Been browsing through the released games and noticed a wide variety of prices, and I’m curious about how CoG determines pricing.
As far as I know it is mainly based on the Wordcount
For CoGs I’m fairly certain it’s word count. For HGs though it might just be whatever price the author chooses to set. For example, Samurai of Hyuga Book 4 is about 8 dollars and has 440,00 words, while Tin Star is 4 dollars and has over 1 million words.
Pricing is a mix of elements. Word count is part of it, as is the author’s recommendation. Final decision is still up to the company, though.
I’ve often felt that, for the amount of time spent creating even a low quality game, the price is discouragingly low. Which I think is a big part of why individual author patreons have become as popular as they have. Its a good compromise that doesn’t charge the end user more at launch and allows those who can’t afford to take on the extra cost to compensate the author for their time and effort to still be able to play the game.
The issue is that going by reviews and such on smaller games or those of more dubious quality, the public at large does not share those beliefs. And to be fair, there’s some merit to this; if I spend $3 on something and complete it in under an hour, I might be justified in feeling underwhelmed. After all, by book standards these prices are fine, but by mobile video game standards, that same $3 could have gotten me something like Dream Quest that will keep me occupied for days or weeks (or in my case, years).
It should also be mentioned that a lot of people won’t be happy until the stories are completely free and just supported by ads, which is a whole other issue which has been proven a meh business model here time and again.
The other problem is that CoG and HG do not exist in a vacuum. If they jack their prices way up and the other IF outfits out there stay at lower levels, then the company as a whole will end up suffering.
Fair enough. That’s probably true. I unfortunately don’t know all that much about the wider IF market, since many of the modern IF games are unfortunately inaccessible to me. But the replayability would mean I at least would be willing to pay more for the highest quality writing.
I don’t believe we can expect significant numbers of quality games if COG does move to a purely add-based model, so really hope that doesn’t happen. IF and choice based narratives are or at least have the potential to be on par narratively with the best rpg’s, and I don’t believe that removing that financial reward will encourage authors to either iterate on the standards of IF or submit their best writing.
For me, I can only say that I tried to pick a price point where it would be cheap enough that the barrier to buying a story from an untried author wouldn’t be huge, but not so cheap it demeaned the product.
People who have issues with the pricing on some of these games really should take up reading ongoing comics for a while and see if they still feel shortchanged here…
Please keep the focus of posts in this thread on general pricing policies and do not single out any particular title or author for their prices.
Only the author and CoG staff knows what goes into individual pricing decisions. If you are not the author using their own pricing as an example or CoG staff, please do not speculate on something you do not know.
COG titles are priced based on wordcount, though we may make an exception from time to time. Our shortest games release for $2.99 on sale, our longest games release for $4.99 on sale, and we have of course, 16 free games of our 115 titles, roughly 14%. We can’t make our shorter games any cheaper than they are, currently. And Heart’s Choice games are also free.
HG titles are generally also priced based on word count, though the author can request a price point.