Jimquisition: Don't Charge Retail Prices For Digital Games

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Don Reba:
God, I wish there was a way to remove Jimquisition from my latest videos page.

Perfectly understandable. I realize that for some, it is difficult having my face appear in their feeds because any passing girlfriends and boyfriends will fall in love with it and leave you in order to seek my hand (my own wife, upon seeing one of my videos, actually divorced me in order to marry me again. It was very troublesome).

I assume this is the problem anyway, since it's the only logical one I have as to how simply seeing the existence of a video in a feed is a problem to anybody. In any case, you can let your significant others know that I am off the market and so they should probably stick with whoever they settled for.

darkstone:
This could be applied to how just 1 or 2 years ago pc games were for the most part always 10 dollars cheaper since devs and publishers didn't have to deal with licensing fees on consoles, but nowadays they're just as expensive as console counter parts for no justifiable reason other than publishers wanted the extra 10 bucks.

This mainly applies to PC ports[1] and that's even more disgusting, especially when you consider how lazy most PC ports these days. They're straight console ports with all the AA, Texture, model and FOV issues and sometimes with major control issues.

EA, Activision and every other big publisher seems to be going "Same game, same price" for every platform. Well I'm sorry but in an age of insanely easy file-sharing that's not going to cut it. All it does is issue a big "FUCK YOU" to gamers.

[1] OK Blizzard games as well have been 40 but that's a different point.

The problem is that the systems are so static, since their isn't any competition between digital distributors yet, the prices remain static. I find digital distribution great because games in Mexico can cost 75$ and in origin they are available at 35$. I haven't seen any computer games in stores here in Mexico, so my only options are to buy them through Steam or become a pedophile burglar.

So digital prices are great for me, though they could surely be lower.

Wow. It's almost as companies may be beholden to people who don't care about video games or the "video game community." I don't think any of the giants are private corporations are they?

As always, I'm impressed with how generous everyone is with other people's money.

Likewise, I'm sure there's no risk in being an innovator or early adopter. Seen any zeppelins lately? "Hey EA guy, why are you such a pussy? Worried you might lose your job? What a bitch."

Of course it's not a moral issue, because they are fucking video games. They are not fucking vaccines.

anthony87:
And that my friends, is why I do all my game shopping from Amazon/Gamestop.

I got Mass Effect 3 on PC for 36 euro off Gamestop on release day. For PS3 it would've cost me 45-55 euro as a physical copy.

Last time I checked it was still SEVENTY FUCKING EURO on the Playstation Store.

image

I often see digital copies of games like ME3 or FIFA 12 on the psn store with hundreds or thousands of ratings. This would imply that thousands of people were buying these games digitally seeing as you can't rate something unless you've bought it.

On the UK psn these games cost 50-55 which is 10-15 more than physical copies, what i want to know is who is stupid enough to pay this amount? It's ridiculous.

Pretty much if it weren't for steam sales there would be practically no reason to buy digital games, which is a shame =[

Ilikemilkshake:

anthony87:
Snippity Snappity Snoop

I often see digital copies of games like ME3 or FIFA 12 on the psn store with hundreds or thousands of ratings. This would imply that thousands of people were buying these games digitally seeing as you can't rate something unless you've bought it.

On the UK psn these games cost 50-55 which is 10-15 more than physical copies, what i want to know is who is stupid enough to pay this amount? It's ridiculous.

Pretty much if it weren't for steam sales there would be practically no reason to buy digital games, which is a shame =[

I guess some people feel safe with their digital copies tied to an account, since DRM has ruined infinite installations.

I guess the people who buy them don't have access to the physical copies? The last PC game I bought was the Starcraft Battlchest back in 2007, I seriously haven't seen another pc game here in Mexico since. Plus Digital prices are lower here than retail prices, I was surprised Origin had decent prices.

Captcha: Body surfing...

I saw the title of this weeks episode and I was like

FUCK

FUCK

YES

OH GOD YES

MAKE IT SO MR STERLING

...I was impressed with my high-level cognitive thought process during the period between me glancing at and clicking on the link to your video. Very impressed. I've been endlessly baffled by this and Jim has perfectly illustrated all the reasons it makes no fucking sense and needs to stop right now before it rips the industry apart like a crayfish in boiling water. Unfortunately Jim provides no solutions. I'd suggest "boycott" but it would mean the shepharding of thousands of millions of people into completely dismissing an entire storefront that's instantly accessible from every corner of the globe at all times. And that would be downright nutty.

This also goes for Guild Wars 2, it's for sale on Arena Net's own website for 59,99 Euro, but I can pre-order it for 45,- Euro at my local gameshop. It's insanity. It almost put me off buying Guild Wars 2 entirely, because I just couldn't behind Arena Net's horrible business practice.

Irridium:
So, people are saying that if publishers price their digital games lower than retail, retail won't stock them. Since this seems to be primarily for PC games, I say... so? Isn't PC at retail all but dead? The amount of people who got to a store to buy PC games is very, very few. Most use Steam now.

If Sony can charge less for their digital Vita games and have stores still stock the physical copies, I don't see why publishers can't do the same with PC games.

Besides, PC gaming at retail died completely, would it really make much of an impact? Is the retail PC games market really such a huge market that they won't risk losing it? Considering PC sections in retailers are really small and out of the way and getting smaller, I highly doubt it.

It's not the stores pulling their PC stocks that publishers are worried at, its pulling ALL a publishers games across ALL platforms due to pc dd pricing. Consoles are still massive in bricks and mortar.

Petromir:

Irridium:
So, people are saying that if publishers price their digital games lower than retail, retail won't stock them. Since this seems to be primarily for PC games, I say... so? Isn't PC at retail all but dead? The amount of people who got to a store to buy PC games is very, very few. Most use Steam now.

If Sony can charge less for their digital Vita games and have stores still stock the physical copies, I don't see why publishers can't do the same with PC games.

Besides, PC gaming at retail died completely, would it really make much of an impact? Is the retail PC games market really such a huge market that they won't risk losing it? Considering PC sections in retailers are really small and out of the way and getting smaller, I highly doubt it.

It's not the stores pulling their PC stocks that publishers are worried at, its pulling ALL a publishers games across ALL platforms due to pc dd pricing. Consoles are still massive in bricks and mortar.

I seriously doubt retailers would stop stocking titles from the large and profitable console market to try and keep the really small and barely profitable PC market.

captcha: market forces

haha

I'm fairly certain that the console makers would like nothing better than to make their DD network friendlier and more popular among their subscribers. It really is the publishers, particularly the huge ones, that are pushing the price points up... and until recently probably had complete say for how much their titles were. Also, somehow it's the Japanese publishers that are the worst. Taking Jim's example, Atlus is one of the few Japanese publishers I completely respect anymore, but their games on PSN were all full price until just a month ago, only going down in price during an occasional week-long special.

Still seems like a miracle that Sony managed to lower the price of DD games for the Vita, and it's still not perfect, but you have to figure Sony had to bend over backwards to get publishers to cooperate.

It honestly is odd to see Sony be one of the first to push prices down for digital content next to Valve. To a lesser extent CDProjectRed and GOG help as well, but that's more helping through content availability than pricing.

Enjoyable video.

Gotta be honest though, i like my collector's editions. Not that keen on retail being dead and gone, digital, yes its the future and yes you make complete sense with the price being totally incorrect, but from a selfish point of view, im glad publishers are being douches about this because it keeps my archaic precious Retail hardcopy source of games alive :)

Hooray for Hitler!

I feel like I've been living under a rock since I buy all my games off Amazon/gamestop/eBay.
Never in hundred years did I think games would be default 60-70 dollars on launch, thats madness.

blackrave:
Next thing we know publishers will make digital versions cheaper... by making physical copies more expensive.
From their point of view it makes sense.

Oh god I can see them doing that too. There "reasoning" (or how they spin it to the press) would be that "the price of game development has gone up, so to make back the cost, the price of games has to rise too".

Just payed 32 for Diblo III from Amazon in the UK, the digital copy would be 45. Surely even if they price matched the publisher would make more money, surely activison getting 25 at most from a physical sale with the rest going to creating the product, amazon costs & free shipping.

Jim made good point about the power of GameStop, we don't have them in the UK, we still need a physical distributer, but surely Amazon can do that, they actively encourage competition.

Modern AAA publishers are slick Corporation & can't be that blind, charege 30, add 20% to your profits, sell a phisical copy through amazon for 32.

They can't be all that dumb. Sorry Jim you, an all of us, are clearly missing the reason for this.

BooTsPs3:
If you don't support the better developers then they wont keep making great games. Sure skyrim is $60 but that's for hundreds of hours of gameplay. Considering millions of people pay $60 for COD which only has about 10 hours of content before your just repeating maps in multiplayer paying $60 for skyrim is a bargain. I bought it on release day and i think it's the best game this gen. Bethesda deserves your money for it

I would argue that Skyrim is one of the most hollow gaming experiences I've had to date. Even more hollow than whatever time I put into a multiplayer game.

Your move.

girzwald:

MonkeyPunch:
Well I can't imagine that there's any intelligent counter argument to this...

Oh sure there is.......its greed filled, bullshit filled and reeks of pure unadulterated evil. But intelligent non the less.

Well that was quick.

Onto the next problem!

Jimothy Sterling:

Perfectly understandable. I realize that for some, it is difficult having my face appear in their feeds because any passing girlfriends and boyfriends will fall in love with it and leave you in order to seek my hand (my own wife, upon seeing one of my videos, actually divorced me in order to marry me again. It was very troublesome).

I assume this is the problem anyway, since it's the only logical one I have as to how simply seeing the existence of a video in a feed is a problem to anybody. In any case, you can let your significant others know that I am off the market and so they should probably stick with whoever they settled for.

That made my post lunch work day.

anthony87:
And that my friends, is why I do all my game shopping from Amazon/Gamestop.

I got Mass Effect 3 on PC for 36 euro off Gamestop on release day. For PS3 it would've cost me 45-55 euro as a physical copy.

Last time I checked it was still SEVENTY FUCKING EURO on the Playstation Store.

Aye. And that's exactly why EA and everyone else seem to have pretty much already decided to favor digital distribution of game data and 'licenses' over those pesky physical copies. They're hell-bent on destroying or at least severely crippling the second-hand market, eliminating trading or other after-market consumer oddities and random flukes in their equations.

On one hand, it's a really modern and reasonable thing to do, and be it just because we have the infrastructure to do it; on the other, it's the end of a lot of what made gaming fun. It also gets rid of collectables and the very concept of our current market and distribution outlets. We're bound to see how that plays out - I personally don't like it.

1nfinite_Cros5:
This is why I refuse to buy Skyrim on Steam. The bloody game is STILL at $60. I always wait for Bethesda to release a Game of the Year Edition so I can at least get everything. Buying one of their games at launch is never good news to me.

You have a stonger will than me.

I was going to say something about this being too obvious, but fuck it. Ya got me with the "good hitler" comparison. Thank god for you, Jim Sterling.

Jim you took every word out of my flapping mouth. This is the reason I've bought one game in four years. The only reason I even bought Starcraft 2 was because my demo (which allowed me to download the full game online AKA I bought a $60 key code) ran up and I had a $50 gift certificate to walmart. The entire argument is the truth. I'd say the only argument that allows retail practices to continue is the boobs who complain about their crappy internet connection which always baffles me that someone would bother buying a $1200 gaming juggernaut computer knowing full well they have poor digital access but I digress. it is a glorious future that could cut out all the gamestops of the world. Literally the wet dream of capitalism of cutting out the middle man.

Not to mention anyone who raves about the green movement, this is a holy grail of efficiency and saving of resources.

All around it would be a good push for developers. Thank god for Jim

dangoball:
There is also this one funny thing about EA's pricing model on Origin. Considering that Euro is a stronger currency than US Dollar, how come I should pay 60-70 Euros for game priced 60 USD on lunch day?

And on a side note to those complaining about Skyrim on Steam: there have been 3 discounts I remember since Christmas and at least one of them was 50%. I would have liked to make use of that, however Skyrim is not even available in my region on steam and for 40 Eur (52 USD) on retail.
I just wanted to complain about that for some time, so there.

I would expect a random, but well prepared common excuse to go like this:

"Distribution in Europe, that is EU member countries and other, non-EU member countries residing on the European continent, requires special attention and preparation for multiple languages and sometimes rather different legalities and sensibilities. To accommodate for all our customers best interests, we have established legal and business presence in virtually all these countries, or at least many of them, and we have opted to print multilingual booklets on eco-friendly toilet paper. In order to prevent customer confusion from an overabundance of choice, we are dedicated to deliver them only software titles (and licenses) that have been released in their region and are in accordance with their local laws; we are dedicated to eliminate any and all cross-pollution and grey imports and have already installed measures to disable and blow up any consoles that are used to illegally run game titles the customers have bought themselves that are not within the scope of what we have decided to want to offer them. We are currently participating in talks with other software ("games") developers, hardware manufacturers and internet providers to establish an efficient zero-tolerance framework to ensure maximum gaming performance, game title reliability, utmost "fun" value (see scientific definition of the term and study results in appendix F) of the customer experience and a well optimized customer experience resulting in "happiness" and "satisfaction" (see EU regulations in accordance with (IP/08/310) et al).

Would you people bloody stop it with the bad puns? We've already reached Godwin point before the video ended, so no need to go on and play with words...

Qitz:
For dual release, digital and retail, the price difference between the two will never happen since the retailer will complain about it and just not stock the game which will result in huge profit drops for them.

For pure digital distribution? Yeah, it should be lower and there are a few that have priced themselves lower and have no physical disks to sell. Minecraft, Torchlight, Terraria, Etc. Granted there's companies like Nintendo and their eShop who are DETERMINED to sell their old games for ridiculous prices, granted they've gotten better on the 3DS one but still.

But if they release both they'll never have a huge price disparity because it'll cost them a lot of money. Be it from GameStop or Target.

for dual release it already happens, steam nearly always undercuts retail for pre-ordering pc titles (yes certain online retailers like Amazon undercut that but its still progress). If it weren't that way I would just pre order nothing.

And the retailers did complain about it, on a number of occasions Game (uk) held the console versions of a title hostage if the steam version was not delayed. Which is shameful, but their dead now and im glad its bad practises are gone.

The transition won't be easy, but ultimately it should be beneficial for us. (should is the word, locked down networks like psn and xbla for the next gen may prove to be very bad if not correctly managed, setting up a good storefront isn't easy on steam, i can't imagine the extra challenges for a controller led system)

Shh, Jim, don't help the publishers on this one! Them being completely idiotic about this one is a good thing. The longer they fail at converting everything to digital distribution, the longer we can actually buy retail copies that are available for cheaper, come with more stuff, and are ours to loan to friends, bring to parties, sell if they suck, and other wonderful things digital doesn't offer.

Don't help publishers take away our consumer rights faster by giving them advice! Let them rot while we enjoy the benefits of their incompetence.

I'm glad someone said it... The big corporate publishers are making the consumers bend to their will rather than listen to their consumers.

And what do they and their corporate whore fans say when consumers actually tell them what they want? "STOP BEING AN ENTITLED WHINEY CUNT, BE THANKFUL YOU'RE GETTING ANYTHING AT ALL"

With what EA is doing to Sim City 5 after it was modders alone that kept the franchise alive all this time, they can go fuck themselves and I hope pirates really do have have an effect on their profits. I have no sympathy for them over such arrogrant bullshittery and they deserve bankrupcy for ignoring consumer demand and proper business practices and trying to eliminate game ownership.

Seriously, what other industry would survive running things this way? Telling customers to fuck off whenever they have a product request or legitimate criticism, attacking customers for practicing thier right to resale, and making purchasing outside of retail more inconvenient and less rewarding.

mjc0961:
Shh, Jim, don't help the publishers on this one! Them being completely idiotic about this one is a good thing. The longer they fail at converting everything to digital distribution, the longer we can actually buy retail copies that are available for cheaper, come with more stuff, and are ours to loan to friends, bring to parties, sell if they suck, and other wonderful things digital doesn't offer.

Don't help publishers take away our consumer rights faster by giving them advice! Let them rot while we enjoy the benefits of their incompetence.

Agreed. Digital distribution is the end of game ownership and game libraries free of online accounts and servers that are required to play.

I believe Jim had a bet with someone, that he could make an entire video talking about digital distribution without uttering the word "Steam" or make any reference to said service.

Also mentioning On Live would have been nice. Last I heard it was dirt cheap sometimes.

Can't say I agree with him on this one. As a consumer, I of course want cheaper games. It's why 90% of my game purchases are through Steam sales these days.

From a business standpoint, it makes no sense to sell your digital and retail games at different prices from day 1. Everyone knows there's a greater markup on the digital product. That's not the point. It's not good business to undercut yourself.

like music i will never go digital and anyway if the games industry goes digital ud still be able to aquire games for free from torrent sites

For me personally I don't like digital distribution. I hate the idea of one day not being able to have a solid physical copy of the game I purchased in my hands. The only time I ever download games is when there is no physical copy like with Minecraft and a few others. If I want a video game I go to a shop and buy it.
That said, I do agree that if something is cheaper to make is should be cheaper to buy. But that's never going to happen. I mean just look at the shops full of clothes made in China that probably cost 20cents to make and yet are being sold for $50~
And as for retail shops threatening not to stock stuff if somewhere else is selling it cheaper something smells ratty right there. Since when was it okay for shop A to demand that shop B match their prices or else they'll throw a big old sulk until the creator of the product makes them.
I mean seriously can you imagine if this was the case in other situations? Where I live EB Games sells most new releases for $20 for than JB does, can you imagine if EB threatened to stop stocking that game until the publisher forced JB to put their prices up?
I understand it's a bit different when you're comparing retail to online purchases but, seriously the idea that shop A has any influence over the prices in Shop B makes me really uncomfortable.

babinro:
Can't say I agree with him on this one. As a consumer, I of course want cheaper games. It's why 90% of my game purchases are through Steam sales these days.

From a business standpoint, it makes no sense to sell your digital and retail games at different prices from day 1. Everyone knows there's a greater markup on the digital product. That's not the point. It's not good business to undercut yourself.

It's not undercutting yourself. When games are sold at retail, a portion of the profit goes to the retail establishment that sold it and the cost of manufacturing and shipping the physical copies - people that are not the publisher. All they have to do is pass that savings off to the consumer when sold through a digital storefront. They don't even have to pass of all of the savings, just some of them. Say for example, Battlefield 3 comes out digitally and in store at the same time. Would it be that ridiculous to charge 8 to 10 dollars less because EA is their own distributer and didn't have to pay to ship it somebody else and lose a small portion of the profit to them? A lot of consumers would argue that there is numerous disadvantages to not owning a physical copy and would like additional incentives towards the digital ones. And even a slight bullshit incentive like an extra map or five dollars is nothing compared to the savings the publisher gets by selling it through its own digital storefront.

Hell, amazon does this all the time. They know damn well that they are at a disadvantage for game sales because shipping direct to the consumer takes slightly longer and is more expensive. You know what they do? They occasionally skim 5 to 10 dollars off of their profit margin to offer an incentive to customers to use their shipping programs like Amazon Prime, or just to get them in the habit of ordering through them. Kmart did this for awhile too through their brick and mortar stores while they were restructuring their games section.

Digital sales are just crazily advantageous to publishers and their inability to realize this is astonishing. Nintendo selling game codes to retailers? WHY? It's practically a charity to places like gamestop and Target. Why give them some of your profit and waste even a nickel on a piece of paper when every single person with access to the internet can easily buy the games without having to leave the house. It's insanity.

Last time I checked, Steam did it right.

Thank god for Valve.

yeah bunch games on "games on demand" for the 360 are rarely discounted or even worst more expensive than retail prices(example dead rising,too human,bio shock,halo 3 etc..)

Ishigami:
Steam is not the holy grail of digital distribution. Stop praising it.
Steam deals / daily offer etc. are cony-catcher. These offers are there to convince you to cash in now because otherwise you lose out on a supposedly cheap deal. In the end many people will therefore buy more games, more often and even games they usually wouldn't pick up. In the end many will spend more money on Steam for games they don't even play. At the same time it increases acceptance of the service leading even to more full price sales.
It is like the F2P model of many MMOs. Many people will in the end pay more to play F2P than they would have paid subscription fees on an P2P MMO.
If a game is not on such a special offer it still cost as much or even more than retail.
No Steam is not cheaper.

You'll have to be a bit clear as to what exactly is that "holy grail of digital distribution" you think other people see Steam as. While I don't think it has the proportions of some fictional holy artifact (It's not fictional or holy and most definitely not a vagina), I do see it as my preferred place to buy games.
Yes, cheap sales are intended to make you buy stuff, which is not surprising since this is an online store. You can't blame them for wanting to sell stuff.
It might cost more than retail if you live in North America, where games cost the least for some arbitrary reason, but even buying at the regular NA price is usually cheaper than what I can get in retail stores.
Steam is way cheaper than the alternatives some people have. Especially if you consider the sales.

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