So I’m a gamer, right? You’re probably a gamer too if you’re reading this blog. We’re used to spending $60 for a new console game, maybe $50 for a new PC game. Every so often Steam has a big sale and we all start buying games just because they’re marked down to $10: “I’ll probably never play it, but at $10 I couldn’t NOT buy it!”
Enter the iPad (you could sub in iPhone or to a certain extend, an Android phone). Suddenly our sense of values get thrown all out of whack.
Angry Birds is all the rage on the iPhone and iPad these days. I finally got around to downloading the Lite (ie, free/demo) version. It’s basically Boom Blox without the Wii controls. In other words, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, very addicting, with irreverently cute characters (you use a slingshot to project the titular birds at pigs who’re protected inside structures of varying degrees of flimsiness. Why? Because the pigs stole, and presumably ate, your eggs).
The Lite version is only available for the iPhone. Of course it runs on the iPad, either at actual size or blown up 2 times to match the size of the iPad. Because the graphics are pretty simple it looks fine at 2X.
Anyway I decide this is enough fun that I want the full game. At least I’m pretty sure I do. I think a lot over whether its worth investing in the full game. Will I really play it enough? Once I decide I will, I have another decision. The iPhone version is $1 while the iPad version is $5. I’ve heard that the iPad version is identical to the iPhone version, just with crisper graphics.
Hmm, is it worth paying FIVE TIMES as much just for slightly better graphics? I spend a lot of time thinking about this while I sip an iced coffee and munch on a donut. Total cost of the snack I’m consuming while I ponder? About $5.
And suddenly I realize how weird it is that I’ll spend $60 on a console game that I know lasts 8 hours or so, but I’m agonizing over spending $5 on an iPad game. If a console game drops to $40 that’s cheap as heck, but an iPad game at $5 feels expensive. But will the console game over you 8 (or 12, at full price) times the enjoyment? Who knows? Enjoyment is really hard to quantify.
In the end, I splashed out the big bucks for the $5 iPad version of Angry Birds and the crisper visuals are well worth the extra money in my opinion. But after all was said in done I just felt bewildered by my own behavior. Why was I stressing out over a $4 difference in price? What is it about the iPad that the perceived value of games is so much lower than the perceived value of games on the PC or consoles?