David Szymanski is one of the more prolific indie horror creators recently, having created Dusk, Squirrel Stapler, and the iconic Iron Lung.
This game was $6 for the longest time, making it a great, cheap option to get around an hour of gameplay and one of the most finely crafted horror experiences that will leave you paranoid even after it’s over.
Just recently, before the release of the Iron Lung movie made in collaboration with the YouTuber Markiplier, Szymanski decided to raise the price of Iron Lung, not due to any significant update or money struggles, but instead as a method of future-proofing and ensuring he’ll be able to support himself and his family 5, 10 years down the line. Random gamers got mad.
Iron Lug Dev Szymanski’s Statement
On Twitter, in response to some moderate backlash from people who think a $2 price raise on an incredibly popular game is an unfair thing to do, Szymanski openly said that he is charging $8 for the game because he believes it’s worth $8, and said that people who disagree don’t have to buy it and can “Go pirate it or something idc.” Raw.
Szymanski elaborates in a few tweets he likes the business model of “I want money, so I make something that I think is worth money, and you pay me that money, and you get the thing, and we’re all happy,” with no other complex motivations behind the price change. Some people said he was only doing this for the money, and his answer was yes.
Indie devs need money and financial security more than indie artists in most other mediums because game development is an incredibly lengthy task to take on by yourself, and it doesn’t always guarantee you’re getting a reward for spending 2+ years on something.
On top of that, the games industry has normalized incredibly low pricing for video games, so even though you’d pay $20 to see a 2-hour-long movie, spending $20 on a 2-hour-long game feels ridiculous to some.
People buy games that are cheap because of discounts or games that are free-to-play, then play them for hundreds of hours and expect every other game to rise to that same standard, no matter if it’s a small game by a single guy or a massive corporate production by a company that’s worth billions.
Video games as a genre have no standard of pricing, and people will complain about even small things like this.
As Szymanski says, if you don’t think a game is worth the money, you shouldn’t buy it. People’s standards for video game price-to-playtime are so high that they believe a high-quality, hour-long experience with many unique concepts, interesting lore, and intense horror is not worth $8. If that’s what they think, Szymanski says they should pirate it.
Even though his financial situation is fine, he still needs to think about the future and plan accordingly. Even though Iron Lung and its movie are going to be earning him some pretty damn decent money for a long while, that well will run dry eventually.
This decision is just a smart move by Szymanski, even if some people won’t like it.
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