212: The Downside of Direct Downloads

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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...

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.

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.

ratix2:
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.

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.

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.

double post due to site being weird. Sorry.

Denmarkian:
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)

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.

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