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Subject: How much $$ to be profitable? rss

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Chuck Y
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Ok, I know I am in the minority here when it comes to game prices. I think they are somewhat too high, to way too high for many games.

Someone made a recommendation to me for a game that he thought I might like. I watched the youtube videos for the game. Seems pretty fun, and my family might enjoy it as well.

But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.

I'm not at all saying that this game should be $10 - though if it was $10 and in major retail stores, I think it would be reasonably profitable. But it is $35.

Even if the cards are beautiful, and of especially good quality, the fact is, it is just a game of cards. I realize too, that as of now, it is likely just a small production run at a time.....

So, for "me", I would pay $20.... like I did for Exploding Kittens.... but $35 for a deck of cards is just way too much. Do you think these game companies are shooting themselves in the foot with prices like this?
 
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GarlicGuy wrote:


But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.


Um, no, it really isn't. You're paying for the amount of work that has gone into coming up with the rules, the artist that provides the artwork etc.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of game designers are earning way below minimum wage on a per hour rate.

Which is why you aren't just picking up a pack of playing cards.
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Daniel B-G
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The estimated break even point for a game is approximately 3000 units. Some games don't even manage that. Of that 35, only 35-40% will go to the publisher, about 10-20% will go to the distributor, the remainder will go to the retailer.

The retailer gets a huge cut because it may sit on their shelves for 3 years before it's bought. That's a lot of rent it needs to pay.
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Chris Stanton
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No- but at $10 they would be.


From a $50 'just a bunch of cards in a box' game ~300 cards

Game components $27.10
Artwork $8
Accounts $0.50
Marketing $1
Kickstarter charges 8% + 0.3 = $6.30
Total $42.90 dollars per game.
$7.10 contingency fund
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Also, the game might have gone through several distribution channels before reaching your location, and/or for the same reason have had to go through customs once or several times, shipped through "not the shortest route" etc.

This is why some games are cheaper in some regions than others.
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One (simplistic) way to think about it is that cards cost perhaps 3 or 4 cents a pop, and the retail price of a game might be about 4 times the cost to print the game. A game with a lot of unique cards has a lot of card art, though, and that costs maybe $100-250 per piece, and that has to be amortized over the first print run as well.

So if a game consists of "only" 100 cards, having (say) 25 unique pieces of art, and a print run of (say) 2000 copies, the production cost is probably something like $4-5 (when you factor in the box and the rules), plus $2-3 per copy for the art, we get $6-8 in production costs. And so you might expect a retail price of $24-32 based on that.

The publisher will net maybe $12-16 of that, must pay the $6-8 for production, and must pay for freight, marketing, designer's royalties (probably about 60 cents per copy), out of the remainder; everything else is profit, but as you can see, there isn't a ton of "everything else" in there.

So $35 MSRP for a card game doesn't seem intrinsically absurd depending on the specifics, but of course whether it seems like a good value or not depends on the buyer!
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GarlicGuy wrote:
Ok, I know I am in the minority here when it comes to game prices. I think they are somewhat too high, to way too high for many games.

Someone made a recommendation to me for a game that he thought I might like. I watched the youtube videos for the game. Seems pretty fun, and my family might enjoy it as well.

But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.

I'm not at all saying that this game should be $10 - though if it was $10 and in major retail stores, I think it would be reasonably profitable. But it is $35.

Even if the cards are beautiful, and of especially good quality, the fact is, it is just a game of cards. I realize too, that as of now, it is likely just a small production run at a time.....

So, for "me", I would pay $20.... like I did for Exploding Kittens.... but $35 for a deck of cards is just way too much. Do you think these game companies are shooting themselves in the foot with prices like this?
I know right? Like when I went to buy a movie, it was nothing but two cents worth of plastic! What am I paying for?!!

Pete (snickers)
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GarlicGuy wrote:
But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.
I know what you mean. The other night I ordered Coq Au Vin at a fancy french restaurant. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it's just chicken! I mean I can buy that at the grocery store for a fraction of the cost. Complete ripoff!

I recommend you pick up a deck of cards at the dollar store. Much more affordable!
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plezercruz wrote:
GarlicGuy wrote:
Ok, I know I am in the minority here when it comes to game prices. I think they are somewhat too high, to way too high for many games.

Someone made a recommendation to me for a game that he thought I might like. I watched the youtube videos for the game. Seems pretty fun, and my family might enjoy it as well.

But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.

I'm not at all saying that this game should be $10 - though if it was $10 and in major retail stores, I think it would be reasonably profitable. But it is $35.

Even if the cards are beautiful, and of especially good quality, the fact is, it is just a game of cards. I realize too, that as of now, it is likely just a small production run at a time.....

So, for "me", I would pay $20.... like I did for Exploding Kittens.... but $35 for a deck of cards is just way too much. Do you think these game companies are shooting themselves in the foot with prices like this?
I know right? Like when I went to buy a movie, it was nothing but two cents worth of plastic! What am I paying for?!!

Pete (snickers)
Yeah, like downloading software. It's all the same code, it's not like it costs them extra materials each time someone downloads it! shake
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First... research your games better. I have no clue why anyone would buy Exploding Kittens to begin with. The replayability looks next to zero.

Next, make sure your games have a ton of variety so that they ARE replayable. Variable player powers, random setup, random cards which come out/are played etc.

Finally... the way I look at a game is how much value am I getting through my plays? And then try to compare it to something else you get value or entertainment from. For instance... If I go out to dinner or even the bar and spend a couple hours there, my tab will be close to $35 if not a whole lot more. Whereas, if I buy a game with a lot of replayability, you are looking at dozens of hours of enjoyment for that same price.

As for how much profit is made on games? I could care less. If I get my money's worth, I am very happy

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Kevin Garnica
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To put it bluntly, you are in a niche hobby. Personally, I call it a hobby of luxury. And luxury isn't cheap.

Think about it, if you buy any game at your standard Target/Walmart/ToysRUs, you're getting plastic bits without a decent insert, black & white rules that leave a ton of questions unanswered (doesn't even have examples of setup or gameplay usually), and an odd-size box that doesn't store easily, unless it's at the very top of your shelf, which is where you want to keep it anyway because you don't play it that often.

Then -- yes -- you get what you pay for at the prices you're probably seeking. For modern gaming, the price is definitely fitting in most cases. Of course, you can always buy online. That's as good as you're gonna get most of the time.
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I don't know why everyone is so dismissive of the OP. I've been in the hobby a long time, and I do think that many games are over-priced. The price has certainly grown faster than inflation, even as the size of the market has grown. But the solution is simply to be (more) selective.

Out of curiosity, what game are we talking about? Does "a deck of cards" mean like 52 cards? Or like 300?
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Lets work this problem backwards, and assume you ordered Dominion from CoolStuffInc.

+30.00 Retail price
-04.50 Shipping to You (30% of a $100 order, where CSI eats the shipping)
-02.00 CoolStuffInc Overhead
-02.00 Shipping to CoolStuffInc from Rio Grande Warehouse
-01.00 Rio Grande Overhead
-05.00 Printing 500 cards at $0.01 per card
-00.50 Rules, Insert
-02.00 Box, Shrink Wrap, Assembly
------
+13.00
------
------

That leaves $13.00 of net profit on the table, to be split between CoolStuffInc, Rio Grande, and the Developer.

For every 1150 copies sold, one person can make minimum wage.

..And I think my cost estimates are quite conservative.
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papagamer72 wrote:
First... research your games better. I have no clue why anyone would buy Exploding Kittens to begin with. The replayability looks next to zero.


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Toc13 wrote:
No- but at $10 they would be.


From a $50 'just a bunch of cards in a box' game ~300 cards

Game components $27.10
Artwork $8
Accounts $0.50
Marketing $1
Kickstarter charges 8% + 0.3 = $6.30
Total $42.90 dollars per game.
$7.10 contingency fund

Sorry, not the way it works at all.

Roughly, assuming a $40 MSRP:

A game store buys it from the distributor for $20: your FLGS has to pay rent, lights, employees, the expense of keeping the game in stock, etc. An OLGS, the same, only less, so they'll sell at about $30.

The distributor buys it from the publisher for $15: the $5 pays for transportation, a warehouse, employees, etc.

The publisher pays about $5 for bits and printing, about $2 to the designer, more for transportation, keeping his office (managing production and sending out missing bits/cards), and finally, pays for all the games that don't make it.

Appreciate that unlike a standard deck of cards or a standard game like Monopoly, design and development costs are not spread across a million games; a hobby game's cost may only be spread across a thousand games. Five thousand is a large run for the hobby game industry.

Large volume printing has a lot of one time costs to get the cost per page well under a laser printer--but you don't get those costs back and reprinting isn't easy. Cutting out playing cards isn't easy, and it's a low volume business, so it's expensive: the difference between a plastic drink bottle and a plastic pawn is volume again, millions vs. thousands.
___

The myth is the publishers are raking in the money. Hardly ever. Rio Grande Games ran for a decade making money, but not much. It took a huge hit (Dominion) with many expansions that everyone wanted to license worldwide to really make some serious money. An amount of money Hasbro wouldn't miss.

If publisher X is really trying to rip people off, their prices will be seriously over those of comparable games.
___

Another perspective is, you and a friend go for dinner and a movie for $40. You get three or four hours of entertainment, and end up with crap. Literally. You can play a $40 game for hundreds of hours.
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jwarrend wrote:
One (simplistic) way to think about it is that cards cost perhaps 3 or 4 cents a pop, and the retail price of a game might be about 4 times the cost to print the game. A game with a lot of unique cards has a lot of card art, though, and that costs maybe $100-250 per piece, and that has to be amortized over the first print run as well.

So if a game consists of "only" 100 cards, having (say) 25 unique pieces of art, and a print run of (say) 2000 copies, the production cost is probably something like $4-5 (when you factor in the box and the rules), plus $2-3 per copy for the art, we get $6-8 in production costs. And so you might expect a retail price of $24-32 based on that.

The publisher will net maybe $12-16 of that, must pay the $6-8 for production, and must pay for freight, marketing, designer's royalties (probably about 60 cents per copy), out of the remainder; everything else is profit, but as you can see, there isn't a ton of "everything else" in there.

So $35 MSRP for a card game doesn't seem intrinsically absurd depending on the specifics, but of course whether it seems like a good value or not depends on the buyer!


I was just talking with a published author the other day. I've heard a lot of 4 times, but he was claiming that 'research' shows to stay in business it should be more like 5 times.

I'm not convinced, but others on the GenCon 'lecture' tour might be. In your example of 100 cards, they would say MSRP should be $30-$40.

That being said, aren't most 'just card' games lately in the 200 to 300 card range?
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Ii take it you don't actually understand the costs involved in producing a game or products in general for that matter...........


http://www.jamesmathe.com/10000-feet-to-publishing-a-board-g...

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GarlicGuy wrote:
Ok, I know I am in the minority here when it comes to game prices. I think they are somewhat too high, to way too high for many games.

Someone made a recommendation to me for a game that he thought I might like. I watched the youtube videos for the game. Seems pretty fun, and my family might enjoy it as well.

But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.

I'm not at all saying that this game should be $10 - though if it was $10 and in major retail stores, I think it would be reasonably profitable. But it is $35.

Even if the cards are beautiful, and of especially good quality, the fact is, it is just a game of cards. I realize too, that as of now, it is likely just a small production run at a time.....

So, for "me", I would pay $20.... like I did for Exploding Kittens.... but $35 for a deck of cards is just way too much. Do you think these game companies are shooting themselves in the foot with prices like this?


You are in a minority mostly because you are living in a pipe dream. Not allot of room there for allot of people.

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Chuck Y
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
GarlicGuy wrote:


But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.


Um, no, it really isn't. You're paying for the amount of work that has gone into coming up with the rules, the artist that provides the artwork etc.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of game designers are earning way below minimum wage on a per hour rate.

Which is why you aren't just picking up a pack of playing cards.


I realize that.... but there are many $10 - $20 card games....
 
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80sgamer wrote:
Ii take it you don't actually understand the costs involved in producing a game or products in general for that matter...........


http://www.jamesmathe.com/10000-feet-to-publishing-a-board-g...



maybe I do not, and that is why I asked.... but certainly there are card games that sell for about $20 or less, and they make money..... I just bought Hanabi on amazon.... I think, $22... not $35.
 
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Retail price is usually 400%-500 of what it cost to physically produce/manufacture (art, printing, shipping, duty, fulfillment).

The designer needs to get paid, the publisher wants to make a profit, the wholesaler wants to make a profit, and the game store wants to make a profit.

$35 game means it cost about $8 to manufacture. If it was $35 MSRP, btw, it'll land below $30 in the stores eventually.
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GarlicGuy wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
GarlicGuy wrote:


But really, the whole game is just a deck of cards that come in a box.


Um, no, it really isn't. You're paying for the amount of work that has gone into coming up with the rules, the artist that provides the artwork etc.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of game designers are earning way below minimum wage on a per hour rate.

Which is why you aren't just picking up a pack of playing cards.


I realize that.... but there are many $10 - $20 card games....


Are there? I've not found much worth buying for less than 20. Citadels, Jaipur, both over 25$. It is rare to go into a game store and pick up anything costing less than 20$. You aren't paying for components, you are paying for ideas and time. Components are a factor in price, but time / ideas are much more likely. This isn't a deck of playing cards where you need to game separately.

Over time, the idea will become less valuable (think monopoly, which still costs 20-25$ for a basic version, a century later). This is because it has recouped its design costs, so you are no longer paying for the designers time, so much as just components.

How many of your 10-20$ games are you going to find in the top 1000 here? How about you make a hit game for 10$ and then sell it to us and make lots of money.
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GarlicGuy wrote:
maybe I do not, and that is why I asked.... but certainly there are card games that sell for about $20 or less, and they make money..... I just bought Hanabi on amazon.... I think, $22... not $35.

Hanabi should be less than $22, unless you got the deluxe version.

But why not tell us what game you're considering? Maybe we know of some added value you're missing, or that you're right and that particular game is overpriced.
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Garlic, what are some of these objectionable games? You mentioned Hanabi, but that was actually a point that contradicted your OP. Specific examples will help, because I feel like a lot of incomplete generalizations are being thrown around.

Lots of good info here on the cost and process of game design. But guys, isn't Garlic the guy who made a thread a couple weeks ago about just getting into the hobby? If I were him, the acerbic tone of some of these posts would send me running the other way. This seems like a teachable moment to me, not a chance to turn our noses up at perceived ignorance.
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