Steam Summer Sale Pricing Shenanigans Confuse Consumers?

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What do you think? Is this a big deal or just people making a big deal out of nothing?

Here’s the first: Summer sale day arrives! A game is listed at $30, being called “50% off.” Its launch price in 2014 was indeed $60, like almost every other blockbuster-style game… but since March, it’s been priced at $40. Isn’t it, then, really only 25% off? That’s the question users have about games like Wolfenstein: The New Order, which did that exact thing.
 

J3RK

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Really? Who cares. Look at the price. Does the price look good?

Yes. Buy the game.
No. Don't buy the game.

I don't condone any tomfoolery really, but anyone with half a brain can decide whether the offered price is worth it to them.

Besides, the Wolfenstein games in particular are priced beyond attractively today. 75% off for TNO ($15) and 50% off for TOB ($10). Nothing to complain about there. TNO is the best game I've played recently.
 

J3RK

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Really? Who cares. Look at the price. Does the price look good?

Yes. Buy the game.
No. Don't buy the game.

I don't condone any tomfoolery really, but anyone with half a brain can decide whether the offered price is worth it to them.

Besides, the Wolfenstein games in particular are priced beyond attractively today. 75% off for TNO ($15) and 50% off for TOB ($10). Nothing to complain about there. TNO is the best game I've played recently.

To be clear, whatever the actual "resting" price for the game is when it's not on sale/special should be what the percentage for the sale is based on. I just don't think it's a huge deal. It's only the 1st and a half day of the sale too. Their little game is broken, so maybe the pricing is broken too. I also see double entries in the specials list for the same edition of certain games, and other signs of "just plain broken sale". Hopefully they'll just straighten it all out.
 

MrCaffeineX

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At least it is not as bad as the crap going on with GTA V pricing on Steam. Bundling additional paid content (not even content really, just in-game cash for people too lazy to farm it the old-fashioned way) to inflate the price just to make it look like a deal...that's pricing shenanigans.
 

J3RK

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Actually, now that I look at it. They're telling you explicitly what price the discount is based on. There's nothing dishonest about it. If you click on the Wolfenstein tile, it takes you to a page with all the Wolfenstein content. Next to the "Buy" buttons, it will have the "original" price, and the discounted price, as well as the percentage that price is off from the "original". It's all laid out in plain sight.

If they were just saying "xx% off" without telling you what that percentage is OFF OF, then I could see people picking nits.
 

Sonicks

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People must really be frustrated at Valve's lack of Half Life 3 news if they are throwing a fit for shit like this....
 

J3RK

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People must really be frustrated at Valve's lack of Half Life 3 news if they are throwing a fit for shit like this....

I guess so! It's always something. :rolleyes: :D

Seriously, we can't just enjoy the fact that we're getting a pretty good selection of pretty good games for pretty good pricing? Some people just need to shut up, and hand over their money to Gabe without complaining. You know he'll get it all in the end anyway. :p
 

w00t69

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Actually, now that I look at it. They're telling you explicitly what price the discount is based on. There's nothing dishonest about it. If you click on the Wolfenstein tile, it takes you to a page with all the Wolfenstein content. Next to the "Buy" buttons, it will have the "original" price, and the discounted price, as well as the percentage that price is off from the "original". It's all laid out in plain sight.

If they were just saying "xx% off" without telling you what that percentage is OFF OF, then I could see people picking nits.

Intentionally inflating the price and discounting it afterwards doesn't irk you in any way? This is like having a product on the shelf for 99.99 for a year, then a sale rolls around and it's 50% off at 99.99 but in reality the price of the item has been increased to give you the impression it's more valuable than it is so it's a deal.
 

w00t69

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Intentionally inflating the price and discounting it afterwards doesn't irk you in any way? This is like having a product on the shelf for 99.99 for a year, then a sale rolls around and it's 50% off at 99.99 but in reality the price of the item has been increased to give you the impression it's more valuable than it is so it's a deal.

These are intentional ways to lie about your products perceived value. It's horseshit and shouldn't be tolerated. People are more inclined to buy something that shows 40-60% off than 15-25% off, even if it was the same price in both situations.
 

J3RK

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Intentionally inflating the price and discounting it afterwards doesn't irk you in any way? This is like having a product on the shelf for 99.99 for a year, then a sale rolls around and it's 50% off at 99.99 but in reality the price of the item has been increased to give you the impression it's more valuable than it is so it's a deal.

This is NOT in ANY way similar to what you describe. What you describe is a straight-up lie.

The prices are listed right there for you on Steam. If they're giving you the initial selling price, plus the discount percentage, and the final price, sure they're leaving out a recent price-drop, but all of the numbers are right there for you. Math too hard?

Who cares if at one point Wolfenstein was selling for $40.

They list the original price as $60
The sale price is $15
They tell you the amount off is $75.

The starting point is different, but the amounts all work out, and are still WELL below the dropped price.

Silly? Maybe.

Marketing tactic? Maybe.

Is the price still fucking incredible for such a good game? Yep... Should people buy it? Yep...

What are people whining about again?
 

J3RK

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Here's a quote about Wolfenstein:

While SteamDB does list Wolfenstein as having had a base price of $45 since March, that was the result of a bundle with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood that cost $45 total. Yes, the bundle was cheaper than Wolfenstein: The New Order. Does it make a lot of sense? No. But those are the facts.
 

J3RK

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BTW: I mistyped the "$75" in my post above. I meant "75%"...
 

westrock2000

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Still doesn't beat the deal I got on some speakers once. Guy in a white van had some extra speakers from a customer installation. He saw me in a parking lot. Paid $200 for a pair of speakers that said MSRP of $5000 right there on the box. Boy did he get suckered!
 

TwistedAegis

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These are intentional ways to lie about your products perceived value. It's horseshit and shouldn't be tolerated. People are more inclined to buy something that shows 40-60% off than 15-25% off, even if it was the same price in both situations.

Think this isn't the worst thing to happen. A. It sounds like the single-unit price (not in a bundle) was truly the original MSRP. B. That was the "original" price; not the worst way to represent it, IMO.

What is shady is what I see a lot of retailers doing now, particularly clothing "deals" sites such as Gilt. They create an in-house brand, misleadingly labeled, create a bogus MSRP, then mark it some obscene amount off - 80% off, only $60 instead of $300! Except, they own and produce that brand - no one, anywhere, at anytime, has ever attempted to sell it for that made up MSRP.
 

sfsuphysics

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Is it a big deal? Probably not, they're skirting a fine line with legality though but it seems that they're on the right side of it in most cases. It's very similar to when a store goes out of business often what happens is another company comes in to sell off everything (continuing to hire the old employees for a time), and prices of items increase, then they slash them 50% in some cases you are not getting any discount compared to what they cost before. Is it legal? Probably is, the price is listed, the percentage off is irrelevant in most cases. Monster Cables for $5, that's a 99% savings! :D Now what was the Wolfenstein price without any discounts before the sale? was it actually $60? or was it $40? or was the $40 a 33% discount? All in all, part of the outrage is because people are comparing physical goods against virtual ones, you can have something stay $60 MSRP all year long for years on end, and then let everyone know... look 50% off, look 75% off, look 90% off!!!! where as a real world copy would hit the bargain bin and the price might be $10 but no percentage is listed so we correlate that $10 as the price it should be due to it's age. Bottom line is the consumer has no right to demand "the cost it should be" be lowered after any length of time, we simply expect it to be that way. So complaining about percentages is a silly matter.

My issues come with the broad range advertising, having a button (image) that shows the GTA V logo, and saying 25% off, or the GTA generic button saying 25-75% off, only to find that 25% off is including a gift card for in game currency. Is that card worth $20? Sure because that's what Rockstar says it is, however it's deceptive as all fuck. I won't call shenanigans and bitch up a storm over it about it, but seriously fuck Rockstar for doing that. The card isn't even classified as "GTA V in game dollars" it's classified as "Great White Shark" so again classifying that as a "GTA" product is shifty at best.
 

crusty_juggler

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You go to the gas station, one of those fancy ones with a car wash attached. Typically the Mobil franchise.

Car washes are usually $15, but today they're running a sale. Purchase $10 worth of gas and get a car wash for $10. The attendant is now being drowned in angry customers complaining they jacked up the price of car washes.

That's what the Internet is doing today.
 

J3RK

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Think this isn't the worst thing to happen. A. It sounds like the single-unit price (not in a bundle) was truly the original MSRP. B. That was the "original" price; not the worst way to represent it, IMO.

What is shady is what I see a lot of retailers doing now, particularly clothing "deals" sites such as Gilt. They create an in-house brand, misleadingly labeled, create a bogus MSRP, then mark it some obscene amount off - 80% off, only $60 instead of $300! Except, they own and produce that brand - no one, anywhere, at anytime, has ever attempted to sell it for that made up MSRP.

That I will agree with. Making up some insane price, then pricing something comparatively well when it never was intended to sell at the original price is not good.

If Steam was stating that the original price was higher than it ever was, then discounting it to the real original price, then I would also have a problem.

This however, isn't what's happening, so everything's fine.
 

c@Nc3r

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If you look through some of the summer sales you will find that some show a price reduction percentage from an already reduced price. Like Deus Ex:HR. It shows a price of 19.99 and its reduced to 9.99 and it says 50% off. I'm pretty sure Deus Ex :HR came out at around the $50 mark. So they obviously aren't using an original price for everything. I think they just have so many things on sale they just have a few mess ups. Its like almost everything on steam is on sale right now. As long as the current price is worth it to you is all that should matter.
 

Bowman15

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People must really be frustrated at Valve's lack of Half Life 3 news if they are throwing a fit for shit like this....

Right or wrong I am one of those people pissed about HL3...:)

As far as the sales bait and switch who cares. Their still good deals!
 

somecallmeTim

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They've always done their sales this way -- ever since they've been doing them. This is nothing new, nothing different. Even the "bundles" ... same same same. No idea what people are up in arms about.
 

pxc

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It doesn't matter that Valve has always done it that way, those kinds of pricing shenanigans are deceptive. There are several ways Valve can present the discounts that aren't potential liabilities ("x% off original price", etc).

I don't think it matters to most people, but litigious people aren't "most people".
 

kbrickley

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I buy my games based on the price I will pay for it, not the discount ... games under $10 will catch my eye, regardless of their discount ... games between $10 and $25 require some though and although a discount might slightly motivate me to take the plunge, I will still judge it based on my desire to actually play the game ... I buy few games over $25 unless I plan to immediately play them
 

Dildonose

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Saying a game is $30 and 50% off normal price is definitely bogus if the game currently sells for $40 and not the original $60. Shame on you Steam. :( On the other hand, selling Left4Dead 2 for $3.99 is pretty good. :D
 

travbrad

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It does seem a bit shady, but it's a completely normal business practice in a lot of other industries. For example nearly every piece of guitar gear I buy has "20-40% savings", yet every store sells it for that exact same price.
 

rezerekted

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I don't condone any tomfoolery really, but anyone with half a brain can decide whether the offered price is worth it to them.

Except there is the issue of what they are doing is actually illegal. It is illegal in the EU and in NA.
 

rezerekted

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Canadian law regarding this issue.

http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/00522.html

False or Misleading Ordinary Selling Price Representations

Subsections 74.01(2) and 74.01(3) of the Competition Act are civil provisions. They prohibit the making, or the permitting of the making, of any materially false or misleading representation, to the public, as to the ordinary selling price of a product, in any form whatever.
 

_PixelNinja

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At least it is not as bad as the crap going on with GTA V pricing on Steam. Bundling additional paid content (not even content really, just in-game cash for people too lazy to farm it the old-fashioned way) to inflate the price just to make it look like a deal...that's pricing shenanigans.
Actually if one wanted to be cynical, they would say that Rockstar are bundling that in-game content so the game can not be refunded.
 

haste.

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This is NOT in ANY way similar to what you describe. What you describe is a straight-up lie.

The prices are listed right there for you on Steam. If they're giving you the initial selling price, plus the discount percentage, and the final price, sure they're leaving out a recent price-drop, but all of the numbers are right there for you. Math too hard?

Who cares if at one point Wolfenstein was selling for $40.

They list the original price as $60
The sale price is $15
They tell you the amount off is $75.

The starting point is different, but the amounts all work out, and are still WELL below the dropped price.

Silly? Maybe.

Marketing tactic? Maybe.

Is the price still fucking incredible for such a good game? Yep... Should people buy it? Yep...

What are people whining about again?

Slob Gabe often?

People need to use logic, but your many posts seem like you want to bed the fat man more so than point out the silliness of the whining...
 
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