THQ Toying With New Pricing Model

Posted September 30th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Recently THQ presented a new game pricing model to investors that they will be trying out initially with their next MX series off-road racing game in 2011. How the experiment fares could determine whether they expand it to other titles as well as influence other companies considering taking the same route in the future. The idea is to release the game at a lower price point and rely heavily on downloadable content.

“Normally, we bring the thing out at $59.99, and it does reasonably well – one million to one and a half million units, then when we lower the price to a mass market price and the thing really jumps at the mass markets because, as you might expect, MX is a very mass market brand.

“So what we’re doing this time is coming out initially with a smaller game at a lower price point, at the $29-$39 range, and then doing a download model for different modes, different tracks, different vehicles. We call it hybrid because it’s a take on the microtransaction and DLC models.

While the major league licenses would not allow a company to do this with their games it’s an interesting idea for fringe sports that have a more difficult time demanding the standard $60 from consumers. An a la carte menu for games could be enticing, allowing individuals to choose what is important to them and either save money or end up spending more in the long run to enhance the experience.

Free online sports games that have been microtransaction supported have done really well, but perceptions could change when it comes to physical media. The idea is to get the game in the hands of as many people as possible in order expand the pool of consumers that could purchase DLC. It may be a small percentage that do, but as seen with those DLC supported games that small percentage spends more than enough to make up for those that don’t spend. In the meantime companies facing licensing restrictions have gone the “Online Pass” direction with optional DLC and value add-ons which has proven to be successful.