How much would you pay for a great game? There was a time when finding an answer to this question was easy. For years, $59.99 was pretty much the defacto price for every gaming experience. But in the modern world of digital distribution, free-to-play games, and the App Store, finding an answer is a lot harder than it once was.
This morning, hot on the heels of confirming an August 31st release date, Square Enix has announced that their highly anticipated Final Fantasy Dimensions will be hitting the App Store for the whopping price of $28.99.
Well… sort of.
Players will be able to purchase the game episodically. The prologue will be available absolutely free, allowing interested gamers to get a taste of the experience without having to spend a single penny. The first chapter will be $2.99, and the remaining chapters (2-4) will be $9.99 apiece. Or, if you want the whole bundle, you can make a one-time purchase of $28.99.
And because of this, the internet seems to be up in arms. But really – should they be?
This isn’t the first time Square Enix has been more than a little resistant to adopting typical App Store prices. Final Fantasy III will run you $16.99 on the iPad. Final Fantasy Tactics can cost as much as $17.99, while Chaos Rings II will set you back a whopping $19.99. Anyone who was expecting Final Fantasy Dimensions to have a 99 cent price tag was simply fooling themselves.
Companies like Square Enix are used to the sort of money that can be made on more traditional consoles, and when they’re offering a game that they believe would sell on such devices, they want to be able to charge a premium price. Despite this, they still take a fairly sizable price cut to be on the App Store. Tactics might seem an insane price at $17.99, but the exact same game retailed for $39.99 on the PSP. And that’s how much Final Fantasy III went for in its debut on the Nintendo DS, too.
When you look at it that way, who’s to say that this game isn’t worth $28.99?
Plus, this is the first time Final Fantasy Dimensions has been available on western shores. While it might not have some of the visual flair and polish of Square Enix’s other premium priced games, fans of the series probably won’t be bothered by that. And in giving everyone a taste for free, they’re not forcing you to pony up $29 to find out if you like it.
They’ve found a pricing method that both maintains the integrity of their product and lets people only pay for as much as they want to play. Instead of complaining about the price tag, I think Square Enix deserves a round of applause.