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Cutting Revolution's App prices would "lose a lot of revenue"

Lowering price "doesn't make a lot of difference to sales volume" - Cecil

Revolution MD Charles Cecil has argued that premium pricing remains relevant on the App store.

Speaking as part of a panel at Evolve In London yesterday, the Broken Sword co-creator did not wholly accept claims that free to play was the inevitable future of games.

"We come from a very different perspective, to be honest," said Cecil. "We write adventure games which we can sell at a premium price, they sell for what we consider to be a premium price, which is £4 or £5 on the App Store. And lowering that price doesn't make a lot of difference to that sales audience."

"We believe that if we put it down to 79 pence, we'd actually lose an awful lot of revenue. So we keep the price high."

He felt that this was a better arrangement for developers than the old model of game distribution. "What the big difference is, is that previously we were working with a publisher, the publisher aggressively funded it.

"They did the marketing and all of those good things. But ultimately if you take the retailer taking fifty per cent and the publisher taking twenty per cent and cost the goods out then you're getting roughly seven per cent as a developer when a game's bought in a shop, whereas you're getting 70 per cent on the App Store.

"So the profound difference means that we're actually in a very different marketplace because we are selling games at £4 instead of £20 and users' expectation is quite different.

"Previously to justify a game costing as much as they have done a lot of people expected a lot of content. What I think is exciting now is that at these lower price points, people expect less content, expect the same quality, but will actually finish the game.

"What we've been talking about for years is that we had to produce vast amounts of content and nobody would ever experience it all."

Cecil also felt that platforms such as iOS had an reinvigorating effect on game development. "What I find exciting about what's happening now is that, in the mid 90s, we lost the idea of the bedroom coder, a very small group of people who could [create] everything.

"My sense is we're moving back to that, where it's about the love of the product. A small group of people who all have an emotional involvement in the game."

Revolution today announced that it would be releasing a remastered version of its 1997 adventure title Broken Sword II on iOS devices this month.

Said Cecil in a statement, "The original Broken Sword went to #1 in the App store, was BAFTA-nominated and received the most fantastic reviews, both from reviewers and the game's audience on the App store – as well as appealing to fans of the series, the game reached a whole new audience.

"Publishing through the App Store has offered extraordinary opportunities. As well as allowing us to communicate directly with our audience, we are now in the position where we can re-work our original games while simultaneously writing new adventure titles.

"It is an extraordinary time for the games industry and for independent developers in particular."

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Alec Meer avatar
Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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