The Mech Touch Chapter 1091
1089 Pricing Conundrum
The Aurora Titan held two meanings to Ves. He did not plan on explaining to anyone of the deeper meaning that came from his heart.
The memory of witnessing and facilitating complete resonance was his and only his to enjoy in the comfort of his mind.
As to the others, Aurora Titan was simply a fancy and exaggerated way to describe his super-medium space knight. The word titan stood for his mech's larger size while the word aurora alluded to the visual glow that polarizing fields emanated when they became active.
Aurora Titan. A name that came with two entirely separate meanings.
It satisfied both the emotional and descriptive requirements for an appropriate name for his new mech design.
Eventually, someone started to ask a very important question. "So.. how much do you expect to charge for this Aurora Titan? It looks like a really expensive mech."
Ves constantly tried to figure that out himself. The added size and bulk increased its cost substantially, and the polarizing module itself wasn't cheap by any means.
He could not afford to underprice the Aurora Titan.
At the same time, he also couldn't overprice the Aurora Titan either. If he charged 100 million credits or more, he would break through a psychological price barrier that would instantly deter the vast majority of buyers in the market looking to supplement their outfits with a sturdy space knight!
Right now, Ves had not fleshed out his draft design into an exact set of schematics that fully outlined its component and material usage. He still possessed some freedom to adjust the final cost of his mech in his subsequent design work.
Nevertheless, it would be better if he defined its pricing beforehand so that he could plan around it from the very start. It was better than to name a price at the end where he had little choice in the matter.
"I think the base price of the Aurora Titan will not be less than 80 million credits." Ves finally announced.
A lot of people held their breaths. Sure, a real heavy mech cost at least three or four times as much. Yet compared to the cheapest edition of the Blackbeak, the Aurora Titan demanded at least 20 million credits more!
By setting his target at designing a mech that people would be willing to fork out 80 million credits to buy a copy, Ves determined that his actual design should not cost more than 60 million credits to produce.
This cost limit not only included the cost of exotics and raw materials, but also the capital and labor required to produce it. In addition, Ves also needed to take into account the various royalties each copy bequeathed to the licensors of the components used in the Aurora Titan design.
Designing and producing a mech was expensive business! The figures only racked up even higher as the size, bulk and quality of the design increased!
For an instant, Ves considered whether he should design a light skirmisher instead. He wouldn't have to deal with such insanely high prices when he designed a smaller and thinner mech.
Ves quickly shook his head. It wasn't in his nature to give up on a mech design before he even completed it. To charge 80 million credits for his super-medium space knight was a fair price to ask considering its strengths.
Even so, he wasn't ignorant of the challenges. Neither was Gavin, who looked troubled at the prospect of trying to market a weird mech that cost so much.
"It will be a hard sell." Gavin said. "It's one thing if you're a Journeyman. The market is more willing to trust your design ability that they won't automatically scoff at such a high price. The problem is that you aren't one. Not yet. For an Apprentice to dabble so much in the premium price segment as you makes you seem rather greedy. Publishing an even more expensive mech design than the last two will only reinforce your reputation as a money grubber."
"Quality comes at a price." Ves stated. "The Aurora Titan is very capable as a defensive space knight. It is worth every credit as long as their owners and mech pilots employ them correctly."
"Even with the support of Professor Ventag and NORA Consolidated, I don't foresee that we can capture any significant market share for your mech. A lot of people don't like the idea of super-medium mechs in the first place. Your mech design will attract a lot of negative comments due to that factor alone."
"I'm already aware of the consequences. Innovation is not without its bumps. Even if the Aurora Titan flops on the market, I still won't regret designing it due to all of the lessons I've learned in the design process. If I ever design another space knight, I'll be able to take all of the pitfalls I've encountered previously into account."
This was a form of hedging usually employed by mech designers. So what if one of their mech designs flopped? They could easily attempt to design another mech of the same type but with a concept to see whether their second attempt succeeded.
In fact, design studios turned this practice into the core part of their business model. They pumped out design after design, many of which consisted of variants of their base model designs in order to offer any company in need of a mech design to round out their mech catalog an enormous amount of choice.
It didn't matter if ninety-nine percent of their mech designs never got licensed. Just a single success made up for all of the effort spent on designing the flops!
This also illustrated that designing a mech did not cost a mech designer all that much. Perhaps the most valuable resource they wasted was time. All those months or years spent on designing a failed mech design that would never see any use could have been used to design a better mech.
Regarding time, younger mech designers often possessed a lackadaisical attitude towards it. Since they were so young, they had all the time in the world to explore their design capabilities and to experiment with their developing design philosophies.
Only until they reached middle age or older would they begin to feel the press of time. All that time wasted on designing failures could have been used to design successful mech designs that earned them lots of money or pushed their advancement forward!
After a hearty and honest discussion, Ves dismissed the gathering, satisfied with the feedback he received. None of his confidants held back in expressing their honest thoughts. To them, Ves was still Ves instead of some mythical figure as he was sometimes portrayed in the news.
"That's still a flaw of mine." Ves shook his head.
With his advancement to Journeyman near, he needed to get used to adopting the demeanor of a leader and someone of importance. He was not a young mech designer anymore who just took his first steps in the mech industry.
The problem was that his advancement was so rapid that Ves simply did not have the time to get rid of his folksy, middle-class demeanor.
Although his Larkinson background offered him a lot more privileges in his upbringing compared to other people of his generation, there were so many Larkinsons that he never felt he was special in any way.
"Besides, it's not in the nature of the Larkinsons to pamper any of their offspring with an abundant amount of wealth and luxury."
At least, that used to be the custom. The holdings of the Larkinson Estate only earned the family enough money to provide a comfortable retirement to its elders, orphans, widows and widowers.
Now that they had tasted the benefits of receiving billions of credits in dividends, who knew if their attitude towards raising future Larkinsons remained as restrained and sober as before. The introduction of a mech designer like Ves to the family may have forever caused future generations of Larkinsons to become spoiled and pampered brats!
"My grandfather and the other elders know better than that." Ves shook his head, unwilling to believe the principle Larkinsons would be corrupted so easily by money. "Good mech pilots don't come about by flooding them with money and abundance. Not according to the own lessons our family has learned in raising mech pilots."
The Larkinson Family enjoyed a four-hundred year track record of consistently raising lots of very skilled mech pilots. The expert pilots that constantly emerged from their ranks in every generation enshrined their current practices!
The only concern that Ves still harbored was whether his influence along with the influence of the LMC would begin to displace the original focus of the Larkinson Family. For four centuries, they dedicated themselves to military service. What if the younger generations of Larkinsons instead preferred to work for the Avatars of Myth instead of the Mech Corps?
Would the family lose its military identity one day?
"Everything will change one day." He whispered to himself. "Whether this particular change will be better for the family or not, I don't see any way to stop this trend."
The LMC at its current scale hadn't grown to the point where the Larkinson Family needed to place too much importance to it. But what about the future? What if his company became as large, wealthy and influential as the KNG? What if the LMC began to match a huge company like NORA Consolidated?
Would the family still be able to remain composed when they realized that they owned a 25 percent stake in such a massive cash cow?
"Well, that won't happen for quite a few years."
Ves picked up Lucky lounging on the couch and moved over to his desk. As he petted Lucky's back, he decided to bite the bullet and contact Professor Ventag.
His comm call came through a few minutes later after going through his secretary.
"Ves. Looks like you have been acclimatizing well upon your return." The professor said. "How far are you on your design work?"
"I've recently finished a complete draft design. Let me show it to you and explain my thought processes."
Ves held nothing back as he showcased the Aurora Titan. He explained the theory and considerations behind each of his design choices, some of which earned some modest praise from the professor.
After twenty minutes of outlining the reasoning behind the draft design, Professor Ventag sat back on his chair somewhere in Bentheim.
"Hmmm. Interesting. All of your reasoning is sound. Although I don't fully agree with all of your design choices, it's good that you've stuck to the same logic behind most of your decisions. That kind of consistency is often lacking among younger mech designers who simply want to achieve the 'coolest' mech designs."
"The Aurora Titan is anything but 'cool'." Ves smiled sardonically. "It doesn't even follow any of the current trends aside from designing a mech that is specialized against resisting laser weapons."
"The value of mech design is rather ambiguous in the current generation. However, once the next generation rolls in, the Aurora Titan will doubtlessly be able to shine more brightly with all the laser weapons being used."
Ves intended to design a mech that straddled multiple generations. It was fine if it didn't sell well in the first few years. As long as the MTA finally decided to announce the next mech generation, the Aurora Titan would certainly gain a lot of prominence!
The only problem was that Ves would have to cut its price by at least 10 million credits or more due to its lastgen nature.
"Do you think that 80 million credits is a good price to ask for the base model?" Ves asked.
The question put Professor Ventag on the spot. "That's a difficult question to answer even for a Senior, Ves. We are not omnipotent, and trying to gauge an acceptable price for a mech model that is as controversial and complex as yours is incredibly challenging. Nonetheless, I think you are being too restrained in your asking price."
"What price would you suggest for the Aurora Titan, professor?"
"100 million credits. Go for broke."
Ves truly didn't know how to respond to that suggestion. Would it really be acceptable to charge so much? For 100 million credits, Ves could buy at least three medium space knights that could do a much better job collectively than one single Aurora Titan!