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How Much Would A Digital-Only Videogames Industry Matter To You?

Take-Two Interactive's boss predicts an exclusively digital future for videogames - will you be coming along for the ride?

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derkasan6d ago

Seeing how popular the Limited Run Games print are, I don't think we'll be going digital-only any time soon.

dead_pixels6d ago

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.

thekhurg6d ago

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.

bluefox7556d ago

@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.

DarXyde6d ago

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.

ChrisW6d ago

@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.

rainslacker6d ago

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.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 6d ago
Summons756d ago

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.

dead_pixels6d ago

@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.

rainslacker6d ago

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.

darthv725d ago

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?

VideoGameLab6d ago

the little they sell are bought mainly by collectors. Those numbers are really nothing that would change the industry.

YodaCracker6d ago

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.

vikingland16d ago

Xbox game pass is all digital.

agent45326d ago

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.

agent45326d ago

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.

_-EDMIX-_6d ago

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.

rainslacker6d ago

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.

Seafort5d ago

@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.

_-EDMIX-_6d ago

Absolutely

I don't even understand how any consumer is being positively benefited by having less options to buy a game.

Relientk776d ago

I buy physical, so it would be lame as hell.

Omnisonne6d ago

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.

agent45326d ago

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

5d ago
spambot08156d ago (Edited 6d ago )

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.

AmstradAmiga6d ago

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.

freshslicepizza6d ago

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.

DonkeyWalrus6d ago

Same for me the only time I buy a disc these days is for collector's/limited editions. Digital is so much more convenient.

FITSniper5d ago

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.