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Digital Market Offerings On Consoles Is A Failure

I'm going to start this blog off by saying F.U. Sony. Yep, you read that right. A big F.U. to Sony.

I bet you're wondering why I, whom everyone insists is a huge Sony fanboy on this site, would say such a think right? Well the answer is because Shadow of Mordor is $70 here in Canada, and that's everywhere.

Now I have known that Sony increased game prices in Canada awhile back, but up until now there have been 2 truths where I'm concerned.

The first truth is that the increase had never been more than $5. Any time I bought a new PS4 game and went for the physical copy, it was $64.99, and looking at the U.S. cost of $59.99 showed the $5 increase. Considering I've only bought 2 physical games on the PS4, that's really not that bad I'd say.

The second truth is that when I would go to buy a digital game on PSN for the PS4, it DIDN'T have the price increase. It was $60 flat for me. Don't know if that was common or not, but that's just been my experience.

Today however, everything is $70. $70 even for the digital copy. To all you pro-digital only gamers out there, let me ask you something. What possible reason, with the exception of load times and the lack of tax, would I or any Canadian have to purchase digital versions of games at $70? The game has no case (thus no costs associated with making a case), no manual (same deal), no shipping costs, no other fees associated with selling the product in whatever country, and yet it costs the same, minus taxes, as if I were to go to my local EB Games or Walmart or Best Buy and pick up a physical disc version.

I would really love for you pro-digital only gamers to explain to me what exactly is GOOD about that situation please, and while you're at it please tell me how, given the current situation, anyone should want a total digital distribution only future compounded with the associated DRM, lack of resale options, and the associated risks of not having a physical version of your game to play.

From where I'm standing, digital games are actually worse than physical games. At least with physical discs you can resell them if you no longer want them, they'll work so long as they can be read by the laser (and aren't bound by ridiculous always online B.S.), they don't take up space on your harddrive and if they do you can always delete the information on a case by case basis and do so knowing that you can just reinstall later without worrying that the game has been taken off the servers.

Where's the advantage?

Now before you PC gamers come in here, this isn't about PC. The PC market is doing digital correctly, with the understanding that the lack of a physical option should come with obvious discounts, so I don't really need to hear from you. I want to know what the benefits are on consoles beyond load times and a lack of taxes.

To be fair though, Microsoft is guilty of the same B.S. with their game prices in Canada, but they haven't raised their console's prices. That's why I'm giving them a break on this. This shows that both companies have a choice to make, and Sony is losing that battle. Microsoft is like "hey, we are going to raise the cost of our games, but our console isn't going to increase in price" and Sony is like "tough sh*t Canadians, we're in the lead and can do what we please, pay us more."

The B.S. excuse of "a change in market environment" means nothing. Currently, one U.S. dollar is worth 1.08 Canadian dollars. You're telling me that .08 of a dollar means you have to raise the PS4's price by $50 and PS4 games by $10? Those 8 cents cost you that much?

I guess I shouldn't expect anything less. Canada has always had to pay more for practically everything, but at least from 2008 up until this year Canada had price parity with the U.S. in games and consoles.

I'm incredibly annoyed by the fact that there may as well be absolutely no difference between buying physical and buying digital on consoles. Load times and no taxes is nothing.

I used to think that the prices of digital mirroring the prices of physical are due to the retail partners exerting market pressure on publishers, but I've come to know that it's really just because publishers know what they can get away with. They know what we're willing to pay for games, so they have no incentive to lower the prices and in fact just increase them. It's frustrating and insulting.

So please, someone, tell me the advantages of digital distribution, because from my perspective it's a colossal failure.

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rambi801532d ago

If it costs more than $20, i dont buy digital.

There are tons of great prices during sales on PSN that are better than physical prices at times.

You're just doing it wrong by buying new and full retail digitally

DragonKnight1532d ago

I've needed a new game for a long long time, so I was tired of waiting. Why should I hope that Shadow of Mordor will go on sale next year (no guarantee) if I can get it immediately? The point is that Sony has no actual reason to charge $70 for any game and "market environment changes" isn't a real reason.

MrPink20131532d ago

Ok here are some examples of the differences between USA and Canada (retailers)

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U) - $59.99 versus $64.99

Sahdow of Mordor (PS4) - $59.99 versus $69.99

Shadow of Mordor (XB1) - $59.99 versus $69.99

So it seems like Sony and Microsoft are the same while Nintendo is a bit better.

Current Excange rate - $59.99 U.S. = $67.17

Why would Sony want to lose over $2 per purchase? They'd rather round it off to $69.99. However they should all be using current excahnge prices on the digital stores.

Reasons why digital is better?

1. Easier access, you just go to your game library and access it. No need to get up, remove old disk, put new disk in, wait to load.

2. Pre-launch load. Midnight rolls and you can play on relase day. Not every game has midnight launches so most people will be playing later when the retail outlet opens.

3. No wasted time and gas getting to the store to buy.

4. Always available. Games don't sell out online.

I still prefer physical copies. Most times you can find better deals, trade, lend, borrow and sell games.

I also have to ask one question, why do well known 'Sony Fanboys" as you call them hardly ever talk about Nintendo? They always want to put most of their focus on Microsoft. Nintendo also sells goods online don't they?

DragonKnight1532d ago

Your reasons

1. Sure it's a reason, but I wouldn't classify it as objectively "better" than physical unless someone likes to be lazy.

2. Not true. A lot of the times I've had to wait until the store was updated in order to get the game. For PSN, that's a Tuesday afternoon. Admittedly though, I haven't pre-ordered a digital game off the PSN marketplace so you may be right in that event. Still, for me that's not really a "better" as I'm not so obsessed that I'd need to play a game at 12:01 am.

3. Probably a "better" for some. Not for me though, I like going out.

4. That's true, at least initially. You'll never be disappointed by the game not being there on launch because it's sold out.

I personally don't mention Nintendo because I have no experience buying their games online or even seeing the prices of their games online. The one issue I have with Nintendo in terms of pricing is that their first party games take forever to reduce in price, way longer than either Microsoft or Sony.

MrPink20131531d ago

1. You didn't explain how it's not better. Why would swapping a disk, waiting for it to load be better than simply going to your digital library and choosing the game and press play game? I have lots of songs on my hard drive, are you going to tell me it's not better than grabbing a CD off the shelf?

2. It's not a big deal either way but some would say this could be better. Your game is loaded on the hard dive ready to be unlocked. If thyat service works as it's supposed to you could be playing while others have to wait for the store to open. I could have eaten half a pizza and drank 6 beers by the time you waited for the store to open and got home.

3. So your argument is you like going out, seriously? Maybe you didn't want anyone to answer why digital is better since your mind is already made up that no matter what people throw at you you don't care.

As I mentioned earlier, I do agree with you in that I still prefer physical games. You get better feeling you actually own something and it comes with more freedom.

I thought of another reason why digital could be considered better. Less wear and tear on the hardware, no risk of the drive not being able to read the disk correctly. Fingerprints, scratches and sometijmes just a bad disk. Another think is you don't have to worry about losing your game because it is always with your account. Which also means you don't have to carry those games with you on your travels. Just sign in and there's all your games. The downside is you might have to redownload them.

Sony, and the other console manufacturers also have to please retailers. This is why they can't compete with the likes of Steam, GoG, Amazon, ect. They need them to sell the hardware so it's more of a partnership. Which is really odd because some publishers are against used games sales and that is where those retailers make most of their money from. And that brings me to another point some may or may not care about. Digital sales are more likely to go back to the creators fo the game more so than physical games which can be copied (pirated), and sold over and over again where they don't see a dime from other than the initial sell.

In the end Canada has always been questionjed for their pricing of goods. Books, magazines, games and other products. Plus with the variable exchange rate it's hard to compare against the US dollar. It's why if you buy anything off of PSN it should be charged with that days exchange rate like credit card purchases. I don't think Sony is the evil provider of digital games, they have just done a piss poor job at changing peoples opinions on why digital is better. If prices were lower I'm sure that would change some peoples habits. As it stands I mainly will stick with physical games as much as I can.

LightofDarkness1532d ago

You're just lucky you don't live in Europe. It costs €69.99 on the Irish PSN store at the moment. That's $98 CDN and $83 USD. The game costs $59.99 in the US, or €47.61 in Europe, about 32% more expensive. Complete rip off.

For reference sake, I bought the PC version yesterday for €27. How ludicrous is that.

It must be said that Sony are not the ones setting the pricing for third party titles. The only fair pricing I've seen is from Sony themselves, all of their exclusives range from €45-€60. It's the third party publishers setting these ridiculous prices for themselves, hoping to dupe foolish early adopters into paying exorbitant prices for no reason other than the convenience of not having to go to the shop and buy it physically, or more cynically, as the last resort when there are no cheaper physical copies available at launch (or afterwards). All Ubisoft games on Steam have recently begun inching upwards with their pricing too, with them now carrying the unheard of (outside of COD) tag of €59.99. Even Shadow of Mordor is still €49.99.

I think Sony need to come up with some means of regulating PSN prices among third parties, because it's only going to leave a bad taste in gamers' mouths.

Kavorklestein1532d ago

I can imagine it's probably really frustrating that the prices got jacked up for digital games all of a sudden. I am a gamer who thinks ALL digital games should be no more than a flat 50.00 no matter WHAT country it's released in, UNLESS there is a currency differential that comes into play.. OR if there is bonus content included etc... but I think if Americans are buying the same game as you are, then you shouldn't have to pay more for a digital copy than We do, or anyone else for that matter. I also think that digital game prices need to follow the price cuts of physical copies more closely too... like maybe they can do the median or average price that most retailers are charging, and find a sweet spot.

If nothing else, I guess the only semi positive way to look at this is that at least there ever WAS a window where you COULD get a few brand new games for 60 bucks. But that also makes it sting a bit more when you see thoses 70.00 dollar prices staring you in the face...

I'm sorry, that does suck that they are now MORE expensive for no good reason.
Hopefully if there IS going to be a big push to 'all digital' right around the corner, that Sony, Ms, and Nintendo all start being more balanced, dynamic, and fair- in similar fashion to Steam, and possibly do more exciting deals and sales as time goes on.

Hopefully your enjoyment isn't going to depreciate TOO much over an extra 10 bucks, and let's hope this becomes a big enough issue with enough people that the jerks change their ways.

DragonKnight1532d ago

Nah, I get frustrated by it, but if I really want the game I'll still get it and the price won't affect my enjoyment unless the game is terrible. Thankfully for me, that's hardly ever happened. But I agree with you that digital games should be at maximum a flat $50. $70 is ridiculous, and I feel worse for the European gamers like LightofDarkness above who have to pay even more thanks to VAT.

Christopher1532d ago

I hope you realize that the pricing is due to taxes and fees levied against the companies by Canada. It's unlikely that MS and Sony got their heads together and said, you know what, let's just raise prices over here in Canada for the heck of it. It's a response to additional costs to deliver their products in your Country. I'm not familiar with your country's updated taxes or fees, but it seems that would be where the change occurred.

Your arguments against digital pricing are valid, though doubtful said issues will change any time soon.

DragonKnight1532d ago

Canada's trade fees aren't much different to the U.S.

The reason we've always had to pay more was due to our dollar, not taxes. We don't, for example, have anything like VAT the way Europe does. Though I admit I'm not very up to date with Canada's trading fees.

I don't think the situation will change any time soon either, but the digital market prices are a problem everywhere, including the U.S.

Christopher1531d ago

I think the difference is that they are considered imports in Canada and not in the U.S. Fees tend to be levied more towards imports than non-imported goods.

At least that's why things end up being so expensive for Sony and MS in other countries. It might be the same here.

Has the Canadian dollar lost value anytime recently, though? I don't recall that, and thought it was actually growing stronger then the U.S. dollar still.

DragonKnight1531d ago

Actually I saw today that the Canadian Dollar is now worth 90 cents American. So yeah, it just went down. Lol. But I doubt it will go down to the 67 or 68 cents it was a few years ago that prompted lower costs on most things.

newflesh1532d ago (Edited 1532d ago )

As long as digital/retail pricing of new games is still €69.99 or more, piracy will never go away or slow down. But it seems that companies are fine with it

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