Bundling

This small article isn’t about the formal labeled-as-such bundling of different games. It is about the bundling of content in one huge package where everything added does not necessarily complement everything else. The obvious action would be middle levels and worlds on Super Mario. Every released game is really a bundling. Apart from mine, of course*. I can’t get myself to make these super bundled together packages that we call a ‘Computer Game’, as opposed to what I do that feels possibly more like a timewaster. Even my oft-mentioned Tetris is obviously the bundling of Mode A and Mode B.

* Obviously, I’m not unique on this front.

I’m basing this basically on economic theory. I’m not going to explicitly explain that here, so if you want a refresher course, I would recomend the video at this link: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/05/bundling.html.

Why do firms bundle? Because, bundling is nearly free in regards to marginal costs, as well as bundling smoothing out the variation in demand. However, DLCs are the debundling of contents. Why do they do this? Probably, because there is nobody who – in most cases – would be inclined to buy the DLC and would not be inclined to buy the main game. Therefore, adding the DLC to the main game would not reduce the variation in demand, and since it is now cheap to offer it separately they do.

However, this doesn’t mean that the separation as far as I’m comfortable with is the way to go. It simply isn’t; because of the transactional costs exist, a certain degree of bundling is optimal in order to save those costs. However, in what’s refreshing as somebody with a short little span of attention, the added content shouldn’t be more of the same. It should be distinct. If you’ve got straight platforming, you should add a quirky water level. However, this works better when stuff is skippable – newspapers wouldn’t work so well if you had to read the gossip pages before reading the sports –  something that Mario again, and I doubt with any reference to economic theory, get right.

This suggests that indies obsessed with a certain sort of purity  is not the way way to maximise profits. That the walking simulators would be able to make more profit if they included combat. That the fighting game would get more interest if it was also an adventure game; which, I know Tekken 3 is. Monogameplay indie games obviously make up for their lack informal bundling by formally bundling, which might be a better way since it offers more choice to the developers; although it probably offers up more problems that could be or is the subject of an academic paper. What we can predict won’t happen however is for triple A studios with their 40 quid games to full scale imitate the purity of indie game, or at the very least what if they do they won’t be triple A for long.

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