212: The Downside of Direct Downloads

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
The Downside of Direct Downloads

Digital distribution may offer a lot of convenience to gamers who want to expand their collections without leaving the house. But if you care about getting as much value as possible from your games, you may want to proceed with caution. Michael Comeau explains why direct downloads aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Read Full Article
 

Denmarkian

New member
Feb 1, 2008
110
0
0
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.

If software distribution goes completely digital, there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60 because the costs of designing the box art, disc art, manufacturing the disc, packaging the software, warehousing the merchandise, and transporting the merchandise to the retailer are gone.

None of those costs matter anymore, unless you're a complete idiot who wants to appease the physical-copy-fetishists and give them a box for a digital download game like Patapon 2.

I'll have to do some digging through Steam to get some better comparative pricing lists, but I'm fairly certain that brand-new titles released on Steam are not priced at the exact same amount as a new-in-box copy of the game at Best Buy.

--EDIT--

Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
Guild Wars Trilogy - $49.99
Fuel - $39.99
Spore: Galactic Adventures - $29.99
Prototype - $49.99

What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.

Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.

I absolutely love Steam for being a platform that grants me access to a lot of my games that were published before Windows Vista came out, and even where I can find anthologies of old games I had only one or two of. I mean, they've got a Space Quest collection for $15, I only ever had a copy of Space Quest IV and I don't remember how I got it. If I ever want to get it, I'm sure I'll always have that option, and it will never be out of stock because it only takes up server space for one copy instead of a warehouse full of unsellable boxes.
 

scnj

New member
Nov 10, 2008
3,088
0
0
I have to say that if/when the day finally does come when digital downloads completely take over, it will be a sad one for me. To me, gaming is more than just getting a game and playing it. I mean, what of the social side of buying a game in the first place?

One of my fondest memories of 2007 was getting up at 7am on August 24th, picking two of my friends up at 7:30 and heading to the local Asda store ready for the 8:00 opening. Stood out there in the cold, we waited for those doors to open so we could finally pick up BioShock, a game we'd waited months for. And while finally being able to play the game was certainly amazing, the best part was the fact that the three of us went together to buy it. That social experience is something that sitting in front of a computer watching a download percentage could never hope to replicate.

Then of course there's the game box itself. Firstly there's the artwork. Truly great artwork on a game box can catch my eye in a shop and cause me to stop what I'm doing and at least check out the back of the case. And of course there are the debates among my friends and I. Which artwork is better, Dead Space or Valkyria Chronicles? Should the default Commander Shepard be on the cover of Mass Effect considering my in game character looks completely different?

Secondly, there's the excitement. It's hard to deny the excitement I felt when, after queueing half an hour for my copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, I took it home and slowly unwrapped the cellophane, savouring that new game smell, looking at the map of the new Liberty City and reading the manual.

As I said already, gaming is more than simply acquiring and playing a game. Get rid of physical games, and you're getting rid of half the experience.
 

manaman

New member
Sep 2, 2007
3,218
0
0
For totally biased reasons all my own I feel that direct downloads herald the future when applied to the PC. Try doing that on a console and your just going to get me angry. Does that make me a hypocrite? Seems to, but I like to think it doesn't.

Consoles are casual, the hardware changes every 5 or so years, the games get better. But it has always been a case of pop the game in play a bit, pop in a new one play some more. PC gaming on the other hand has traditionally been a race to keep the hardware up to date, and hours spent clearing space on the drive for the latest game, then spending time installing, and after that downloading updates. Something I never want to see happening on a console.

Is it to much to ask to keep consoles simple? I like plug and play sometimes.
 

SilentHunter7

New member
Nov 21, 2007
1,652
0
0
I loathe digital downloads. In an industry that uses copyright laws to make it seem more and more that you don't actually own the games you buy, removing the physical media just seems like the ultimate smack in the face.
 

Pandalisk

New member
Jan 25, 2009
3,250
0
0
I like direct downloads, its just so much more easier for me, and it cuts out the costs of delivery to stores, though if this were to happen worldwide there would be alot of jobs lost in retailers, hmmm, though im not sure if its true, but Disks seem to work better than Direct downloads for me, in terms of speed and quality.
 

amendele

New member
Aug 25, 2008
41
0
0
To celebrate my Xbox 360 coming back from Microsoft for repairs, I decided to pick up UFC Undisputed 2009. Being a bit strapped for cash, I gathered up a few games that were collecting dust and toted them over to my local GameStop. I ended up paying about 74 cents for UFC after my trade-ins. And on the other side, some lucky fellow is playing my old copy of Frontlines: Fuel of War, which cost him about $10. For consumers, it's a win-win situation.

I know this isn't the main point of the article, but assuming that UFC cost the full $59.99 to purchase at GameStop, how many games did you trade in? The few times I've tried trading in old stuff, I'm lucky if I can get more than $15 for 5 games. If Frontlines only cost $10 to buy at the shop, it seems to me that they'd only give you about $2.50 for it.
 

zoharknight

New member
Sep 10, 2008
31
0
0
I don't really like the idea of direct downloads only. I screwed up and got a 20 gig 360 and have been payin for it ever since with space issues. Moneys tight nowadays, and even though i want to upgrade i can't. I'm not gonna waste money on big games that i probaly wont have space for on my harddrive, or get riped off again like i did with the direct download of PSOs expansion. I dled it cause i liked the single player in the first one but after i did found out its online only on the dl version and i dont even have a account on PSO. Lost and the Damned and Tomb Raider Legends are great downloads but both are space hogs , i dont regret dlin them but my harddrives near full. I perfere disks and boxs, i love gettin extras like the Raiho Demon Plushie i got with Devil Summoner 2 , or all the cool stuff i got with my copy of GTA 4. I still wish i had gottin the Legendary bundle on Halo 3 ><. Though i got the next one down and i like it.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Denmarkian said:
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.

If software distribution goes completely digital, there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60 because the costs of designing the box art, disc art, manufacturing the disc, packaging the software, warehousing the merchandise, and transporting the merchandise to the retailer are gone.

None of those costs matter anymore, unless you're a complete idiot who wants to appease the physical-copy-fetishists and give them a box for a digital download game like Patapon 2.

I'll have to do some digging through Steam to get some better comparative pricing lists, but I'm fairly certain that brand-new titles released on Steam are not priced at the exact same amount as a new-in-box copy of the game at Best Buy.

--EDIT--

Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
Guild Wars Trilogy - $49.99
Fuel - $39.99
Spore: Galactic Adventures - $29.99
Prototype - $49.99

What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.

Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.

I absolutely love Steam for being a platform that grants me access to a lot of my games that were published before Windows Vista came out, and even where I can find anthologies of old games I had only one or two of. I mean, they've got a Space Quest collection for $15, I only ever had a copy of Space Quest IV and I don't remember how I got it. If I ever want to get it, I'm sure I'll always have that option, and it will never be out of stock because it only takes up server space for one copy instead of a warehouse full of unsellable boxes.
You don't get it. They will make more money, because it will still be $60, but it will ALL go to them, and not only some of it.
 

squeakthedragon

New member
May 5, 2009
7
0
0
From the beginning of the current console generation, consumers paid the "next-gen tax" of a $10 price hike on most HD games because the industry could use the excuse of increased development costs. Not shipping. Not printing. Not warehouses. Development costs.

With the industry spiraling out of control into ever increasing budgets and development costs, you would be a fool to imagine that digital distribution will be used to give consumers a "break" by the Big Publishers.

Digital distribution is the future in terms of technology and ease of access but in a rapaciously and ruthlessly corporatist society, it's also a powerful tool for corporations to reduce customers even further to anthropomorphic wallets that suck at the corporation's teet while dolling out money. Don't be fooled - if corporations can swing it, they'll make it so that nobody anywhere (aside from them) truly owns anything that can possibly be worth a dollar. If they could rent your clothing to you, they would.
 

ratix2

New member
Feb 6, 2008
453
0
0
does this article come across as more of a stab at capatilism than anything else?

as for the article, pretty much everything is wrong on so many levels. first off, while one each specific console there is not competition, they ARE competiting with each other. if ms should charge publsihers more money than sony does then those publsihers would be more hesitant to go with ms and go with sony instead, meaning ms would lose money.

and thats my point in a nutshell, is that this whole article acts as if sony, nintendo or microsoft dont have to worry about money and will be able to do as they please. they are in it to make money as well, and they know that if they do certain things that they will make much less and their competitors will make much more. its what balances everything out.

finally, its gonna be a long time before consoles are digital distribution only, physical media will still be around, but they will coexist with each other as they do on the pc.
 

claybob

New member
Mar 24, 2009
1
0
0
PC game and hardware space is near NIL in retail space in my area and has been that way for at least 5 years. Yet, direct and non-retail sellers still chalk up profits from those same supposedly dead sales categories. The console games are faring a bit better, but the vast majority of the shelf space is old games at just released prices. All of this services the sellers and not the consumer. That must be why the middle-men are FUDing so hard against the direct market.
 

domicius

New member
Apr 2, 2008
212
0
0
Denmarkian said:
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.(snip)
Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.
No, your argument stand, but there are some things to think about:
- Publishers might force virtual distributors to match prices with "physical copy" distributors because otherwise they'd lose the latter channel

- Online distributors will charge cheaper only in situations where they are competing with other "distributors". And even then, the incentive is reduced. In the physical world, distributors discount in order to clear stock. In the virtual world, there is no "stock" to clear, so old games can remain at a higher price for longer. Good for publishers... not so good for consumers?

- Physical distributors price all items similarly, and online distributors will probably do so too; there's no reason to sell "Halo clone 1" cheaper than "Halo clone 2" because, you know, the profit margin on them both is the same. This is what currently happens on XBLA. All the sh£t is the same price, and the "good stuff" is more expensive.

The main argument against digital distribution is that currently companies like MS and Nintendo exercise a form of "release scheduling" and "author control" that publishers might not like or care to enter into. If the only way to buy is on your Xbox, then MS has far too much control on who sells what, and how it is displayed.

It is likely then that publishers would push for an open system that allowed console users freedom to buy through the browser from online distributors, rather than directly from the console manufacturer's "walled garden" (i.e. on-console exclusive download interface)

Console manufacturers, on the other hand, will probably enforce the "walled garden" approach.

For myself, I have to say that in the even games get more expensive, I'll buy fewer games. Ultimately, if the cost of games goes higher, people will buy fewer game and re-discover the PC. After all, there are several excellent free Flash games out there....
 

Viruzzo

New member
Jun 10, 2009
206
0
0
domicius said:
For myself, I have to say that in the even games get more expensive, I'll buy fewer games.
Me too. Or I will buy only cheap games (that are either "indie" or old).
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Thanks to everyone for responding to my story, I really appreciate it!

If you could Digg this story, I'd really appreciate it: http://digg.com/d3yrH1
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
amendele said:
To celebrate my Xbox 360 coming back from Microsoft for repairs, I decided to pick up UFC Undisputed 2009. Being a bit strapped for cash, I gathered up a few games that were collecting dust and toted them over to my local GameStop. I ended up paying about 74 cents for UFC after my trade-ins. And on the other side, some lucky fellow is playing my old copy of Frontlines: Fuel of War, which cost him about $10. For consumers, it's a win-win situation.

I know this isn't the main point of the article, but assuming that UFC cost the full $59.99 to purchase at GameStop, how many games did you trade in? The few times I've tried trading in old stuff, I'm lucky if I can get more than $15 for 5 games. If Frontlines only cost $10 to buy at the shop, it seems to me that they'd only give you about $2.50 for it.
I traded in 5 or 6 games - nothing I'm ever going to play again. I could have gotten more on eBay or Craig's List but I was feeling lazy.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Pandalisk said:
I like direct downloads, its just so much more easier for me, and it cuts out the costs of delivery to stores, though if this were to happen worldwide there would be alot of jobs lost in retailers, hmmm, though im not sure if its true, but Disks seem to work better than Direct downloads for me, in terms of speed and quality.
Yes, it cuts costs of delivery to stores, but does anyone think that the cost savings will be passed along to consumers? I'm talking about the days when brand new games are available for download from day one. Microsoft charges $150 for a small hard drive - they're not afraid to stiff us!
 

Capo Taco

New member
Nov 25, 2006
267
0
0
I think that the difference between the cost of physical discs and downloads isn't that big for publishers. Games are expensive because of the extensive development costs.

Eventually I'd like to see the future move towards online purchased game being your own property, that you're free to resell, loan or rent to others. That way purchasing a game can be as much an investment as it can be a purchase.

In fact, it wouldn't be so bad if this were tied to being forced to be on-line (oh wow did I really say that, I'm not even a game developer or publisher!). Because if they can have good checks on whether people have actually own a game (through them or by buying it from someone else who got it through them) the entire market would positively reward good game production as well as protect both consumer and developer's rights.
 

Sanaj

New member
Mar 20, 2009
322
0
0
I quite like Digital Distribution and think it's another great addition as another option for game purchases.
I don't want it to replace physical retail copies.

Besides doesn't the success of some "collector's edition" copies for games prove that some people won't ever
be happy with only Direct Downloads?
I don't understand the appeal of "collector's edition" stuff but I do sometimes want a physical copy of a game with
interesting box art and a nice colour manual.

Another reason I don't think Digital Distribution will ever completely replace physical retail is because of the popularity
of the used games market.
People want to have the option to sell their game(s) if they don't even up enjoying it or if they grow tried of playing it.
(Some people are only or mainly looking for single player experiences in games not multi-player ones.)
Gamers want the ability to shop around for better prices and deals.

Steam is a good way of getting games if you can be patient and wait for the weekend sales.
(Also, if you can wait between 6 months -2 years before buying a game,
then you can usually find deals / sales and play more games without emptying your bank account.)

I am not a fan of the point system used for Xbox Live or some of the Games for Windows Live.
If a person is purchasing games or DLC online it should be in dollars USD, CAD, EUR, whatever...
not a system in which you can have left over points that you can't use.
 

ZippyDSMlee

New member
Sep 1, 2007
3,959
0
0
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
 

w-Jinksy

New member
May 30, 2009
961
0
0
Denmarkian said:
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.

If software distribution goes completely digital, there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60 because the costs of designing the box art, disc art, manufacturing the disc, packaging the software, warehousing the merchandise, and transporting the merchandise to the retailer are gone.

None of those costs matter anymore, unless you're a complete idiot who wants to appease the physical-copy-fetishists and give them a box for a digital download game like Patapon 2.

I'll have to do some digging through Steam to get some better comparative pricing lists, but I'm fairly certain that brand-new titles released on Steam are not priced at the exact same amount as a new-in-box copy of the game at Best Buy.

--EDIT--

Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
Guild Wars Trilogy - $49.99
Fuel - $39.99
Spore: Galactic Adventures - $29.99
Prototype - $49.99

What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.

Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.

I absolutely love Steam for being a platform that grants me access to a lot of my games that were published before Windows Vista came out, and even where I can find anthologies of old games I had only one or two of. I mean, they've got a Space Quest collection for $15, I only ever had a copy of Space Quest IV and I don't remember how I got it. If I ever want to get it, I'm sure I'll always have that option, and it will never be out of stock because it only takes up server space for one copy instead of a warehouse full of unsellable boxes.
in the uk its way cheaper to buy things from game than off steam steam is like 2x 3x more expensive.
 

Brock_Sampson

New member
Jul 20, 2009
1
0
0
I have to agree that digital downloading going mainstream for consoles is a really bad idea. For PC's its fine because they have to spend thousands extra anyway to keep upgrading systems not to mention no one carries a large stock of PC games to begin with.
If consoles do go mainstream with digital downloads then Microsoft and Sony will both set the prices at what they want. Not right away they wont, not until they've wiped out the competition, but once it's gone there's nothing stopping them from raising their prices 2x or even 3x. You will have no choice to pay their price or simply stop playing all together.
So for any system that does come out featuring downloadable games only I will be boycotting it simply because such things hurt not only my wallet but the economy as well.
Plus for some people walking to the local game store is the only excersise they ever see, don't take that way from them :(
 

lritting

New member
Jul 28, 2009
1
0
0
There's a few key points missing from this argument:

The reason digital versions cost the same amount as physical media is currently because the Brick and Mortar stores that you love so much have the publishers over a barrel. GameStop threatens to give your games less shelf space or even not carry them at all if you even HAVE a digital version of your title, much less if you try to price it lower. Best Buy pulls the same crap, and then puts your game on sale for less than the digital version.

After GameStop makes threats like that, they proceed to push a used copy of your game on the consumer since their profit margin is so much higher (because they pay the consumer WAY below market value for their game and then price the used copy at a slight discount over retail), of which the developer sees $0 for the sale. That means that the game has to sell enough copies to at least break even within the first week or two. This, combined with rising development costs is why we're seeing so many developers closing down.

So, by all means, keep loving on GameStop and the other retailers. I'm sure that THOSE giant corporations have your best interests at heart.
 

wordsmith

TF2 Group Admin
May 1, 2008
2,029
0
0
Michael Comeau said:
Pandalisk said:
I like direct downloads, its just so much more easier for me, and it cuts out the costs of delivery to stores, though if this were to happen worldwide there would be alot of jobs lost in retailers, hmmm, though im not sure if its true, but Disks seem to work better than Direct downloads for me, in terms of speed and quality.
Yes, it cuts costs of delivery to stores, but does anyone think that the cost savings will be passed along to consumers? I'm talking about the days when brand new games are available for download from day one. Microsoft charges $150 for a small hard drive - they're not afraid to stiff us!
As a PC gamer... I can't really see how I'm disadvantaged. All my hardware comes from OCUK/Amazon/Play.com etc, so the whole "Physical retailers will take down the hardware element of sales" thing doesn't work. The few "computer" shops over here have low-medium components (I upgraded last easter- The best graphics card they had was an AGP 7600 GS, and I put one of those in my machine 3 years ago).

Any monopoly will cause prices to jump, that's why I can get a Terabyte hard-drive for my PC for £80, but it costs the earth to buy Xbox hard-drives. Your stipulated "ramping of prices" would lead to a downturn in people buying games, a downturn in profits, and so a downturn in prices. Rinse and repeat until the companies find out that selling a £40 game for £55 isn't acceptable.

The whole "trading in" thing struck me as odd as well... How does not being able to take my games back to the shop affect me as a PC gamer? I don't know ANYWHERE that buys used PC games, so that flies out the window too.

In short, I think that the protest against digital downloads is skewed in the first place. By buying into one side of gaming (that is, by buying a console), you essentially buy into a monopoly. Everyone kicks up to Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft in the console market, and here's why.

Imagine gaming is a football. Microsoft, Bungee, Naughty Dog and Activision are having a kick-about (a casual game of football, non-official), and it's all fine. Bungee tries to tackle Microsoft to get the ball, and accidentally trips him in the process. Microsoft goes down like a sack of spuds, and starts yelling for a free kick. The others carry on playing, so Microsoft gets up, takes his ball and goes home. The others are unable to play unless they do as Microsoft says, so they have to play by his rules. Microsoft can do what he wants, and everyone has to put up with it.

Put that same situation onto anyone you like. The point is, if Microsoft says to an Xbox exclusive game "you will charge $50 squillion for this game", Xbox game has to do that. If Microsoft says that to a PC game (remember, although it runs on the OS, you don't have to ask Microsoft for the right to run it.) or a non-exclusive console game, the game can put the proverbial two fingers up and tell Microsoft to get stuffed, they'll just release it with Sony instead.

In conclusion, I guess I'm trying to pull at the main problem with "online sales becoming a monopoly". The gaming industry is ALREADY a monopoly, and has been since the very first exclusive. More online purchases won't affect that. If prices get hiked, gamers will reach a "saturation point", where they refuse to buy your game, no matter how brilliant it may be, simply because of the massive setup costs.
 

hansari

New member
May 31, 2009
1,256
0
0
Denmarkian said:
Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.
Wow, its like you had that moment of enlightenment, then got slapped with a case of amnesia.

Seriously...do you know why stuff isn't cheaper via download? Because the industry knows they can get away with it. They know fans won't complain beyond their forum boards about how unfair it is.

Besides, making games cheaper via downloadable content is just going to start the shift towards that medium. Which means many of the things mentioned in this article will inevitably happen.

The reason it hasn't is because all sides have too much to lose...
 

hansari

New member
May 31, 2009
1,256
0
0
lritting said:
So, by all means, keep loving on GameStop and the other retailers. I'm sure that THOSE giant corporations have your best interests at heart.
This article is hardly a love letter for giant store-chains. It addresses them as being an undeniably crucial part of the current workings of the video game lifestyle.

Besides, as mentioned in the article, there are other alternatives such as buying from other gamers over Amazon, Craigslist, EBay...
 

ennuionwe

New member
Jul 28, 2009
1
0
0
ZippyDSMlee said:
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
I'd like to take a shot at this ever more popular complaint against DLC. First of all, expansion packs have been around forever. Nobody accused Blizzard of foul play in releasing "Brood Wars" or the "Lord of Destruction" expansions. My guess is people who attack DLC are confused about what's changed. The tradition of creating additional content for games and then charging for it is longstanding and shouldn't be controversial. The only major difference here is that you don't have to drive to the store to purchase the new content.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
wordsmith said:
Michael Comeau said:
Pandalisk said:
I like direct downloads, its just so much more easier for me, and it cuts out the costs of delivery to stores, though if this were to happen worldwide there would be alot of jobs lost in retailers, hmmm, though im not sure if its true, but Disks seem to work better than Direct downloads for me, in terms of speed and quality.
Yes, it cuts costs of delivery to stores, but does anyone think that the cost savings will be passed along to consumers? I'm talking about the days when brand new games are available for download from day one. Microsoft charges $150 for a small hard drive - they're not afraid to stiff us!
As a PC gamer... I can't really see how I'm disadvantaged. All my hardware comes from OCUK/Amazon/Play.com etc, so the whole "Physical retailers will take down the hardware element of sales" thing doesn't work. The few "computer" shops over here have low-medium components (I upgraded last easter- The best graphics card they had was an AGP 7600 GS, and I put one of those in my machine 3 years ago).

Any monopoly will cause prices to jump, that's why I can get a Terabyte hard-drive for my PC for £80, but it costs the earth to buy Xbox hard-drives. Your stipulated "ramping of prices" would lead to a downturn in people buying games, a downturn in profits, and so a downturn in prices. Rinse and repeat until the companies find out that selling a £40 game for £55 isn't acceptable.

The whole "trading in" thing struck me as odd as well... How does not being able to take my games back to the shop affect me as a PC gamer? I don't know ANYWHERE that buys used PC games, so that flies out the window too.

In short, I think that the protest against digital downloads is skewed in the first place. By buying into one side of gaming (that is, by buying a console), you essentially buy into a monopoly. Everyone kicks up to Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft in the console market, and here's why.

Imagine gaming is a football. Microsoft, Bungee, Naughty Dog and Activision are having a kick-about (a casual game of football, non-official), and it's all fine. Bungee tries to tackle Microsoft to get the ball, and accidentally trips him in the process. Microsoft goes down like a sack of spuds, and starts yelling for a free kick. The others carry on playing, so Microsoft gets up, takes his ball and goes home. The others are unable to play unless they do as Microsoft says, so they have to play by his rules. Microsoft can do what he wants, and everyone has to put up with it.

Put that same situation onto anyone you like. The point is, if Microsoft says to an Xbox exclusive game "you will charge $50 squillion for this game", Xbox game has to do that. If Microsoft says that to a PC game (remember, although it runs on the OS, you don't have to ask Microsoft for the right to run it.) or a non-exclusive console game, the game can put the proverbial two fingers up and tell Microsoft to get stuffed, they'll just release it with Sony instead.

In conclusion, I guess I'm trying to pull at the main problem with "online sales becoming a monopoly". The gaming industry is ALREADY a monopoly, and has been since the very first exclusive. More online purchases won't affect that. If prices get hiked, gamers will reach a "saturation point", where they refuse to buy your game, no matter how brilliant it may be, simply because of the massive setup costs.
PC's, especially customized ones, are a lot different because you can interchange millions of parts. And the average person does not build/customize their own PC's. In fact, more and more people are going for Macs which have a rather small selection of options (and very overpriced ones at that!).
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Brock_Sampson said:
I have to agree that digital downloading going mainstream for consoles is a really bad idea. For PC's its fine because they have to spend thousands extra anyway to keep upgrading systems not to mention no one carries a large stock of PC games to begin with.
If consoles do go mainstream with digital downloads then Microsoft and Sony will both set the prices at what they want. Not right away they wont, not until they've wiped out the competition, but once it's gone there's nothing stopping them from raising their prices 2x or even 3x. You will have no choice to pay their price or simply stop playing all together.
So for any system that does come out featuring downloadable games only I will be boycotting it simply because such things hurt not only my wallet but the economy as well.
Plus for some people walking to the local game store is the only excersise they ever see, don't take that way from them :(
2X or 3X is a bit much - I'm thinking something just a bit more aggressive than the status quo, which is +$10 for a new console generation.
 

Chaos Marine

New member
Feb 6, 2008
571
0
0
As a PC gamer, most of your arguments don't really apply to me as I'm not ham-stringed by companies like MS or Nintendo but I do tend to purchase most of my games from online stores as they do tend to be quite cheaper than most other sources.
 

wordsmith

TF2 Group Admin
May 1, 2008
2,029
0
0
Michael Comeau said:
PC's, especially customized ones, are a lot different because you can interchange millions of parts. And the average person does not build/customize their own PC's. In fact, more and more people are going for Macs which have a rather small selection of options (and very overpriced ones at that!).
The "average person", maybe not. The "average PC gamer" learns PDQ about the workings of their machine, similarly to the way that a car enthusiast is more likely to know their way around an engine than an average person is.

I can only think of three reasons to buy a Mac.
1) "Macs don't get viruses"
2) "It looks pwetty"
3) Fuck Microsoft.

1) is totally untrue, the more people use Macs, the more viruses will be written for it. 2) Is purely a matter of personal preference, I think they look awful compared to my Thermaltake Lanfire case, and 3)... Fair enough.

The problem is, whilst PC components are set to a standard which is publicly available, Mac components are not. A company can produce components for a PC far more cheaply than they can for a Mac. This translates into more competition, which drives prices down, so PC parts are cheaper than Mac parts.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
wordsmith said:
Michael Comeau said:
PC's, especially customized ones, are a lot different because you can interchange millions of parts. And the average person does not build/customize their own PC's. In fact, more and more people are going for Macs which have a rather small selection of options (and very overpriced ones at that!).
The "average person", maybe not. The "average PC gamer" learns PDQ about the workings of their machine, similarly to the way that a car enthusiast is more likely to know their way around an engine than an average person is.

I can only think of three reasons to buy a Mac.
1) "Macs don't get viruses"
2) "It looks pwetty"
3) Fuck Microsoft.

1) is totally untrue, the more people use Macs, the more viruses will be written for it. 2) Is purely a matter of personal preference, I think they look awful compared to my Thermaltake Lanfire case, and 3)... Fair enough.

The problem is, whilst PC components are set to a standard which is publicly available, Mac components are not. A company can produce components for a PC far more cheaply than they can for a Mac. This translates into more competition, which drives prices down, so PC parts are cheaper than Mac parts.
Not buying that part about PC/Mac parts. There is no magic DRAM in a Mac. $100 for 2 more gigs is a joke.
 

ZippyDSMlee

New member
Sep 1, 2007
3,959
0
0
ennuionwe said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
I'd like to take a shot at this ever more popular complaint against DLC. First of all, expansion packs have been around forever. Nobody accused Blizzard of foul play in releasing "Brood Wars" or the "Lord of Destruction" expansions. My guess is people who attack DLC are confused about what's changed. The tradition of creating additional content for games and then charging for it is longstanding and shouldn't be controversial. The only major difference here is that you don't have to drive to the store to purchase the new content.

Please do compare traditional polished/whole expansion packs even if they are add ons to modern DLC, please do, and you will be laughed out of the room.

The trouble with DLC is how they develop the core game and the DLC its mostly rushed and frankly poorly prepared for the price asked for it., If the core game was 20-30 and dlc was 1-10 then it would not be to bad, but FO3 is about 100$ into game+dlc and its not really been fixed enough.

The trouble currently is not "more" or even "packaging" but "quality" because the average consumer dose not care and dose not want to care and that magnifies publisher/developer cost/quality cutting measures.

You can say nothing has changed in gamdome but popularity...if you want to be as simplistically shallow as the game industry... that is.
 

sgrif

New member
Oct 19, 2008
11
0
0
This argument is completely ridiculous. Games aren't priced what they are because of some knight in shining armor company making it that way. It's priced this way because that is what consumers are willing to pay for it! If Microsoft were to hypothetically get a monopoly on the system (which in America at least would be prevented by anti-trust laws) and were to hypothetically jack up the prices to unreasonable levels (which they already have the power to do, since developers pay licensing fees regardless of the media), another platform would inevitably enter the ring and sport affordable prices.
 

sgrif

New member
Oct 19, 2008
11
0
0
ZippyDSMlee said:
ennuionwe said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
I'd like to take a shot at this ever more popular complaint against DLC. First of all, expansion packs have been around forever. Nobody accused Blizzard of foul play in releasing "Brood Wars" or the "Lord of Destruction" expansions. My guess is people who attack DLC are confused about what's changed. The tradition of creating additional content for games and then charging for it is longstanding and shouldn't be controversial. The only major difference here is that you don't have to drive to the store to purchase the new content.

Please do compare traditional polished/whole expansion packs even if they are add ons to modern DLC, please do, and you will be laughed out of the room.

The trouble with DLC is how they develop the core game and the DLC its mostly rushed and frankly poorly prepared for the price asked for it., If the core game was 20-30 and dlc was 1-10 then it would not be to bad, but FO3 is about 100$ into game+dlc and its not really been fixed enough.

The trouble currently is not "more" or even "packaging" but "quality" because the average consumer dose not care and dose not want to care and that magnifies publisher/developer cost/quality cutting measures.

You can say nothing has changed in gamdome but popularity...if you want to be as simplistically shallow as the game industry... that is.
Because there's never rushed or poorly prepared expansion packs. >_> Even in recent days, just look at the latest Company of Heroes expack. Expansion packs aren't inherently better than DLC. The length and price is simply a factor of higher production costs, longer development cycles, and an environment where developers have more control over the exact price.

It's simple. If DLC is overpriced, or just plain bad, do what you would do with a game like that. Don't buy it. And certainly don't say DLC is inherently bad. Rock Band is a great example of DLC done right. So is TF2.
 

ZippyDSMlee

New member
Sep 1, 2007
3,959
0
0
sgrif said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
ennuionwe said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
I'd like to take a shot at this ever more popular complaint against DLC. First of all, expansion packs have been around forever. Nobody accused Blizzard of foul play in releasing "Brood Wars" or the "Lord of Destruction" expansions. My guess is people who attack DLC are confused about what's changed. The tradition of creating additional content for games and then charging for it is longstanding and shouldn't be controversial. The only major difference here is that you don't have to drive to the store to purchase the new content.

Please do compare traditional polished/whole expansion packs even if they are add ons to modern DLC, please do, and you will be laughed out of the room.

The trouble with DLC is how they develop the core game and the DLC its mostly rushed and frankly poorly prepared for the price asked for it., If the core game was 20-30 and dlc was 1-10 then it would not be to bad, but FO3 is about 100$ into game+dlc and its not really been fixed enough.

The trouble currently is not "more" or even "packaging" but "quality" because the average consumer dose not care and dose not want to care and that magnifies publisher/developer cost/quality cutting measures.

You can say nothing has changed in gamdome but popularity...if you want to be as simplistically shallow as the game industry... that is.
Because there's never rushed or poorly prepared expansion packs. >_> Even in recent days, just look at the latest Company of Heroes expack. Expansion packs aren't inherently better than DLC. The length and price is simply a factor of higher production costs, longer development cycles, and an environment where developers have more control over the exact price.

It's simple. If DLC is overpriced, or just plain bad, do what you would do with a game like that. Don't buy it. And certainly don't say DLC is inherently bad. Rock Band is a great example of DLC done right. So is TF2.
Traditionally speaking expansion packs were better, are they now? No, now adays you have a different design/development philosophy that's compounded by complex hardware if not complex design( modeling,ect) and since time is money things are cut, like quality, bug work,ect. Not to mention most DLC steals content from a other whole game...... DLC is currently not even on par with expansion packs of old, all it is is selling bonus features that should have been in most games free.

And how dose one know when something is bad when 90% of users are to dumb to know otherwise and 50% of critics have dumbed down their own reviews because the majority of games can't hold up to much criticism without falling apart, well that or they are just industry shills working paycheck to paycheck.

So what if devs have more control prices have gone up not down and quality has gone down not up, now design itself might have improved but pretty models/textures and superfluous under utilized physics/AI do not a game make.

Its because of this I wait till games are 20 or less, gone are the days spending 200$ every other month to get the best the industry has to offer, its not worth it anymore.

DLC has brought more damage to gaming than features/benefits, at least so far it has.
When you can upgrade a game like Ninja Gainden 2 on the 360 to the simga addition for less than 20$(or better yet release the updated version on the other console at normal retail price) and or when distribution is a bit more even handed between competing versions(360/PS3 versions of 'tales' games, here's a thought sale DLC to eqaule out the different versions make more money). All I see in DLC(if not in the industry as a whole) is a rush for higher levels of stupidity in a mad dash for cash.

IMO its simple its time to set game prices the same as film, its because as much as a watered down mass market medium, with the price drop you wont have as many issues with quality/price and you would easily double your market if you did so as everyone would come out of the wood work to buy new stuff vrs bargain bin shopping..
 

sgrif

New member
Oct 19, 2008
11
0
0
ZippyDSMlee said:
sgrif said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
ennuionwe said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
I'd like to take a shot at this ever more popular complaint against DLC. First of all, expansion packs have been around forever. Nobody accused Blizzard of foul play in releasing "Brood Wars" or the "Lord of Destruction" expansions. My guess is people who attack DLC are confused about what's changed. The tradition of creating additional content for games and then charging for it is longstanding and shouldn't be controversial. The only major difference here is that you don't have to drive to the store to purchase the new content.

Please do compare traditional polished/whole expansion packs even if they are add ons to modern DLC, please do, and you will be laughed out of the room.

The trouble with DLC is how they develop the core game and the DLC its mostly rushed and frankly poorly prepared for the price asked for it., If the core game was 20-30 and dlc was 1-10 then it would not be to bad, but FO3 is about 100$ into game+dlc and its not really been fixed enough.

The trouble currently is not "more" or even "packaging" but "quality" because the average consumer dose not care and dose not want to care and that magnifies publisher/developer cost/quality cutting measures.

You can say nothing has changed in gamdome but popularity...if you want to be as simplistically shallow as the game industry... that is.
Because there's never rushed or poorly prepared expansion packs. >_> Even in recent days, just look at the latest Company of Heroes expack. Expansion packs aren't inherently better than DLC. The length and price is simply a factor of higher production costs, longer development cycles, and an environment where developers have more control over the exact price.

It's simple. If DLC is overpriced, or just plain bad, do what you would do with a game like that. Don't buy it. And certainly don't say DLC is inherently bad. Rock Band is a great example of DLC done right. So is TF2.
Traditionally speaking expansion packs were better, are they now? No, now adays you have a different design/development philosophy that's compounded by complex hardware if not complex design( modeling,ect) and since time is money things are cut, like quality, bug work,ect. Not to mention most DLC steals content from a other whole game...... DLC is currently not even on par with expansion packs of old, all it is is selling bonus features that should have been in most games free.

And how dose one know when something is bad when 90% of users are to dumb to know otherwise and 50% of critics have dumbed down their own reviews because the majority of games can't hold up to much criticism without falling apart, well that or they are just industry shills working paycheck to paycheck.

So what if devs have more control prices have gone up not down and quality has gone down not up, now design itself might have improved but pretty models/textures and superfluous under utilized physics/AI do not a game make.

Its because of this I wait till games are 20 or less, gone are the days spending 200$ every other month to get the best the industry has to offer, its not worth it anymore.

DLC has brought more damage to gaming than features/benefits, at least so far it has.
When you can upgrade a game like Ninja Gainden 2 on the 360 to the simga addition for less than 20$(or better yet release the updated version on the other console at normal retail price) and or when distribution is a bit more even handed between competing versions(360/PS3 versions of 'tales' games, here's a thought sale DLC to eqaule out the different versions make more money). All I see in DLC(if not in the industry as a whole) is a rush for higher levels of stupidity in a mad dash for cash.

IMO its simple its time to set game prices the same as film, its because as much as a watered down mass market medium, with the price drop you wont have as many issues with quality/price and you would easily double your market if you did so as everyone would come out of the wood work to buy new stuff vrs bargain bin shopping..
Seems to me your argument isn't that DLC is worse than old expacks, but more that games today aren't as good as games in the "good old days"

And your price arguement is flawed as well. Since the previous generation of consoles (the most signifigant price change for developers) prices have gone up 20% while development costs have nearly tripled. While I don't think the overall quality of games has gone down, the innovation has, simply because developers can't afford to risk failing.
 

ZippyDSMlee

New member
Sep 1, 2007
3,959
0
0
sgrif said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
sgrif said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
ennuionwe said:
ZippyDSMlee said:
Digital distro is not cheaper for the consumer and its not better for them either.
Some might get their game a few days early but at what cost the game is under developed and hacked up for DLC(FO3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,every other new game made) for what.... a further push to gain more profit that they didnt earn.


They didn't earn it because the original core product is barely worth the asking price much less the extras that may add more content but never really fix the problems with the core product. I am getting to the point fck it I will pay for patches now just "finish" after its launched.... so I can belly up to the troth with the rest of the barn yard animails and get my fill too.....
I'd like to take a shot at this ever more popular complaint against DLC. First of all, expansion packs have been around forever. Nobody accused Blizzard of foul play in releasing "Brood Wars" or the "Lord of Destruction" expansions. My guess is people who attack DLC are confused about what's changed. The tradition of creating additional content for games and then charging for it is longstanding and shouldn't be controversial. The only major difference here is that you don't have to drive to the store to purchase the new content.

Please do compare traditional polished/whole expansion packs even if they are add ons to modern DLC, please do, and you will be laughed out of the room.

The trouble with DLC is how they develop the core game and the DLC its mostly rushed and frankly poorly prepared for the price asked for it., If the core game was 20-30 and dlc was 1-10 then it would not be to bad, but FO3 is about 100$ into game+dlc and its not really been fixed enough.

The trouble currently is not "more" or even "packaging" but "quality" because the average consumer dose not care and dose not want to care and that magnifies publisher/developer cost/quality cutting measures.

You can say nothing has changed in gamdome but popularity...if you want to be as simplistically shallow as the game industry... that is.
Because there's never rushed or poorly prepared expansion packs. >_> Even in recent days, just look at the latest Company of Heroes expack. Expansion packs aren't inherently better than DLC. The length and price is simply a factor of higher production costs, longer development cycles, and an environment where developers have more control over the exact price.

It's simple. If DLC is overpriced, or just plain bad, do what you would do with a game like that. Don't buy it. And certainly don't say DLC is inherently bad. Rock Band is a great example of DLC done right. So is TF2.
Traditionally speaking expansion packs were better, are they now? No, now adays you have a different design/development philosophy that's compounded by complex hardware if not complex design( modeling,ect) and since time is money things are cut, like quality, bug work,ect. Not to mention most DLC steals content from a other whole game...... DLC is currently not even on par with expansion packs of old, all it is is selling bonus features that should have been in most games free.

And how dose one know when something is bad when 90% of users are to dumb to know otherwise and 50% of critics have dumbed down their own reviews because the majority of games can't hold up to much criticism without falling apart, well that or they are just industry shills working paycheck to paycheck.

So what if devs have more control prices have gone up not down and quality has gone down not up, now design itself might have improved but pretty models/textures and superfluous under utilized physics/AI do not a game make.

Its because of this I wait till games are 20 or less, gone are the days spending 200$ every other month to get the best the industry has to offer, its not worth it anymore.

DLC has brought more damage to gaming than features/benefits, at least so far it has.
When you can upgrade a game like Ninja Gainden 2 on the 360 to the simga addition for less than 20$(or better yet release the updated version on the other console at normal retail price) and or when distribution is a bit more even handed between competing versions(360/PS3 versions of 'tales' games, here's a thought sale DLC to eqaule out the different versions make more money). All I see in DLC(if not in the industry as a whole) is a rush for higher levels of stupidity in a mad dash for cash.

IMO its simple its time to set game prices the same as film, its because as much as a watered down mass market medium, with the price drop you wont have as many issues with quality/price and you would easily double your market if you did so as everyone would come out of the wood work to buy new stuff vrs bargain bin shopping..
Seems to me your argument isn't that DLC is worse than old expacks, but more that games today aren't as good as games in the "good old days"

And your price arguement is flawed as well. Since the previous generation of consoles (the most signifigant price change for developers) prices have gone up 20% while development costs have nearly tripled. While I don't think the overall quality of games has gone down, the innovation has, simply because developers can't afford to risk failing.
Good old days were flawed and lulzy but not this lulzy.

Not really it dose not matter cost of development to end user price is, consumers always set the price on what their willing to pay and as days linger on I see games needing that price edge to film to maximize profit, As older gamers start wanting more than a costly lulz fest to play with.

Its funny I see attempts at innovation all the time(Fo3,SW:Unleashed,Bioshock,ect) but what I do not see is polish and that last bit of effort to make a game shine much anymore "barely mediocre is good enough" is the catch phrase of the times, corporate mindset+willing public who can really blame them...well...us who shave off the wool and don black paint...but we are outcasted because we question to much....that and we small :p .

Yes I am harsh and wanting to much...but.... I see less and less of effort to polish something and more spam making, if we are forced to eat spam than it better cost like spam.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
sgrif said:
This argument is completely ridiculous. Games aren't priced what they are because of some knight in shining armor company making it that way. It's priced this way because that is what consumers are willing to pay for it! If Microsoft were to hypothetically get a monopoly on the system (which in America at least would be prevented by anti-trust laws) and were to hypothetically jack up the prices to unreasonable levels (which they already have the power to do, since developers pay licensing fees regardless of the media), another platform would inevitably enter the ring and sport affordable prices.
Another platform? Who's going to get into the console business? If you look at the actual financials of Microsoft and Sony, you'll see that console gaming isn't a very good business!

Good point on the anti-trust - I didn't consider that.
 

Jou-LotD

New member
Jul 26, 2009
43
0
0
lritting said:
There's a few key points missing from this argument:

...they proceed to push a used copy of your game on the consumer since their profit margin is so much higher (because they pay the consumer WAY below market value for their game and then price the used copy at a slight discount over retail), of which the developer sees $0 for the sale...
I think this pretty much describes my hate of used game retailers. The only difference between this and pirating is that they are making a profit off of it. This basically falls in line with stores who rent movies/games. The developpers and everyone up top making those games/movies possible don't get a cut of those rentals or resales of their product. This is far more damaging to the industry than digital distribution.
 

Sillyiggy

New member
Jun 12, 2008
55
0
0
I can't speak for the majority but I can only afford gaming because I don't keep anything I purchase. I play it through, sell it, then get a new game. Online downloads therefore have never appealed to me as they are games that I can not get any sort of return on. With the economy the way it is and income taxes on the super rich and rich being the lowest they have been in decades (i.e. really slow recovery if any) I imagine more and more people will go the used game route since it is far cheaper.
 

SpaceGhost2K

New member
Jul 24, 2009
40
0
0
Denmarkian said:
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.

If software distribution goes completely digital, there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60 because the costs of designing the box art, disc art, manufacturing the disc, packaging the software, warehousing the merchandise, and transporting the merchandise to the retailer are gone.

None of those costs matter anymore, unless you're a complete idiot who wants to appease the physical-copy-fetishists and give them a box for a digital download game like Patapon 2.

I'll have to do some digging through Steam to get some better comparative pricing lists, but I'm fairly certain that brand-new titles released on Steam are not priced at the exact same amount as a new-in-box copy of the game at Best Buy.

--EDIT--

Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
Guild Wars Trilogy - $49.99
Fuel - $39.99
Spore: Galactic Adventures - $29.99
Prototype - $49.99

What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.

Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.

I absolutely love Steam for being a platform that grants me access to a lot of my games that were published before Windows Vista came out, and even where I can find anthologies of old games I had only one or two of. I mean, they've got a Space Quest collection for $15, I only ever had a copy of Space Quest IV and I don't remember how I got it. If I ever want to get it, I'm sure I'll always have that option, and it will never be out of stock because it only takes up server space for one copy instead of a warehouse full of unsellable boxes.
There's one thing you overlooked in your statement, "there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60." There is a reason, one very GOOD reason...

People are willing to pay it.

That is the MAIN reason games are priced where they are. A game can be priced $59.99 and sell ten million copies. So regardless what happens to the cost, what makes you think they'll drop the price?

Games used to be $79, then they were $59 and then $49 and $39. Last gen, they went back up to $49. And something strange happened. Publishers wend crazy with $59.99 LE and SE versions of game, AND PEOPLE BOUGHT THEM. So what happened this gen? Simple. Games came out at $59.99, and the LE and SE versions were bumped up to $79.99.

If prices drop to $49 with the digital download revolution, it will simply be as an incentive to get people to adopt the concept faster, NOT because games are cheaper to make. A $3.00 bag of chips costs a dime to make... why aren't they .50 instead of $3.00? Because people will pay $3.00.

Don't worry about selling hardware. If retailers drop hardware, big deal. Hardware is sold by the cargo container on places like Amazon.com, WalMart.com and BestBuy.com. What they miss out on profits from software sales, they will more than make up be the extra traffic forced through their websites. The best thing that could happen to those retailers would be a webstore "killer app" like a game console.

If stores still want to make a profit on software, and gamers still want a nice DVD case with a printed manual and other crap, retailers can sell the package with a code for the download. They could even sell SE and LE editions. We get our chotchkies, they get some profit, and the publisher still gets the full value for the download code.

Oh, and "10 years from now," LOL! Try FIVE or THREE.
 

SpaceGhost2K

New member
Jul 24, 2009
40
0
0
Michael Comeau said:
sgrif said:
This argument is completely ridiculous. Games aren't priced what they are because of some knight in shining armor company making it that way. It's priced this way because that is what consumers are willing to pay for it! If Microsoft were to hypothetically get a monopoly on the system (which in America at least would be prevented by anti-trust laws) and were to hypothetically jack up the prices to unreasonable levels (which they already have the power to do, since developers pay licensing fees regardless of the media), another platform would inevitably enter the ring and sport affordable prices.
Another platform? Who's going to get into the console business? If you look at the actual financials of Microsoft and Sony, you'll see that console gaming isn't a very good business!

Good point on the anti-trust - I didn't consider that.
Apple will be next. There's no field that MS is in that Apple isn't, or Apple is in that MS isn't... except that MS has a set top box. Apple failed at the Pippin - yes, but that DOES establish that they're interested enough in the space to give it a shot. Also, they have iMoney now that they didn't have then. They also have an O/S, hardware manufacturing, software developing and publishing, relationships with third party devs courtesy of the iPhone, and a pipeline for content (iTunes). They have everything they need to launch a console, except a console. IMO, their association with Disney/Pixar will solve that problem for them... maybe, say, involving Toy Story 3?

Sony will drop out next gen, after the PS3 is retired. Others have come and gone, don't think it's too far out there to imagine. They lost too much on hardware, they lost too many customers, they lost too much developer support. All they gained - while huge - is the Blu-Ray victory, and that doesn't even have anything to do with the game division.
 

Kotomo

New member
May 29, 2008
2
0
0
I find most of the points in the article are quite valid but I don't find that either of them are swaying my opinion of Digital Distribution. The best argument in the article in my world is the used games one. You can't sell back that digital copy you just paid $50 for to your friend or eBay. That I find to be a huge kicker to the consumer.

I am a strange person, and I like to collect all the games that I have bought. Even if I didn't like them too much or only played half-way through them. I don't worry about getting something back for them because I am not buying that many games. This is mostly due to the fact that I have an MMORPG sucking away all my time(and I don't really care about that) but also due to the fact a lot of games being released feel like rehashes of everything or that they're just not compelling enough to make them a wonderful experience for me. The price of such games is also related to this. I feel like people are shelling out $60 for a prettier version of something that came out 5-10 years before it and the graphics are the only unique feature to the game.

The best example I have from my experience is when I played Mirror's Edge. A friend had pirated it and said it was really cool but also really short and not quite worth the $50 or $60 for it. I tried it at his housed and really liked how it played. I wanted to play all the way through it. New copies were still going for $60 at GameStop and it was not released on Steam yet so I pirated it as well. I decided if I really liked the game I would actually buy it. So I played all the way through it, and did enjoy the game but not enough. I really like the action, gameplay it's setting was beautiful but the story and the characters just were not compelling to me at all. It felt like everything was trying to be this epic adventure/journey and it was all condensed into too small a time frame and it killed the overall experience for me. The last chapter where you're climbing up the tallest building that overlooks the city? Half-Life 2 did that already. Even the whole dystopia thing with police watching your every move, Half-Life 2 did that already! I am probably relying too much on the story to be the selling point of a game but with only 3-4 hours with not much change in the overall gameplay it did not warrant my $60 at the time.

With all that in mind, I find myself playing games that came out a year ago, or ones that are 15 years old that I never played when I was a little kid. A game that came out a year ago or even 3 years I know I can get much cheaper used and I do not mind waiting that long if I'm only mildly interested in it. Only some games that I am really interested in or looking forward to release I buy at their full price and there just are not that many for me. With digital distribution I can actually still buy those old games for pretty cheap, especially through something like Steam.

I would much rather buy them than pirate them if I know the game is worth playing through. Piracy is the biggest scare for most developers who may consider the PC as their platform because of how easy it is(if you like to hack) to actually rip everything from the install disc and send it on it's way via Bittorrent. Having something like Steam so readily available makes a lazy person such as myself stop pirating games and consider paying money that developers deserve for their work. Piracy in a way is just like digital distribution only stealing. Just a few clicks and you can have the latest games in a few hours without paying a penny or getting off your butt.

To sum everything up, I am arguing more over the fact that to me, it's more worth it to buy older games at cheaper prices unless I'm really looking forward to something and that digital distribution doesn't change any of this. It's giving me more opportunity to find something I have never played before. I want to be able make a few clicks and search an entire database of every game ever made and find a true gem. You can't do that at a GameStop. Let's face it, I don't care if I cut out a big retailer like GameStop or publisher like ActiVision which tends to ruin everything it touches. They're just big businesses doing a great job at pulling in a lot of money. I just feel it's in the wrong way.

I just checked Mirror's Edge on Steam, it's $20 now. That's actually worth it.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Jou-LotD said:
lritting said:
There's a few key points missing from this argument:

...they proceed to push a used copy of your game on the consumer since their profit margin is so much higher (because they pay the consumer WAY below market value for their game and then price the used copy at a slight discount over retail), of which the developer sees $0 for the sale...
I think this pretty much describes my hate of used game retailers. The only difference between this and pirating is that they are making a profit off of it. This basically falls in line with stores who rent movies/games. The developpers and everyone up top making those games/movies possible don't get a cut of those rentals or resales of their product. This is far more damaging to the industry than digital distribution.
Selling used games is far different from piracy. Legit retailers are selling legit copies of games. GameStop does marks their used games up something like 100%. I use them because I'm too lazy to deal with Craig's List or eBay. I consider it to be the cost of convenience.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
SpaceGhost2K said:
Michael Comeau said:
sgrif said:
This argument is completely ridiculous. Games aren't priced what they are because of some knight in shining armor company making it that way. It's priced this way because that is what consumers are willing to pay for it! If Microsoft were to hypothetically get a monopoly on the system (which in America at least would be prevented by anti-trust laws) and were to hypothetically jack up the prices to unreasonable levels (which they already have the power to do, since developers pay licensing fees regardless of the media), another platform would inevitably enter the ring and sport affordable prices.
Another platform? Who's going to get into the console business? If you look at the actual financials of Microsoft and Sony, you'll see that console gaming isn't a very good business!

Good point on the anti-trust - I didn't consider that.
Apple will be next. There's no field that MS is in that Apple isn't, or Apple is in that MS isn't... except that MS has a set top box. Apple failed at the Pippin - yes, but that DOES establish that they're interested enough in the space to give it a shot. Also, they have iMoney now that they didn't have then. They also have an O/S, hardware manufacturing, software developing and publishing, relationships with third party devs courtesy of the iPhone, and a pipeline for content (iTunes). They have everything they need to launch a console, except a console. IMO, their association with Disney/Pixar will solve that problem for them... maybe, say, involving Toy Story 3?

Sony will drop out next gen, after the PS3 is retired. Others have come and gone, don't think it's too far out there to imagine. They lost too much on hardware, they lost too many customers, they lost too much developer support. All they gained - while huge - is the Blu-Ray victory, and that doesn't even have anything to do with the game division.
I wouldn't necessarily consider Blu-ray a victory because it came with the problem of keeping the PS3 production cost (and thus retail price) much higher than the Xbox 360.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Sillyiggy said:
I can't speak for the majority but I can only afford gaming because I don't keep anything I purchase. I play it through, sell it, then get a new game. Online downloads therefore have never appealed to me as they are games that I can not get any sort of return on. With the economy the way it is and income taxes on the super rich and rich being the lowest they have been in decades (i.e. really slow recovery if any) I imagine more and more people will go the used game route since it is far cheaper.
I'm thinking the same thing. Except for MW2 and Halo: ODST, I'll probably only buy used games this year. With the way the economy is going, the used game market is going to explode which means tons of awesome, reasonably-priced games.
 

Woem

New member
May 28, 2009
2,879
0
0
Denmarkian said:
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.

If software distribution goes completely digital, there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60 because the costs of designing the box art, disc art, manufacturing the disc, packaging the software, warehousing the merchandise, and transporting the merchandise to the retailer are gone.

None of those costs matter anymore, unless you're a complete idiot who wants to appease the physical-copy-fetishists and give them a box for a digital download game like Patapon 2.

I'll have to do some digging through Steam to get some better comparative pricing lists, but I'm fairly certain that brand-new titles released on Steam are not priced at the exact same amount as a new-in-box copy of the game at Best Buy.

--EDIT--

Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
Guild Wars Trilogy - $49.99
Fuel - $39.99
Spore: Galactic Adventures - $29.99
Prototype - $49.99

What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.

Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.

I absolutely love Steam for being a platform that grants me access to a lot of my games that were published before Windows Vista came out, and even where I can find anthologies of old games I had only one or two of. I mean, they've got a Space Quest collection for $15, I only ever had a copy of Space Quest IV and I don't remember how I got it. If I ever want to get it, I'm sure I'll always have that option, and it will never be out of stock because it only takes up server space for one copy instead of a warehouse full of unsellable boxes.
I was thinking exactly the same thing about the lower price and the availability of golden classics.

But indeed, most games are not cheaper although you would expect them to be. Just like you can get a music album for 9.99 euro on iTunes instead of the normal 17 to 20 euro, you would expect that downloading a game without the box, printed manual and other extras would cost less. I'm sure that this will change soon. And this cheaper price would offset the author's objection that you can't sell a download game second-hand.

As for the classics: this is huge plus for me as I love to re-play old classic point-and-click adventures or RPGs. Niche sites like gog.com (Good Old Games) provide these classics at a really low price and the games are usually adapted to be playable under Windows XP.

And here's another wonderful thing about direct downloads: it's a great platform for independent developers ("indie games"). Putting them online drastically reduces the cost to make them available and there are many creative ways to promote them for free on the internet.
 

Plinglebob

Team Stupid-Face
Nov 11, 2008
1,815
0
0
I dislike Digital Distribution, but not because of the same reasons in the article.

What no-one ever considers is what will happen when the servers shut down? When people talk about DD they act like the servers will constantly be running and so you will have no problem playing your game 6 months/year/10 years down the line, but PC gaming has shown this isn't the case.

Scenario 1. Sony decide that they will never be able to take back the lead in consoles and it will never be profitable for them so they stop making PS3's and get out of the console business altogether. Being a nice company, they keep support running for the PS3 for another couple of years, but then shut down the PSN servers. This would mean should your PS3 go tits up and you replace it, or you've bought DD games but deleted them due to space, you have lost them for good.

Scenario 2. Microsoft release the Xbox 720 which, unfortunately, is not backwards compatible. This means any games you bought for the 360 (DD or not) don't work on it. Should they make some games currently available on the arcade compatible with the new system, you will have to pay again at either a full or reduced price.

Both of these things have happened in a similar fasion on the PC. The re-release Lucasarts games have been changed so they work on Vista, but there is no official support for my original Sam and Max disks and finding official patch servers for old games is not easy. Thankfully, because of the flexability of the PC and the tech savvy communities, you can get round both these problems, but with a console, which has limited functionality and limited acces to 3rd party information, you're screwed.

This is also the reason I avoid buying games where you have to log in/register with Steam as before I've been unable to connect to Steam and the only way I was able to get round it was formatting my PC.
 

Credge

New member
Apr 12, 2008
1,042
0
0
Prohibitive console prices may be the least of consumers' problems, however. The biggest one is the elimination of price competition in the software market...In highly proprietary, closed systems like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, there will be no competing sources for game downloads - in other words, no shopping around for the best price.
This is one of the dumbest things I've read in a while.

Elimination of price competition? What? Aren't they forgetting the fact that theres more than one game available? The competition comes from the developers, not from the system.

Absolutely terrible logic.
 

Midniqht

Beer Quaffer
Jul 10, 2009
523
0
0
While I agree with some of the points in the article, there's a few things that actually work out for the better in the end with digital distribution. I really like the fact that if I've payed for a download of something, it is always available for me again as long as I use that same account. You could scratch the hell out of a disc and have to buy a new one, but if my hard drive goes bad or if I replace my console with a newer model, I can always just download the content I've already payed for again without having to shell out extra money.
Places like Gamestop though, will always make a profit selling stuff like used games/hardware. That's their golden egg. I used to work at a Gamestop and that 6% markup on hardware is pretty much spot on. The company doesn't depend on hardware as it is. There's pros and cons of almost every type of marketing change. We just have to accept that the way games are distributed and sold is inevitably going to change, with or without our consent, and that although it might have a seemingly rough start, it's going to work out for us in the end. I love my downloads
 

Plazmatic

New member
May 4, 2009
654
0
0
Its really funny when you see microsoft and sony whining about it, but you dont hear valve complaining, or the smaller modder affiliations. If console players are so worried that microsoft will take away thier ownership of the games they buy, then get the hell away from microsoft, boycott thier games, go to the PC, don't bend to microsofts will like you did when Bungie decided to make ODST 60$ instead of 20$, and then pay to preorder just to get jhonson, make them bend to your will, they give you a bad deal, boycott the game, they lie to you, boycot, or do somthing other than putting you tail between your legs. You dont see PC gamers doing that crap now do you (lol l4d2 boycott)?
 

zBeeble

Doublethinker
Nov 19, 2008
32
0
0
Well... there are several flaws in the opening argument. Let's deal with them in turn.

First, There isn't a lot of variation in pricing of an individual game unless a retailer is trying to shed stock --- which isn't common. The competition driving games pricing isn't between prices for the same game, but between prices for different games. If you look at steam --- one of the larger services, prices for games range from $5 to $50 or so.

Secondly, unlike retail (in which the pricing is partially driven by the whims of the retailer --- and why "discount" a game that would undercut your used sales), most online distribution seems driven by the publishers --- and there is strong incentive to discount the games as they become older. Again, in steam, I picked up Bioshock when it was $5. I often pick up titles I havn't played yet for $20 or $30 rather Than $40 or $50.

Lastly, yes, you can't "resell" your downloaded game. You may have bought it more cheaply or you may have paid full rate. The used game market favours the non-packrat among us. Since I'm a packrat (I'd keep the game anyways), I'm not affected.

In the end, first "sale" doctrine covers physical sales ... and makes sense there. I understand what is meant by buying something and I understand my rights in that situation. To be effective, digital downloads have to strike a bargain that is attractive. Punitive download services (such as EA's) do not strike such a bargain. Why would I download when I can only reinstall 3 times (certainly less than a year of living with windows) and I have to pay even more for "extended" downloads. Permissive download services (like steam) win. In exchange for not re-selling my game when I'm done, I "get" the ability to download as often as I want, install on multiple machines (but play on one at a time) and even make convenient backup copies of my games. This works well as I have a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop and either of them could be reinstalled at any moment (such as to try win 7).

It would seem like I'm trying to make the argument for games as service. That is not the case. I still fiercely defend that I "own" my games. Steam preserves that bargain. The steam "offline" mode even preserves that bargain when steam servers are being stupid. Woe be to any service that suggests that I don't own games I pay for.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Plinglebob said:
I dislike Digital Distribution, but not because of the same reasons in the article.

What no-one ever considers is what will happen when the servers shut down? When people talk about DD they act like the servers will constantly be running and so you will have no problem playing your game 6 months/year/10 years down the line, but PC gaming has shown this isn't the case.

Scenario 1. Sony decide that they will never be able to take back the lead in consoles and it will never be profitable for them so they stop making PS3's and get out of the console business altogether. Being a nice company, they keep support running for the PS3 for another couple of years, but then shut down the PSN servers. This would mean should your PS3 go tits up and you replace it, or you've bought DD games but deleted them due to space, you have lost them for good.

Scenario 2. Microsoft release the Xbox 720 which, unfortunately, is not backwards compatible. This means any games you bought for the 360 (DD or not) don't work on it. Should they make some games currently available on the arcade compatible with the new system, you will have to pay again at either a full or reduced price.

Both of these things have happened in a similar fasion on the PC. The re-release Lucasarts games have been changed so they work on Vista, but there is no official support for my original Sam and Max disks and finding official patch servers for old games is not easy. Thankfully, because of the flexability of the PC and the tech savvy communities, you can get round both these problems, but with a console, which has limited functionality and limited acces to 3rd party information, you're screwed.

This is also the reason I avoid buying games where you have to log in/register with Steam as before I've been unable to connect to Steam and the only way I was able to get round it was formatting my PC.
Good point on server capacity - I can't imagine what it would be like when a new Call of Duty game would come out, with millions of people trying to download/stream all at once.
 

wordsmith

TF2 Group Admin
May 1, 2008
2,029
0
0
Plazmatic said:
get the hell away from microsoft, boycott thier games, go to the PC,
...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry man, that comment just hit the irony sensor :p I have to say, I agree with you though. You don't like a service? don't use it. No-one's making you use it, there are other consoles/systems/distributors around.
 

Razman

New member
Sep 11, 2008
14
0
0
I don't think there's such a thing as an 'advantage' to download distributed purchases, at least not for the consumer. First off it doesn't necessarily have to be faster than getting to your local retailer and picking it up depending on your internet connection.

Also I don't think DLC games are significantly cheaper than boxed retail(especially not with the whole 'buy a disc only to need to download and install via steam' packages one can find in stores today). Also retail games arn't exactly cheap or necessarily 'worth the retail price' so I can imagine people being dependent/ more interested in second hand games, which brings me to my personal reason to dislike digital purchases:

There's no such thing as actually owning the content you pay for, seeing that any installers are kept on the publisher's servers, so you CANNOT even begin to play an uninstalled game if anythign where to ever happen to your connection to the file, nor are you able or within the right to do much with said software, seeing it is tied to your specific account, so it brings various issues for those who 'play and resell' OR returning said software for whom have inexcusable technical issues with the software involved(i.e. having EXACTLY the combination of hardware that casues a crash on startup).

All in all, with regard to DLC I try ot avoid it, I mean for 50-60 Euro's, I expect to be able have more than just the right to install and play a digital copy as long as thep ublisher is willing to supply the installer......that and I'm a sucker for a nice disc, manual, box and any goodies they're willing to give me. I don't just play games, I collect them.

sorry for the rant or repeating arguements said before.
 

Rect Pola

New member
May 19, 2009
349
0
0
I accepted the age of "shopping around" died with the SNES generation. Everything on a platform costs the same everywhere at retail, and buying new at retail is often the lowest you're going to get because older/used games are impossible to find via Gamestop and non-retail sources like ebay only mark things UP. I've never gone for reselling games on the principle I only get "a few bucks" when they sell (assuming you find it) for $5-10 cheaper than new.
 

GonzoGamer

New member
Apr 9, 2008
7,063
0
0
As someone who, rents, borrows, lends, and buys used sometimes, I don't think digital distribution is the way to go.

It's fine for those little psn/xbl games that only cost $5 to begin with but if I'm paying more than $10, I want something that I can rent first (to see if it's total crap), sell (in case it gets tiresome quickly), lend (to friends who are cheaper tan me), and buy used if I don't think it's worth the full retail price.

It's the same reason I don't like $20 packs of dlc, that's getting to new game price and you should have something that's you can resell or otherwise pass along if it ends up not floating your boat.
 

Monshroud

Evil Overlord
Jul 29, 2009
1,024
0
0
I would need to see a cost analysis between digital and box. You would think that since there is no box/manual/CD or shipping costs that it is cheaper to do it online. Something we need to remember is that Host Servers, disk storage, and bandwidth are not free to companies. So I am not sure how much extra they are making per sale of a game when you take those costs into account.

On the minus side, Direct Download gives people less and less reason to go to real stores to purchase their games. This is an issue for me since some of the people I play with on a semi-constant basis have been people I met at EB Games when picking up a title. I would never have met some of my friends if it wasn't for these places. I like box-art and being able to look through an actual manual. Also, I like the idea of being able to take a game over to a friends house to play, you can't take a download over unless you lug your console or HDD over, which is a tad more dangerous. Dropping you HDD can destroy it, dropping the game case might put a scratch on the disc.

On the plus side of direct downloads, it opens the doors to a lot of small and independant developers who would otherwise not be able to mass-market their game. I am not sure if we would see games like Braid or Defcon available if it wasn't for things like Steam and Xbox Live. It is also a great medium for distributing game updates, patches, and add-on's.
 

jasonkill

New member
Jul 29, 2009
3
0
0
Michael raises some valid points, but his article fails to mention one of the greatest benefits of digital distribution?the reduction of environmental waste. If the infamous E.T. game for Atari had been download-only, there'd be one less landfill in the world. In my mind, that's a worthy enough reason in and of itself to pursue a digital-delivery future.
 

Smokescreen

New member
Dec 6, 2007
520
0
0
This article at Lifehacker has some interesting points about the potential downside of things like this.
http://lifehacker.com/5325169/the-hidden-risks-of-cloud-computing?skyline=true&s=x

Maybe it's relevant to consider privacy issues too.
 

sgrif

New member
Oct 19, 2008
11
0
0
Michael Comeau said:
sgrif said:
This argument is completely ridiculous. Games aren't priced what they are because of some knight in shining armor company making it that way. It's priced this way because that is what consumers are willing to pay for it! If Microsoft were to hypothetically get a monopoly on the system (which in America at least would be prevented by anti-trust laws) and were to hypothetically jack up the prices to unreasonable levels (which they already have the power to do, since developers pay licensing fees regardless of the media), another platform would inevitably enter the ring and sport affordable prices.
Another platform? Who's going to get into the console business? If you look at the actual financials of Microsoft and Sony, you'll see that console gaming isn't a very good business!

Good point on the anti-trust - I didn't consider that.
I'm not saying someone is planning on entering the console war. I'm saying that if hypothetically, someone were to have a monopoly on the industry and were charging unreasonable prices, someone else would fill that niche of affordable pricing for the product, simply because it would be a lucrative position to be in. That's just the way capitalism works.
 

Macguffin

New member
Apr 25, 2009
10
0
0
Interesting article, Michael. Thanks for doing it.

One upside to digital distribution that you didn't address is that it helps lower the barrier to indies getting their games to an audience - the odds of your average (or even spectacular) indie getting on the shelves at GameStop or WalMart are near zilch. Natch, this applies more to the PC than to the closed platforms.
 

ZTiger

New member
Jul 30, 2009
1
0
0
Michael Comeau,

You raise some interesting points but you seem to ignore market forces. Today it may be XBox360, tomorrow it may be PS4 or Wii2 depending on first to market for the next generation. Given that the first to market will have an advantage but will also have to worry about what their competition is doing. If BrandX is selling as good or better item then BrandY, BrandY needs to find a way to make their price point more appealing or drop their price point.

Just because Microsoft could cut out the distributors doesn't mean they can keep selling at the same price. For one that profit margin could be seen an opportunity to grab more market by hitting a lower price point. Just because Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo/EA could cut out the middle man doesn't mean they are not beholding to the law of supply and demand.

If anything it gives the competition the option to undercut the price because they know they can grab more market share.

Frankly I'm still made that Steam doesn't charge less for their games but I know why they do that. It is because many of the games they sale are also located in brick and mortar shops. And because of the agreements they have with them they cannot sale the games at a lower price. But if you look at the games that are only sold online you often see them at lower price points.
 

felixader

New member
Feb 24, 2008
424
0
0
Another problem, aside the main thing that copanys will rip customers of there rigths, REAlLY is the Space or other stuff you need to play the games.

I mean when i look for a terrabyte of space for my PC i can get it for 80 Euros, but MS charges 120 Euros for a damn 120 Gb Harddrive, cause THEY CAN AND YOU HAVE NO CHOICE than to get theirs.

And this applies to the whole ting with only download. I want my games physicall and at my hand so that i have controllover what i payed for.
There is no warranty (is that rigth?) that when you buy the game and store it on your Harddrive, that the next time when you go "LIve" (or PSN or watever) that they will remove the game themselves, for what reason ever.

Even if there are some idealistic people to the "get the customer the best"-reasoing there always will be stockholders, those who do nothing to the entire thing then having bougth some paper, and wich will crave for more money and will put pressure on whatever point they think will increase there profits.
 

Hiroshi Mishima

New member
Sep 25, 2008
407
0
0
Taking a moment to ignore the majority of people's commments (though I did read most of them)...

I still, to this day, personally see the increased cost of making games (ie: development process) as something of a joke. Think about it, it's apparently costing more and more to make games, but the quality of the games isn't exactly going up. To me, that says people aren't using the tools they already have to the best of their ability and are instead wasting more money on fancier graphics, flashier character models, and bigger explosions/more gore.

Compound that with the feeling I've had for some time that developers just didn't push the previous consoles to their full potential the way that developers did with the NES and SNES (which had easilly doubled or tripled in quality by the end of their reign, and for either the same or aruably less cost to produce). In previous generations, we'd have seen games on consoles that were on their way out rivaling the quality of games on consoles that just came out. A good example is Final Fantasy 7 being on 3 discs when it was released, but would have easilly been on 1 disc in a few years time. Where-as today, we're seeing games on NEW generation consoles looking much like games on the previous generation but with "more realistic graphics" during the cinematics.

It sometimes feels to me that the developers are putting too much effort in the wrong places. Instead of spending millions of dollars making a woman's breasts look as believeable as possible, or trying to get just that perfect brain splatter effect, or looking to pass the uncanny valley mark... they should be putting more thought into making the game itself look/present better. There's no point in spending tons on making the graphics awesome if the game itself is short, lacking in content, and with little replay value. Of course, one reasons today the reason being is that they can charge you for a normally full game made just like that, and then tack on DLC for even more money to give you the content they didn't have time to finish or couldn't be assed to include originally.

I do, however, agree that the prices are not going to go down. It's not any better in stores, either. GameStop MAY let you trade in 5-6 games to get a 50-60 dollar game, but then they're going to go and force us consumers to pay 30-40 dollars for that used game you just traded in for like 5-10 dollars. I understand a need to earn something outta that, but it really hits people like me (who have little money these days due to the economy) hard that New and Used games in stores like GameStop are almost the same price regardless of how poor quality the used copy is in. I once saw them charging 40 bucks for a used/no manual copy of Disgaea, and considering how insane that game is without the manual, it was a rip-off.

I do not like digital distribution. I like having the solid artifact in my hands. The smell of a new game, a clean manual... on the other hand, I don't like how easy it is to accidentally damage discs (one of the reasons I loved cartridges, albeit they had less room). But the problem is, I don't like the pricing. I can hardly buy new games (or any games) anymore because the prices are outlandish and the quality of the game itself is rarely worth the 40-50 dollars I spent on it. A good example of that was Metroid Prime 2. I was so excited to get the game brand new the day it came out for like 50 bucks, and by the time I'd finished it, I couldn't believe I paid so much for a game just didn't deliver near what I'd expected after previous installments had been so much more worth the money I paid for them.


..and don't even get me started on the whole "3 versions of the same game with slightly different content" bullshit. I've never agreed with it being applied to anything but Pokemon, and even that has gotten ridiculous.
 

thevegetarianzombie

New member
Dec 11, 2008
79
0
0
I can see a very expensive peripheral that increases your hard drive space to let you own more games, or take them with you to a friend's house.

I can also see the unsolvable dilemma that is unskilled technical support bringing a lot of frustration into my leisure time.

But on the other hand, I can see some benefits. For example, if the hardware manufacturer merely demanded a percentage or flat rate on whatever price the vendor wanted to set, it could reintroduce competitive game pricing.

Also, you know Google will eventually come up with something to challenge Microsoft's console sales, and they tend to do things right. In a comptetitive market, sometimes it only takes one guy offering people the service they really want to force everyone else to get in line.
 

SenseOfTumour

New member
Jul 11, 2008
4,514
0
0
I think if MS, Sony, etc want DD to take off on consoles, next generation they've really got to look at the prices of storage.

Most people with any clue know 1000GB PC HDDs are selling for about £50, the 120GB 360 drive is £90.

so I install a 12GB game, that's an extra £9 it's cost me, and therefore the game should be at least £9 cheaper than buying a boxed one.

I just think PC gamers (in general, wild generalisation ahead) have more technical knowhow and more patience when it comes to installations etc, and I don't think the majority of console gamers are ready for it when it comes to huge games that can't be downloaded in 5 minutes like the average Arcade or PSN title.

I do however think Sony and MS have the sense to push the prices up next gen, partly to counter rising dev costs, which I think are their own fault for concentrating too much on shiny graphics and not enough on the game, but that's for another thread, and partly because they can, I think there's an unwritten agreement going on there, as if PS3 had released all their new games for £60 and MS has a pricepoint of £40, that's gonna swing a lot of customers to the 360, especially considering they're gonna be able to get the same game on either in 95% of cases. After all, it went from £40 a game on PS2/Xbox to £50 on PS3 / 360.
 

WhiteTiger225

New member
Aug 6, 2009
1,039
0
0
Another issue with direct download... It leaves no history. Meaning, If I wanted to, let's say, play "Mercenaries 2" 10 years from now and it was digitally obtained, I am shit out of luck unless I happen to have 800 hard drives laying around to collect the different games out there (We collectors do that) Direct Download becomes the same abomination as DRM, in the end, the product isn't actually yours, and you are one memory wipe from being shit outta luck.
 

Augg

New member
Mar 4, 2009
26
0
0
Well, if they do put a stranglehold on the gaming world and charge massive amounts of money, maybe natural selection will kick in and everyone stuck in their living rooms playing games for the rest of their lives will be put on a lower section of the evolutionary chain then the people that said "fuck that" and WENT OUT to do things will reproduce to make a smarter human race...
 

CrysisMcGee

New member
Sep 2, 2009
1,792
0
0
2 words come to mind. hello, Piracy. People will be more tempted to get something for free simply because they are spending more money. The same goes with game trade ins. If you can't trade it in, and you want to get rid of it for something else but you can't, then piracy may prevail.

I did read an article on here where an online company will allow trading of downloaded games, so that may offset the cost.

Also, I never trade my games in anymore. I used to, but I found the urge to play a game comes back after a while. Such as Half-Life. Beat it, traded it for Thief:The Dark Shadows, got the urge to play it after a few months. Bought the game of the year edition for 20 bucks.

The only time I get rid of a game now is if it's bad, which almost never happens thanks to reviews, or if I know there's no way that I'm playing it again.
 

tzimize

New member
Mar 1, 2010
2,391
0
0
Steam is a load of garbage. Lately I've bought for example Warhammer Chaos rising (18£) and Alien vs Predator (18£) from play.com. They mailed it halfway through europe to me for that price. Steam takes 50? for both of those games.

After the switch from $ to ? in steam/europe their prices have been awful. I dont buy anything there anymore unless its a weekend offer or something in that alley.

I bought a LOT of games from them before the change, because they were cheap.
I think its business-for-dummies that its easier to sell a game for 10 bucks to 10 people than sell a game for 100 bucks to one person. Seems Valve is forgetting this.

There are a lot of upsides to direct downloads (or could be), but in the end the publishers/developers are just interested in taking the money themselves, game prices will most likely stay the same (or maybe even more expensive because of the potential monopoly) and we will get less value for our cash.
 

Altherix

New member
Jul 3, 2008
43
0
0
ratix2 said:
does this article come across as more of a stab at capatilism than anything else?
Yeah, that's the vibe I got as well.

That said, the avalanche has already started, digital download is coming. It's been a proven market in other industries and more are catching onto it.

Is it in the best interest of the consumer, the majority of consumers seem to think so, or it wouldn't be growing then.
 

VondeVon

New member
Dec 30, 2009
686
0
0
My concern is the finite space on any hard drive - sure it gets bigger and better every year but I don't want to have to keep on upgrading and transferring files as my game collection grows (possibly more rapidly than normal due to potentially lower costs).

Plus, I live in Australia where internet is slow and expensive. It's just plain faster to stroll down to the store and buy a hardcopy.
 

jklinders

New member
Sep 21, 2010
945
0
0
Vast majority of the downsides to direct downloads apply directly to the closed system consoles. For the PC, direct downloads are a good thing with very little drawback. I agree that for the consoles however that some really nasty shenanigans will occur.

Game publishers are in complete control of the production costs on their games. If they cannot make money on a model where it takes 60 million to make a game then don't spend that much. I will laugh at any one of these companies that breaks themselves in next gen production if they insist on dooming themselves in such a way.

I game in PC only so there will be 0 impact to me.
 

Michael Comeau

New member
Jul 27, 2009
30
0
0
Denmarkian said:
You're missing one of the key points of having direct downloads: they're cheaper.

If software distribution goes completely digital, there's absolutely no reason for the retail price of a new game to remain at ~$60 because the costs of designing the box art, disc art, manufacturing the disc, packaging the software, warehousing the merchandise, and transporting the merchandise to the retailer are gone.

None of those costs matter anymore, unless you're a complete idiot who wants to appease the physical-copy-fetishists and give them a box for a digital download game like Patapon 2.

I'll have to do some digging through Steam to get some better comparative pricing lists, but I'm fairly certain that brand-new titles released on Steam are not priced at the exact same amount as a new-in-box copy of the game at Best Buy.

--EDIT--

Okay, so there are several games that are the exact same price on Bestbuy.com and Steam:
Guild Wars Trilogy - $49.99
Fuel - $39.99
Spore: Galactic Adventures - $29.99
Prototype - $49.99

What the hell?!?

That completely shits over my entire argument. Fuck.

Well, I hope that in the advent of digital-only distribution we can see some more reasonable pricing models. I think that these pricing examples are there because the costs I mentioned at the beginning of my post were already factored in and need to be recouped before publishers can discount the price.

I absolutely love Steam for being a platform that grants me access to a lot of my games that were published before Windows Vista came out, and even where I can find anthologies of old games I had only one or two of. I mean, they've got a Space Quest collection for $15, I only ever had a copy of Space Quest IV and I don't remember how I got it. If I ever want to get it, I'm sure I'll always have that option, and it will never be out of stock because it only takes up server space for one copy instead of a warehouse full of unsellable boxes.

Full price games are often the same price HOWEVER preorder games usually slice off around 15% and im sure you know of the many sales, and the fact that after a year or so most games drop over 50% of their price.

(not including cod, because that's an unholy money pit)
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
8,407
0
0
i read the article twice and i still cant really understand what downside are you claiming it is?
i mean sure there are donwsides, but your article didnt lead me to believe there is.