Monday, January 25, 2010

Monster Hunter Tri & Classic Controller Pro Reminds Me That Videogames Are Too Expensive

Now this is very good news, and very smart.  Capcom will package Nintendo's new Classic Controller Pro with their upcoming hit Monster Hunter Tri.  Nintendo has had great success bundled packages - Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, Mario Kart, even Punch-Out.  They clearly need a way to get the Classic Controller into more hands, and adding it to one of 2010's most anticipated Wii games is a very shrewd move.

It also helps that the CC Pro is a major upgrade from the existing joypad, which was patterned after the Super NES joypad.  This one is much closer to the PS3-Xbox 360 design, and should be far easier to hold and control.  The piano gloss black is also quite excellent, and goes nicely with the black Wiimote and Nunchuk.  I can't wait to get my hands on one of these for my Virtual Console games.

My only complaint at this point?  Price.  Monster Hunter Tri will retail for $50 as a standalone, and $60 with the CC Pro.  I think that's too much money to ask; the prices should be $20 cheaper for both releases.

I am convinced that $30 should be the absolute limit for any third-party Wii game.  $20 would be even better.  That's the price range of DVDs and Blu-Ray movies.  The general public considers that a good value.  They are very reluctant to spend $50 on a single game, as sales figures have demonstrated.  It's the lower-priced games that been successful on Wii.  The full-priced games have struggled.

Notice that Just Dance is a runaway success.  It can be found easily for $30.  De Blob and Shawn White Road Trip, two more examples, sell for $20.  I think those are good bargains.  I'm willing to take a risk and try an unknown game at that price point.

Notice, also, that I don't need to feel this cautious about Nintendo's games.  That's because they have built a reputation with gamers for many, many years.  I can trust them.  I see Mario Kart, Wii Play, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Fit Plus, and know I'm getting someting of value.  Nintendo has never let me down, so I am willing to spend $50 per game.  And I assure you that every parent in America feels the same way.  Money is tight and we have to set priorities.

Third parties don't have that luxury.  They squandered their reputation with the public by dumping too many cheap cash-in games, hurled together at the last minute in an attempt to ride the coattails of Wii Sports.  At this point, everything is suspect, and developers have to prove themselves to me.  They have to earn their trust.  At $20-$30, I am willing to listen and consider buying one of their games.  That's how I wound up with De Blob and Shawn White.

This is why I think Monster Hunter Tri would be more successful if sold for $30 alone, and $40 with the Classic Controller Pro.  That extra Andrew Jackson makes a world of difference in this troubled economy.  Personally, I'm looking forward to this game, and I hope it really is the second coming of Phantasy Star Online.  I also hope it becomes a hit in the Americas.

Moral Lesson: Fifty Dollars is too much money to spend on a video game.  Lower the price, sell more copies, make more money, win over more customers.  Thus endeth the lesson.

No comments: