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Pitfall at £0.69? Is Activision crazy?

By on August 9, 2012
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Activision has released its first game from its new Leeds studio today: Pitfall. A remake of a 30 year old classic that bears more than a passing resemblance to Temple Run.

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Activision priced the game at £0.69 ($0.99). I turned to Twitter to ask: "Question: if you were Activision, would you have put Pitfall out at 69p? Free? More expensive? Why?". These are the answers.

"I’d have put it out free. Grab as many users as possible, to promote future releases to." – @stepickford

"if i were activision i would iterate the game’s graphics first and then think about giving it away for freemium" – @fabi_smith

"69p is for publishers who dont have the balls/conviction for F2P but are worried that product is not good enough for £1.99" – @SJ_Harris

"@SJ_Harris I disagree. I think it’s simply a sweet spot for paid apps" – @FireflyNick

"@SJ_Harris @nicholaslovell it’s not ‘balls’ or ‘conviction’ in Activision’s case, I just think it’s a complete lack of expertise" – @BenjaminCousins

"Not sure you need free when you have the reach of an IP. So more expensive. Not sure how strong the Pitfall IP is though." @nicolasG_B

"going up against Temple Run at £0.69. Hilarious." – @BenjaminCousins

What do I think?

I agree with Simon Harris. 69p/99c is a terrible price point.

iPhone Screenshot 1

99c says that you don’t believe that your game will appeal to wide range of people. You don’t want it to reach the largest possible audience (for which you would need to go free).

99c says you don’t believe in the free-to-play business model. It amazes me that there could still be F2P refuseniks in positions of authority anywhere, but there you go.

99c also says that you don’t believe your game is any good. Epic believed Infinity Blade was awesome. They priced it at $5.99. Sports Interactive believes that Football Manager was awesome. They priced it at £6.99 (that’s sterling, not dollars). If you have a strong game, or a strong brand, you can price higher than $0.99.

Regular readers might be surprised that I am not arguing for free. I am not totally obsessed by free. I think you should go free (because your game great) or go expensive (because your game is great but has a marketing advantage such as a great brand or a first-out-of-the box element like Infinity Blade’s amazing graphics), provided that you have a paymium strategy.

To me, 69p/99c is the worst possible price point. What do you think?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com