Take-Two Interactive's boss predicts an exclusively digital future for videogames - will you be coming along for the ride?
Seeing how popular the Limited Run Games print are, I don't think we'll be going digital-only any time soon.
I hope not. But the thing is LRG's model isn't sustainable given the way they run 5-2.5k piece runs of pretty much everything. They're definitely doing a great service, though.
I remember back in the day, we were lied to and told that digital games would be cheaper because of no packaging, no manuals, no store cuts, etc... That's what I'd want if it were to ever go to a 100% digital future.
@thekhurg Yeah, that's what they said, and it seems to work for Steam, but if you look at any console digital store, that does not seem to be the case at all.
thekhurg, Games are cheaper...to create and distribute. Games *could* be sold cheaper (hence, the one-off flash sales on the networks). The unspoken crux being that savings are not always passed on to us. In an all-digital future where prices are regulated by the platform holders, I wouldn't expect to see sales as we see them now. We probably only see them now to entice consumers to make that transition. Storage space just isn't in a place where we can feasibly do all-digital, made worse by the budding of 4K content. Yes, all games, physical included install to HDDs, but it's much faster to install from the disc than download so deleting and reinstalling isn't nearly the same headache. Also, with data caps and the potential concerns surrounding how the repeal of net neutrality plays out, a digital-only future runs a legitimate risk of making that impractical. bluefox755, Well, Steam is much more open than consoles. I think developers are more willing to part with profits-at-cost because the licensing fees are likely lower and developing on PC is much easier (thus taking less time and less money). Could also be a matter of who controls game pricing and the potential differences between digital distribution via console versus PC.
@thekhurg, Firstly, I don't think I've ever heard anyone of importance claim what you stated. Upon release all games are set at the same price (except for the 10% digital pre-order discounts), however a month or so after release, digital games are more likely to go down in price quicker and at a greater discount. Reason being, retail stores had already paid for the stock upfront. They need to make their target money. Only when the game is a flop will it go down in price faster, in hopes to clean out existing stock.
New releases on Steam are cheaper because they don't have to pay the console licensing fees attached to every game. The constant sales are just publishers participating in focused marketing, and making what money they can. But it works. You see these kinds of sales on the consoles also, although not as frequently. Sony's been doing good there the past couple years. I'm not sure about MS since I don't follow their store or pay attention to their sales, but I'd imagine they have them too. Anyhow, as far as store cuts, all the major storefronts take 15-20% of the sale, so they wouldn't really be saving any money there compared to retail, where they also have about a 20% mark-up. The reduction in cost comes from not having to make the case, disc, manual(which they don't do anymore) or paying for distribution. All that amounts to about $2-3 per copy. However, with retail, you have a huge upfront expenditure to manufacture and distribute a product to retail. While this wouldn't be that big of a deal, it the game flops it means that you make less in return, so digital is more appealing because it means no upfront costs. More importantly though, is that there are no used game sales on digital, so publishers can exercise their TOS rights that isn't really relevant in physical, although it still technically exists.
You'd think limited run games would do the opposite. I get the collector aspect of limited games but games are made to be played and limited run games take away how many people are actually playing. Why would I want the headache of fighting not only scalpers but companies like Gamestop but don't fulfill preorders on limited runs so they can sell them for double the price at a later date when I can get it digitally, earlier than when stores open at 10am? Nothing wrong with having a physical copy, I love it and the collection on my shelf...but the second I hear limited run then I go for digital. No excuse to limit games and feed the scalpers.
@Summons - Thankfully I've managed to get my hands on every LRG release I've wanted, but I get where you're coming from. Buying games shouldn't induce heart palpitations and making sure you're logged into LRG's storefront and Paypal at exactly the right time to ensure you have a shot at getting a copy can be really stressful. I typically order my stuff the minute it goes live. And without fail, whenever I check the remaining stock after finishing checking out they're always at 30 percent or less - it's craziness.
I just think LRG needs to have higher production runs. They'd still be collectible for those that actually want them physical, but they'd do away with a lot of the early scalpers, and the frustration of the times you couldn't get the game. Plus, it'd be nice if you didn't have to sit at your computer at 2 specific times of the day to hope you can get a copy at the MSRP. I think there are plenty of people who collect games....certainly more than 2-5K, that it's reasonable that they could bump it up quite a bit. I think a lot of the popularity now is from the fact that people know they'll go up in value more often than not. But that to me isn't so much collecting, as it is speculating on the video game market, and kind of takes the fun and joy out of getting a physical copy of the game.
LRG to me are like other homebrew makers. I see people who take digital versions of games and make them into real carts for Genesis, SNES and even the 2600. By no means are these games real or should they even be "collectable" in the same sense like real retail produced games. I can't say they are doing reproductions because the games they release were never in production to begin with but they are essentially reproducing games that were in digital form. How this company can legally do this is odd because I thought if you produce a physical copy of something and sell it for profit was called bootlegging?
the little they sell are bought mainly by collectors. Those numbers are really nothing that would change the industry.
I wouldn't like it at all.
No GameFly? No used games or trade-ins? It would be a lot harder to afford gaming. This is an expensive hobby. Sure, I could manage but I would feel irresponsible spending so much. Currently, I pay $12 a month to GameFly to get 2 games out at a time and I get to play every new release I want. I also download the occasional indie game. Every once in a while, there’s a big AAA game I just have to own and I buy it from Amazon Prime with a 20% discount, with the knowledge I can trade it in for a decent amount in the future. If gaming went all digital, I just see the cost of gaming skyrocketing for me.
Xbox game pass is all digital.
It would be cheaper. On PC I have yet to pay $60.00 per game. The most I have pay is $40.00 for a brand new game. All we need as gamers is to update the First Sale Doctrine to include digital goods and services.
Why, it will cut the costs of game development by 50% . It has proven that through digital distribution has made it easier for up and coming game developers to sell their games via their own gaming websites, using steam and other digital stores to make extra profit of their games. Digital distribution has allowed gamers to publish and fund gaming proyects that big gaming publishers have completely ignored via kickstarter, the heavily flawed early access. We could live the dream of Netflix like gaming services 😀. Why stick to an antiquated business model like physical media. I can play any old game on pc thanks to digital distribution. Just click and download.
Well it sounds like an absolute lie because I would argue that the distribution of a disk and some material is actually some of the least cost of practices in game development. The question you need to be asking yourself is to what benefit to not have more options? You might like digital but I don't know how it benefits consumers to have less options.
It wouldn't reduce development cost, just manufacturing and distribution costs. Those costs are about $2-3 per copy. It does require an upfront expenditure to do all that though, with the risk of being saddled with a bunch of product that can't be sold. None of that amounts to 50% of the game development budget though. Regardless, that manufacturing and distribution costs saved by going all digital would likely not make up for the lost revenues from physical sales no longer being a thing. All those other things with funding games really have nothing to do with the topic, however, digital does give an outlet for more developers to make products that wouldn't be available without some way to distribute their product....and it is true that manufacturing and distribution costs are out of reach for many smaller projects....nor would it be financially viable for many of them to have a physical release.
@rainslacker You're looking at it from a console perspective. Retail copies on PC exist but not to the extent of the consoles. I'm 100% digital on PC. I haven't bought a boxed copy for over 5 years now. Retail boxed copies on PC most of the time don't have a disc inside but a code to input into publishers gaming platform i.e. steam, uplay, origin, battlenet. I have all my games now on digital platforms and I wouldn't go back to boxed copies. I save money buying all my games digitally as there is competition between digital stores on PC and we don't have any one company that owns the PC platform. Microsoft doesn't own the PC platform. They just provide the OS that we use. The only way Microsoft benefits from PC game sales is if they publish the game. MS Windows Store on PC is an irrelevance and is a lot of the time forgotten about. It's a poor piece of software that hinders the user rather than help them if they do try to buy from and use it. MS have tried to bring their console ideology over to PC and it just doesn't work. They should have stayed on console as they have no idea about the PC platform or what PC gamers want.
Absolutely I don't even understand how any consumer is being positively benefited by having less options to buy a game.
I buy physical, so it would be lame as hell.
Yeah, it would matter enough for me to not spend more than 20$ on a game. I don't like the idea of someone else having say over a product I bought, and the possibility of a service being pulled out, being locked out of my purchases by software bugs, server issues and all that fun stuff.
Physical media is terrible when it comes to playing old games. Look how console manufacturers took advantage of physical media supporters like you to re-buy PS3 games for $60.00 plus tax. On PC I thanks to digital distribution, I can buy any old game modify it , etc. and only pay $5.00, $2.00, $3.00, $10.00 for old ass games. Games will be cheaper, have true freedom of competition thanks to digital distribution
It’d be very off putting
i'm full digital by now so no problem. with all the patches and dlcs games get these days it makes no more sense to me to buy a disc that is practically outdated day one.
I go all digital when I can given that I can use purchases on 2 consoles concurrently. Saves having to buy a second copy. Remember the good old days when Sony's policy allowed you to use digital downloads on up to 5 consoles! Was great...but then they claimed using it on that many consoles you must be a pirate and reduced it from 5 down to 2.
You can sign into as many consoles as you want. They way it acts like physical because you can't play the same disk on multiple devices at the same time. The only downside to digital is access. There needs to be assurance you can play the game whenever you want and not be locked away. They should also create a trade in process.
Same for me the only time I buy a disc these days is for collector's/limited editions. Digital is so much more convenient.
If I ever sell my console, I can sell all my games with it. If you ever sell your console, unless you're selling your PSN/XBL account too, you're stuck with games you can't play unless there is backwards compatibility.
Depends...i wanted to play no ni since I never played it before on the ps3 and I only have a ps4 trying to play it before number 2. I love it so far but I was basically forced to buy ps now just to play it. Since Sony feels that BC is irrelevant. So yeah they got to work on that shit....otherwise I like digital just downloaded the D2 expansion like 6 gb in 3 mins flat do to my excellent isp speed. For other people though I can be a issue.
If it's like Ninja Theory, How they can created a great game and cut the cost overall? Then I'm for it.
The only thing that put's me right of digital is the prices. The new Dead Rising 4 here in UK is £45 on psn. I can get the game from a online store with free p&p for £28. So no unless they sort the rip off digital prices ill stick with physical.
I want it!
it'll be okay AS LONG as the sizes don't jump beyond what people can handle, which is a thing i am already seeing with some XBOX games weighing crazy amounts of data that even some people can't download due to data caps, this is just insane for me.
That is because console manufacturers are forced to appease their retail overlords. One by making games digital with insane sizes and two selling digital games at retail prices. If Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo were to sell their games cheaper via digital and small in size no retail company would allow console manufacturers to sell their consoles via brick and mortar stores.
I mostly buy digital cause there always great sales. I mostly buy physical if I want to play the same day and don’t want to spend hours downloading
If you asked me last gen I would have opposed it but now I frequently use remote play and psvr and changing discs is the most annoying or impossible thing in the world at times. Remote play basically means there is no disc swapping unless you are in the same house My only problem with all digital is the higher prices for games over retail. New releases are often 60 at retail and 99 on PSN
That is because Sony needs to appease retail stores. If Sony improves PS Now and combines it with PSN ditches console hardware entirely. Then Sony would be able to sell their games cheaper.
Psnow is still so far away from being ready at this point it's still unavailable to a good chunk of the world.
Boxed games are better for gifts but most of my games are digital these days
It'll effect everyone eventually, I like to actually own my games, future value and collectors would be madly effected too, stores etc, physical games are going no where.
Physical media has brought nothing new to the table. Thanks to physical media games are expensive to make, mainstream publishers refused to publish innovative/unique games, etc. Thanks to digital distribution cheaper games have emerged, it has allowed gamers to fund and publish gaming proyects that mainstream game publishers ignored. Digital distribution has also allowed better preservation for gaming classics like Age of Empires or Star Wars Dark Forces. Digital distribution is the brighter future of gaming 😜
Maybe not on the switch. That would be terrible. Also, with net neutrality in the balance I'd hold off on any debates until we see how that plays out.
As a PC gamer, not at all.
where do you buy all those physical games on PC?
Amazon. I have the physical copy of Evil Within 2 and a racing game forgot the name.
Yeah, bigger games get some PC releases.
I never buy them. I download games via Steam mostly.
There's actually lots of physical games on PC I still actually buy lots of my games physical on PC.
The thing is, buying physical on PC is mostly useless. You get the DISC, activate the code and download it. Noone ever installs 5 DVDs anyway and after activating the code the physical version is pretty much useless.
I don't even have a dvd drive any more. I install my OS with a usb stick but I haven't done that for a year or 2 now as SSDs don't require much maintenance. I would say PC is 90-95% digital now and the games are much cheaper than consoles. You just need to shop around for the best prices. Competition is a good thing and that's what the PC market has unlike the console market. You are controlled by Sony, MS and Nintendo and they set the prices on their digital platforms. There is no one controlling the PC market so prices are set by the digital vendor.
I only buy physical so I would not be cool with this
I have been 100% digital for 4-5 years now. So for me it would be OK. But in countrys with crappy internet and data limits it would be very crappy! I've got 100/100mbit internet and no upper limit on my data, so it is not an issue for me. And I'm about to get 300/100. Fiber is just nice :)
If they made it worthwhile for the gamers I could see this happening, making limited copya of physical editions. Digital copiea should be 30% cheaper. The only reason they want it to become all digital is because they don't have to produce any covers, disks or ship them to retailers. We gamers don't earn jack by it. This comment is in regards to console games, not PC.
Is not the fault of PC that console manufacturers are so greedy, out of touch, and treat their customers like walking wallets. On PC digital distribution is a success. Is everything that console gamers wished and so much more.
I like limited editions. A cool artbook,soundtrack,figurine or occasional flag are all winners in my book
I love physical , I mainly buy physical if I can especially rpgs, I like to replay old rpgs many years later so I have held onto them over 30 years now
no box no money. this is what i think.
And miss out on awesome stuff like all the goodies that came with The Witcher III's physical copies? Problem is, if digital copies become exclusive to certain digital stores it somewhat eliminates their competition resulting in less discounts/sales etc, plus various other issues.
i think the ps360wii era was the last great era where games came on discs with manuals and patches were minimal mostly. nowadays game discs retail are mere acccess discs with massive patches and updates so really there not really anything to keep in a collection imo
I disagree, the last great era of physical console gaming was the PS2 era. On PS3 99% of the time I spent updating every single game I wanted to play.
true games had updates but they was minimal compared to ps4 x1, you can still have a collection in your library to keep to replay many years from now. with ps4 and x1 games its different
Digital is a rip off.
I'll be completely open arms to it, already all digital this gen. Physical games and blu ray are no different than cds now, unnecessary wasted shelf space and disc swapping
The only way how i wouldnt mind a digital only is based on two things. Drop the standard price rate from $59.99 to $39.99. And secondly, allow all digital games to cross between each generations of consoles like from ps4 to ps5 so that we can still play them without switching consoles.
I won't buy a digital only console.
To answer the question, no because I won't own my games. Why would I and anyone else spend $$$ just to play a game that can be taken away whenever the publisher wants ?
Do you buy digital music or are you still walking around with a CD player?