Thar be whales in them tharr hills (Destiny)

by narcogen ⌂ @, Andover, Massachusetts, Saturday, November 02, 2019, 06:21 (1633 days ago) @ cheapLEY

At the risk of sounding like a total fucking moron, based on the thread I started last week . . .

Why? I don’t get it.

So they’re selling some overpriced toys in their store? Who cares? I mean, Funko Pops exist, this sort of fits right in with modern consumerism.

I don’t think it’s great. Seems really freaking expensive for an ugly piece of molded foam and complete waste of resources that went into designing it, but I also don’t think not being able to afford an overpriced toy is reason to be mad at Bungie.

Because of the kind of behavior that it encourages.

It can help to think about products by comparing them to other things. Let's take, for example... toothpaste and automobiles.

Evyerbody needs toothpaste. Everybody needs about the same amount of toothpaste, generally speaking, over the same amount of time.

Some people might want different toothpaste, and some may be willing to pay more for their toothpaste, but the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive, the "best" and the "worst", the person who uses the most toothpaste and the person who uses the least, is limited.

There are no "whales" in the toothpaste market, and even if there were, you could not sustain your toothpaste business on them.

Now look at cars. Cars are bought less often. Some people don't even have one. There are cars that are really cheap (even used cars!) and there are also cars that are really, really expensive.

It's possible to make cars so expensive that you can have a profitable company selling only a few thousand or even a few hundred-- if the people paying for them are willing to pay enough for them.

People take it for granted that markets for products always follow the sort of curve that Musk tried to with Tesla-- make a bespoke, high margin, low-volume product to kickstart the company, then get into the broad middle of the market where the real money is.

Except under certain market conditions, the "broad middle" of the market shrinks. And it becomes sensible to chase the top of the market or the bottom. Free to play or subscription based with in-game purchases.

To be honest the real issue here isn't the overpriced foam sword, it's more the in-game purchases.

For instance, I'd wager that most game developers are more artist-heavy than they were in the 90s, because of higher resolutions and framerates and rising standards of visual fidelity. The pipeline requires more people to create more textures and models, and rig more animations. I'd guess the increase is disproportionate compared to, say, any analogous increase in the number of designers or programmers needed.

The cost to, say, make a player emblem, is fixed. The artist worked on it til it was done. But there's no inventory for that item. You could sell it for in-game currency any number of times and accrue almost no additional costs other than the (relatively) fixed costs
of running your game and your in-game store.

Foam swords, Eververse silver, and Fallout 1st to me now, as well as the proliferation of "special editions" in the past, Virtual Reality hardware, concern me about a market going forward where games aren't like movies or TV-- entertainment for everyone-- but exotic cars, a market where it's deemed more profitable to seek many thousands of dollars a year or more from a smaller audience.

Think about the raid, for instance. Given the number of people who actually play and complete it, it's sort of crazy Bungie invests in making it. I think it's why the entire raid "event" is now structured around streamers and the "world's first" race, to the detriment of ordinary players who want a reasonably unspoiled experience when they can reasonably approach an appropriate power level.

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