Price Anchoring

Setting anchor prices like suggested retail price, can influence perceived value.

When we assign value to products or services, we create an internal reference price, based on things like perceived quality, expected utility, enjoyment and other factors. This process works kind of like how Google ranks pages for its search engine. We often use shortcuts or signals to rank different categories. One of these is list price or suggested retail price (msrp).

When a product has a high list price, but is on sale, we often believe this is a better value for the money. Products with higher list prices signal a higher level of quality or better performance. This has been verified both in lab and field studies. However, it is not universally true and it has limits. Using a list price that is too high can have a negative effect or perceived value. For games this means you shouldn’t be afraid to set a higher release price. This helps signal the quality of the title. Of course, if you are releasing junk, price it accordingly. But, in my experience, most devs price their releases too low. Bear in mind, you can always lower your price in a few weeks, but raising a game’s price after release is a big no-no.

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