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Why do games not have items 'one sale' in their stores

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Many games have in-game shops where you can buy gear. But I just realized that hardly any game has items that are temporarily 'on sale', i.e. sold for less than the normal price. I'm talking strictly about things you buy with in-game money.

 

Decker that this mechanic hidden in its shop. Basically you can always order all items the game has, but you can get the current stock of the shop for a good discount. But I can't quickly think of any other games. Why is this?

 

I liked the fact that in Decker I have to weigh my options: wait for an item to be in the shop and get it cheap, or just bite the bullet and order it for full price. So why are there no other games with this mechanic? Is it not worth the complexity in the UI? I find it unlikely that nobody has thought of adding it to their game.

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I thought sales in app shops was very common... It is a good way to push those users on the fence, thinking about buying, into actually doing it.

I can't think of any (reasonably big) title that haven't used it in some way or another.

 

Maybe not in such an organised manner though.

Sounds like Decker found a nice way to present it, that fits with the theme. 

I like it, as you mention, that way, it becomes more part of the gameplay, something many shops fail at.

 

Edit: Seems I totally misunderstood the question...

Edited by Olof Hedman

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I thought sales in app shops was very common... It is a good way to push those users on the fence, thinking about buying, into actually doing it.

I can't think of any (reasonably big) title that haven't used it in some way or another.

 

Maybe not in such an organised manner though.

Sounds like Decker found a nice way to present it, that fits with the theme. 

I like it, as you mention, that way, it becomes more part of the gameplay, something many shops fail at.

 

i think he is talking about in game shops(in RPGs for example) rather than the type of micro transactions that have become popular recently.

 

It is quite rare for there to ever be discounts in such games. (some feature a haggle mechanic or adjust prices based on your characters stats/skills though).

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First they have to have someone program/script the 'sales' - takes work and can be a source for more bad looking bugs.  One MMORPG many years ago they had a (relatively) complex scheme of fluxuating NPC prices depending on a 'fixed' supply of goods and would even 'run out',   but it soon became problematic when people started fabricating/crafting stuff systematically (and the those NPC shops even would have a fixed limit they would buy of each item).   That disrupted casual crafters who soon found no point in making anything.  

 

Think about how you would have these sales work.  How often, how many, what item, what discount?    Is it a big ticket item that costs a player weeks of grinding (now 50%off) - so why do those few lucky players who get the sale benefit?     Is it really going to give them an advantage or just some mnor 'boost'?   The company has to weigh the cost of programming the feature debugging it etc...   and does it really offer better gameplay?   Some games have a login lottery giving you some stuff (minor to somewhat good stuff) which is also a lead-in for buying MORE/BETTER with out-of-game money.

 

The problem Ive rather seen is it is more the case that you (pretty soon)  get/have more   in-game   money than there are useful/amusing  store things to buy.   In several games  Very Useful Things players made/produced (which can be better than any store bought goods)  when auctioned go for significantly more inflated prices (Raid gear or PvP gear or quick leveling reputation items).  --- inflated by Players with nothing better to spend excess money on.    Another problem was both quests/missions giving better gear (to just about everyone),  and  faster leveling (than the original design balance - as the world extended) which made gear obsolete in a very short time.

 

Really bad part is the out-of-game REAL money buying has turned many games into "pay to win" (even by companies who swore it would never happen).   When you simply can accelerate experience, get good gear, or even bypass huge chunks of 'levels',  it eliminates any sense of achievement (and skips an awful lot of adventure which was supposed to be what these games were about).

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I think one reason may be that it allows a moderately wealthy player to gain currency by "doing nothing", which is almost always undesirable. In a single-player game, it makes the game too easy (you're supposed to gain fortune by killing stuff, not by standing in the shop), and in a multiplayer game, it negatively impacts the economy by inflating inflation (inflating inflation... say that three times!).

 

Unless a lot of care is put into the pricing or unless there is always a huge gap between bid/ask, a player could (and some will!) buy everything that is on sale regardless of need, and re-sell it with a margin. They'll do that all day until they can afford all the best items.

Edited by samoth

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Ah, I had not thought about the MMO* scene at all. A player-involved (or player based) economy makes it a far more complex problem. I agree that it is not necessarily any good there.

 

But let me re-phrase the question: why are there so few single player games that have an in-game store that has items for sale?

 

In a single player it would make a lot of sense IMHO. It adds a meaningful choice on how to spend your money. It adds realism to the buy-stuff-at-the-store experience. And it can even be used by the game designers to steer players towards certain kinds of items. For instance the 'on sale' mechanic could favor items that help in certain quests the player is currently ignoring.

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Such mechanics require something to govern it. For example, in Dune 2, the Starport has varying costs for units, based on player (and enemies)' demand. The more a said unit gets ordered, the higher its price rises.

The problem in an rpg is that you couldn't really simulate the economy: as strange as it might sound, the player is generally the only one that really has anything to do with weapons whatsoever (except in Romancing Saga 3, where an army IS getting raised).

Thus, the economy would only obey to random fluctuations, which is far from ideal.

 

It goes to the next point: sales are there to give you incentive to buy an item at a said time (to stimulate economy, keep things moving, etc.) 

This function would not be of any help to the game microcosm: it is understood that all of your money will be spent towards shops anyway. 

 

Perhaps one thing that could be incorporated is the idea of shopkeeper guilds: it is understood you'll spend your money at shops, but they may be rival factions, and each of them really want your money. So for common items, the price might be led to dwindle down.

 

That being said, sales would probably add unnecessary complexity to a game, and possibly balancing issues (what if two shopkeepers fight to the death to give you these potions at 1GP each?)

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In Animal Crossing: New Leaf (at least) they have also this mechanic. You can basically order anything you had (or have seen in a street-pass house) via the catalogue. However sometimes they have special items of the day which are special priced (or even only available then).

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