The great thing about retail games is that they take up space. They fill store shelves and warehouses with their physical selves. When the latest, greatest box (with game inside) comes out it requires room on these shelves and warehouses so that it can be stored or displayed. If there isn’t any some of the old boxes have to be removed. This is great for the consumer as it often means price reductions for clearance.
With digitally distributed games space is no longer an issue. There’s never a need to make room for the next title. One of my main concerns with digital distribution, years ago, was that it kills the after-market. You can’t have a used game. You can’t rent (only demo). And, of course, there’s never a need to clear out the junk piled up in your warehouse by discounting the price. I worried that digitally distributed games would stay at their launch price for the life of the console and beyond. This cuts out potential sales in my mind. There are plenty of games on XBox Live Arcade and the Virtual Console that I would like to play but, for whatever reason, I feel are overpriced for what they are. There are a number of year old games on there that I would buy now if they were half priced.
It’s surprising that more developers haven’t clued into the fact that lowering the price on old games can breathe new life into their sales. Sure, there’s been some map packs that have been made free months after their initial, priced offering and some temporary price reductions, which were nothing more than marketing gimmicks, but real permanent price drops on downloadable content remain rare. That’s why the news that Q? Entertainment, along with releasing Every Extend Extra Extreme, is permanently reducing the price of Lumines Live is such a welcome revelation. Now if only someone could do this for a game I don’t already love unequivocally — they might score themselves a sale that they wouldn’t have otherwise.