Blizzard: Retail Offers Things Digital Simply Can’t


Digital distribution may be convenient, says Blizzard big-shot Frank Peace, but there are some things it will never be able to do.

With the rise of online delivery services like Valve’s Steam, digital distribution is seen by many to be the wave of the future when it comes to how PC gamers purchase their games. PC giant Blizzard has been at the forefront of online gaming since the release of Diablo and its service in 1997 – and a little game called WoW in 2004 – and combined with its new digital-distribution friendly, you’d think Blizzard would be all about this digital future, right?

Yes and no. Speaking with Gamasutra, Blizzard co-founder and executive vice president Frank Pearce said that while the Irvine-based developer was on board the digital train, it could never replace retail entirely.

“Retail has things to offer that we can’t offer digitally – like the collector’s edition, which is always popular with our very passionate fans,” says Pierce. “We’re also planning midnight launches for the game at retail around the globe with our developers in attendance and signing autographs. You can’t get that experience through the digital purchase.”

Blizzard has traditionally done some pretty rockin’ collector’s editions of its games, and WoW: Cataclysm is no exception. I’d be quite sad to see them go away entirely, so I can’t say I disagree with Mr. Pearce here at all.

For more reasons why digital distribution will never completely stamp out retail, check out the latest Experienced Points. Or, Gamasutra)

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