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Submitted by Jsynn7 1092d ago | news

Physical retail is 'inefficient', says Epic Games boss

Current marketing and physical retail distribution methods are "inefficient", says Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, who is "looking forward to" a more profitable all-digital future. (Epic, Industry)

NastyLeftHook0  +   1092d ago
that statement is inefficient to the terms of reality.
JBSleek  +   1092d ago
PC has effectively already done this and many people praise Steam for their practices but they say it's stupid to even consider DD as a main option for consoles which (next generation in particular) are just PC's with locked down hardware.

Never understood this really.

@jc48573 I know we need both and that's perfectly but don't dismiss digital as a viable option in reality when in fact the reality is that it works.
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jc48573  +   1092d ago
PC culture and Console culture are quite different at the moment. It's been that way for quite some time. I think we need both IMO.
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Dasteru  +   1092d ago
The reason DD works on PCs is because of all the archaic DRM methods on PC games.

Alot of the DRM that is on PC games prevents them from being resold, therby killing any collectability. There is nothing really lost by going DD on them now.

Consoles don't have any of that and are still collectable. If the rumors of anti-used next gen are true then there would be no problem with them going DD only also.

If PC games were all completely DRM free then services like Steam would flop badly.


Loosing 95% of your fanbase by going DD only seems far less efficient than keeping physical media.
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adorie  +   1092d ago
Thing about PC, Steam games specifically, is that it seems much easier to make a purchase. You have all the info at your finger tips and eyes.

I can't think of any games I bought off of Steam that I regretted. All those decisions were done with complete faith that I would enjoy what I was buying, based on information I caught up on, on my purchases.

Physical retail seems more monotonous, but I do enjoy physical copies more, and Smart Phones can extend the Steam-like purchasing experience to brick and mortar, being at the mercy of your carrier connection. :/
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DeadlyFire  +   1092d ago
Epic states this because 1080p might only be possible on something like Gaikai/Agawi next gen if rumors are true of 1.2 Tflops and 1.843 Tflops as the whole console's specs. Then again their are rumors of 2-3 SOCs and this spec could only be one SOC spec so it could be almost double that. Never know. I will be glad to see what Sony brings to the table.

As Epic stated at GDC with their 3.9 demo. It would need 1.2 Tflops for 720 @ 30 fps, and 2.5 Tflops for 1080 @ 30 fps.
smashcrashbash  +   1092d ago
Yeah because i can see an all digital future being more efficient.'What's that? Because of some unforeseen glitch every single one of your games are erased? How am I going to pay you back for the hundreds of gigabytes of data that you collected over the years? We can only give you one third of your data back.Why you ask? Well the rest of it is corrupted and can't be retrieved. Sorry but those are the breaks when you have an all digital system. Well screw you too sir. Goodbye.'
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Kurylo3d  +   1092d ago
You must be someone unfamiliar with digital. Once you buy the game you can download and install it with your account on any machine you play on. As long as your playing with your account logged in. And your account can only be logged in at 1 place at a time... but like steam , if my computer is logged in at home and i wanna play a game at work, i just log in and work and it boots be off at home.. or vice versa.

So digital is obviously better.. u scratch your dvd.. your screwed... but if you need to reinstall the game... well cool... it will reinstall and autoupdate.
tubers  +   1092d ago
What about areas in the world where the connection aren't as stellar as first world? Wouldn't software sales on those areas take some dent?

Unless they don't really matter.. (IDK the numbers and I wasn't being sarcastic)
ACEMANWISE  +   1092d ago
You must be unfamiliar with digital as well.

1) More than 75% of console makers have stopped making consoles. What happens when/if Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo stop? What happens to digital superiority?

2) The terms and conditions for the services housing digital games state that the words "own, ownership, purchase, buy, yours, etc." do not mean you own it. How can digital be superior over physical if you have less control over the format, less places to play it, and less reliability in terms of functional lifespan?
Dasteru  +   1092d ago
What happens 10-15 years from now when Steam/any other current DD service no longer exists?

Servers go down and your games go down with it.

Lost to history with no chance at recovery.

I don't know about you but i still enjoy playing my SNES games every once in a while.

Imagine if the SNES had been DD only, Nobody would be able to play them anymore. Every game ever made for it would be completely gone, never to be seen or played by anyone ever again.

Unless its remade/ported but then you wind up having to shell out another $60+
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smashcrashbash  +   1092d ago
No thanks.I will keep my physical copy and know where it is at all times away from anything that may happen to the digital copy.My games are on Bluray that doesn't scratch or damage easily. When i have my games put away i know they are there.On a computer things can happen to them that I might not be able to reverse for whatever reason. And like people are saying not everyone has super fast internet to down load huge games.I certainly don't have the time to sit down and wait for game to download every time I want one.Physical copy is mine I can feel it I can touch it, I can display it and put it somewhere safe.Don't need to have to have a fast connection or a giant hard drive.And it is no more or less convenient.Physical I just go to the store and buy it. Digital I have to wait for it to download. Not much difference there.
ACEMANWISE  +   1092d ago

In regards to the availability of old titles like SNES in a DD world. If the SNES had been digital only chances are they would have discontinued SNES game access and resold them all over again when the N64 came out. They would have repeated this process throughout the Gamecube lifecycle.

The final desire of these companies are to destroy backwards compatability and permanent access of the games you buy. They want to control supply, eliminate history, so that they can resell the same game over and over again.

They have demonstrated what's to come already by eliminating PS2 and Xbox compatibility, reselling past gen titles online, and remastering titles to regenerate sales.
Kurylo3d  +   1092d ago

Steams not going anywhere for the next 10 - 15 years.. at this point its a billion dollar industry.. they make 90% of all pc game sales. LOL... your fears are unwarranted in that department.

If they stopped making consoles.. what happens to digital superiority? I really dont understand ur fear... if the console isnt made u wont be playing it on disc. Not to mention things like steam allow you to play old as dirt games on new computers lol... you can go back and continnue playing the past.

Also what control of the format do u beleive that you have? Illusion of control lol.


United states pretty much has one of the worst internet right now... its comparible to most third world countries.. yet steam is thriving lol. Chances are most people can get a decent enough connection... even via satelite.

On a final note.. i can think of another reason why digital is great. No more RE releasing of the same game on the next console just cause u still want to play it and they dont make the previous console anymore. You now will be able to just redownload it. Full backwards compatibility.

People who bash digital are only people who have never used it. People stuck in the stone age. Get over it. It has already taken 90% pc game sales away from stores... and its coming soon to console, and will be the only way soon. Your bitching is not going to change that.
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ApolloTheBoss  +   1092d ago
Apparently everyone at epic is delusional.
DaThreats  +   1092d ago
So I see Gamestop hating them.
matgrowcott  +   1092d ago
It IS inefficient and that's why companies like GAME and HMV are going under. The problem is that nobody is suggesting a better way of handling things. Core gamers are worried about not truly owning any of their stuff if it goes all digital, stores are worried about making a loss on any game that isn't super popular and developers want to have their cake and eat it too (high prices, all for them).

Hitman and Far Cry 3 both dropped to a quarter of their initial price, on consoles, within a little more than 6 weeks. They need to fix that issue first, picking a price that's less likely to fluctuate and more likely to hold.

Secondly, publishers need to realize that if a high street store doesn't stock a niche title, people who want to buy that title will buy it from where it's available. GAME, especially, had a massive influence over this industry in the UK and it was all because losing a big stockist would hit sales. With that hold gone, digital prices will drop, but it'll also mean developers no longer have to fight (or make changes to a game, or announce delays on PC) to have decent space on shelves.

We're a way off on that one yet, but with every passing year things are getting better.

Lastly, and this one could take a while, everybody needs to grow up a little. Developers need to stop treating their fans like they're stupid. The recent Rayman debacle? Yeah, that sort of crap happens every day, big and small, and it's all because the developers know we'll buy the game anyway. They also need to drop a little of the greed. If they can figure a way of dropping prices, rather than increasing them, the industry would be much better for it. DmC would have seen much better sales at half the price, because it's less an initial investment and less reason to justify minor niggles and fan disappointment.

But we, the gamers, need to all grow up as well. I make about 50% of my living writing about video games, and I don't take it nearly as seriously as some of the people on here and on other sites around the net. There's a current trend of games failing to live up to expectation and for the fans to say "well, they should have listened to us."

We need to trust that the people that make the games know what they're doing, and that they know a hell of a lot more than we do. If something isn't the way the fans moaned about wanting it, there's a good reason for that. If Square Enix are making Final Fantasy 13-3, it's because they've looked at the figures and they know they can A/ make it profitable and B/ make it enjoyable for the people that have enjoyed the series.

We then have to admit to ourselves that, yes, some people enjoy things that we don't. We need to admit that the industry is growing and the core gamer from twenty years ago might not be the best person to give an opinion on the way things should be today.

With an acceptance that sometimes things will happen in the industry that don't make sense to us or that don't appeal to us, perhaps we can help make a transition to a new system easier and, ultimately, we'll all benefit.
ziggurcat  +   1092d ago
"Core gamers are worried about not truly owning any of their stuff if it goes all digital"

there's no difference whether you own a physical copy or a digital copy. apart from the physical object, ownership rights are the same (meaning, the rights to the content belongs to the author, not the consumer).
matgrowcott  +   1092d ago
You're right, I know you're right, most everybody knows you're right.

That doesn't make it any less something that some people worry about. There are multiple examples in this thread.
Tyre  +   1092d ago
The means that, in the most likely case, it will not survive due to it's carrier. All digtal and no other physical media to be carrier for games except HDD is a BAD idea. Most HDD are unreliable and prone to errors...most of them Fail within a decade. On top of that if the company does not support the game or goes bankrupt/losses the means the keep the games stored(keep it in existence so to speak), the game has less means of survival. It is a miracle that we still can play most games from 25 years ago, just because they were stored on all sorts of physical media & had more paths to survive. All digital/no other physical media carriers is a cheap & short sighted way for greedy companies. We need more thinking about the consequences and less in 'efficiency' terms which sounds very economically centric.
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grassyknoll  +   1092d ago
Where did you find Far Cry 3 for 10 pounds/$15?!?
matgrowcott  +   1092d ago

Multiple examples are close in there, although many of them are expired.
chukamachine  +   1092d ago
I've had pc and ps3 crashes and lost everything, do I enjoy having to d/l gigs of data again, even patches, maps etc. No.

Yes backups can be done, but should be made easier in some respects.

NEXTGEN os's must done with this in mind.

Say system crash.

PS4, Reboots, tries to fix error, if not. wipes just os data, not saves, or games. and formats just os and reinstalls from internal backup.
2pacalypsenow  +   1092d ago
more profitable digital = less sales ?
#7 (Edited 1092d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
KwietStorm  +   1092d ago
So that's why they've barely made any games for years, but license the hell out of their engine instead.
Kurylo3d  +   1092d ago
They've made at least 4 or more games this generation... think thats good for any single company.
JBSleek  +   1092d ago
What the hell are you talking about?

Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3
Extreme Pinball
And more

They have 6 titles this generation more on other platforms.
KwietStorm  +   1092d ago
What I'm talking about is leaving behind their roots on PC, and relying more on their licensing industry-wide than anything else. Maybe I should have said IPs. Gears is really all they've introduced since years ago. Extreme Pinball? lol
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OhReginald  +   1092d ago
unfortunately they forced that upon us. I am all for physical retail...however now with all this DRM like with Steam, origin, and uplay for example its all online only...which renders physical retail obsolete. Especially when you purchase a physical game you have to be online at all times and register the game on your account in order to play it, AND can't trade it in for a new game or for some quick cash....its ridiculous...and its all gamers faults for being sheeped into this business model.

I am speaking on the PC side since I am a PC gamer.
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the worst  +   1092d ago
Epic Games is inefficient'
blackbirdi  +   1092d ago
i think the problem is that developer and publishers are more greedier then before they never get enough
ACEMANWISE  +   1092d ago
We'll Never See the Savings
They will keep prices the same and claim that digital is more convienant. If anything the cost will rise because they will have less competition with used prices or physical discs, making them more dominant and in control of supply.

They will just keep demand up and make their software rely on 3rd party services in order (i.e Xbox Live, PSN) to exist.

Just know that if Sony or Microsoft leave the industry the accounts do too. The entire digital era is a fraud in terms of ownership expectations. In reality the digital format should be considered inferior mainly due to how they control it.
Yodagamer  +   1092d ago
Its I efficient for them, aka less money. I'll keep my retail even if I spend gas money to go get them or ship them
sdozzo  +   1092d ago
So is leaving digital prices way to high... Looking at you Sony.
sashimi  +   1092d ago
Sony has no control over prices of other publisher's and developer's games so go look at someone else to blame.
Kratoscar2008  +   1092d ago
The more i hear the more i know next gen is gonna suck.
Reborn  +   1092d ago
Again? Well of course he thinks that. It would generally equate to more income for them. But there are a number of reasons why it just can't go totally digital. And most users seem to have firmly established that.

But mainly:

1. Internet connections - Internet companies already cap, or lie about speeds in most cases. Even then, not many in the world are open to the idea of always buying things, you can't really 'own'.

2. Too many hoops - You'll probably get a lot of restrictions, and they'll be able to properly control your content which you purchased. Which again, leaves the 'content' issue itself.

3. Pricing - Dear god. If the current prices that I see on PS Store, Xbox etc are anything to go by... then really, its not happening any time soon. Those are ridiculous prices. Compared to actually getting a physical copy.

The only real benefit is probably, DLC may be priced lower, and patches can be issued faster, and more efficiently.

But the so called 'digital age' is still some time off.
Chevalier  +   1092d ago
Why the hell should I care if it's 'inefficient' for them? They want my business make the game, put it on disc, then I'll buy it. They profit. If they want to go digital only then I'll just not buy it and they make NO money from me if that's what they think is better for them. I am not a fan of downloading stuff. How can they consider downloading HD games 'efficient'? These files will just get larger and larger and that means it'll take longer to download then it would be to just go buy the game on disc.
BX81  +   1092d ago
I will always take a hard copy over DD
tachy0n  +   1092d ago
think about other countries which internet is not good enough, people will always choose retail over digital.

moving completely to digital is suicide.
Klonopin  +   1092d ago
Someone give Epic a "No Shit" comment of the month award.

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