Gun Monkeys Gets A Price Cut

Gun Monkeys is a procedurally generated online deathmatch game that is receiving high praise from critics alike. The problem is that not a lot of people are playing it – which is a crying shame as it is rather good. So because of this, developer Dan Marshall has decided to cut the pricing of the game, and every purchased game will now come with an additional copy you can send to a friend. Already bought the game? Not a problem, you now have a gift you can send to one of your nearest and dearest – or perhaps someone you would like to blow up with a mine.


In a blog post on the Size Five Games forum, Marshall said, “It’s  something I’m doing extremely reluctantly, because I don’t want to  devalue the game.” Further on he noted that, “here’s the takeaway from  this, for any indie dev considering adding multiplayer to a game: the  number of games you have to sell in order to have people playing  constantly is HUGE.”

So while it is a smart move to make (given that a multiplayer game  generally needs more than one person playing it) it has come at the  expense of potentially devaluing the game – and any game (namely his next release, The Swindle) that Marshall makes further in the future.

Speaking via email, I asked if releasing the game so close to the Summer Steam Sale might have had a negative effect on sales. “Yeah, that was probably a stupid mistake,” Dan said. “I should probably have sat on the game for a month or so, built some hype, waited for the Steam Sale to end, but I’ve got a mouth to feed (and believe me it needs near-constant feeding) so I put the game up and hoped for the best.”

One of the big issues that developers are struggling to deal with is the perspective that consumers currently have towards the pricing on games – and in particular, indie games. YouTube personality TotalBiscuit did one of his WTF? Let’s look at’ videos on Gun Monkeys and concluded that the game was good, but not to the value of $10. Pointing this out to Dan he said, “I think it’s a shame we’ve somehow got to the point where a game isn’t worth $10. Gun Monkeys is playable for hours upon hours, but $10 is suddenly a big ask? It’s something I’m increasingly concerned about, what price am I going to be reasonably charging for my next game? I need to make ends meet, and if we’re down to $3-5 per game as ‘reasonable’ the indie industry’s in massive trouble.”

He carried this on to say that, “When I started making indie games, back in 2006, there was a running joke on forums and stuff that it was stupid to charge anything other than $19.95. Whether it was a match-3 knockoff or fully-fledged brilliance like Armadillo Run, your price point was $19.95, that was just the standard. Somehow people’s perception of ‘worth’ for an indie game is slipping – and I’m not saying this is something I’m exempt from, even I do it, you look at a game and it’s $5 and I think ‘I might only play it for an hour,’ and actually, if I did that that’s still good value.”


There are a number of reasons why this is the case, one of the biggest issues is the trickle-down effect that the mobile gaming market is having. Marshall noted that even a game like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, one of the high points of gaming last year, had an excellent port to the iPad, but was unfairly lambasted for its release price of $19.99.

Selling a game that only has multiplayer mode is a big gamble in the current market, with the likes of Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 being free-to-play, being able to sway players is a massive challenge. While turning Gun Monkeys F2P isn’t happening anytime soon, Dan said that he plans on doing free weekends and tasters. So if you are still unsure about Gun Monkeys, it’s highly recommended to give it a try when the free trials become available.

Gun Monkeys is available on Windows and Mac for $5.99/£3.99.

© 2013, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.

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BA(Hons) in Game Cultures - Southbank University Freelance Writer Poor Musician

3 Responses to “Gun Monkeys Gets A Price Cut”

  1. July 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    The one other issue I can think of relating to the pricing of games is the new prevalence of bundle games. When someone can pick up a large number of games for around $5 it makes people question whether it’s worth spending $5 on a single game. Once you get around $10 it makes it an even harder suggestion. It’s true that a lot of bundles are rehashes of games that have already been offered and people who have been buying them for awhile might only gain 1 or 2 new games from them, but that’s still a very cheap price tag. When you are trying to compete for someone’s wallet and they compare your game at $10 or two bundles that are out at the same time it requires that your game have something that will really drive them in. “Indie” games like Don’t Starve, Hotline Miami, and others have managed this fairly easily due to great word of mouth about their unique gameplay. Unless you can really get people talking about the game though it’s hard to get people to part $10 for what they may see as “just another indie game”. The other issue is the one you’ve talked about, investing in any multiplayer game that you don’t know has a huge following can be very sketchy. If you can never find anyone to play with it’s basically a wasted purchase.

  2. July 30, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    I don’t think pricing is the issue with Dan’s game. It’s hard enough getting a critical mass of players for an online only AAA game, for an indie game, however much critical praise it receives, it’s even harder simply because people have been stung by other online only indie releases that basically – launched, wimpered then promptly died.

    it’s a nasty chicken and egg. you won’t get players unless you already have players.

    I wish him much luck with the marketing and 2fers to try and turn it around as it looks like the game itself is great fun and really put together.

  3. August 2, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    This game is an antonym to enjoyable.

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