Analyst Predicts GTA V Will Be Digital Only

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Analyst Predicts GTA V Will Be Digital Only

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A research and consultancy firm predicts that the boxed retail version of Grand Theft Auto V will not include a disc.

Surprise! It's not Michael Pachter! No, this one comes from Newzoo, "an international full service market research and consulting firm completely focused on the games industry," and it's so out-of-left-field that even Mr. Pach Attack himself probably wouldn't go near it.

"There are a lot of reasons why publishers are pushing towards digital distribution of triple-A games. Speaking out loud might harm the relationship with retail partners, but the benefits have become too large to remain silent about the desire to go completely digital," Newzoo CEO Peter Warman said in a recent report on DLC. "The ultimate objective being to launch games faster, create continuous revenues on a title and simply to make more money. Will retail disappear from the picture? Of course not. Retail will always remain an important channel to promote and distribute games. Retail has a strong hand to play when it comes to eyeballs and... boxes make a nice gift."

And then he gets to the interesting bit. "Boxed games will not disappear, but what is in the box will," he continued. "That is why the boxed GTA V version will contain a collectible piece of merchandise and a download code. No disc."

No disc? That's a bold prediction. I'm not an expert [or even an analyst] but I think it's a bit premature; as hard as it is for some people to believe, a significant portion of the population still lives in areas where high-volume digital distribution is impractical at best. It's one thing to activate a game online or connection to a DRM server, but another thing entirely to download a multi-gigabyte game in its entirety over a connection that may be throttled, capped or just plain crappy.

Those most reliant on retail channels for their games, in other words, tend to be the same people who can't just take home a code and download them, while most of those who can will just order them from home. That leaves a very narrow slice of gamers who are dedicated enough to their title of choice to cruise to the mall and lay down their money for some extra room-cluttering junk, just so they can turn around and drive home to actually get their game. Maybe someday, for some titles, but today? I just don't see it happening.

Source: IndustryGamers

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If there was no disc, it would cause an absolute uproar.

Not everyone has super internet. Besides, I highly doubt there won't be a disc. I can't see it happening anytime soon.

Hmm... interesting... I'm pro steam and have a shitty internet connection (as of recent BT fumblings in my area) but compensate by leaving my PC on overnight..

Hey, RockStar how about, if this is going to be digital only you release it on PC too (on time, not a year later, a few weeks or even a month, fine... but a year???)

PC for the win!

If it's digital only, I'll wait until it's super cheap on Steam. After all, if I have to spend half a day downloading, I might as well save some money in the process.

And of course, what about all those people who can't download a copy? Yeah, I'm sure Rockstar is extremely eager to cut their customer base by denying a part of it their product. There will be a GTA V disc for consoles at the very least.

We can't have a good digital download system until we get a new generation of consoles that have much larger hard drives than the 20 gig that comes with the original. I don't think it'll happen until next generation, and even then there will still be discs for a while.

Probably not going to happen. I don't have internet on my console and I know a few people that don't. I doubt it's going to happen.

If its a digital copy only, then they may have just lost a customer. Call me old fashioned, but I like physical copies. Its a real sense of ownership and not some sort of twilight realm ghosty wosty phantom-like spook purchase.

I'm pretty sure this isn't true, even though I buy most of my games off of steam, that's only because I have fast internets, for a lot of people and console users (habit and harddrive space), it'd be completely impracticable and a massive pain in the arse for everyone regardless of whether or not you prefer digital distribution.

*gasp*
Egad!!
Great Odin's Raven!!
Holy Toledo, Batman!!
Surely they can't be serious?!
Oh my stars and garters, I don't think my modem can take such news...

As long as it doesn't interfere with my experience of the game and doesn't raise any problems, they can start ditributing it on flash drives for all that I care.

Interesting prediction. I would say that is skipping a few steps. Why not offer both, but a discount for digital. Like Steam for instance.

Though, it's dumb to exclude that crowd of folks who are gonna hit Gamestop for a disc. This would most likely, ultimately, equate to less sales.

Also... you are making people still travel to get a box. I don't feel I should have to point out how annoying it would be to go to the store, get a box, then wait hours for the title to download when I got home. See, on the PC with good old Steam and others, you can prepurchase it, and if it's a big release, they give a pre-load to the customer, so it's available when the title actually unlocks. I don't foresee this happening with the 360 or PS3. This very thing is what is literally stopping me from purchasing a boxed edition of Skyrim at the store for the cloth map. I will save myself probably about $10 in gas and sales tax. And it'll be available at 12:01 AM on the 11th.

I love analysts. They have to be the people who are the most disconnected from reality.

This sounds like a bad prediction and I will hate it if this game has this. I have 2 megabit internet. 200kb/s download speed. This is very bad by today's standards and I know, I fucking know, that this isn't the worst, that there are others with much worse internet than me.

Give me a disc, so I can load up, play and move on.

Or, since I own a PS3 and not a 360, load up, wait about an hour for installations and updates, play THEN move on.

Calumon: But isn't the shelf nearly full and probably gonna collapse soon?

Jack: SILENCE! Physical media is better because shut up!

It wouldn't work on consoles but you could do it on the pc, I mean it wouldn't work well on the pc since I think like 40% of the states is still on dial up but the pc is the only platform where you could currently hope to make back your money with digital only.

What? I have steam, and i find it WAY more easier to buy in real life. Why should i not be able to play a game (I have a crap laptop) if the publishers want novelty? I know steams cheep, but i prefer the effort to get to my local retailer, even if its £10 more.

Two words describe my opinion of this, it may be quite eloquent: Fuck. This. GTA will be a huge download, too huge for many old "standard" Xboxes to take. Plus, imagine the download time. The worst part is that I live in a house where both me and my dad (I'm 15, its all good) play video games, so we share a lot of them, as we have two Xboxes, and this "Digital Only) will force us to only use one Xbox, the one with the memory, mine, I do not want this to happen, at all.

Is there anyone who actually wants digital only distribution for games?

I'm blessed with a great download speed and high cap, but even I wouldn't be happy if AAA games all started pulling this. A good disk is a nice thing to have.

Seems like it would be more feasible to just charge less for a digital copy. I mean, it makes sense, doesn't it? Retail copies cost the publisher a good deal more, why wouldn't they charge more for things that cost more? Then, rather then alienating customers wholesale, they provide an incentive for the consumers to start getting used to DD, as well as bring about the demand for faster internet.

Jack and Calumon:
200kb/s download speed

Wow...that's...wow. I'm sorry, man.

OT: Not everyone has internet, or some people (like Jack, here) have shitty connections. This is a bad move on Rockstar's part. Why not offer it as a download on XBL and PSN, while still making retail versions? The cost for disks and boxes can't be THAT high, can it? Hell, they're planning on having a box with a tiny slip of paper for a download code. That's just unnecessary spending, in my opinion.

wooty:
If its a digital copy only, then they may have just lost a customer. Call me old fashioned, but I like physical copies. Its a real sense of ownership and not some sort of twilight realm ghosty wosty phantom-like spook purchase.

Likewise, glad to know I'm not the only one who like's having a physical copy. Pretty much for all the same reasons Wooty just posted, it is a proper sense of ownership and not just a bunch of data on a computer that could vanish if it crashed or something.

Pretty much, if the next GTA is digital only they'll have lost another customer as well.

DVS BSTrD:
Is there anyone who actually wants digital only distribution for games?

I do. Cut down the overhead for retail copies, and that will lead to lower prices, and discounts sooner. Also, it will put that fewer middlemen between developers and their consumers, meaning more of the money you spent on a game goes to making the next game, and making risky, innovative titles more financially feasible. Ill grant you that that is in an ideal world where some people don't need a retail copy because of their internet, but if DD could accommodate everyone, it would be better for everyone.

A few people have mentioned that steam, amongst other things, is cheaper than acquiring a retail copy. I'm sorry, but that's a right load of hogwash. Steams prices, excluding sales or promotions, is far from cheap, and when considering new releases is often a couple of quid higher than buying a physical copy. To say otherwise is to live in a storybook fallacy where digital distribution actually provides a more convenient, cheaper alternative too owning a physical item. Sadly, this is not the case.

What bullshit. There will be a disk otherwise it will hurt sales. I for one will not download a full game onto my 360. Why would i fill up my entire hard drive with it. Also i would be pissed buying a game new from a shore and having a "download game with code" in it. What a waste of money, also how can games be expensive to download when companies dont have to pay distribution costs, packaging etc. I bought Batman AC, and was annoyed that the manual was online only. Also bought Gears 3 and their manual was bullshit and basic. Its a disgrace. I love looking through game manuals. Its just cheap having to pay full price for a game and you dont even get a manual. This would stop me buying full price.

DVS BSTrD:
Is there anyone who actually wants digital only distribution for games?

I do, it pushes a greater demand on ISPs to provide faster and faster internet speeds. Seriously speeds in the US have become fairly stagnant because there really is no huge push to increase it.
Second, I'm a bit sick of the whole used game argument, and the switch to digital only will kill the market.
Finally, this is becoming the standard for PCs already, it really is about time people just get on the boat, seriously people are saying that companies are going to lose a sale because they want a retail disc. Especially for the PC more and more discs contain very little actual game data, especially if it is for steam. The steam based games basically have some pre install information and a good chunk is just downloaded from the steam servers. And even then having the retail cd means less and less today. The days of pop in and play really don't exist for the PC, now its pop in and register with some DRM. That DRM goes down or bans you, you're shit out of luck, retail cd or not.

Andy Chalk:
Surprise! It's not Michael Pachter!

I-- I say what?!? Do you know what you have just done to my monocle!?! My new monocle!?!

Electric Gel:
A few people have mentioned that steam, amongst other things, is cheaper than acquiring a retail copy. I'm sorry, but that's a right load of hogwash. Steams prices, excluding sales or promotions, is far from cheap, and when considering new releases is often a couple of quid higher than buying a physical copy. To say otherwise is to live in a storybook fallacy where digital distribution actually provides a more convenient, cheaper alternative too owning a physical item. Sadly, this is not the case.

Actually it is true at least for the US. Steam is more often than not cheaper. Preorders going for 10% or so off, and no tax. So you end up saving at least like $10 or so on games by buying from steam.
And there are other digital distributors that go even cheaper for some games, greenmangaming I picked up Arkham City for $31, Direct 2 Drive usually has 10% off preorders + 15% extra for ign members.

Haha. I knew it wasn't Pachter as soon as I read the headline. Pachter tends to make intelligent predictions.

I would only buy it off of steam, but not everyone has a gamimg-quality PC. TBH, I won't in about 1 year.

Electric Gel:
Steams prices, excluding sales or promotions, is far from cheap, and when considering new releases is often a couple of quid higher than buying a physical copy.

It depends on your location then. Here in the US, Steam has sales literally, every week. The entire damn catalog goes on sale during the holidays, no joke.

I can't say the prices for other countries (obviously), but a brand new game sells (in the US) for the same price as a retail one does. Every time, without question.

DVS BSTrD:
Is there anyone who actually wants digital only distribution for games?

Not me, and I only buy digital. People need a variety and I'd hate to see it shrink down to just digital since I know not everyone can roll that way (or wants to).

They would have to pack in some pretty tight exclusives, which in their own way are just as annoying, trying to pick out a store where price and exclusivity are at the right level.

Why would I take time out of my day to go buy a code from a brick and mortar store to come home and download it? I can just sit on my ass and let it download normally.

But then I'm guessing the digital copy won't hit XBL or PSN for some time after launch.

Rednog:

Actually it is true at least for the US. Steam is more often than not cheaper. Preorders going for 10% or so off, and no tax. So you end up saving at least like $10 or so on games by buying from steam.
And there are other digital distributors that go even cheaper for some games, greenmangaming I picked up Arkham City for $31, Direct 2 Drive usually has 10% off preorders + 15% extra for ign members.

That's quite interesting. I must confess that I presumed that digital distribution prices, because of their nature, where the same across the board, no matter what country you lived in. I guess this signifies that once more England's pricing plans are more expensive, as I've never witnessed a day of release game being cheaper than a physical copy on any of the major digital platforms. Or at least any significant difference.

Dr. Pepper Unlimited:
It depends on your location then. Here in the US, Steam has sales literally, every week. The entire damn catalog goes on sale during the holidays, no joke.

I can't say the prices for other countries (obviously), but a brand new game sells (in the US) for the same price as a retail one does. Every time, without question.

We have steam sales over here in England, and game prices are often insanely cheap. The sales are probably the only reason that I own steam. But day of release prices are usually the same, or a little higher.

I predict that someday, game analysts will get paid entirely too much money to make completely uneducated, retarded predictions that result in wasted bandwidth on articles that highlight the wasted money thrown at said analysts.

Now where's my paycheck.

Jack and Calumon:

Calumon: But isn't the shelf nearly fuckk and probably gonna collapse soon?

What kind of words are you teaching Calumon, Jack? D:

OT: As if, as mentioned above, consoles needs way more built in storage then when you buy the console. And games get bigger, so won't be enough with a 20GB harddrive.

DVS BSTrD:
Is there anyone who actually wants digital only distribution for games?

Amazingly yes, though these people are a bit touched in the head, really...

Anyway, onto the topic at hand. I can't see this happening right now. If GTA V did appear to be download only, that would really put me off. I wouldn't have time (nor the disk space on my 360s HDD) to download a full AAA game. Maybe Rockstar will shock us all by GTA V not actually being a AAA game, instead an XBLA/PSN only title with a top-down perspective, going back to the roots of the GTA series.

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