If you want to play the Nintendo 3DS game ‘LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins’ you can order it online at £29.99.
Alternatively, you can download it directly from the Nintendo channel, for £34.99.
This is a puzzling pricing strategy since the game is exactly the same (as far as I am aware, the downloadable game does not have any additional features). Indeed, it could be argued that the downloadable version is cheaper to produce because there is no packaging required, or costs with storage and distribution.
Furthermore, it’s not like the pricing difference between a book and an e-book. While the cost of producing and distributing the electronic version of the book should be lower than for the physical version, we could argue that the eBook is more convenient to carry and use. If it has added benefits for the user, then the price will reflect that.
I conducted a short poll on Twitter, asking when players would be prepared to pay extra for downloading a game. My extremely unscientific and unrepresentative study did not shed much light, either. Hum… it seems to me that the only difference between downloading the game or buying it online or in a store is when you can start playing it.
If you download it, you can start playing it immediately.
If you order it from, say, Amazon, the earliest you could get it is by lunchtime, the next day. To keep it simple, let’s assume that this represents a 24 hours wait. So, effectively, this price difference is saying that players would value playing the game 1 day early at more than £5 (i.e., valuation = price difference between the two options = £34.99 – £29.99 = £5).
I say ‘more than £5’ because having a physical copy of the game means that you could trade it in, once you are tired of playing the game. The trade in value for this game quoted on Amazon as of May 27th is £6.85 (most likely, the trade in value will change over time – but, to keep it simple, let’s work with this amount).
In this scenario, the pricing strategy means that the value of 1 day’s play is £34.99 – £29.99 + £6.85 = £11.85.
So, there you go, being impatient costs! In this case, it costs £11.85. That’s around 1/3 of the game’s price. Are you sure that you really want to download that game, today? 🙂