Spector: We need to drive down game prices

Industry has created barrier to entry by over-charging consumers, says Junction Point boss

Warren Spector, designer of Deus Ex and head of Disney's Junction Point Studios, has said that for the industry to grow it needs to drive down the price of videogames.

The prices attached to traditional blockbuster games are a major barrier to entry for new consumers, said Spector, and the industry has been over-charging for product for too long.

"We need to get our price point down because we've been in competition with other media for years, it's nothing new," said Spector last week during the Game Developers Conference. "We've been a niche medium that over-charges for its product and therefore generates a lot of revenue which makes us a little bigger than Hollywood, which is crazy."

"The key is removing barriers to the creation of content and removing barriers to the consumption of content. Allowing people access to lots of it, at the lowest possible price where you can make a profit," offered Spector.

Comparing prices to the number of hours spent with entertainment isn't realistic, he said, as games price themselves out of the impulse market.

"I've always had this anecdotal belief that there's this magic price point for entertainment. And it's not a per dollar charge. No one thinks about how many hours they're going to get out of their entertainment dollars.

"If I've got a 20 dollar bill in my pocket I can go buy a book, go to a movie, but I can't buy a game. I can buy a CD, I can do so much even now, but you cannot buy a game."

The current economic turbulence could actually provide a rethink and shake-up of the market, suggested Spector, as the industry continues to branch off in new directions.

"The most amazing thing about the games business right now is that everything is happening. Look at the variety of games we're all working on. We're all in different businesses and yet we're in the same business.

"Five years ago that was not true. Five or ten years ago there was a way you did this, but now, there are so many more ways to reach an audience. It really gives me hope in a weird sort of way that the craziness in this business – the economy and all the lay-offs – it's remarkable how wide the variety of opportunity is."

Spector is currently working on a project for Disney that has remained behind closed doors since the entertainment giant acquired Junction Point Studios in 2007.

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