When I first saw Ascent, an actual Steam game priced at $999 USD, I had to take a step back and chuckle. I asked myself, how many of those have they even sold? The game appeared to be a survival horror VR shooter, putting up to 5 players against an infestation of demonic-looking monsters. Nothing on the surface immediately explained why this game costs as much as a new iPhone. Ascent is currently the most expensive game on Steam.
Upon further inspection I realized that this game was not only expensive, but also requires a lot of additional expensive equipment.
That got me thinking. What would be a fair price for a game that promises to deliver a “hyper-immersive VR experience”? How does one price realism, anyway? I needed to get to the bottom of this, so I decided to reach out to the team behind Ascent, Fury Games. They run a VR arcade in Ireland called Fury VR, using the same game that they sell on Steam, and other VR titles.
SQUAD: What exactly is included in the Steam price of $999.99? Could you go into detail for me?
Fury Games: The Ascent VR is included in the game price. Unlike most games on Steam, the Ascent was designed for use with Haptic suits and under-floor bass shakers, as well as smart plugs and gun stocks. The game is designed with VR immersion in mind, and we think is the first Hyper Reality game available on Steam. Hyper-Reality is where the real world (such as motion flooring or airflow) combines with the VR environment to produce a gaming experience on the next level.
How did you decide to sell your product on Steam? What led to that price?
Like all small developers, Steam is a great platform for us to reach a wide range of gamers. The price is a tricky one. On onehand, it is very expensive for home use, and we understand that. There are people who have the right set-up to run the game with all the extra features. On the other hand, Hyper-Reality experiences usually cost in the thousands (even hundreds of thousands), so for us to go out to the public with a sub-1,000 offer was to try something a little different with a Hyper-Reality offering.
Who is your target audience?
The target buyers are business-minded gamers and to a lesser extent serious VR gamers. We know from experience that people who run VR arcades often check Steam for new releases, and either buy their games directly from Steam, or contact the developers.
What did I learn?
Depending on who is buying it, the most expensive game on Steam may be worth the price. Fury Games are definitely not expecting to make a ton of money off of selling the game on Steam. It sounds like they just want to share their game with other VR arcades across the world, which is pretty ambitious, and I suppose this is one way to do it while also reaching individual players with VR-ready homes and money to burn.
I don’t have all that fancy equipment, and if you don’t either, we’d be the worst people in the world to buy Ascent. The reviews of their arcade are good, though, and personally I’d love to be able to afford a trip out to Ireland just to hit it up. Taking on zombies in a hyper-realistic game sounds pretty neat.