"Colosseum" is not the best selling Community Game, according to Microsoft's early results released last week, but it was one of the top 5.
It was also the most expensive.
When I met with the developers of "Colosseum," Shortfuse Games, at a San Francisco launch party for Community Games in October, they weren't sure how to price their creation.
I made the argument that pricing low would garner them the requisite fan base for a more expensive second game. They didn't follow my recommendation.
Instead, they priced it at $10. How do they feel that's gone over with gamers?
"Deciding the price was quite of an issue," said Shortfuse Games CEO Johan Hermerén to me over e-mail. "We have received tons of good indications that 400 [points, $5] would be the best (and it actually seems to be the sweet spot by now), and an equally same amount of indications that 800 [points, $10] would be the s--t. In the end we ditched all marketing indications, pricing theories, and all that, and decided to go for 800 points based on what we experienced was fair regarding product value."
Microsoft has not disclosed raw sales numbers to Community Games developers yet. Several developers I have spoken to are anxious to disclose those numbers one they're available, but it's unknown whether they'll be able to.
Hermerén knows his studio's decision to price higher than most of his competition raised eyebrows, but believed "Colosseum" deserved it.
"A lot of gamers complain[ed] about the high price, and yeah, we do understand them to a certain point," he conceded. "What have we learned? A lot of stuff internally, mostly organizational stuff, and of course game development. We now have a far better clue about activity planning, how to do things, what works and what's not working, and so on. So we'll wrap up all that taking it with us to our next game. All in all, developing and selling games on Community Games is awesome."
When the sales numbers are disclosed, whether publicly or privately, we'll be reaching out to more developers about their pricing decisions and how it will affect their next release on Community Games.
What do you want to see from the future of Community Games?