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CAVE offers advice on the mobile market

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This year at GDC, Mikio Watanabe expressed his thoughts on Japanese games in the mobile market. Watanabe, COO of the Cave developer of bullet hell games like Deathsmiles, encouraged other companies to take a bold approach and not undervalue their product, even if competitors are selling games for a meager 99 cents.

"Setting a good price and making sure the port version is respectful to the original is very important," he said. "Our belief is that people will pay premium prices as long as it's a good product. So with some of the Cave games we set the price at 1000 yen -- that's about $12-13."

Cave entered the mobile market with two ports of its hardcore scrolling shooters, EspGaluda II and Dodonpachi, and have since moved on to original titles like Mushihimesama BUG PANIC for iPhone and iPod Touch. At $6.99, it's cheaper than the price point Watanabe described but still more expensive than the average mobile game.

Watanabe provided a breakdown of costs that he said is typical for Cave when developing smartphone-specific games: At $250,000 total on average, 40 percent of funds goes towards engineering, 30 percent to graphics, 15 percent for localization and QA, and 15 percent to audio and sound design.

Do you think mobile offerings from Cave are overpriced, or are you willing to pay more for a quality game that's earned positive reviews?

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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