fair price for that is pretty bogus.

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Originally Posted By: misheloff
What I see is a lot of crybabying over a product that costs less than dinner for 2 at Denny's, no matter which operating system you buy it for.


I think the problem is that the actual game *is* overpriced -> what people need to realize, though, is that what they're paying for isn't the game itself. The premium is for a developer who actually cares and makes customer service a priority.

From my point of view, Spiderweb software essentially has a tip-jar economic model -> the lack of DRM means that anyone who wants to have the game without paying can pretty much have it. Those who appreciate the care and effort of the author, and actually put their credit card down, are doing so because they are *inspired* to, not *forced* to.

FWIW, I dropped the 9.99 on the iPad version not because I thought it was worth it compared to various 0.99 games available, but because I made a conscious choice to support this particular developer. Frankly, if indie iOS developers put IAP tip-jar functionality in their applications, there are quite a few of them I'd probably be willing to regularly donate to.

So are the Avadon binaries, the actual ones and zeros worth the price that's being charged? Not by a long shot. But supporting Jeff Vogel *is* worth it.

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Originally Posted By: jhkrischel
Originally Posted By: misheloff
What I see is a lot of crybabying over a product that costs less than dinner for 2 at Denny's, no matter which operating system you buy it for.


I think the problem is that the actual game *is* overpriced -> what people need to realize, though, is that what they're paying for isn't the game itself. The premium is for a developer who actually cares and makes customer service a priority.


Duke Nukem Forever is overpriced. Avadon is undervalued for the amount of entertainment it provides vs. most other games in the same price range or higher. Between iOS games at a buck and Steam constantly running some game on sale at 75% off we've been conditioned to think these products aren't worth more than a couple bucks. I know I've fallen into that mentality (and why shouldn't you if Valve is going to give you games for peanuts), It's a rare game that I plunk down even close to full original price for, and 90% of the time that's Spiderweb games that get me to open my wallet.

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