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THQ Testing $39.99 Price Point

In an interview with Forbes, THQ CEO Brian Farrell brought back the sub-$60 retail game concept that the company has been teasing for a while now. Now it seems that the company plans to put the idea into practice, and soon. MX vs. ATV: Alive will be the first game to implement their new $39.99 price model when it hits May 10 this year.

“Our view is that there will be a wide range of price points for games in the future. These price points will be driven by the type and depth of the content delivered,” said Farrell. “With MX vs. ATV Alive, we are taking this one step further by experimenting with delivering a customizable experience for the player in a brand new pricing model. It’s an innovative concept based on what we’ve seen in the free-to-play markets. We’re delivering a premium game experience at an SRP of $39.99 in order to drive the installed base of users, and then digitally delivering over 100 pieces of downloadable content and an in-game store for micro-transactions, allowing the gamer to customize their experience and pay for the modes that they want to play.”

MX vs. ATV will contain an in-game store that Farrell calls the “Motoclub shop,” where this additional content will be available. The first thought going through my mind is that they simply put some of the game content behind a pay wall, but Farrell claims that isn't the case: “As I said before, once people get their hands on MX vs. ATV: Alive, they will see that the game has as much, if not more, content than traditional triple-A titles. And that’s before we even get into the DLC.”

As for the price of the content, Farrell says the store items will range from free to a few dollars, although he did not reveal what specifically will be offered.

Is THQ carving out the future of retail prices for games, or will this turn out to be a failed experiment? Either way, I'm glad someone is trying a new strategy. With the increasing prevalence of sales and downloadable games, many consumers refuse to spend the $60 on even the biggest releases. Perhaps this new price point will be exactly what we need to make a day-one purchase a bit more palatable.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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