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.

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NastyLeftHook01922d ago

that statement is inefficient to the terms of reality.

JBSleek1921d ago (Edited 1921d 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.

jc485731921d ago (Edited 1921d 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.

Dasteru1921d ago (Edited 1921d 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.

adorie1921d ago (Edited 1921d 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. :/

DeadlyFire1921d 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.

smashcrashbash1922d ago (Edited 1922d 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.'

Kurylo3d1922d 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.

tubers1922d 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)


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?

Dasteru1921d ago (Edited 1921d 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+

smashcrashbash1921d 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.



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.

Kurylo3d1921d ago (Edited 1921d 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.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1921d ago
ApolloTheBoss1922d ago

Apparently everyone at epic is delusional.

DaThreats1922d ago

So I see Gamestop hating them.

matgrowcott1922d 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.

ziggurcat1922d 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).

matgrowcott1922d 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.

Tyre1921d ago (Edited 1921d 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.

grassyknoll1921d ago

Where did you find Far Cry 3 for 10 pounds/$15?!?

matgrowcott1921d ago

Multiple examples are close in there, although many of them are expired.

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