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5th Cell criticises "broken" retail model

CEO Jeremiah Slackza calls for more pricing options for games

The creative director of Scribblenauts dev 5th Cell has called the traditional game retail model "broken."

In an interview with Game Informer, Jeremiah Slaczka explained that rising budgets have exposed the inherent weaknesses in charging $60 for every game.

"Before the model was tolerable, because the cost was reasonable enough to allow mediocre selling games to make money," he said.

"Now it's just insane. If you aren't going to be a mega hit at $60, you might as well give up before you even try, because it's tens of millions down the hole."

Slackza cited Homefront as an example of an "okay FPS" that failed to meet THQ's sales expectations due to the abundance of superior alternatives available at the same price.

"As a consumer, why would I want to play an okay FPS when I can play a bunch of great FPS titles for the same price? And that's what the consumers did."

"But what if you could rent Homefront for $4.99 for 24 hours from your console? What if Homefront was only $30 dollars upfront for the single player and if you liked it you could buy the multiplayer for an additional $30?

"All of the sudden it's not a binary purchase option anymore."

5th Cell released Scribblenauts Remix for the iPad in October. It enjoyed a brief spell at number one in the App Store download charts.

Slackza estimates that, to date, the Scribblenauts franchise has generated around $100 million in revenue.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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