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Desura launches Cheap End, a new monthly price war initiative
Desura launches Cheap End, a new monthly price war initiative
May 28, 2014 | By Mike Rose

May 28, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

Digital distribution platform Desura today revealed Cheap End, a new initiative that will see developers lowering the prices of their games one weekend each month in a bid to outsell other games on the platform.

The idea is as follows: On the last weekend of each month, the front page of the Desura website and download client will showcase games which are currently cut-price, more prominently displaying those games which are selling the most at the time.

Those developers who have games on Desura can choose to put their games on sale at any price they wish, and alter the price of the game on the fly. Each hour the Desura front page will be updated to display the cut-price games which are currently selling best.

The key, says Desura, is that if a developer isn't rising up the ranks fast enough and reaching the front page, they can then lower the price of their game further in a bid to get closer to being featured.

And the company adds that "Proactive outside promotion could also affect standings," suggesting that social media posts about Cheap End may help to put you on the front page. The first Cheap End will happen this weekend, from May 30 - June 1.

Numerous other distribution platforms have also been experimenting with sales tactics recently, including the Humble Store running Steam-like sales, and running quick deals which switch out as soon as a certain number of copies of a game have been sold.

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Emerick Aussignac
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Will people still buy games at full price?
That combined with the new system for sales on steam makes me fear yet another race to the bottom for prices :/

On the other hand, the limited numbers of games in the GoG flash sales may be more interesting for developpers, and its interactivity is interesting from a user point of view as well.

Daneel Filimonov
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In a way, I fear the day when games sold at full price will be a rarity.

Tyler King
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That day is already here...

Eric Geer
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I still buy games at full price, but I'm definitely one of the few. Most of my friends won't buy a game when it first comes out unless is is something from Blizzard, or game created by another studio/publisher of great interest.

Most wait the 2-3 weeks from launch or just wait longer and a bunch of games for a dime a dozen.

The Free-to-play/ 99 cent mobile games are pushing this cheaper than dirt game initiative. Customers are no longer willing to pay the top price...hell even the middle price. Also, the game market is getting so saturated, price is a major way to compete.

Robert Fearon
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Well, given launch sales are generally up and pre-orders are soaring, I guess so? Discounting tends to bring in more people rather than cutting down the pool of people already buying games.

At least for now.

Robert Fearon
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This is just fairly awful all round, really. Desura already have a payment threshold and barely enough customers buying things on there for most developers using the service to walk away with cash in their pocket. They've got much more fundamental problems that need looking at.

Expecting developers to set aside a day or two days to concentrating on monitoring their game's performance to compete with other developers to see who can get the lowest price is, on balance, one of the worst ideas I've heard in videogames. Even more so when you're ditching your prices in the vain hope of drawing people *to* Desura because the current amount of people bothering with it aren't going to make dropping your price worthwhile or get you any closer to being paid.

If this is the best way they've got to try and draw in eyeballs and customers, to literally expect developers to compete with each other for advertising space on a platform that's been on the decline since the need for someone to sit there and take payments for alpha funding disappeared (and the novelty of alpha funding sort of drifted off) where devs could spend that time "competing" for eyeballs elsewhere without trying to see who can hit the pricing deck first, well, they need to have a long hard think about where they're at.

This isn't the answer to anything and can't end well for anyone involved.

Eric Finlay
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The dynamics at play for mobile gaming are spreading. I wonder what an economist would say about the supply and demand pressures that are causing this to happen.