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Physical media is like "having a dead body handcuffed" to Xbox One

Physical media is like "having a dead body handcuffed" to Xbox One

Thu 01 Aug 2013 7:57am GMT / 3:57am EDT / 12:57am PDT
BusinessPublishing

Codemasters founder and industry veteran David Darling feels physical media is a lost cause

It's fair to say that David Darling has seen it all. He co-founded Codemasters back in 1986, took on Nintendo with the controversial Game Genie cheat cartridge and was awarded a CBE in 2008 for his services to the computer games industry. Having parted company with Codemasters in 2007, he's now firmly ensconced in the picturesque midlands town of Royal Leamington Spa where his new company Kwalee is hard at work on the iOS and Android title Farm Fighters, a physics-based multiplayer game which calls to mind the instantly gratifying gameplay of Worms and Angry Birds.

"It will change in six months and everybody will wonder why it never changed before. There's no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists"

Darling's depth of experience means that he is perfectly placed to comment on current events in the console arena - namely Microsoft's dramatic U-turn on its proposed DRM policies, which some viewed as a bold move towards abandoning physical games and embracing the digital future which is already earning mobile developers millions in revenue.

"It was interesting how the market did pull back with Microsoft," he says. "I don't think Microsoft sold it in the right way - they weren't strong enough. I don't think they should have had a physical drive on Xbox One - it's like having a dead body handcuffed to you. It's dragging along this dead body and it's going to slow them down. They've let the market pull them back but I think that was a mistake."

The debate regarding physical and digital distribution is considered by some within the industry to be moot at this point, with recent figures showing that sales of boxed games are falling while downloads are on the up. Maintaining physical media means that by and large, prices for games remain high - digital versions of leading PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U titles maintain parity with their physical counterparts, despite not requiring any production or shipping costs. By stripping away the physical distribution model, there's the scope for a software price drop - something which Darling feels has to happen, especially in the face of iOS and Android's selection of low-cost games.

"The price of console games has to drop otherwise they will not be competitive with Apple and Google," he states. Despite Microsoft's backpedaling, the Codemasters co-founder feels that we're close to reaching the magical tipping point. "The industry will definitely move in that direction, and I think it will move very quickly. It's a bit like flipping a coin - at some stage it will just flip. It will change in six months and everybody will wonder why it never changed before. There's no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists."

Given his background with Codemasters - a firm which at one point during the '90s was manufacturing and assembling its own Mega Drive cartridges in the UK - Darling has a unique grasp of the logistics and limitations of physical distribution, and can see no reason to keep such an unwieldy beast alive in this age of near-instantaneous digital downloads. "At Codemasters we used to write a NES game and then send the data to Japan where they'd manufacture it. They'd put the cartridges on a ship and send them back to Europe and we'd put them in warehouse and sell some of them back to Japan. With digital downloads on a platform like iOS, as soon as you have the game you can upload it and Apple will make it available on its different servers around the world. People can access our games in seconds. For me, physical games are old fashioned. I always like embracing new technology, and I don't see the point in disks anymore."

"The shift towards digital is going to mean people losing their jobs and changing careers, but at some stage we have to say we don't need these people anymore"

However, Darling's knowledge of the industry means that he's not totally blind to the reasons for keeping physical retail in place ."Unfortunately, you're talking about people's livelihoods and careers," he continues. "At Codemasters we had salespeople and warehouse people, and their jobs depended on boxed games - if you don't have physical stock then they don't have a job. The shift towards digital is going to mean people losing their jobs and changing careers, but at some stage we have to say we don't need these people anymore. Those who resist are like the Luddites from the 1800s - we have a loom which does all of this stuff automatically so we don't need workers doing it by hand."

Darling feels that Microsoft and Sony's move to maintain physical games has opened the door for rival firms to radically alter the playing field in a similar fashion to what has happened in the mobile arena. "They've given Apple and Google a chance to get into the living room - they'll come along with new machines and take over the market," he says. "Apple's been adding channels to Apple TV and has changed the whole screen layout, and all they have to do now is release a next-generation Apple TV with a faster processor and more RAM," Darling suggests. "Apple has already announced a gaming controller so they've got developers starting to think how they can make games for that controller. If they release this new machine with a new App Store then suddenly they'll have a device in the living room which can steal the market away from Xbox One and PS4. It was only a few years ago that people were saying that the iPhone wasn't a threat to traditional handhelds, but Apple has taken over what you could call the 'pocket' market from things like PS Vita and 3DS. The same thing could happen in the home."

Darling sees Google as another threat to Microsoft and Sony's business - the company's Android operating system currently eclipses Apple's iOS in terms of activated devices and gaming-centric machines like Ouya, the Nvidia Shield and Mad Catz M.O.J.O. could be the start of a concerted effort to win the affections of players worldwide. "Apple's really good at innovating," Darling says. "They innovated with iPod, iPhone and iPad - but Google are technically amazing. They copied the iPhone very quickly with Android and they're capable of following Apple's lead very quickly. There's a lot of potential in what those two companies can do in the living room with their technology."

"Apple's really good at innovating. Google are technically amazing. There's a lot of potential in what those two companies can do in the living room"

Ironically, Darling's move away from dedicated consoles has allowed him to embrace the same principles which got him into games development in the first place. Tired of large teams and a lack of risk-taking, Darling has moved to mobile in order to rediscover the simple joy of making games.

"Fundamentally, human beings have a desire to be creative and innovative," he explains. "I think there's always been that desire in the games industry, but as the industry has grown and development teams have grown, it has gotten to the stage where creativity is stifled. You're better off doing Colin McRae Rally 2 than some game that might work, but probably won't. As the development budgets get massive, then you have to take out all the risks. If you're spending ten million pounds on a game then you want to de-risk it, and that stifles creativity. So that's what I found really exciting about the mobile games industry - it was going back to just having good ideas. Lots of the successful games have just been about good ideas, like Draw Something. That's a good idea that you could have in a minute, and only takes a few months to create."

Darling's mobile studio Kwalee (Australian Aboriginal for "wait for me" and the name of his grandfather's sailing boat) has produced two iOS titles so far - Flip the Cats and GoBang Social - both of which hark back to Darling's early days with Codemasters. "Human beings like playing games with other human beings," he says. "So at Kwalee we're focused on doing multiplayer games. Flip the Cats and GoBang Social are simple concepts which allowed us to get into the market and develop our server technology. Farm Fighters is our next project and we've been working on it for over a year; it's a physics-based shooting game with a strong multiplayer focus. At the moment we're adding single player - it goes back to my time at Codemasters developing Micro Machines, where we added a solo mode in which you can hone your skills when not playing against other people."

Like so many industry veterans, Darling appears to have turned his back on the console market, citing the massive audience, forward-thinking distribution methods and opportunity for incredible financial reward that is afforded by the mobile sector. "This industry has grown to be much bigger than the console and computer industries ever were," he concludes. "Now you've got games like Puzzle & Dragons, which has allowed creator GungHo to grow enormously in just a few years. If you hit upon something really innovative in the mobile sector then you can have hundreds of millions of downloads, and some of those people will want to spend money - but they don't all have to. It's the perfect model for games. It enables the creative people to be really innovative and to entertain bigger audiences."

51 Comments

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,137 1,178 1.0
Popular Comment
Physical media still provides the customers with certain rights they agree with, among which are lending games to friends and being on the good end of the first sale doctrine. The convenience of downloading without leaving the house cannot compensate anything, no matter how well it is marketed.

Even at the height of going digital, the Xbox One still included a disk drive for physical discs. Ask why!

A smartphone includes a contract connecting it to the internet. A smartphone can connect to the internet out of the box with no additional hardware required. A console cannot do that and neither does it come with an ISP contract. The user needs to provide and pay the infrastructure empowering Microsoft to take away valid options he previously had owning games. Consoles cannot just make access to distribution channels a customer problem. It is bad enough Microsoft and Sony can monetize the multiplayer modes third parties create, it is plain silly to try and monetize a player's internet connection by shifting costs of delivery and maintaining verification status over to them.

While it is good to have a point of sale a customer can access on a whim, the overall shopping experience of a human being still includes inner cities and malls.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
David is right. End of.

Posted:A year ago

#2

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
I like embracing new technology too - I just don't do it blindly, nor when it doesn't suit me.

"Those who resist are like the Luddites from the 1800s" Nice way to insult people who disagree with your viewpoint. Digital isn't much cheaper than retail - how much does the always-on infrastructure cost? How much does it cost to keep access to a game (e.g. Saint's Row 3/4) for 5-10 years on 2-4 digital download services as opposed to a one-off production and storage cost? There's a reason why EA et al. continuously close down multiplayer servers - these things aren't free to run - nor even cheap.

"This industry has grown to be much bigger than the console and computer industries ever were," They are all the same industry - console, computer and mobile gaming are all part of the games industry, there's no need for this artificial segmentation... The industry has gotten bigger, full stop.

We'll see, long term, about creativity and the F2P model...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 1st August 2013 11:05am

Posted:A year ago

#3

John Karageorgiou consultant

29 34 1.2
@Klaus Preisinger - agree 100% with your comments, and you have summarised the challenges posed by a digital-only scenario really well. I live in Africa, and having to pay for infrastructure support and services to connect to the Internet is not "small pennies" (and the bandwidth is quite inconsistent too). If I am forced to simply accept these costs in order to keep my gamimg hobby alive, then I will opt out of playing games altogether.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,184 979 0.8
I can't say I agree. I'm very pro-digital (distribution) and it is my preferred method for purchasing and storing content. The problem is its not 100% fit for purpose in all circumstances yet.

Need we constantly bring it up, but connection speeds, connection reliability, developing countries (infrastructure), storage problems and legal frame-works are just a few of the many issues we need to tackle first, especially looking at switching to a completely digital scenario.

As it stands "the boxed product" isn't a problem and as well as having limitations in its form factor, it also has concrete advantages.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

281 130 0.5
Digital is the optimal solution, we can all agree on that i think, but unfortunately the world we live in isnt optimally configured for us all.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Craig Burkey Software Engineer

206 393 1.9
The 2 main mistakes MS made IMO were
1.The always online connection, yeah I need to be connected to receive digital content but there is no fathomable reason to have to "phone home" on a daily basis
2.They should have created the license transfer tools so that it was simple and easy to rent,lend and sell digital content on.

Then in my optimistic future they would open the platform to other digital content providers like Steam,Origin,GMG, and why not let bricks and mortar retailers have digital store fronts. I really don't like the idea of a digital monopoly where you can only buy content from MS

Posted:A year ago

#7

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
So I see this guy with a picture holding up a mobile phone. Is that the way he intends for us to expirience games of the future. Sorry but no. I have nothing against them. And I realize different people have different needs. But i for one enjoy owning and collecting stuff especially games, movies and music. Physical media gives me a sense of ownership I dont have with digital, and it also comes with its share of freedoms digital content cannot provide... I really hate the dependence on an online connection. Im hardly online. My phone is always connected but its because of the nature of what it is. A device used to communicate. As a gamer I dont care to play games on it except for angry birds. Which i play if I got nothing else to do cause Im commuting daily to work on train or bus.

Digital has its hurdles. First off on PSN+ I could download battlefield for free. However it took a long time, 12GB i think it was. Then installing it took a whole lotta time. And then it ate up a chunk of my storage space. Storage space is my biggest issue.

And I dont see games in the future getting smaller in file size. With 4K looming on the horizon a game like battlefield could be almost 50GB. And when installing a game its a pain, because I got to decide what to keep and erase and micromanage the content of my hard disk. And I rather keep my hardisk for, game saves, game data, patches and smaller indie games.

And then I cant go to another persons house to play on there console because everything is tied to my account on my console, and even if I could access it from there console, Id have to download install again.

And if the game has patches it needs to be downloaded again. Or if the system firmware needs to be updated I gotta do it all over again if my friends console is not up to date.

Another issue I have is I cant take my game save data with me.

I cant lend games or share games with my friends I cant play games with them as conveniently as I could before. I have nothing against digital. I buy alot on steam and PSN.

But I miss the days when i can go over to a friends house and play games. Digital has made that a chore. And you gotta sign in to a different account for different games and they can only be accessed from that service.

Its just a pain really.

I miss the days when i can just pop in the game, press the power button and press start.

Lastly but not least the dependence on an online connection which i am not pleased with. I dont use the internet for much other than facebook and netflix. As far as entertainment goes I like owning the physical dic I can enjoy my movies, games without any hindurence.

Of course I would be ok with downloading everything If i can make copies of it in different storage media. Take and use anywhere like and MP3.

Then there are issues with DRM. It gives more control to the seller, limiting how you use what you buy. They sell it to you with a ball and chain attached.

Finally there is the first post in this thread by Klaus Preisinger... I agree with what he said and he gets a star :)

Im ok with digital, I just think it has its own place, its own pros and cons and is far from the holy grail people like the guy in the article claim it to be.

I think in a world where people have different needs, there is a place for both to coexist.

You know when the TV came out, it didnt make people stop going to the movies. Less people go to the movies, than people who watch TV, but there is still an audience for it.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 1st August 2013 5:03pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

322 751 2.3
Popular Comment
Alternative headline: Millionaire unable to fathom that most of the world still doesn't have fibre broadband.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Physical media is like "having a dead body handcuffed" to Xbox One
And having a piece of hardware without internet is pretty much the same thing... DUH!

For all his gaming Genius (jaja... gaming genius... get it) he really cant figure out that a piece of hardware without internet connection is nothing more then a door stop. A piece of useless equipment. Makes my NES, SNES and PS2 seem so much more advanced, since I can use them till this day without any problems.

Gaming now a days is such a chore. Digital has not made things easier or better. The only advantage I see in digital is that it free's up space in the house... THAT IS IT!!!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 2nd August 2013 8:50am

Posted:A year ago

#10

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
Popular Comment
I don't think they should have had a physical drive on Xbox One - it's like having a dead body handcuffed to you.
Thoughtless attention grabbing soundbite. No consumer is going to buy a piece of equipment that connects to their TV and which doesn't have a physical drive - it's a time-saving necessity that allows you to watch a DVD or listen to a CD without switching devices. Consequently, if it's there in a machine that plays games, the consumer will expect to buy games that run through that physical drive.

Edit: Of course, there's TiVo set-to boxes and digital TV receivers, but they are single purpose pieces of equipment. Given the X-One is being sold as a all-in-one piece of consumer electronics, it's even more daft to suggest the physical drive is dead weight.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 1st August 2013 4:13pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Popular Comment
Now I see where Bruce gets it from.


Klaus, that was perfectly stated.

You know, if these people spent less time whining about methods of content delivery and more time on actual content, I might pay more attention to their games.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

359 215 0.6
@Craig

"1.The always online connection, yeah I need to be connected to receive digital content but there is no fathomable reason to have to "phone home" on a daily basis
2.They should have created the license transfer tools so that it was simple and easy to rent,lend and sell digital content on."

If you sell or loan your game, to GameStop, a friend, whatever, then you no longer have the right to play it. Since all games install to the hard drive, if your system is not aware you no linger own it. NOT having the check in system simply allows for massive piracy. I'm hoping they move to an opt-in system, where ifyou register an online pass you don't have to have the discs in. Slot drives are prone to breaking and damage discs

2-As far as I know, that was the idea

Posted:A year ago

#13

Kevin Patterson musician

187 103 0.6
There is still a collectable aspect of physical media that some seem to forget. When you have physical media, the item becomes a collectable, it can be common, rare, personal attachment, etc. I love Steam and I'm a big fan, however I don't view console games in the same way as PC games. When I buy a Steam game, it's usually on sale and I am not all that worried about making it a collectable. When I buy a console game new (I rarely trade in games), I look at it like a property that I intend to own for a long time.

I imagine I am not the only one, and there is still a market for people like me. I would be sad if there wasnt a physical option for games, as it's great for consumers to have that choice. I love Bethesda's titles and I always buy a console version at launch, and a PC version later. I love having that disk and packaging, especially if there is a a collector's edition. Maybe we would still have a collector's edition with a download code inside, but it would lose the collector aspect.

I still have all these cartridges and disks for systems long passed, and bring those out from time to time. Going Digital only would break that ability, and I don't look forward to the day that happens.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
@Kevin Patterson
I imagine I am not the only one, and there is still a market for people like me.
Dude you are definitly NOT the only one. And i pretty much love packaged products for many of the reasons you mentioned.

An example is even with services like Netflix, if I like a movie or a show enough, Ill go out and purchase the blu-Ray, cause its a product I can have own for years to come, wether netflix exists or not. And the other thing is nobody tells me who when where or how i should use it. Im free to play it on any blu ray player in anyones house as many times as I want to and no internet, signing in, logging up required.

I have games that go back to the NES days and Im a proud owner of the original cartiridges many classic games. And there is no huge EULA, online requirments or nothing, just need the hardware to play it on and thats it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 1st August 2013 5:22pm

Posted:A year ago

#15

Brian Smith Artist

196 85 0.4
No offence but I don't know why a smartphone game developer would be perfectly placed to comment on the console market. If MS went without any drive in the machine it would have been suicide so seems a poor comment from the off. Then on to Apple, Apple and more Apple. I often think I'm looking at a different market from some folk in the industry. I'd agree there are some impressive Mobile/Tablet games out there but the charts show little movement and the same stuff still hangs there months and months later. For each impressive title there seems to be a thousand rubbish titles and although consoles have a high fail rate on games, it's nowhere near the astronomical levels that appear out there in smart device land. Not saying they won't take over the world but if they do they need to get a whole lot more focussed on the quality.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Benjamin Kratsch Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Games Network

22 4 0.2
Honestly, so far no big digital launch worked smoothly. I don't have to remind you about the Diablo 3 error or the SimCity shitstorm. And those are both games, that are way smaller than the launch of a Battlefield or a Call of Duty where around 10-15 mio. people want to play at launch day. I know that Microsoft has invested heavily into servers for their cloud experience, but I still doubt it's enough to handle let's say 8 mio 25 GB downloads in the same time frame. If this industry is going full digital in some years and they are not able to handle all the connections, we'll have shitstorm over shitstorm.

I think you just can't compare steam with consoles, because the console audience typically is much bigger. BF4 will be played a lot on pc for sure, but for example CoD sold basically 90 percent of the copies on consoles.

Plus: Is there anything awesome about digital only? I mean you probably safe same space in your living room and you can access your digital library from anywhere but that's about it. Or am I wrong? And yes, I would completely go with Kevin Patterson: You want something for your memory. You want this collector's edition of Rome 2 and when you think about it in 10 years you will say: Wow, I've spended the nights with this game. I've spend the whole winter conquering the world and it was awesome :)

Posted:A year ago

#17

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
**Warning: Facetious post with undertones of legitimacy. You've been warned**
Imagine winning a gold medal at the Olympics. But instead of the IOC presenting you with the physical medal, they upload a digital gold medal to your dashboard.

Digital isn't always better.


Oh, I'm suddenly reminded of that Sony PS4 game sharing video. It really says it all in just a few seconds.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWSIFh8ICaA

Posted:A year ago

#18

Benjamin Kratsch Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Games Network

22 4 0.2
Something I'd love to add: Let's compare games to music. I mean music nowadays is a throwaway object, because it's all digital. People pay some dollars a month to get a spotify flat, that way music lost his value. Don't let games become this throwaway object. We will have no memories on any particular song from a date or whatever when you look at your iPod in some years. Or your spotify list, that probably doesn't even exist anymore.

If we go digital, we are not far away from a flatrate which would destroy this whole industry. The music companies still make a ton of money, because people are willing to pay 150 dollar for a Robbie Williams or Rihanna concert, but we don't have that kind of option.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Benjamin

Interesting point, but I would argue that's a worst-case scenario that wouldn't ever occur. :) Just like the music industry has concerts as a secondary experience that consumers pay a premium for, so the games industry would have stories and social (party) experiences. As an example of the former, look at the recent Eve battle that generated cross-media attention. An example of the latter is, well... Rock Band, Mario Kart, Tekken Tag + music in the background and bottles of rum. :p These experiences would be more personal, which makes it harder for publishers to quantify their price, but also makes them more attractive to gamers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 1st August 2013 5:59pm

Posted:A year ago

#20

Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

111 198 1.8
I buy games on Steam because they're cheap, it's convenient, and so far I can still boot up every single title I've ever bought.

Most other digital marketplaces fail on at least one of those 3 requirements.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jed Ashforth on 1st August 2013 6:07pm

Posted:A year ago

#21

Benjamin Kratsch Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Games Network

22 4 0.2
@Morville: A big eve battle is good fun, but doesn't bring you a dime as a company. From a business standpoint it doesn't make sense. I am pretty sure Ubisoft is going the right way to generate fresh revenue with their brands by getting them into the cinema - but that's just a nice extra million dollars and a big marketing push, but not the big money. I mean we are talking about companies here, that have to make their investors on the stock market happy. AC3 sold 12 mio copies, that's more than 700 Million US dollar income. You don't do this amount of money (and of course you want and need to make more the next year) by throwing some social parties :O)

Posted:A year ago

#22

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Benjamin
A big eve battle is good fun, but doesn't bring you a dime as a company.
Really? Have you seen the places that's been talked about? 3 high quality UK papers (Guardian, Independent, New Statesman) and the BBC News website. If only one person subscribes to Eve because of that, CCP has money coming in. And that's a user-created experience, nothing to do with the publisher spending extra money.
You don't do this amount of money (and of course you want and need to make more the next year) by throwing some social parties :O)
Ahhh... But look at how many students there are, so many of whom are buying video-games, beer, and inviting their mates around. I'm not saying it'll make millions, but it's easy-cash from a market that has a fair amount of disposable income, and seeks a night that's full of fun and entertainment. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 1st August 2013 6:41pm

Posted:A year ago

#23

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

363 207 0.6
Physical media will die the moment fetishists and materialism go extinct. (Heh good luck with that! lol) Personally speaking less than 10% of my game purchases are physical, and that because i didn't have a choice or it was a cool collector's edition. All the games i develop are digital only, so is my company, my relations with the government, my bank, etc. and all the people i work with are in various remote locations and we collaborate digitally with no need for exchanging hard drives over mail :D .

I don't buy desktops any more, my workstation is a laptop. The rest is mobile. All my books are digital, 90% of my games, and even music is on subscription. It is true that i am very mobile, moving from one country to the other often, however the same but to a lesser degree applies to most other people around me.

It is not over yet, but is fast going that way. If even Nintendo, the most dinosauric company of all, started selling Mario and Luigi online perhaps it is time you too start thinking different. Somehow, I feel this generation could be the last generation of physical media.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Yiannis Koumoutzelis on 1st August 2013 10:03pm

Posted:A year ago

#24

Paul Jace Merchandiser

942 1,428 1.5
Popular Comment
I see this guy lives in the world of the ultimatum. You know, where you "have to" do one thing or the other. Because apparently having the option for both is just too damn difficult.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
I would never buy a digital game.

When people have a choice between the 2. 75% of people pick physical, because the like it. We see that all the time with 3ds titles

Because 1 thing is popular doesnt mean the other has to go away. Hes talking foolish

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Steve Goldman on 1st August 2013 10:31pm

Posted:A year ago

#26

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
@ Steve

Really? Damn. That's a shame. Some great digital-only games out there (mostly for the PC, but still). Can I ask why?

*sees your Ninja-edit*

Last I heard it was essentially a 50-50 split in sales between physical and dgitial, with a move towards digital (for the industry as a whole). Extrapolating the whole from one format is a risky thing to do... I could just as easily use Steam to argue for digital sales and against physical. :)

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 1st August 2013 10:33pm

Posted:A year ago

#27

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
@Morville O'Driscoll

Look at Animal Crossing. In japan it had all sorts of price reduction deals online (usually 10%). Digital And Physical editions released the same time. Physical far outstripped the digital sales even though they are the highest sales a Nintendo original digital title has ever had.

Its about choice. People still love physical. I do to. I am a collector as well.

I think the industry has moved to a Split Digital/Retail model. Works well for everyone


(I am new to this site, I should not have used that word. Thank You)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steve Goldman on 1st August 2013 10:35pm

Posted:A year ago

#28

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,593 1,448 0.9
No problems. :) I didn't want to come over too harsh, since I'm sat here drinking red wine and smiling, so don't take offense from what I say. :)

Posted:A year ago

#29

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
I wish these suits telling people with less than optimal connections they no longer want their money would get a big funky reality check in the form of all those current physical sales stopping cold one day (the same one their high speed connections die in their homes and offices for at least a month so they can see that not everyone is on the same page for a good reason). Or hey, how about getting out of the palace, sir King, traveling among and talking to the little people who spend money on your physical products because they CANNOT GET THEM IN ANY OTHER WAY and try telling them they're a bunch of obsoletes or whatever.

Public stoning may become the next "in" thing, I'd say...

The albatross here is enforcing evolution to the point of blindness to how things are outside the box they live and work in. There's a place for BOTH, and as convenient as it is, digital as far less perfect than physical media once you can't get that content you paid for for any reason when it's supposed to "always" be there...

Posted:A year ago

#30

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
I will never understand the black and white mentality. Something is growing so this other something has to die.

When Xbox one launches. Most sales will be physical and MS wont be sneezing and insulting those consumers like this guy is.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

363 207 0.6
would get a big funky reality check in the form of all those current physical sales stopping cold one day (the same one their high speed connections die in their homes and offices for at least a month so they can see that not everyone is on the same page for a good reason).
and the lakes will dry out, the wine will turn to vinegar, the cheese will rot and their canaries will catch a cold their phone will run out of juice, their shirt will be torn, they'll run out of soap, their soles will get holes, their socks mismatched and their nail clipper will break! that will show them! :D

Posted:A year ago

#32

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Yiannis: Or something like that... ;^P

Well, the North Pole is the North Pool now, so maybe I'm onto something (heh)...

Posted:A year ago

#33

Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange

237 180 0.8
Sony and Panasonic is developing an optical disc media that can hold 300 GB, good luck downloading that without maxing out your data cap.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Maintaining physical media means that by and large, prices for games remain high - digital versions of leading PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U titles maintain parity with their physical counterparts, despite not requiring any production or shipping costs. By stripping away the physical distribution model, there's the scope for a software price drop
I am struggling with the logic of that bit of the argument.
The reason that digital versions maintain price parity is that it is seen that retail is too important at the moment to annoy.
However if digital is anywhere strong enough to sustain when eliminating retail altogether, it is therefore also strong enough to take up the slack if you lower digital prices and annoy retail. The only reason for price parity is that retail is seen as too important at this moment in time to alienate, therefore it must be too important to hand to a competitor too, for now at least.
That, or some companies don't want to drop prices, of course.

Posted:A year ago

#35

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,137 1,178 1.0
Consumer Side:
You make decision, you make a choice. You have multiple "things" and you decide which is better. Once you decided which is better, you stick to that choice and you implement your choice. That is your choice now.

Provide Side:
You have multiple types of potential customers. What might be right for one consumer, can be totally wrong for the next. You can either offer customer's multiple choices to increase your chances of one SKU aligning better with their reality and the choices resulting from that. Or you decide to stick to one way of doing thing, resulting in some potential customers not buying your product.


This thread is looking too much on the customer side and trying to defend individual choices as being superior.


Microsoft is a clever company, they will look at the provider side and offer multiple choices to mend the wounds from when they said "screw you" to part of their customers. That does not mean they lose the capacity to offer an Xbox product which is basically fully digital in all the ways they originally announced it. Choice was added. More choice, more sales as more customer groups get a perfect fit for what they imagined. The original fallacy was when future-tech engineers thought they could use marketing as a tool to rewire the brains of consumers into wanting what they created. Turns out, customers still want what they want, not what marketing wants them to want.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Craig Burkey Software Engineer

206 393 1.9
@Jeff
1.allowing disc free play by forcing the online check was a mistake thats an advantage of digital and ms should use that to incentivise it

2.so badly comunicated all i heard was talk of approved resale partners, no renting and a very vague family share scheme that sounded unworkable.
How hard is to mock up a app that lists your game lib when you select a game you get a lend optiom that promts duration and
A permanent option for actual sales

Posted:A year ago

#37

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

74 33 0.4
There's no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists

What if your connection is shit?

Posted:A year ago

#38

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Marty: Apparently, NO one in that side of the industry making the no-fault flawless argument that retail MUST die off NOW (or sooner or maybe in a year or less or whatever) seems to think anyone who wants to buy that new TV toy has anything but the bestest connection speeds, NO bandwidth caps, a fancy new tee-vee to play it all on and is willing to sign off on anything because they'll never have to lift a finger to touch a dirty disc again.

Reality check: What if your connection is shit? (which it indeed IS in many "developed" countries)...

Granted, the early adopters and folks who CAN do all that connecting and can stand dealing with the inevitable day one logjams every AAA launch WILL have are going to shut up and take it (a gazillion new servers aside, I can still see whining taking place the minute someone has to *gasp* WAIT an hour or three for a download when the game shop is a ten minute walk away... but doesn't have a disc they can buy and install or play off of faster instead).

But for the folks who are out of that loop who just want to game away, it'll be a bunch of people maybe not buying in and sticking with what they have until it's 100% clear that any new system will "allow" them to enjoy what it has to offer.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
The only people who want retail and consoles to die are those that have stakes in other businesses. They want to change everything so they can profit from it. They want to tell you what you want so they can sell it to you. But there claims dont mirror the reality of what people want. And when you have another person telling you what you should want, its pretty easy to see why they get upset. People like David Darling telling you what you should want because he has business interests in it. Reality is different people have different needs and a good business does well in providing for as many needs as they can.

Posted:A year ago

#40

Michael Carter Jr Studying Business Administration, Ivy Tech Community College

9 2 0.2
Bottom line for me is, of the "Digital" games I have purchased in the past both on my Xbox360 and my Wii, I now have NONE of them, due to something as mundane as the console that they were downloaded on has stopped working, HOWEVER, the games I purchased as discs for both of those game consoles work just fine on the new consoles I bought as replacements. So as a result of this painful experience I have learned to NOT purchase digital versions of anything anymore. When I spend my very hard to come by money on something that is simply for entertainment, I only purchase what I can physically hold in my hand and that I know will work for several years even if I do have to replace the device that it plays on. (I still have my original Magnavox Odyssey 2 and Atari 2600 game cartridges and they still play. and I'm willing to bet that anyone with Digital only games wont be able to say that 40 years from now.

Posted:A year ago

#41
The guy is right just not quite yet.

Let's look at the first medium that digital started replacing physical and where are they now i.e. the music singles chart. All the same arguments about ownership, trade-in and the romance of the physical copy's "cover" where made then too. Plus moving to digital has grown the market to record levels even with rampant piracy

The percentage? 99.6% digitally.

That is the direction the games industry will continue to take and fast.

http://www.retaildetail.eu/en/eur-europe/eur-general/item/15248-2013-record-year-for-british-sales-of-singles

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 3rd August 2013 1:23am

Posted:A year ago

#42

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
John, you can't compare a 5 MB song to a 50 GB game.

Downloading a 5 MB song for 0.99 cents is not even in the same mental processing category as downloading a 50 GB game for $50.
and that's not even considering the physicality aspect. Can you actually store a 50 GB game on your HDD right now? How long will it take to download? Are you near your monthly cap? Do you want to share the game with friends?

You're also looking solely at music singles. That's the equivalent of a single level or stage in a video game. While singles have all but disappeared, full CD disc stores still exist.

With singles costing just 0.99 and being no more than 5 MB, there is no need for sharing anymore. In fact, services like YouTube and Pandora have prevented me from buying any music at all (physical or digital) for several years. Why buy when it's just a couple of keystrokes away? I can't be the only person like that. And video games do not have a service like that to further take away from physical sales.

Posted:A year ago

#43
@Jim

You're right which is why I said not yet. However it wasn't that long ago that downloading a 5MB song would have taken hours and HDD where only 100MB in size.

Music singles aren't a single level of a game. Kids today don't really listen to albums, it's all singles. They're purchases in their own right and CD disc stores selling albums only exist for and older demographic and niche audiences.

The cost argument could also be applied to games which is why you are seeing an explosion in F2P and cheap downloadable games plus how you buy music has no relevance for anyone but yourself. You can't argue with the figures.

I'm not saying F2P is the only answer (god forbid) or that 60 purchases are going to be done away with but digital will probably be the overwhelmingly popular distribution mechanism within 5 years.

Posted:A year ago

#44

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Of course digital will be popular 5 years from now. But to actually state it will be the only method gamers will use in 5 years on a console that launches this year is asinine. Not for the least of the fact is excludes a large portion of the market that still requires physical.

And yes, HDD sizes and download speeds have increased greatly over the years but you do not hedge your console design against a possible HDD size and download speed from 5 years from now. Hell. that's nearly the end of life for that console anyway.

Posted:A year ago

#45

Morgan King Animator

48 92 1.9
Does anyone have a map for the frequency of bandwidth-capped broadband plans in the US? I know it's fairly common in Europe, but I've never encountered it personally - I'd love to know, even roughly, how much of the next-gen audience is actually dealing with prohibitive bandwidth caps on their landlines.

Posted:A year ago

#46

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@ Morgan King - Usually, even "unlimited" plans have "reasonable use" clauses in the contract. Download too much and your speed and/or connection will be cut in some fashion.

Posted:A year ago

#47
@jim I said overwhelmingly popular. Obviously David Darling is just being controversial to be controversial.

Btw Microsoft and Sony both expect this generation to last 10 years.

Posted:A year ago

#48

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
John, the generation will last as long as the market wants it to last. Sony and MS really don't have much of a say in that. But I can tell you right now it won't last 10 years. That's marketing talk. Sony has said 10 years every generation and MS is only following suit so hey don't look like they want to abandon their console too soon.

Posted:A year ago

#49
Physical distribution will exist for years for Fifa 25 and COD 15 etc and will only be accessible for super publishers that can afford the investment of developing such titles. David's point is that as an industry for years we have been saddled to one or two major console players that control the licencing and ability to publish whilst needing huge infrastructures to compete. Net result is an over inflated industry full of people in jobs for the sake just to keep up. On top of this the consumer then pays a premium to pay for all the middle men. What suffers as David states is creativity and developers actually taking risks on new IP. The Digitial/mobile space has now re-ignited this creativity and more developers now have a strong future because if it. It's very much like the early days where gameplay and consumer experience was key not P&L and fear of failure. With this new era is flexible pricing and promotions to hit the spots at which the consumer reacts to further drive sales. I think it's very healthy now for apple and google to be changing the business in such a way and everybody needs to realise it is no longer the same two major corporations with their walled garden ecosystems and preferred partner approaches that should be dominating the headlines. Consumers will still have an appetite for physical games but for the majority of companies in this business the future is not about big pieces of plastic that plug into your tv.

Posted:A year ago

#50

Richard Vaught Studying B.A. in Game Design, University of Advancing Technology

37 66 1.8
It is true that i am very mobile, moving from one country to the other often, however the same but to a lesser degree applies to most other people around me.
Ermm... 75% of Americans don't even have a bloody passport. You would be AMAZED at the number of people that never leave their home state/country, can not afford internet, can not afford to travel, or simply do not have access to stable utilities. Or at least, you might if you ever stayed in one place long enough to notice.


The problem is that people have the tendency to think that everyone is like them, should be like them, or will be like them, and thus wants what they themselves want, and anyone who doesn't is an ignorant ass that just can't keep up or doesn't understand 'the big picture' of what is happening with the industry or society in general. Fortunately, they have you to do their thinking for them, and tell them what it is that they REALLY want and REALLY need, because they are simply too stupid to know their own desires.

Well, here is a clue. Not a single individual on this board(including myself), with all of its diverse and opposing opinions is unique in having that opinion! *GASP* Digital works for some, not for others. Physical media works for some, not for others. Some people could give a rats ass as long as they get to play games. Some hate managing their hard-drive space. Others play a game once and are happy to delete it. Some are socialites that take their games to friends or loan them out, others are hermits who just wan to be left the hell alone. Some want to play online, others don't. Some don't mind DRM, some do. Some like micro-transactions, some don't.

The mistake is not that MS did anything right or anything wrong. The mistake is in the completely bass-ackward ignorant thought that one size, one model, one machine, one company, or one bloody anything will every be the right solution for everyone. If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you do like it, buy it. If you refuse to distribute physical media for your projects, then don't. If you feel that there your players are more likely to want the physical media, then make it available for them. But for god's sake quit acting like 'my way's the right way and and one that thinks different is an idiot'. Enough with all the chest thumping already. If you think MS made the right choice, then roll the dice and stake your claim with them. If not, stake your claim where ever else you like.

Posted:A year ago

#51

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