Do software publishers realize that lower prices would give them more sales? Or do they just want to live off the few people who can honestly afford their insane prices?
Speaking from experience, I can tell you that people pirate software because the legitimate version is WAY too expensive for mere mortals to afford. OK sure, there are some people that would pirate it regardless of the price... but not everyone. Take me, for example. There are some software packages I'd love to have legitimate copies of.
Adobe Fireworks, for one. I'm not a Photoshop person... so any work I've done with images in the past has been with Fireworks. You know how much that costs? About $300. You know how much I'd be willing to pay for it? Probably about $40.
Ya, I know it is a complex program that probably took a ridiculous amount of time and resources to develop... but that fact still does not change the other fact that I can in no way justify $300 for image editing software that I would use maybe a few times a month for personal use. Just not worth it.
MAYBE if it were below $100, I'd be able to consider it. But even then it would be a stretch for me to have an extra $100 that I'd be spending on software.
Microsoft Office is another example. I've been a big fan of Open Office for a while... it's free, does what I need, and isn't a Microsoft product. Very recently my employer announced a crazy deal to get MS Office 2010 Professional Plus for $10 through our partnership with Microsoft. I jumped at the deal immediately. To get a $400+ package for $10 is something I cannot pass up.
Would I have ever paid for MS Office otherwise? Probably not. Even the Home & Student version with Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note is easily over $100 for a legit copy. That sounds like something that should run somewhere in the $30-$50 range. And I would have maybe considered buying if it were in the lower part of that range.
I suppose this really just sounds like me whining about something being too expensive... But I see it more about cost vs perceived value. You don't hear me complaining to BMW that their M3 is too expensive and they should lower the price, right? That's because if I had the money, I'd buy one. Because I would pay their price based on my perceived value of that car.
When I think of most software, the value I see in the software is MUCH lower than what these companies are asking for it. I have no problem paying for legitimate software... if that price makes sense. I would be very curious to know how many more sales would be generated by lower prices for some of these things.
So which would be better?
Sell 50 copies of "X" software at $1000 each? Or 500 copies for $250 each? Made up numbers, sure... but I'd love to see some real ones.