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Nate Lawrence

Why the price?

Question: What is it that makes Steel Beast Pro so expensive to develop, and how do you defend the price?

 

I'm not angry or criticizing eSim, I enjoy their product very much and think $125 was well worth it. I've just wondered what is it that makes the game so expensive, and also, how the community defends the hefty asking price. I would defend it with the logic that SB Pro PE charges $125 for the full game in its entirety, while AAA titles can have similar cost when you factor in DLC and micro transactions. DCS, for example, costs over $800 on Steam with all DLC included.

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I seem to remember reading that SB Pro PE generates the largest portion of their tech support issues even though we're a significantly smaller portion of their income.

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1 minute ago, Rotareneg said:

I seem to remember reading that SB Pro PE generates the largest portion of their tech support issues even though we're a significantly smaller portion of their income.

 

I'd guess it comes from the diversity of consumer PC hardware/software, while most government users are running on pretty consistent setups.

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Also sales volume plays a part.

If your selling thousands of copies you can well afford to reduce the cost of the finished product.

Cover your development costs and still make a profit.

Unfortunately SB is a niche product.

Also some potential new customers who think SB is over priced do not realise there buying ten years of upgrades.

 

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I must say though that most of those who complain about US$125 are totally unaware of the time limited license option.

 

If they are short attention span users (i.e. easily bored or want some RTS twitch game) then they don't have to spend anywhere near US$125.

 

If they buy a one month license, like what they see and get "hooked", then they can see the value in the US$125 option.

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Honestly, when compared to simulations of its caliber, Steel Beasts isn't that far off on pricing. For example, Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations retails for $80 (not including DLC, which is actually cheap at $2.99 a piece), Gary Grigsby's War in the East is $80, and all DLC pushed the price to $110. Both of these games are acknowledged as being top tier for their specific focal area, and both have relatively niche markets. 

 

Also, the price is relative towards the market it is geared towards. Compare Pro PE's price of $125 to VBS2's civilian version price of $500 upon release of VBS3. I would say that Steel Beasts Pro PE is not overpriced for what it does, and for what it represents. 

Edited by Mirzayev

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There are several levels on which a price can be argued. To us, the Personal Edition yields between 4...8% of our annual turnover but generates 99% of all customer support requests ... so, in essence, all PE sales pay for one team member. Now, the price is one thing but any balanced view needs to take into account the value of the product (or service) in question. Value is of course highly subjective. Some people are happy to pay a quarter million bucks for a Ferrari. I would most certainly not, even IF I had the money to spare. I would, however, gladly pay five hundred bucks for a gallon of water if I were stranded in the middle of a desert. So, the question is how value can be measured.

One metric could be "hours of entertainment" that you get out of a product, and here computer games turn out to be vastly cheaper than most other forms of entertainment. Let's just assume that someone plays Steel Beasts for four hours per week, that's 200 hours per year. With a one-year license at $39.50 that's less than 20 cent per hour. If someone told me that this was still too much, I'm happy to let him go as a customer because he's clearly not interested in our work.

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I don't have a problem at all for the price.

 

Especially since DCS seems to be the third or fourth repackaging of "Flanker" into a product that costs $800 now...

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Well, at least we haven't adjusted the cost for inflation.   By my math the adjusted cost should now be $148.81.  :D

 

We are now living in the "Steam" era, were thousands of games are at everyone's finger tips.  Were we all wait, and watch for the big steam sale, and buy 20 games (or more) for the cost of one SB copy.  So its easy to see how the $125 price point may seem out of touch, even outrageous to some.     SteelBeast Pro Pe is not a game, nor has entertainment ever been the driving force in its development.  This is the same software used to train soldiers across the world, minus a few features that will be unimportant to most.   It is constantly being updated with content requested, and payed for by our military clients.  Major defense contractors use our software for their hardware. 

 

I may sound like a tool, but I felt privileged to even be able to buy it.  And now to work on it.   At the time I purchased it, it was the first piece of REAL military training software I had found that I could actually purchase.

 

Having said all that, you CAN play SB like a game for entertainment.  I do it, and 90% of the rest of us around here do as well.   But to the great many old hands around here, this wasn't what brought us here, it was the latter.   You have to understand what it is, and isn't.  Small company, Niche software, ships with a hardware dongle=$$$   When you do, I think it puts the price point in a proper context.  It did for me.  

 

At least now, as Gibson pointed out, they have the option to purchase a timed license.   Those who worry about wasting $125 on something that turns out to not be for them, now just have to spend $10 bucks to find that out.    I would say that is just about as far as we can bend over backwards without breaking our own backs.

 

Edited by RogueSnake79

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5 hours ago, Maj.Hans said:

I don't have a problem at all for the price.

 

Especially since DCS seems to be the third or fourth repackaging of "Flanker" into a product that costs $800 now...

I second that.

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My rule for game purchasing is $1 = 1 hour of play. If I do not see myself pumping either 40, 60, or even 125 hours into a game, then I pass. I've been playing SB for 10 years, and I'm pretty sure I got my $205 worth many years ago. Same with ArmA III. Every penny has been a return investment for my personal enjoyment. 

 

 

On 2/3/2017 at 7:06 AM, RogueSnake79 said:

Having said all that, you CAN play SB like a game for entertainment

I may have a different perspective on this, but for me, the term simulation refers to a verb rather than a noun. A simulation is a training tool and any piece of software can be used as a simulation. I know plenty of professionals that use off the shelf products in a simulation capacity, to train and educate others. 

Edited by Apocalypse 31

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31 minutes ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

I may have a different perspective on this, but for me, the term simulation refers to a verb rather than a noun. A simulation is a training tool and any piece of software can be used as a simulation. I know plenty of professionals that use off the shelf products in a simulation capacity, to train and educate others. 

 

Generally, simulations tend to be more about portraying things (or systems) in a realistic and believable manner, where games are made for the purpose of fun. Of course, the lines are often crossed and blurred. ArmA 3, for example, might be considered a simulation of combat, but it was created with entertainment in mind. Lines are blurred even further when the simulation is based on a fictional concept, for example, a "Space Combat Simulator."

 

In a military context, I have tended to see the whole "it's not a game, it's a simulation" argument used primarily to stress the seriousness of training on VBS3; "treat it like a real field exercise: be bored and miserable."

 

That being said, you are spot on about how anything can be used to help train or educate. I once used Wargame: Red Dragon as a training tool while teaching my Soldiers about vehicle identification, just like I used Steel Beasts to conduct training on mounted land navigation.

 

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I've definitely been able to make SB play more like a "game" and more like a simulator.

 

If I make a scenario with lots of orders handed down to the player to do certain things at certain times, for example...Go here, defend.  Go there, resupply.  Move here, look for enemy.  Go to this place, make an attack at 15:30 Zulu.  And set up events/zones to fail the mission/kill the player if he doesn't obey, then it plays very much like a game like Armored Fist or Call of Duty in a tank.  There's tons of scripted events in an attempt to make it immersive as if you're the commander of one tank or one platoon, but it feels more like a modern FPS shooter-on-rails game to me.

 

If I make a big open scenario with a note that "The Russians are coming!  The Russians are coming!" and give the player a company of M1's, some platoons of M113s, and a scout group of HMMWVs, it plays more like a sim with players serving as company and platoon commanders.  He'll do his own recon, deploy his defenses, fight it out his way, etc.

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43 minutes ago, Maj.Hans said:

I've definitely been able to make SB play more like a "game" and more like a simulator.

 

If I make a scenario with lots of orders handed down to the player to do certain things at certain times, for example...Go here, defend.  Go there, resupply.  Move here, look for enemy.  Go to this place, make an attack at 15:30 Zulu.  And set up events/zones to fail the mission/kill the player if he doesn't obey, then it plays very much like a game like Armored Fist or Call of Duty in a tank.  There's tons of scripted events in an attempt to make it immersive as if you're the commander of one tank or one platoon, but it feels more like a modern FPS shooter-on-rails game to me.

 

If I make a big open scenario with a note that "The Russians are coming!  The Russians are coming!" and give the player a company of M1's, some platoons of M113s, and a scout group of HMMWVs, it plays more like a sim with players serving as company and platoon commanders.  He'll do his own recon, deploy his defenses, fight it out his way, etc.

 

With respect, the first example actually sounds more like a typical military order, with key tasks given to the player so he has guidance from higher. In fact, at the Platoon Level, you are usually given fairly detailed tasks with the expectation that you will execute in accordance with a timeline. 

 

For the second example, you are increasing the scale (and thus complexity); it makes sense that you will have more leeway, as you are maneuvering a unit at a higher echelon. As a Platoon Leader, you simply won't have the assets at your disposal to do as many tasks as a Battalion.

 

With regards to events, you can change them to be a more risk vs. reward format, versus outright failure for disobeying guidance at the Platoon Level, or add in events that result in immediate failure at the Battalion Level. Either way, I don't feel that it is more like a rails-shooter FPS, you are just being more restrictive in how a mission can be accomplished. 

 

In fact, even one of the most restrictive missions I have played so far, "In Motion" by solus, can still be considered a simulation, a gunnery simulation that is, as you have to be knowledgeable about the full workings of the T-72s fire control, and engage targets rapidly and accurately. You won't make tactical decisions, but you will certainly still need to know the capabilities and limitations of your weapon system.

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'Game' can refer to the fact that players have opposing interests, i.e., game theory- there may or may not be any fun to have at all in a game. A simulation may be a game in varying degrees: if someone were to write a paint the fence simulator, adverse factors even if modeled such as wind, time passing, paint mixtures yielding unwanted, different shades of color against the player's wishes may still have game elements nonetheless, albeit not a fun game. A classic study in game theory is the "Prisoner's Dilemma" for its study in long and short term selfish or selfless strategies, although it's quite dry and boring when running it.

 

In other words, you could run Steel Beasts without any opponents, just drive around and look at things, you've removed the game elements out of it- that is, the adverse conditions. It's still a simulation, not much of a game, it becomes more of a game when adding some kind of goal or some kind of opposition.

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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On 2/2/2017 at 9:18 PM, Gibsonm said:

I must say though that most of those who complain about US$125 are totally unaware of the time limited license option.

 

If they are short attention span users (i.e. easily bored or want some RTS twitch game) then they don't have to spend anywhere near US$125.

 

If they buy a one month license, like what they see and get "hooked", then they can see the value in the US$125 option.

I got something like $40 subscription because I just and afford it right now. Saving my pennies to by the whole thing. on a fixed income it's hard.   Just wished I had more servers to play on so I can get better.  I need to play as 1 tanker til I get better!  Great Game

 

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Oh you mean that the price should be HIGHER ?

 

Yes ... considering the content I can see how that would be justified ...

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Posted (edited)

No matter how the Cookie crumbles, then given the REplayability, unique nature and solid Multiplayer community, then the price of SB is very cheap indeed.

 

Be thankful that E-sim can make money supplying governments with A-grade simulators, or the price would be another one alltogether ... IF even applicable.

 

 

Edited by Nike-Ajax

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On 2017-6-20 at 3:46 PM, Nike-Ajax said:

No matter how the Cookie crumbles, then given the REplayability, unique nature and solid Multiplayer community, then the price of SB is very cheap indeed.

 

Be thankful that E-sim can make money supplying governments with A-grade simulators, or the price would be another one alltogether ... IF even applicable.

 

 

 

Word!

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