As we already know, Namco Bandai’s game Idolmaster has never actually been produced in the West. Although fandom of music singers is nothing rare, it is clearly obvious why a game like Idolmaster would pretty much never see existence in the West. (However, by no means it is a bad game, though there’s no question it’s generally meant for the Japanese audience instead of elsewhere.) This game is functional as a standalone, though I don’t find this the best introduction to the series. I find this better as a supplemental game to an existing series, not as an opener to the West.
So I go on my iOS and realize this game is available for $54.99. The scary thing is that because of pricing and the fact that this is the only existing source of Idolmaster in English, the pricing, while seemingly high and aggressive, actually also causes a reverse psychology. What I mean by that is because it’s fresh and new, normal pricing guidelines dictate that you price it at this level. If this same game was somehow $4.99 I would mentally find the game on a lower quality due to the pricing, while the $54.99 tag I would be intrigued in wondering what could be contained within the game.
Shiny Festa was originally a PSP game, so the iOS game is pretty much a port
For someone who is completely unfamiliar with the game but is intrigued, other than the high price tag, this would appear worth a look. The crazy part is that $54.99 is exceptionally high for a mobile application, where some companies have been lauded for having a mere $20 game, since mobile apps are based on being cheaper, but with more editions and microtransactions on the go. The pricing of $54.99 is likely more due to it being market comparable to new games. However, that too is also weird since this is a mere app, so there’s no hard copy, no bonus, no paper manual, nothing. At least it has some free DLC included, but you wouldn’t really know that unless you got the game, or if it was originally there in the first place or not.
This is different than making the game more available at a cheaper price, but having DLC options. Hence it’s no surprise they simply package the DLC already implemented, and hence price it at $54.99. In a consumer standpoint, $54.99 is a shocking price, but the situation is that there is no other Idolmaster supply in English specifically for the time being. Naturally this makes the entry to the game harder, which it already was given that importing was the only way to play Idolmaster games. So in a way Namco is trying to present value, or taking advantage of the passion of this niche series. There’s always the reasoning that having Idolmaster for $54.99 is better than not having Idolmaster at all, however I still disagree with that logic when importing the other games is oddly more feasible.
I didn’t even get around to the point that this game comes in 3 parts that equally cost $54.99 for a potential total of $164.97 since the Idolmaster girls are separated to 3 different games, where you need all 3 games to cover them all. I don’t quite understand this strategy, as it seems to present more of a “shock” effect of interest, rather than using TV commercials or some fancy trailer. Though while I wouldn’t be all that surprised seeing an Idolmaster commercial in Japanese, I could not possibly imagine one in English.
As far as ability to pay for this, I call this situation a “capacity purchase”. Although people don’t really have the funds or income to spend on a $54.99 iOS application very easily, because it’s entirely possible to purchase on a very simple click unobstructed, it is very possible to mentally weed out the $54.99 price tag. I’ve done this before on more expensive purchases, and it’s not necessarily on desire of the item itself, but possibly because of the capacity to do the purchasing action.
Personally, I am not going to buy this game mainly because all of my other iOS purchases have been left completely unplayed. I don’t think there’s anything particularly bad about the game, but it probably functions like the PSP equivalent, considering it’s the ported version of it. I just want Namco to make a solid Idolmaster fighting game in 3D. I would buy that, but it will likely never exist. Still, it’s odd to have Idolmaster come on iOS first, rather than the console game, which actually has idol training and events. I believe this might have been influenced from the fact that recent Idolmaster games (Million Live, Cinderella Girls, etc) in Japan have come in the form of mobile applications and have functioned just fine. Those mobile games are much more recent than Idolmaster 2, which was released in 2011.