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Whine about CM costs thread. Post here!


bobo

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You can buy Commonwealth module for $45. Or you can buy Market Garden module for $35. Or you can buy Commonwealth and MG bundled together for $5 off. Plus they'll throw in the $10 2.0 upgrade for free, just in case you need to install it. This sounds like a win-win-win. Complaining that you 'had to buy' the 2.0 upgrade more than a year ago is like complaining that this year's make of car isn't pre-discounted to what the car will be worth after you've owned it for a year. Yeh, life's unfair like that. And another thing, why don't bakeries sell their fresh bread at the same discounted price as day old bread?

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Given that I own the CMBN base game only and purchased the 2.0 upgrade, I too wish that there was a two-module bundle (CW and MG) that didn't include the upgrade I already paid for. But upgrade price of $10 was more than fair for the expanded feature set I received. I mean, it makes no sense to me to make a big deal about $5 or $10. "The principal of the thing" starts to mean a whole lot less (to me, anyway) when we're talking about lunch money.

However, this does raise a question. Once the 3.0 upgrade is extended to CMBN and CMFI, if I buy Red Thunder, which already includes the 3.0 engine, and then buy CW and MG, will my CMBN games and modules all automatically be 3.0, thereby obviating the need for me to purchase a separate CMBN 3.0 upgrade?

No. Not being BF I still feel fairly confident of that :D. Reasoning is that CW itself installs at 1.10 I think. MG you have to either be at 2.0 or have it with the 2.0 bundle. 3.0 is a completely separate stand alone. Basically the same as 2.0 was at release. I wouldn't even begin to guess at pricing. I have no idea what kind of effort it requires from BF. I would think less than the 2.0 upgrade because they no longer have the bump map issue, but I really have no idea. Doing it automatically though would mean an all new set of installers. :eek: (that is beta tester for "you gotta be f'in kidding me")

Not sure that anyone has noticed but all the new installers are indicative of something BF said early on that they would only support the current release and the one preceding. From my perspective that seems to be part of the intent of the new installers- get folks past the 1.x series of patches and right to the latest version of 2.0 before 3.0 is out. It definitely makes life simpler on the helpdesk and reduces effort and possibility of error for new purchasers.

I think we all tend to forget that BF is doing a lot of different things simultaneously and unfortunately you don't always know the issues that will crop up as you implement. The idea of keeping all CMx2 games from CMBN on current was a huge commitment. I think BF is still struggling to figure out the best way to keep to that commitment and there will be some rough patches as it develops. The fact that the full installer is not available to folks who purchased the base games and modules as they were released is a prime example. From BFs view it would make life so much easier if they could. That they haven't yet is indicative of how much labor it would take to do so now ( which in turn indicates sales have probably been pretty darn good.)

And just to be clear, I do get what folks are talking about regarding practices at other companies. I just reloaded WitPAE on my new PC and it dutifully checked back home and updated me to the latest version. I like that a lot. Way easier than reloading CM if you don't have the full bundle installer. Still the last update from it was 2012. The game was 3 years old then. CMBN is 3 years old this year and we are looking at many years of updates to come. Apples to apples comparisons are really hard to come by.

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Value is subjective energy exchange between people in a marketplace. It really is up to the two parties to determine what happens at what cost.

Maybe "the community" could form a Union for collective CM bargaining to avoid “taking it in the rear-end” or “being exploited” to stop the “de facto monopoly power” flexing their “... monopolistic exploitation of market power” ... but might need a Federal Arbitrator to determine the value of CM .. for everyone.... and maybe toss in a free steak for the loudest whiner ;)

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CW expense: perhaps it reflects what BFC thinks they put into it?

Tank for tank, model count, TO&E expansion, campaigns, editor upgrades are all "heavier" than that which went into MG?

Trailblazer module took more initial work than follow on modules?

Or, BFC thinks the CW market can leverage more cash out of the exploited consumer class than it can with MG?

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Maybe "the community" could form a Union for collective CM bargaining to avoid “taking it in the rear-end” or “being exploited” to stop the “de facto monopoly power” flexing their “... monopolistic exploitation of market power” ... but might need a Federal Arbitrator to determine the value of CM .. for everyone.... and maybe toss in a free steak for the loudest whiner ;)

What are you smokin', Buzz? :)

Seriously, guys. I mean. Good Gawd. The lack of perspective in the whining here is epic.

BF has excellent business practices. NO ONE is being screwed in any way, shape, or form. Get over yourselves. PLEASE.

If you miss a sale, you miss a sale.

If you buy a product and the new model comes out the next day for the same price--that's just bad luck. There is no conspiracy of evil pointed towards you.

CM is the best entertainment value for money I've ever experienced. They could stand to go up in price a bit, actually. Underpricing your product is a surefire way to kill your business. It doesn't matter if other games are lower. They can't do what CM does.

What BF has done with the new installer system is a great idea. There was too much clutter. Now there isn't. If you bought an upgrade earlier, you've been enjoying that and it only cost a token anyway. If you bought something recently and can't take advantage of the change, well then "you missed the sale." Unluckly? Sure. Bad business? GET A GRIP.

But then, who am I to say this?

Just a guy who passed on CMSF and CMFI but has no beef at all with their pricing. And a guy who has been successfully self-employed in a slow global economy for 11 years.

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"What are you smokin', Buzz?"

I wish...our laws were adjusted to legally allow that. May have to wait a little while longer ... :)

Yep, Erwin had me pegged.

No problem Macisle. Your post is in the 10 ring. "The lack of perspective in the whining here is epic."

What is particularly frivolous to me are suggestions that "the community" is.. should do xyz.. estimation of MY entertainment value should be worth xyz. Sounds way to "federal" for my tastes.... but everyone has an opinion.

The 'beauty' is the very “de facto monopoly power” guys .. Battlefront ...allow this free exchange of thoughts and ideas on their “... monopolistic exploitation of market power” free game forum. Now maybe Battlefront could charge less for games by cutting out their excessive overhead of a free forum ;)

This is not BF's 1st rodeo... nor their last. When those currently suffering from what they see as “taking it in the rear-end” or “being exploited” (over a freaking game for gawds sake!) have sufficiently expressed their angst they will either buy or not.

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Just to pipe in...

Customers are the only ones who can judge value. I just fixed a pair of my mother-in-law's $6 flipflops with some ShoeGoo. Lasted her a couple of weeks before the horrid and shoddy design and manufacturing failed. Some people think spending $40 on a pair of quality flipflops is a waste of money. I personally think spending $6 on something that lasts a couple of weeks and fails while you're out walking around town is dumb. Each to their own.

The best indication of if our prices are too low, too high, or just about right comes from how well we (the makers) are doing financially. I know guys who do the same work I do for big game companies and get paid many times more what I do and have about zero personal risk other than perhaps getting fired. Same with every Battlefront employee. So one could say that we're not charging enough because people working similar jobs make more money than we do. On the other hand, we have the perk of not being slaves. It's a good perk :D Because we're underpaid, but have had steady work for 15 years, I'd say we're earning just about right. Which means what we're charging you guys is just about right.

The wargaming niche has a bunch of limitations and we've learned how to live with them. One is that it's small and, if anything, shrinking. Another is that you guys don't want to repurchase content every couple of years just to get a few new features. That's the standard wargame industry tactic, but we think you'd rather get new features for a nominal price and not have to reinvest. Which is why we think it's rather ironic that some people complain about a $10 upgrade price. Seems they would rather have no option to upgrade and then in a few years have to repurchase everything all over again. Oh wait, I forgot the other possibility... wanting something for nothing. Well, we have a number of issues with that ;) First is that we'd go out of business if we didn't recoup our expenses. I know, I know... somehow we're supposed to be profitable without actually charging for our services, but so far we haven't figured out how to do that.

In the end we will stay around as long as you guys are willing to pay for what we offer. It's pretty simple.

Steve

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Just to pipe in...

Customers are the only ones who can judge value. I just fixed a pair of my mother-in-law's $6 flipflops with some ShoeGoo. Lasted her a couple of weeks before the horrid and shoddy design and manufacturing failed. Some people think spending $40 on a pair of quality flipflops is a waste of money. I personally think spending $6 on something that lasts a couple of weeks and fails while you're out walking around town is dumb. Each to their own.

The best indication of if our prices are too low, too high, or just about right comes from how well we (the makers) are doing financially. I know guys who do the same work I do for big game companies and get paid many times more what I do and have about zero personal risk other than perhaps getting fired. Same with every Battlefront employee. So one could say that we're not charging enough because people working similar jobs make more money than we do. On the other hand, we have the perk of not being slaves. It's a good perk :D Because we're underpaid, but have had steady work for 15 years, I'd say we're earning just about right. Which means what we're charging you guys is just about right.

The wargaming niche has a bunch of limitations and we've learned how to live with them. One is that it's small and, if anything, shrinking. Another is that you guys don't want to repurchase content every couple of years just to get a few new features. That's the standard wargame industry tactic, but we think you'd rather get new features for a nominal price and not have to reinvest. Which is why we think it's rather ironic that some people complain about a $10 upgrade price. Seems they would rather have no option to upgrade and then in a few years have to repurchase everything all over again. Oh wait, I forgot the other possibility... wanting something for nothing. Well, we have a number of issues with that ;) First is that we'd go out of business if we didn't recoup our expenses. I know, I know... somehow we're supposed to be profitable without actually charging for our services, but so far we haven't figured out how to do that.

In the end we will stay around as long as you guys are willing to pay for what we offer. It's pretty simple.

Steve

"Customers are the only ones who can judge value" :)

Don't need a "community" estimator telling me what MY entertainment value should be worth. Everyone can have an opinion but only I know what mine should be. Thank you...

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I come off rather harsh on CM and BFC. However, I do thoroughly enjoy the games and the work BFC puts into it. I will continue to purchase a few games/modules every now and then and I'm excited about the upcoming content.

I post because I enjoy the games enough to care.

Unfortunately the current pricing structure doesn't really work with my eclectic wants when it comes to games. I rather more breadth than depth. I would also love to see how CM:SF + modules or CM:BN + modules would do on Steam. CM is good enough that I think it is niche largely based on the nonexistent PR rather than the average gamer being too dumb.

Also what are the chances of combining all of the familes now that they are being kept up to date. I would absolutely love a 1946 East Vs. West game.

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CM is a niche product in a market that probably has a fairly limited potential size.

Very true.

That acts as an effective deterrent to Battlefront’s would be competition and endows BF with de facto monopoly power.

Untrue. First, the wargaming niche is not attractive to most game developers PERIOD. Because it is a niche it is inherently less attractive than anything that is not a niche.

Secondly, we were not deterred when we entered this genre even though, at the time, we were going up against companies that spent more marketing wargames than we spent making them. We were "stupid enough" to get into this genre, so what's everybody else's excuse? Probably that they are smart enough to understand that with lower investment they have a chance for higher returns in other areas. Plus, wargame developers are themselves wargame players, which means there's a much smaller niche of people even interested in developing for this niche to begin with. I can promise you the suits at Electronic Arts and Activision aren't sitting around in their boardrooms saying "let's get into wargaming!" primarily because they don't even know what a wargame is.

Which is why it's a niche :D

It comes, then, as no surprise to see them behaving like a monopolist.

Not even close. We only have a monopoly if our customers don't have any other interests or competing financial needs. Or that our customers don't have limited free time and might opt to invest their time elsewhere. Do you really want to argue that's true? Because if you do, then you really don't understand basic economics and you certainly don't understand our customer base. Heck, this thread alone shows exactly what I'm talking about.

In short, if we don't act as though our customers might rather spend their next $55 on Bungie's soon to be released $500 million Dollar budgeted game, or spend their gaming hours playing X-Com on their iPad, we'd be out of business. You might think we have a captured slave like audience, but we don't. Honestly, your presumption is a tad bit disrespectful of our customers. They aren't one dimensional automatons.

Compared to more competitive segments of the games industry, we observe persistently higher prices, patches with a positive price, relatively low rates of innovation/product development, extremely draconian activation restrictions,

If any of this were accurate I'd engage in a debate. But since it isn't, I can simplify my answer with a simple, "none of that is true" response.

and frequent community interaction on the forums that might be concisely paraphrased as “we know better than our customers, so STFU” (see, e.g., the last post here: http://www.battlefront.com/community/showthread.php?t=115612&page=17&highlight=steam).

Hmm... clearly I did tell our customers that we know more about making, marketing, and selling games than they do. Which is a fact, so why do I lose points for stating something that should be obvious?

Nowhere did I tell our customers to "STFU". What I did do is explain our position based on experience and challenged anybody who disagrees with our conclusions to establish a counter argument based on their experience in the same industry. If someone can not do that then they are in no position to debate. If I wanted to tell people to "STFU" I wouldn't have wasted my time explaining and educating, now would I?

This behaviour is buttressed by a sycophantic community that takes every opportunity to rush to BF's defence upon any suggestion that the company might cut consumers a better deal. Many in that community adopt the view that they get a lot of value out of the products, so ‘being exploited is okay’. In a properly functioning, competitive market, value is not an appropriate benchmark for price! Take out any introductory economics textbook and you will find that value-based pricing is the hallmark of the monopolistic exploitation of market power.

The biggest reason why people come to our defense is that they aren't unreasonable people with little understanding of the options that have been made available to them by other game developers over the last 25 years of computer wargaming. Therefore, they aren't inclined to allow baseless and ill informed slights or outright attacks go unchallenged. Which is a smart thing, because if all our customers did was whine and complain with no support given to us, we would be making empty headed iPad games at 1/100th the cost and probably wind up with more money in our pockets.

This is not a diatribe against BF.

Perhaps not, but it's pretty close to one :D

They are the only people making anything like this, they generally do a good job, and they have to cover their fixed costs which might go some way to justifying its pricing.

Actually, we should charge a lot more. But we know the market won't support it, so we're stuck with either charging what we charge or walking away from wargaming entirely. So far we've made the "right" choice.

But the community should do better, especially on lobbying over non-pecuniary issues. Mainstream gaming is littered with examples of proactive consumers securing better treatment for themselves. But a community that won’t stand up for itself should prepare to take it in the rear-end.

Hehe... wargamers who don't stand up for themselves is like saying a Tea Party candidates are afraid to say what they really think :D Including about such topics as legitimate rape, witchcraft, how many thousands of years old the Earth is, and why Freedom of Religion was never meant to defend Islam. You know, stuff like that.

Our customers tell us what they want and what they value most. Sometimes they are off base and we try to bring them back to Earth (which is the planet we live on). Fortunately most of the time our customers provide us with invaluable insights into what they value. We listen and we deliver based on that feedback, to the best of our abilities. It's a simple equation that's worked well for us for 15 years and we see no reason to start shutting out customer feedback now.

Steve

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I'll pay a premium for "Black Sea" or whatever they call it - if they can get it out quicker. How's that?

unfortunately we have to wait. Thanks to this thread we just diverted Steve from the project. Damn I thought it was Chris' turn to chain him to the desk.

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"Customers are the only ones who can judge value" :)

Don't need a "community" estimator telling me what MY entertainment value should be worth. Everyone can have an opinion but only I know what mine should be. Thank you...

We often are accused of being snobbish or abusive when we suggest to customers that if they don't like what we have to offer that they play something else. Quite the contrary, it's really good life advice for anything. I don't try to get Lady Gaga to make the kind of music I want to hear because it's obviously not what she wants to make. So I buy Laibach instead. 27 years and counting and still a happy customer. Except for the fact that I just realized that I'm 27 years older when I first started listening to them. Not as depressing as the math I do for Metallica, but it's pretty close.

I come off rather harsh on CM and BFC. However, I do thoroughly enjoy the games and the work BFC puts into it. I will continue to purchase a few games/modules every now and then and I'm excited about the upcoming content.

I post because I enjoy the games enough to care.

Thanks and we care as well. Obviously, because there's no financial reason for me to be posting here.

Unfortunately the current pricing structure doesn't really work with my eclectic wants when it comes to games. I rather more breadth than depth.

Understood. When we started out making CMx2 we had to choose between depth and breadth because we couldn't afford to do both for the same price as CMx1. So we chose to do depth per release and breadth over multiple releases. I do understand why someone would prefer we went back to the CMx1 model, and perhaps someday we will. But CMx2 was never intended to be that way and we're pleased with our choice.

I would also love to see how CM:SF + modules or CM:BN + modules would do on Steam.

Steam would put us out of business. There's plenty of threads about this already, so I'd rather not rehash that topic again.

CM is good enough that I think it is niche largely based on the nonexistent PR rather than the average gamer being too dumb.

This has been a theory wargamers have held onto dearly since the 1960s. It's never been true and never will be true. Put any CMx2 game in front of the average person and watch their eyes glaze over. No amount of marketing will change that. Which means every $1 we spend on pointless PR means having to charge you guys $1 more to get back to break even.

Also what are the chances of combining all of the familes now that they are being kept up to date. I would absolutely love a 1946 East Vs. West game.

The game engine is inherently broken up into Families. It would be very difficult, technically, to combine them all together. Plus, it wouldn't change the pricing strategy any since the content still costs the same to make.

Steve

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Crap! I was hoping that Steve would not have to post on this thread.

Other than that it was going pretty well.

Back to Black Sea sir! Or wait a minute. He usually pops up when something is coming soon...

Back to the whining! In this thread only.

Bobo

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I must admit I am beginning to think twice at what I am spending on CM. Although I am sure that hard grogs are happy with the costs, I also think that the price may be off-putting to less dedicated (and younger) CM players who will juggle with other games at the same time. I do wonder if the player base growth is being somewhat stifled as a result.

I think that is altogether fitting and proper. If there are gamers who are happier playing other games, that is what they should be doing. I don't think BFC's proper mission is to gather in every wargamer on the planet. Tastes vary too much and he who tries to please everybody ends up pleasing no one. I think BFC knows their audience very well and from the sounds of things is happily solvent. As long as they can keep turning out games that are loved by their customer base—of which I am one—what does it matter if Joe Blow living on an island in the middle of the Amazon River prefers something else?

Michael

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An old adage says that all good things in life are free, yet this game is not, why?

Come to think of it, I come from a state whose motto is, "Live free or die". So why are all things in life not free?

Who needs this fiat currency anyway? Why can't I buy a CM game with, say, a rabbit hide?

Until then, guess I'll just use a credit card.

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...you need to update your board game pricing vision Michael, lately they have become significantly more expensive...

I am well aware of that, which is why I specified that the $5-10 range applied only to the '70s and earlier. When I stopped buying boardgames about 25 years ago the prices had climbed into the $50-80 range with some going even higher. I haven't tried to keep up with boardgame prices lately, but it would not come as a shock that they have increased even further. So why is everybody all excited to try to prove that I don't know something I know very well?

Michael

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$10 in 1975 is $44 in today's dollars.

It can be even worse than that. The official cost of living is held down by the price of housing and food not having increased explosively. But most of the things I buy with "disposable income" have jumped ten to twenty times what they cost me in the '70s. I simply do not buy a lot of things I would have bought unhesitatingly 35-45 years ago. I borrow a lot of books from the city library that before I would have bought for my own collection. Counting all CM base games and modules as separate items, I buy five or six games a year instead of ten to twelve. Recorded music now costs me about five times as much, so I buy less of it. And the list goes on.

Michael

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