Popular seven-year-old Steam game gets price increase due to inflation

midian182

Posts: 8,495   +105
Staff member
A hot potato: Imagine a game that came out seven years ago, has never taken part in a Steam sale, and is now getting a price increase. One might imagine such a scenario causing universal outcry among fans, but not when said game is Factorio.

Like most products today, Factorio's price is increasing—from $30 to $35—due to inflation. Game prices are going up as more titles adopt the new $70 base price, but it's strange to see one released in 2016 get a hike, especially as it has never been reduced in one of Steam's many annual sales events.

Factorio had a $20 base price during its time in early access, which went up to $30 in 2020 when version 1.0 was released. Developers previously explained why the game would never be part of a Steam sale, and it's something many people can relate to: the devs don't want to reward those who hold off from buying Factorio at full price so they can get it cheaper later on; most of us know the annoyance of buying a game at full price only for it to be discounted a few weeks or months later.

"If you think it [Factorio] is priced too high, then it is your choice to not purchase, and we hope that with enough time, and extra development, we will be able to convince you of its value," wrote the developers.

Factorio's $5 price increase was announced on Twitter on January 20, six days before being implemented. Reaction from most of the community has been very positive, with many commentators asking for more ways to support the game; it has never had any microtransactions or expensive in-game DLC (you can buy the soundtrack for $7).

Another reason many people aren't angry about the price jump is that Factorio is an excellent game. It's got a Very Positive 'Recent Reviews' rating on Steam ('all Reviews' are Overwhelmingly Positive), 90 on Metacritic, and PC Gamer gave it 91%. Paying $35 is a good deal for the number of hours of pleasure it will bring.

Not everyone is okay with paying an extra $5, though. There are around 150 recent negative reviews on Steam complaining about the price hike and Factorio's aversion to sales events.

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MisterSpock

Posts: 27   +68
Find an inflation calculator, set the start year to 2016 and the amount to $30US, and you will see that as of 2022, that value is now over $36. Therefore, the game developer is still making less money for its product now than its price at release.

When the value of currency changes, so do prices. We cannot change that, even as we are annoyed by it.
 

jonny888

Posts: 167   +322
A rare example of a game actually being worth more than the asking price even after increase (if you like the genre). In terms of hours of entertainment, quality, replayability, it's very good.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 528   +1,000
That is not "inflation". It's just opportunistic greed.
Correct. I loved Factorio but $30 was already kind of high for an indie game and now $35 is just greedy. But of course, here also people will be there begging the developers to charge them even more money. And they will oblige.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,257   +4,397
Inflation is generally considered for things that still have to be produced in a significant way today vs the past: If you say, build a car all the parts involved to build one in 2023 are going to be much more expensive than 2016 prices and since everything is more expensive most of your employees would need to have had raises as well impacting your costs of production (Sadly at least in theory but not in reality) If you are selling produce, physical products, on-going services all of these are affected by inflation.

If you finished game back in 2016 then that's it: sells in 2023 might represent quite a bit less but this is a digital game you have almost no on-going costs. Now they can certainly make an argument that they've greatly expanded the feature set of the base game but it's still nowhere near as costly as the initial development push.

So no, inflation shouldn't reasonably apply here you cannot use an inflation calculator, the devs here are just greedy and nonsensical: if they really wanted to get more money out of the game this many years later they should be encouraging more volume with a sales because that's not only something that works for oh, just about every other game on steams and there's thousands upon thousands of them, is also the most fair to the players a.k.a. the consumers.
 

CrazyDave

Posts: 55   +60
I played the demo, quite enjoyed it but found it too short to have enough of a motivational effect to purchase immediately. It's been sitting on my wishlist since then waiting for a discount on a sale. Guess I'll take it off there now, I'm sure there are other developers who would happily take less of my money.
 

SirDigby

Posts: 945   +846
TechSpot Elite
Mate, this is a 7 year old game, you can't expect to charge full price at this point.

Inflation is generally considered for things that still have to be produced in a significant way today vs the past: If you say, build a car all the parts involved to build one in 2023 are going to be much more expensive than 2016 prices and since everything is more expensive most of your employees would need to have had raises as well impacting your costs of production (Sadly at least in theory but not in reality) If you are selling produce, physical products, on-going services all of these are affected by inflation.

If you finished game back in 2016 then that's it: sells in 2023 might represent quite a bit less but this is a digital game you have almost no on-going costs. Now they can certainly make an argument that they've greatly expanded the feature set of the base game but it's still nowhere near as costly as the initial development push.

So no, inflation shouldn't reasonably apply here you cannot use an inflation calculator, the devs here are just greedy and nonsensical: if they really wanted to get more money out of the game this many years later they should be encouraging more volume with a sales because that's not only something that works for oh, just about every other game on steams and there's thousands upon thousands of them, is also the most fair to the players a.k.a. the consumers.
It was early access until 2020, and they're still maintaining support for it, team size of 31, looks like they've ported the game to each console themselves including optimisation for the steam deck.
I would say that constitutes ongoing costs.
 

winjer

Posts: 509   +2,325
It was early access until 2020, and they're still maintaining support for it, team size of 31, looks like they've ported the game to each console themselves including optimisation for the steam deck.
I would say that constitutes ongoing costs.

The early access excuse. It doesn't matter if it wasn't "finished", it was already been sold for 7 years.
And there are plenty of games that still have support, that don't get price increases. Quite the opposite.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,959   +7,014
The early access excuse. It doesn't matter if it wasn't "finished", it was already been sold for 7 years.
And there are plenty of games that still have support, that don't get price increases. Quite the opposite.
Sadly, much like No Man Sky's "launch first with lies then update later" design, I'm sure that thanks to positive feedback other companies will now start increasing the price of games to match citing "inflation".
 

DukeJukem

Posts: 323   +361
Theres one simple thing people need to understand about video game pricing. even back in the 90s a new N64 game was $60. "aww bro I was gonna buy factorio for $25 but now its $30 bro this is insane I'm not buying it now wahhh." people are "smart" enough to play free games and dump money into cosmetics etc but will complain about these things on top of it. strange world we live in. go work a 2-3 hour shift at mcdonalds, quit and buy factorio. jesus.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,959   +7,014
Theres one simple thing people need to understand about video game pricing. even back in the 90s a new N64 game was $60. "aww bro I was gonna buy factorio for $25 but now its $30 bro this is insane I'm not buying it now wahhh." people are "smart" enough to play free games and dump money into cosmetics etc but will complain about these things on top of it. strange world we live in. go work a 2-3 hour shift at mcdonalds, quit and buy factorio. jesus.
There's something you need to understand about pricing
The N64 had much more expensive games then the PS1 due to its cartridges, n64 games were typically 10-20$ more. They also didnt sell millions of copies. Selling a million copies was a major ordeal back then, today its considered normal.

There's something else you need to understand about pricing
The N64 was $185. Not $600+.

Given the average american's purchasing power is barely higher today then it was in 1998, we are well within our right to complain about higher prices, especially as this industry has exceedingly pushed the limit of selling broken garbage. I will never understand why people defend price hikes when video game companies are making record profits every year.
 

DukeJukem

Posts: 323   +361
There's something you need to understand about pricing
The N64 had much more expensive games then the PS1 due to its cartridges, n64 games were typically 10-20$ more. They also didnt sell millions of copies. Selling a million copies was a major ordeal back then, today its considered normal.

There's something else you need to understand about pricing
The N64 was $185. Not $600+.

Given the average american's purchasing power is barely higher today then it was in 1998, we are well within our right to complain about higher prices, especially as this industry has exceedingly pushed the limit of selling broken garbage. I will never understand why people defend price hikes when video game companies are making record profits every year.
ok but we aren't talking about consoles we are talking about individual video games. therefore I dont care about the n64 console pricing nor is it relevant to the point I was making. it's also not relevent because we aren't talking about purchasing a console or an actual pc. the average americans purchasing power, when it relates to individual video games, is just as high if not higher due to wage increases. people make more money today than they did 20-30 years ago and video game prices have mainly maxed at $59.99 up until the past couple of years where these new $69.99 guys are appearing. I understand literally everything in the world is more expensive right now like gas, food etc. but that's the mismanagement of a country and if those increased prices are making it to where you can't buy a video game then perhaps you should be mad at the ones messing everything up and not the guy who wants to increase the price of his game by 5 measly dollars. I already understand sir...and there is nothing I need to learn here.
 

Endymio

Posts: 2,004   +2,088
There's something you need to understand about pricing
The N64 had much more expensive games then the PS1 due to its cartridges, n64 games were typically 10-20$ more. They also didnt sell millions of copies.
There's something you need to understand about pricing. Cartridge games were quickly developed and, once released, cost nothing to maintain. They also didn't require dedicated servers to support multiplayer modes. Since it debuted, Factorio has (according to their website) released over 100 updates, compromising many thousands of enhancements and new features. Development costs money. And Factorio's servers don't operate themselves, either.

Counting inflation, that $60 cartridge from 1996 is nearly $120 today. I'd call a $35 game that is (apparently) so replayable that people have been playing it close to a decade is very good deal. And counting inflation, this game is now CHEAPER than when first released.

The N64 was $185. Not $600+.
What on earth convinced you this was relevant? A software studio doesn't see a cent of that money.
 

dualkelly

Posts: 258   +329
Will not be buying this game or any other game at full price. Which is too bad looks like a good game. It is also still $30 over on GOG.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 896   +1,426
Mate, this is a 7 year old game, you can't expect to charge full price at this point.
Ah but you can expect them to charge less for their game over time? And when they don’t meet your expectations, your solution is to be annoyed in the comments section of a news article?

What they can expect is for people to react to the pricing change accordingly. If they don’t like it, then they can change the price again. And if you don’t like it, then just buy some other game that prices things to your expectations. Both you and them are greedy in this way, and this is how the free market works.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,184   +4,271
TechSpot Elite
If they're still releasing new content for it, they certainly have a much better excuse to keep the price the same (or do this) than many other games. Something a lot of comments above seem to be ignorant of.

Heck, I see AAA games with premium prices years after release (and no updates) all the time...
 

dangh

Posts: 857   +1,450
Mate, this is a 7 year old game, you can't expect to charge full price at this point.
... but why? Is that game any worse than 7 years ago? It is constantly updated, developed, new features are added, people are still work hard on it and you decided they should earn less because of age? That make no sense.