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Beginning of End for disc-based games


foogledricks
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A bit premature to count disc based games out (we won't see them disappear for a very long time) but certainly a big step in that direction.

 

I did say "the beginning" didn't I?

 

Ok, maybe not the beginning, we're already a few steps in already. But this is significant. Very significant.

 

When the biggest publisher of games is publishing the newest version of one of their biggest franchises as a downloadable game on consoles, and when Microsoft is about to launch an update that will allow disc-games to function from harddrive at the same time... retailers need to be afraid, particularly Gamestop.

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When the biggest publisher of games is publishing the newest version of one of their biggest franchises as a downloadable game on consoles

It would have been more significant had said game been released BEFORE the retail release. I'm not arguing that it's not substantial. I just don't see it as being quite as BIG as you proport. It's a reduced pricing version of a game that has already sat on retail shelves for quite some time. It's a good step into a process that, as you note, has already begun but call me when the next Burnout is available prior to its retail release on the PSN/XBL. I'll certainly start sweating som bullets then.:)

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This also isn't super news for those gamers that aren't sitting on fat internet pipes in urban areas. Which, I would guess, would be a significant percentage. Until the people in the 'burbs and rural areas can get more than 1.5kbs downloads from their DSL or cable, I can't imagine digital delivery will pose a significant threat to disc-based media. I know it's the reason I don't take advantage of downloadable movies on the 360 or Netflix...I don't feel like kicking a download off on a Tuesday morning so I have something to watch Wednesday night.

 

(And no, this wasn't a setup for someone to make a "sitting on a fat pipe" joke, but one could certainly pursue such an angle, if one wished.)

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When downloading a game means you can get it without having to pre-order, and when discounts are applied for not having to manufacture packaging and discs, you get increased competition with the traditional retailers. They won't go away, but maybe a used game won't cost four dollars less than a new one and they won't keep making stupidly high mark-ups on things.

 

It's unfair (but legal, capitalism and all) for used game stores to screw the publishers/developers out of all the revenue on a used game, so anything that interrupts their cycle is good news in my opinion (and by interrupts the cycle, I mean that they can't control the inventory by only ordering enough copies to barely cover pre-orders so that they can simultaneously create a quick market for the used game and keep prices artificially high).

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and when discounts are applied for not having to manufacture packaging and discs
I'm sure publishers will pass on those cost savings to the consumer rather than pocketing it themselves. Actually, I hope that's the case, but when prices for games went up to $60 because of "rising costs for development" for insanely detailed games like Assassin's Creed, Oblivion, and Gears of War, did we see sports games, which only cost a fraction of that, stay at the $50 pricepoint?

 

My condo association raised condo fees one year because of the rising costs to plow our parking lots due to increased snow. The next year we got almost no snow. Do you think we had our condo fees lowered that year?

 

Game publishers just got us to accept $60 games. They're not going to bring that price down if they can help it. They're going to probably entice us with the non-monetary "benefits like:

-Download a game a day before its in stores!

-Access your games from any console in the world by logging in

-Free gamerpics, themes, wallpapers, or whatever they can come up with

-etc.

 

Anything to not lower the price. Once you lower it, you screw yourself with consumers. Look what $5 Geometry Wars did to consumer perception about price. It made everyone think that Lumines or Braid for $15 is a ripoff.

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It's funny but I'd consider Siren a bigger step forward for digital distribution than this latest news. Mind you, Burnout and EA are a far more recognizable game than the far smaller and damn near non-existant Siren - but that game hasn't even gotten a BD release as of yet. It's completely out there being sold digitally and doing pretty nicely from what I've read.

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...

Game publishers just got us to accept $60 games. They're not going to bring that price down if they can help it. They're going to probably entice us with the non-monetary "benefits like:

...

-Free gamerpics, themes, wallpapers, or whatever they can come up with

-etc.

...

 

Aren't they already providing free themes and wallpapers on the PS3? I also remember Epic and Bungie giving away gamerpics and themes.

 

I agree with you that the publishers won't pass the savings on to us. They just are looking into a way to tighten control over distribution to maximize profits.

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By the time this actually comes to PSN the game will be nearly a year old. Now, Criterion seem to be doing their best to improve the longevity of the game with the free expansion packs, but normally I'd be expecting to at least hear what the next in the series will be by then, if not an actual yearly update.

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Aren't they already providing free themes and wallpapers on the PS3? I also remember Epic and Bungie giving away gamerpics and themes.

 

I agree with you that the publishers won't pass the savings on to us. They just are looking into a way to tighten control over distribution to maximize profits.

 

Yup.

 

I'd still prefer discs, thanks, that I can resell. I've resold several hundred dollars in games over the past year. It's nice to be able to get some money back if you need it.

 

 

And just wait until your full $60 games have the same spectacular DRM as XBLA games and you try to use them on a new console.

 

Calling up companies to beg them to let me use the content I paid for isn't my idea of an improvement.

 

I don't like it on Windows XP (one of the reasons I have a legit copy of XP but I use a hacked corporate key instead), I didn't like it when I had to beg Apple to let us re-download songs my wife bought when the DRM failed (some of which were no longer available, so now she's SOL), and I'm not going to like it when I have to do it for XBLA games when my 360 RRODs.

 

And I'm going to avoid it for $60 games as long as possible.

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Yeah of course you, the used game seller and gamestop, also a used game seller, prefers the monetary benefits of selling used games. But the people who create and distribute the games don't like it, and that is why they want to stop it.

 

With games costing $60 I purchase less $60 games and more XBLA games. That is where I'm being pushed to. And I don't mind it. It looks like these downloadable games are facilitating a new pricing structure. I think it will all even out as only capitalism can do.

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Two thoughts about digital distribution and what it needs to "overtake" disc sales:

 

1 - Price for digital download should be cheaper by $5-10 vs disc version. No disc pressing, no packaging, no deliver by truck/rail/plane. No cut for distributers or retail outlets. They save money, so we should save some too. If I had a choice of d/l a game for $49 vs. buying a disc/box for $59, suddenly that's a compelling choice.

 

2 - Having a secure system of delivering activation codes / having unique licenses. Meaning I buy Halo 4, MS gives me a code to activate the software. If I want to sell that game, I inform MS of the intention (they freeze my copy, maybe strip out the program code?) and I sell the license on eBay (or where ever you sell it.) So the download of code is free, the activation code/license gets you the final bit of program code.

 

If you could implement both of those steps, IMHO disc sales would be dead and buried in 6 months.

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GreenMonkey hit the mark on the biggest issue I have with downloading games. The B.S. of losing content when equipment shits the bed, and then dealing with even greater B.S. 'trying' to get it back. Considering my current arcade content, I dread possibly losing my 360 for exactly the reasons stated above.

 

The players involved really need to streamline/reinvent/innovate the resolution process for these types of issues before downloadable games ever supplants disk based games.

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Yeah of course you, the used game seller and gamestop, also a used game seller, prefers the monetary benefits of selling used games. But the people who create and distribute the games don't like it, and that is why they want to stop it.

 

Didn't they already sell the game for $60 once? What is the deal with people thinking that companies have a right to even consider what happens to their media once is been sold.

 

There are plenty of games that I would rent, trade or buy used that wouldn't get my time of day if I could only acquire them new. I know I'm not the only one (to quote a song).

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What is the deal with people thinking that companies have a right to even consider what happens to their media once is been sold.

 

They don't have a right about what happens with it. They just don't like seeing another company profiting from that resale on a large scale to a point where it's in that second company's interest to resell to their detriment.

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GreenMonkey hit the mark on the biggest issue I have with downloading games. The B.S. of losing content when equipment shits the bed, and then dealing with even greater B.S. 'trying' to get it back. Considering my current arcade content, I dread possibly losing my 360 for exactly the reasons stated above.

 

The players involved really need to streamline/reinvent/innovate the resolution process for these types of issues before downloadable games ever supplants disk based games.

360 has the new tool to transfer licenses to the new system. It is pretty simple. PS3 is no biggie since you get 8 machines to activate the PSN titles on. Certain titles like Warhawk just make it so you have to wait 24 hours to play it on another machine.

 

-Dean-

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I wouldn't anticipate cheaper online games (that also go retail) any time soon. Publishers have said time and time again they'd only piss off retailers if they launched a game cheaper online.

 

Plus there are crazy people like me who feel like online games are already a better deal at the same prices (don't have to waste time and gas going to get it, don't have some annoying box to throw away or a disc to deal with or dang CD keys to find and type in, don't have to wonder when it'll actually be available... screw retail! :)).

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