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  1. 2010/01/13 Column : 'Price War' among Casual Game Portals.

Column : 'Price War' among Casual Game Portals.

I found 1 thread in developer's forum, which is crying over 6.99$ price at Big Fish Games. Well, it's not so new, and 'Price War' was somewhat complex for several years.

I'd write summary among those Casual Portals 'Price War'. But I haven't see every portals at then, and can't remember exactly when & how. This is just summary of what I experienced & remembered. If I missed some important things, please let me know by replying.

- Long ago (2-3 years ago.)

BFG had subscription like these.
19.99$ : Nothing you need. Just purchase, with expensive price.
9.99$ : 6 months subscription needed. Will be paid for 1 coupon monthly automatically.
6.99$ : 12 months subscription needed. Will be paid for 1 coupon monthly automatically.

At then, other portals had similar subscription based system. But almost of them were 9.99$ / 14.99$ each, not so low as 6.99$.

Real Arcade might have monthly subscription, 1 game free + additional games are discounted. That might be 9.99$ + additional 14.99$? Can't remember exactly, anyway somewhat like that.

Wildgames had 'coin' system. You could purchase coin(monthly based or just purchase), which can be used to Purchase or Rental. (Pay-per-play style.)

- 1 year ago.

Amazon got Reflexive, and they started selling games 9.99$(newer) / 6.99$(older). No subscprion needed, just lower price. That's very important change for Casual Portals 'Price War', because Amazon is so hugh & important company, and Reflexive NEVER discounted price from 19.99$ until then.

Right after Amazon - Reflexive unity, other portals started discount price to 9.99$ (or lower), as Spintop games did.

BFG has changed 6.99$ only, no subscription limit needed / but you will be automatically joined for that subscription.

- Now.

Amazon - Reflexive has several different prices, 6.99 7.99 10.99. And for 6.99, it's not limited to older ones, even some newer ones. And Amazon - Reflexive site has somewhat different lists, even if Amazon download games are updated by Reflexive.

Even Sandlot games started selling some new releases as 6.99.

BFG is still same, 6.99$.
Plus, 2.99$ daily sale for 1 chosen games each day, through Toolbar(IE/Firefox).
And they started selling some 'Collectible Edition' w/ extra contents, maybe 19.99$ or more. (Later they release plain release for same game.)

Plus, Playfirst & Big Fish Games are united.

- Summary

-> BFG is NOT the only 1, who caused price war.
-> The most important change was, Amazon got Reflexive.

P.S. :  Even if I didn't write about Steam, they offered 9.99$ casual games (started from Popcap), and that could effect lower price somewhat for Core game portal.

P.S. 2 : In fact, such changes among Casual Games are more complex. Not only for PC game price war, but also for Nintendo DS / XBLA porting(29.99$ or 19.99$), even for Facebook game. And not sure you know, even Big Fish Games started 'Online Game' Free-2-play style subscription. I just wrote about 'PC Downloadable Casual Game' price war here.
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