Publishers Angry at Amazon’s $9.99 Game Download

amazonLast week Amazon announced their launch of their new game download service with games starting at only $9.99. I thought this would be an extremely good deal and that at economic times $9.99 would be a great way to have some fun, unfortunately the game publishers certainly did not agree. VentureBeat reports Publishers such as PopCap and IWin finds it “completely unacceptable” and has pulled all their games from Amazon.

At the Casual Connect conference in Hamburg, long-brewing pricing tensions are coming to a head. Developers are not happy, because they see Amazon’s price-point as an attack on the industry.

Ernie Ramirez, the chief financial officer at Amazon’s Reflexive Entertainment said he doesn’t want to chop up the existing casual games market. “It’s our goal to bring a lot of new people to the space.”

PopCap Games has dropped Amazon, declining to participate in the new service, says Dennis Ryan, an executive vice president of the company behind Bejeweled.

During a panel discussion,’s production director Andy Hieke said, “We pulled all our games down from Amazon when we found out what they were doing.” Speaking of the new price-point he adds, “We find that completely unacceptable.”

Hieke added that, while he supports the $9.99 price point, it shouldn’t be done at launch and that games should be given the best possible chance of making higher sales — $19.99, for example.

And he believes that publishers can’t take a game to Wal-Mart if it’s priced too cheaply online. Each game has a value. Jewel Quest is $19.99, says Hieke, “And that’s the price it should be.”

As an Amazon affiliate, I was even thinking of adding up some ads myself. The thought of games starting at $9.99 sounds like a great bargain until looking through the game list. I was a bit turned off with the titles as a hardcore gamer, I expected something much better. Either way, I’m sure it would be a matter of time before Amazon becomes a leading platform of video game downloads.

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10 Responses to “Publishers Angry at Amazon’s $9.99 Game Download”
  1. Duskywolf50 says:

    Publishers such as PopCap and IWin finds it “completely unacceptable” and has pulled all their games from Amazon.

    Hey all gamer publishers, you want 20 bucks for your game, nah you will lose us. That is very ridiculous price for mini game. Look at economic and it's bad and your loss. loser.

    • Dave says:


      There's a huge laugh… 1,000 people at $9.99 each is worse than 250 @ $19.99. And those extra satisfied and happy 750 people that would run around telling their friends where to find great games cheap and increasing those numbers to huge proportions are meaningless too!

      That's reality for ya, greed sells. Or so the corporate guys who waste money everywhere, overpay certain people and services they could live without and just wear blinders all day think so. They're fresh out of college with that on the brain, those 60+ year old Prof's who never worked in the real world or touched any of this stuff in their lives beat it into them.

      Interesting, why aren't they throwing a fit over the same thing at Microsoft on the XBox Live! System? Or Sony or Nintendo? Why not freak out over people charging $2.50 for a knock-off that many times is good enough the $17.50 saved is worth it? Because it's all greed and kicking Amazon in the teeth for marketing strategy is more fun and profitable. And I mean seriously, how'd Amazon get this huge – nearly taking out eBay at this point, if they had no idea what they were doing?

      Hey PopCap, want my MadCaps back? I don't like playing games from blackmailers so I'll live without.

  2. Go figure says:

    Really!! Come one now, enough of the BS

    If amazon wants to sell it for 9.99 or 1.99 or free let them

    I am sick of all the gready bastards out there

    • Jason says:

      And you're an ignorant fool. Don't you realize that it isn't greed, its called 'making back the money you spent'. Designing a game, even a mini-game such as this, costs money. If you can't get the money back from your games, that means your losing money, which is going to mean the person in question isn't going to make or be able to make games anymore if its just going to be at a loss.

      Profits drive the industry. It's called common sense and necessity, "Go figure".

    • Peter says:

      Whats more greedy? Expecting fair return for fair work, or expecting that everything you want should be almost free?

      Constantly pushing down the price of games will force game development budgets down, which in turn could result in a limited range of crappy products that really are only worth $1.99.

      If you like games, support the people that make them. You do right by them, they will do right by you.

  3. sixx says:

    This is really hilarious because when Popcap debuted on steam a few months ago, they had almost every game in the lineup @ .99c. Plus I found Jewel Quest for 9.99 almost anywhere on the internet.

  4. Ruibo says:

    I believe the price for bejeweled on steam was at $9.99. IMO, The publishers should be happy they're getting a penny considering how easy it is to pirate these games. They've lost any extra revenue they could've gotten.

  5. Peter says:

    "The publishers should be happy they’re getting a penny considering how easy it is to pirate these games. They’ve lost any extra revenue they could’ve gotten."

    What the hell man? You seem to forget that people actually work on these things for a living. Its a 9-5 job, just like any other.

    And the attitude that publishers should be happy if they make pennies off of their product, just because there are so many people out there willing to rip it off. Well, that attitude just makes me sick.

    What do you propose? Stronger DRM? Harsher measures against copyright infringement? Or should the publishers just move into a different industry all together and let gamers go to rot?

    Get a clue.

  6. zapakitul says:

    “The publishers should be happy they’re getting a penny considering how easy it is to pirate these games.”

    Peter, sorry to say that, but i think you ment Game Developers and not publishers, since a game can be made by company A and published by company B. And i do agree that ruibo didn't quite used the right words. What i think he wanted to say is that "piracy is taking down the Game Dev industry, and that the Dev's should be happy that there are people out there that actually apreciate their work, and that they must do something to protect their game better". My opinion? Don't sell the game, sell access to it!

  7. brandonman says:

    As an indie game eveloper myself, I can see why people are kind of pissed off about another site selling stuff on the extremely cheap end. Just like a product manufactured on an assembly line, games take time, money, and effort to produce. I would venture to say that often, a quality game, even indie game, takes much more preperation than something off the assembly line selling for $20 (Like the OxyClean detergent ball… Really? They just put oxyclean in a damn ball!). Having all these outlets like Xbox's service, amazon, etc selling things at extremely low prices just makes it more difficult on indie developers to actually make any money. These low prices make people feel that indie games are worthless piles of crap that they should never pay over $9.99. (Disclaimer: I haven't marketed any games as of yet, only freeware, but I can obviously tell how much work goes into these high quality indie titles) Here's a good article to sum this up:

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