David Stark Pokes Fun At Game Pricing By Charging $50 For Patent Blaster For A Week

Patent Blaster

“Patent Blaster was originally priced at $5 and sold very poorly. Then you could buy it for $1, and it still sold poorly. I’ve accepted that as much as I enjoyed making it and playing it; it does not sell.” David Stark details the tale of the sales of his fast-paced arcade shooter, Patent Blaster; it’s one I’ve heard many times, unfortunately.

Despite how ridiculous Patent Blaster is, it just hasn’t caught on. But David isn’t dwelling on that and has instead decided to have a little fun with the pricing of his game, and in turn is making a commentary on “the game of game pricing.”

For this week only, you can purchase Patent Blaster for $50, and you might get a mug or an obscene drawing of an elephant thrown in with the game, too. As David said, it was previously $5, and then just $1, but it didn’t make any sales; it only sold a single-digit number at the lowest price.

Patent Blaster

David has evidently been thinking about how game pricing works in this digital age as he begins explaining the reason as to why he’s charging $50 for his game with saying that “the prices are pretty much made up” due to the distribution costs being almost zero due. You upload a file; people download it; there’s not really a cost tied to that, not like there is to creating physical boxes and shipping them around the world.

“This means there’s nothing to stop the kind of race to the bottom we’ve seen on phone app stores, where games that cost more than a dollar are considered overpriced. On the other hand, in-game purchases make some companies vast amounts of money.”

David refers to how a game may costs thousands to make, but only sell for a dollar, particularly on the App Store. But then you have an in-app purchase that’s literally just a picture or a higher number, and that can cost the same amount as the game.

“Ideally, a developer would like everyone to pay the maximum amount they are willing to pay – but that’s not possible. Instead, we are flooded with bundles and deals and special editions – all different price points for (nearly) the same thing, generally getting cheaper with time, in an attempt to price to the demand curve.”

All this considered, David’s decided that as Patent Blaster isn’t selling no matter how he prices it, and that he considers the way digital games are priced to be pretty ridiculous, he’s going to have some fun with it. And that’s why, for this week only, you can purchase Patent Blaster for $50.