Videogames were always the ‘expensive toy’. Not as costly as some, but definitively not cheap. Today, in our geek loving world, where videogames are common to a wide range of the society and became near this once “kid’s entertainment”, we found them everywhere with a price tag. As we affirmed previously, today, almost everyone plays videogames. Casual, hardcore, indie, triple A. Videogames took the place of much different kind of toys that helped in everyday education. Videogames now helps you exercise your body and mind. Videogames simulate real environments and are used as a study material. They also appear en form of simulators and aid to the learning of pilots, drivers and train engineers and operators. Videogames are everywhere.
And they are not cheap.
ALL ABOARD PIRATE GALLEON!
Piracy is quite a phenomenon. If we dig in the history of informatics piracy we will come across with a familiar dude. Bill Gates coined (and buffed) the term “pirates” in 1976 to assemble (pun not intended) down those users that distributed software of other creators without their permission. Of course, he was addressing himself in the matter.
The action of Piracy was regulated as long ago as the XVIII century with proper legislation on subsequent years. It was just about time that such contemptible practice reached technological culture. And as far as 1980 we were already doing it full speed.
Of course, it wasn’t that easy in consoles where cartridges were the norm. But PC was another deal. Every game on a diskette was reproduced by thousands and the ones weren’t borrowed, were sold as originals. Those dirrrty scallywags!
Original videogames, aren’t and never were cheap. Indie developers change obscene budgets for hard work, tons of coffee, and no social life. That way they can lower the cost of the game at the release. Most indie games never pass through the 20 US$ barrier.
On the other hand, almost every game from a big studio has a price number above that digit at the time it comes out, and even when the roof is almost always 60 US$, DLC’s, Season Passes, and et cetera, takes the number over the 100 bucks. A good old Benjamin. And when you are a frequent consumer of videogames, we are talking of a party of Franklins with those bifocals, you know?
THE TRAIN STOPPED
We need some coal for the Steam Locomotive.
When piracy became rampant, developers started to include ways of difficult the process. Those ways consisted of serial numbers; inserting the original CD; and when internet arose: logging to an account attached to your in-game avatar.
Of course, developers knew that on the other side of the trench were skilled programmers that fucked up every honest intent of legalization. And then, when freedom fighting developers figured the way out, all over the net appeared cracks, serial numbers sites, ISOs, virtual drivers and a bunch of other sweet frauds.
Developers and the big companies behind them had lose the (video)game.
What could they do?
And then that brilliant idea shone in the gaming sky:
WHAT ABOUT FREE GAMES?
Steam and other agents started to emerge as interfaces between gamers and the gaming industry. You want a game? Here you have. Step by step they grew so much that they almost comprised every game available. PC with Steam, Origin, HumbleBundle and lots others. Playstation with PSN. XBOX with Live! Every new game emerges, aspires to be included on those platforms.
And when became apparent that people in the search engines always filtered videogames by their cost (with obvious exceptions) and replay value strictly attached to the multiplayer mode, the procedure was obvious.
Now, free games are almost never FREE. Yes, you are able to download it and play it, but is inside the game that it shows their trickery. Micro transactions. This word is fondled by economists. Micro Transactions, DLC’s and Season Passes are the huge ‘go fuck yourself’, that industry does to the pirates. You want to speed up the forging of your armor? How about spending 3 bucks on it? Or else, you can wait 72 hours. The smart dude (or the poor or cheap one) won’t yield, and will wait those looong three days. The vicious gamer will probably reach the credit card so fast that would look as a junkie to normal people (whoever those dudes are).
Gaming industry knows this. Videogames are our medical marijuana. Is a vice as much as another one. So they give you the game (drug) for free, and when you are hooked up, they charge you whatever they want under the excuse that is your decision. And sadly… it kinda is. You can say “no” even when, mentally, you probably can’t. I KNOW THAT THAT PHRASE IS TOO CONVOLUTED.
CHEAP & DEAL
Sure, I got you thinking in two squirrels. That’s me. The brainiac.
In the end of this ordeal we found what lies between each end. Really cheap games.
Steam itself has 1157 games under 5 US$. Two hundred under 3 US$. Sure, much of them are probably garbage. You must never forget that Assassin’s Creed Unity list price is 59,99 US$.
In the lot of those low-priced games we can find (Source: STEAM):
-Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (0,50 cents)
-Knights and Merchants (0,90 cents)
-Urban Trial Freestyle (0,99 cents)
-Ford Racing 3 (1,24 US$)
-Worms (1,99 US$)
You are feeling like a big spender?
–Life is Strange (4,99 US$)
-Five nights at Freddy’s (4,99 US$)
-The Binding of Isaac (4,99 US$)
-Halo Spartan Assault (4,99 US$)
PSN and XBOX Live follow this formula with nuances. Both of them giveaway free games to premium users via Gold Memberships. If you are an older dude like me you don’t have that much time for playing anyway.
If you ask, every option is a plausible one. I like a lot of triple A games, a lot of cheap ones, and one or two freebies.
But I tell you this: if you’re a gamer and your wallet is raped, you’ll found a lot of cheap games for you in every platform and those, maybe older, will provide you the exact same amount of fun.