No Man’s Sky and the Cost of Indie Games

Something happened this week that didn’t sit right with me.

You may or may not be aware of a video game coming out this year called No Man’s Sky?  You probably have, and if like me you’re sick to death of the coverage it’s getting and as the time of writing NO FUCKING RELEASE date in sight.  Anyway, this post isn’t about that, it’s about the price of the game.  Earlier this week there was a post that went up on the PlayStation blog and this blog post suggested that the price of No Man’s Sky will be $60.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with this… At all, but there was a lot of angry gamers who took to social media and complain about this and it really pissed me off.

33505-Donkey_Kong_Country_(USA)-14
Donkey Kong Country for the SNES.

First things first, video games are now cheaper than they have ever been.  That’s just a fact, I remember back in the mid 1990’s when my mother used to buy me these things and she bought Donkey Kong Country for the SNES and it was £60! IMAGINE walking into your local game shop now and paying the equivalent of mid 1990’s £60 with inflation, thanks to help from an online inflation calculator I have worked it out for you, £60 in the mid 1990’s (Or 1994 for when Donkey Kong Country was released) is the equivalent of £107.65* of today’s money.

A similar thing happened the other week when Jonathan Blow’s The Witness was released, he decided he’d put a lot of work into his game and thought that £30 was a fair asking price for it.  But the Dickhead Brigade didn’t think that.. Ooooh no.  They stormed social media with the whole “How dare he charge £30 for an indie game”,  like being an indie game makes a game less value, people still put hard work in, people still sacrifice family time to pursue a career they love to give to the world their creation and for what? A load of ungrateful moaners complaining about the price.  I’ve always said if you don’t like the look of a game don’t buy it, if you don’t agree with a certain developers methods i.e. a bare bones retail game and then a bombardment of DLC and season passes, don’t buy their games (one of the reasons I haven’t bought Battlefront), speak with your wallets.  I bet there’s plenty of people out there pissed off with Mass Effect 3’s ending but when Mass Effect: Andromeda rolls out next year you’ll be first in line to buy it.  You don’t have to own EVERY game to be a true gamer, you just have to enjoy the games you play.  I’ll be honest, I haven’t played The Witness, but judging from what I hear it’s better and offers more value than most AAA retail releases.

gallery_gaming-the-witness
One of the many puzzles from The Witness on PS4.

This brings me back to the whole cost of indie games, why does it matter?  Developers are in this business to make money and make video games, if the developer feels like their work is worth a certain price then they shouldn’t come under scrutiny for asking for it.  It’s not like indie developers are interns or something like that, these are adequately trained people working in an industry and just because they don’t work for EA or Ubisoft or somebody like that their games should be less than a tenner.  I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense and you know it is.

I’m not trying to ride the No Man’s Sky hype train or get in on the whole hype surrounding the game, my interest in No Man’s Sky has faded to the point where I probably wasn’t going to buy the game anyway.  I just think this game is relying on procedural generation as its main selling point and to be honest it’s nothing new, games like .kkreiger (Below) and RoboBlitz have used procedural generation before and them games are about 10 years old.  Granted, No Man’s Sky is going for a far more vast approach claiming that the game will have that many planets there’s a chance there will be some that won’t even be explored at all.  The game has also got PS VR written all over it, let’s see if I’m right about that at the PS VR event later this month (March).

 

Final Summation

There is nothing wrong with Hello Games charging $60 for No Man’s Sky, just like there was nothing wrong with Jonathan Blow charging £30 for The Witness.  These guys put in hard work to make these games and you can’t blame them for wanting to be profitable, at the end of the day they gotta eat.  

Cheers

WheelJack xoxo

 

 

*The Inflation Calculator: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/resources/inflationtools/calculator/flash/default.aspx

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