"Gamers are being played [like a piano] every time you see the word SALE. This is a big psychology trick that is being used to siphon money from gamers." Indie developer Cliff Harris, in a blog post on why discounted video games are harmful to both gamers and developers. Read his arguments in the full post here.
"We don't play beyond the first 10%. There is not a single game in my steam collection I've finished. Not ONE. And I almost always buy full price. There are many games I've played for under 30 minutes, some for under 10 minutes. They may have wonderful endings, who cares? I have another X games sat there I can experience the opening level of instead. And yet… gamers insist on 50 hours of gameplay. Cue 49 hours of back-tracking and filler, because game devs KNOW that 90%+ of buyers will never see the game ending anyway…"
So his argument ultimately hinges on the fact that he doesn't finish stuff he isn't buying on sale anyways? Sorry Cliff, we're not all like you. I play my games. If I have a whole bunch of games that I've bought - and I do - it's because I want to play them. Maybe not right away, but I do. It took me 3 months to even start Dark Souls, but I played it all the way through to completion, twice. I STILL need to play Last Story, despite having bought the collectors box, but I'll be playing that just as soon as I can sit down and properly appreciate it on a TV that isn't garbage.
If Cliff isn't playing the game he's bought because he doesn't enjoy them, it sounds like HE isn't doing research before buying. He shouldn't be accusing everybody else purchasing things on sale of just being impule-buying fools.
Ultra-discounted sales simply give a game a larger audience than it ever would have otherwise had. I wouldn't have given Dungeons of Dredmore a second glance if it hadn't been a super-discounted game, and then I found myself sinking 30 hours into it... and buying the DLC. Same with Magika, which including its DLC, despite buying it on ultra-sale, I've now probably almost paid as much as a full-size game for! And you know what? It was worth it.