Stardock CEO Brad Wardell talks to people - important people that believe digital distribution will reinvigorate the PC gaming market.
In many retail stores today, PC game sections are unfortunately shrinking, causing many developers and publishers to look away from the platform and towards the console space instead. However, according to Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, the incredible growth shown by digital distribution services such as Steam, Direct2Drive, and Impulse are causing those same developers and publishers to take another look at the PC.
Wardell told Gamasutra: "A lot of publishers are viewing digital distribution as the thing that is going to save PC." Retail may be turning its back on the PC, but consumers are flocking to digital distribution services in droves. Reports earlier this year showed 97% growth in Steam revenues, with a 56 percent increase for Direct2Drive. These are pretty big numbers that are only expected to grow even larger. Wardell believes that digital distribution will double its share of the total PC game market in the next year or two to around 50%.
I can't say I disagree. Steam has for some reason become a staple of my monthly buying habits, whether it be for the latest indie game, a sale on a classic title, or something more recent that I can't find in stores. Digital distribution just makes PC gaming a whole lot easier, too: not having to deal with discs, patches being installed automatically, simply clicking through a menu to choose what game I want to play, etc. Plus, now we know games can actually sell well through digital distribution platforms
But will there be room for everybody? Wardell believes so. He sees Impulse, Stardock's digital distribution platform, as a complement to other services like Steam. He says: "Steam and Impulse start out as competitors here, but we really have different long-term ideas on what we want to do, and they're not mutually exclusive," and he's not wrong. Impulse, Steam, Direct2Drive, Gog.com, and other digital distribution services all offer different methods of purchasing, social networking capabilities, and more. Just as different kinds of retail stores can thrive and compete with each other, so can digital stores now, and that's only a good thing for the consumer.