Daily Archives: January 14, 2007

Holding The Price Point

The Sunday supplement to the paper (which now shows up with Saturday’s paper… it wasn’t like that when I was a kid…) is full of the usual ads.  This week all of the stores that sell electronics of any sort have World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade in their ad. 

In the Best Buy ad, a football image is superimposed on all of the TV screens and a Burning Crusade screen shot is superimposed on all the monitors and laptop screens.  Other stores have The Burning Crusade featured prominately as well.

All of the ads have one thing in common: The Burning Crusade is selling at full suggested retail price.

And why not?  The demand is certainly there.

But how long will that price point hold?

The original World of Warcraft release held its price point quite a while.  Until the recent price drop, I saw WoW selling for full retail price quite often.  In fact, discounts were the exception. 

I compare this to EverQuest II, which was selling at discount within weeks of shipping.  I recall going over to Fry’s to pick up WoW in early 2005 and being annoyed that it was full price, while EverQuest II was half suggested retail price with a faded sign that made it clear that this was an ongoing state of affairs.

Echoes of Faydwer went out with discounts and incentives on day one.  Fry’s had it for $10 off while Best Buy offered up an $10 gift card with every purchase.  This for an all-in-one “base product and three expansions” set that was a deal and a half even at full price.

Now that WoW is selling for $19.99, how long will BC stay at $39.99?  Within a year from now I am sure there will be a WoW Battle Chest that will have both products together (just in time to catch the run up to the next WoW expansion), but will they be able to sustain subscription growth with the perception that getting access of all of Azeroth will cost $60?  That seems a bit steep.

Meanwhile Vanguard is going out at $49.99 two weeks after Burning Crusade.  I hate to be overly negative, since there is a lot to like about Vanguard, but I have to wonder how solid that price point is going to be.  You look at $50 for a game that has very little exposure outside the MMO gaming community (and some bad perceptions inside of that community) and which will get lukewarm press and reviews on day one, and suddenly a $10 leap to WoW + BC does not seem so bad.

My guess is that price point will fold on day one and that if I run down to Fry’s on the 30th to pick up a copy, I will pay no more that $35.

We shall see in a little more than two weeks.