The subjective perception of value
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 November 2012, 10:08 am
It is Black Friday today, with Cyber Monday coming up. Of course there is a sale on Steam. Before Steam I used to buy games when they came out, because it was often difficult to get hold of a copy a year later in a brick-and-mortar shop. But these days I only buy games at release when I really can't wait to play them, for example XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Games that are released where I just think "oh, I might want to play that one day" go on my wishlist instead. And when Steam does a sale, I check my wishlist and usually buy some games for cheap. This time I got Port Royale 3, Endless Space, and Darksiders II, all of which were heavily discounted so that for the 3 games together I paid only as much as I had paid for XCOM. Even more tellingly two games are still left on my wishlist, Borderlands 2 and Dishonored, because they "only" had a 25% discount, and I'll get them at the next sale for even cheaper.

I find the psychology behind that interesting. I could perfectly well afford to buy Borderlands 2 or any other game on release for full price. But something in my mind makes some sort of really strange calculation and comes up with a result of "$50? Naaaaaah, not worth it!". And the day I can buy the game for less than half that, I buy it. It might then still sit in my Steam library for months before I actually play the game, but I don't mind. At a certain price level I perceive the game to be worth it.

I wonder if other people work like that as well, just with a different subjective valuation. Steam tells me a lot of people who didn't buy XCOM when it came out did buy it during the current sale. I can well imagine that for somebody else a shooter game is an immediate must-buy, while a turn-based game can wait for the next sale, while my priorities are the other way around.

Do you have different price points for different games, where the game suddenly appears to be worth buying during a sale?
Tobold's Blog

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