3 Rules For Pricing Your Indie Game
We’re going to talk about three rules for pricing your indie game coming up. What’s up guys Tim Ruswick here from Game Dev Underground helping you build finish and launch better games. Today we’re talking about pricing. But pricing more specifically on your indie game. And there’s a lot of different ways to price stuff right. This is always a question that comes up like how much should I charge. And this is the question in every industry not just in game development.
Like I remember when I started my marketing company it was like you know the same service can go for $100 or $1,000, or $10,000, depending on who’s doing it, who’s involved, what kind of you know work load needs, to be done how much testing all that kind of stuff. So it was when I got started it was really like complex like how do I know what to charge.
And when I started selling products online I had a really weird experience too because my first product was a piece of software that helped developers get their assets into game engines and I put it online for 5 bucks, and I— first of all I was terrified to do that because selling on the Internet holy shit that’s scary.
But secondly like not many people bought it and I was kind of discouraged. But but I’m few months later what I decide to do is raise the price to 30 bucks and for some reason that shot up sales. Like way more people bought it at 30 than they ever did at 5. And it was a weird experience for me that’s actually what propelled my interest into marketing because it was like this is completely illogical.
This doesn’t make any logical sense. This is all emotional. Why would someone pay— not not why would they pay the money because the software was worth it— but why would more people buy this product at higher price and they did a lower price that defies all logic right. And so that kind of got me into marketing which got me and I’ve priced a bunch of stuff and over the time I’ve learned a lot of stuff.
So let’s talk about number one which I should do this backwards but I’m going to tell you why it’s important for you to do. But rule number one is going down as always easier than going up. I was lucky because when I raised the price of my software it actually it was a new version so like I had an excuse to do that.
But generally when you price something it’s always easier to start high and go lower than to go low and then try and raise them later. Because if you charge too little you can’t really come back from that. Especially when you’re on when you’re not on your own platform. So like again for me I have a landing page I have my own website I could do whatever the hell I want.
But if you’re on Steam or something people see your game goes up you know twice the price they’re going to complain. They’re going to leave negative reviews .shits going to happen. And you’ve got to keep that in mind like people don’t it’s a weird feeling it almost feels like betrayal to some people when you increase your price. So generally if you’re debating between a higher and lower price picks a higher price because it’s always easier to go lower than to go higher.
So that’s rule number one. Rule number two is you need to decide the comparison. And here’s what I mean by that. If you’ve ever browsed Steam, if you ever went through their catalogue, you’ll notice that a lot of really good selling games they have different versions. And the reason they have different versions is simple.
Because if you were browsing through Steam and you find a game that you potentially like and as I say Steam but it can be any any portal out there you find a game that you like for your 10 bucks but then you find another game that you like for 10 bucks which you’re now doing is you know you’re comparing the two between for your dollars. You’re saying out well this looks cool but this looks cool but this looks cool.
When you have multiple versions you can do what’s called controlling the comparison this is a marketing technique. Essentially is if you if you have let’s say you have your game and you have the game bundled with the soundtrack now you can allow the person to compare those two items rather than your game to something else, which is always better.
And generally this is really this is really weird and by the way there’s a book called predictably irrational which I have here on my desk which is a great read on this you should definitely read this if you’re thinking about pricing your game. But essentially like let’s say you have your game and your soundtrack for your game bundled at 20 bucks but then your game is $10. This is really powerful. And here’s why.
You’re going to say hey why is the game and the soundtrack 20 bucks that’s a ripoff. The game I’ll just buy the game. But you see the magic of what happens there you see? The fact that this other thing that you don’t really want is way higher than this other thing that you do want and so the price of $10 becomes ridiculously low in your mind because you’re controlling the comparison.
You are controlling now they’re comparing two things that you made and they’re choosing that rather than a thing you made anything you didn’t make because you can lose a sale that way. So controlling the comparison is really important. And it’s also important to inflate prices like this sometimes because it makes your your game seem like a better deal.
And I see this a whole bunch on Steam games I see this really often. I’m surprised it’s not like a mainstream knowledge at this point because it’s you know so my wall is done I see tiny bill do it I see a bunch of different policy companies do it so it’s really simple. Rule number three winning doubt test.
Now I was really surprised when I when I got back into the indie game industry that marketing took a backseat and that this whole testing and landing pages and A B tests and all this all this marketing jargon that I was used to in the marketing realm was like non-existent in indie game development. And essentially in a marketing company we test everything.
Like in my marketing company we would legit test everything. I had a client that I worked with she had beauty care products I forget what they kind of forget what they were now but they were they were something that was really popular in Asia and she was bringing it to the United States but she had no idea what to charge. She wanted a high-end brand but she wasn’t sure where she was at.
And so one of things that we did was we took a modest budget like a thousand two thousand bucks and those are modest budgets relative to the products. So you know you don’t even have to do sometimes if you deal with a hundred. But we we set up different ads on different networks we set up on Google and Facebook and we basically targeted her target audience. We sent ads to a landing page.
And the landing page when someone got to the landing page they would see one of three versions at random. So we’ll pick a random version to show them. And we tested prices of like 39, 59, and 99. We tested a bunch of different stuff and we ended up testing a lot more prices than that too. But essentially what we found was for some reason one price worked better than the other. What for whatever reason we don’t know why I still don’t know why to this day but one price worked better than the other. So you can test you can do tests.
And the thing about this too by the way we didn’t actually have the product for sale you can test with live products but you don’t have to. So when they would actually click buy now unlike the $59 product we’d be like oh this product is coming soon and your name and email to get notified when it’s available. So we didn’t actually lose any money by you know selling low or anything like that. It was just a test so this is something you could do with your game very easily.
You can make it you know you can set up a landing page that looks like it’s ready to buy. You can get everything ready and split test different prices and then have when someone clicks oh just say how games not launched yet it’ll launch in you know whenever, and your name and email to let us know when you’re there. And you can all you gotta do is track the clicks on those buttons right. You track the conversion rate on those buttons and what you end up with is hard data on what people are willing to pay for your game what they want to pay.
And what you’ll find is cheapest price isn’t always the best price. It’s really weird how that works out but testing is really really important and I highly recommend you do it it’s a little little technically complex especially if you don’t know how to do landing pages and stuff. You can use tools like leadpages or Unbounce.com that will help you build landing pages a little bit better easier they’re drag-and-drop tools so that makes it really easy. But you know think in terms like like actually put some thought into this.
Like don’t just say hey I’m going to charge 10 bucks and just throw it up there. Really kind of think through this whole process test your with your audience decide their comparison and remember it’s always easier to go down than it is to go up. So those are the three rules I think for pricing and indie game. If you’ve got any experience or anything you’d like to share please leave a comment below because I love to hear from you guys. If you’ve any questions I’ll be happy to answer them as well.
But once again I’m Tim Ruswick and I’ll see you guys next time.