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Paradox: "We don't really need retailers any more"

CEO says they're to blame for market crowded with sequels

Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester has spoken about his company's success with digital distribution, and why he believes retailers have had a negative impact on the industry.

"We’re close to ninety percent of our revenue being digital. Retail sales are like a bonus for us now," he told PC Gamer in a recent interview.

"We don’t really need retailers any more and that is a release because retailers have not been good for the industry. They’ve not been good for the creative part of the industry, for finding new cool games."

Paradox Interactive is best known for publishing Magicka, which has sold 600,000 copies, and has had a lot of success with Steam and Gamersgate.

The CEO went on to blame retailers for the sequels flooding the market, arguing that that's what retailers are demanding, "because they can do their chart diagrams for how things sell and things like that. So one of the things preventing more creative gaming has been the retail challenge."

He also admitted it was a relief to share his opinions. "I can only say this now because we’re not depending on them."

Last month former Visceral producer Gordon Van Dyke joined Paradox Interactive.

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Latest comments (15)

Giuseppe Crugliano CEO, Twelve9 years ago
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I think for various titles and publishers, a pro digital download format would work exceedingly well. Saying that, there is something to be said about having some related memorabilia.

I believe, retail can change whereby packaged goods are more related to buyers wanting to expand on the ip merchandise and thus special editions can help provide that continuing user experience, and thus slice of memorabilia.

Thus ultimately,both Market can co exist, and even thrive but perhaps in a different way than expected
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Gediminas Tarasevicius Lead designer, Yummi Apps9 years ago
So, it begins...
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Show all comments (15)
Marty Greenwell Software Developer 9 years ago
Maybe you can get away with it a little easier on PC, but I can tell you for free I'm not and never will pay £40-50 for a digital only linked-to-my-console game.
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Daniel Vardy Studying HND IT, De Montfort University9 years ago
About time someone said it.

As a PC gamer myself, I haven't bought from retail in years as they basically went console casual only.
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Mihai Cozma Indie Games Developer 9 years ago
I'm ok with it, but I don't agree about the pricing. It is a rip off to make me pay 50 euros for a digital copy of the game (usually new releases on Steam for AAA games) when I can buy it even cheaper boxed, and I also get something more for the money that way. If I want to play an older game that is already 1/3 of its original price then fine, digital distribution is ok for me, but for new releases, no way.
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Tony Johns9 years ago
I have been disappointed so many times when I find really amazing Japanese games that are so unique and so creative in design and concept, but they are not on the store shelves...

And my heart sinks ever time when I ask a retailer if this game is coming to the store, only to realize that they can't bring it in all because their upper heads in the CEO office don't consider unique and niche Japanese games to sell well.

And because of money issues, they don't want to clog up their shelves with games that are not going to sell, and yet instead they allow all the simple casual games and FPS's that are quickly on the pre-owned stack to clog up their store.

Sometimes I prefer to order online instead, I know it means that I am part of the problem but when I am coming from Australia and a game has been denied from me all because Australia is the @$$ end of the gaming market, I am happy that I have other options besides from retail.

And it is the retailers in western countries is one of the reasons why many Japanese games don't sell well in the west unless if they are being marketed by well recognized Japanese developers that are over 30 years in gaming experience or have a good sequel in their hands.

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Thaadd Powell Sales Rep, ACD Game Distribution9 years ago
I don't mind paying the same as a boxed set, if it comes with the 'You can deleted this off your harddrive, or nuke your computer and download it again'. option.

The only thing that makes me grumpy about certain options like Steam, is that you might not always be able to buy expansions for retail purchased copies of core games. ... and they're very vague about it. If I have a legit copy of a game, that authorizes to the main publisher's network, why won't you let me buy expansions not detecting a purchased required core game! I expect that will be moot in a few years, as now I actively avoid hardcopy for this reason.
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Another issue with digital downloads is regional differences.

With the use of digital downloads, you would expect that at some point a international English release option is feasible. However ad a throwback to traditional retial, ip and localisation issues it seems impossible to have the same day release - although some films are starting to get around that with forward planning.

It is a inherent issue from rebooks to all sorts of regional media. Everyone wants a small slice of the pie. You don't even have to be a game developer to slap a local label on it, provide some regional localisation and even get a license to Market/sell the game ini your region.

Because wouldn't it be cook if one could download a Japanese game on release, and if you could speak or write Japanese, the pleasure of the experience is fully appreciated.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago
Um, no. The reason why there are so many sequels is because the game industry does not offer minimum guarantees, and thus pre-sales. If we had pre-selling, this would mean the distributors - be they physical retail or online retail (it makes no difference) - would take on some of the creative risk. As it is now, the game developers themselves take on all the risk for prototyping new games (unless they are owned by a publisher).

With pre-sales we could finance prototypes and take more chances.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 7th July 2011 6:59pm

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Eduardo Santos Administrator, Takeitgame9 years ago
Magicka is their most sold game? I thought it was Europa Universalis series.

As a Gamersgate costumer and a Paradox games fan, I have to say that part of those 90% are due to often great offers in GamersGate. They are selling their games for really low prices, in a volume model in older to get a lot of players/fans. I believe that they managed to have a very very interesting niche and fan base. Then, they make new games and expansions for older ones, and sell them for normal prices. Although the "normal prices" don't use to take long to drop.
I started to pay 2£ ou 3£ for Europa Universalis III, and ended paying the normal price for the last expansion when it came out :D

In this conditions, probably the players will be willing to buy digital. But with similar prices, they will tend to prefer boxed.

PS: While I was reading this, I noticed you can buy all games from Paradox from Steam for 75€. Probably is temporary, but it's another example for what I was saying.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
So.... developers and publishers no longer need retail.... they also no longer need the gaming press. All this self-sufficiency and arrogance couldn't possibly lead to anything bad, right?
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Ceyhun Alyesil IT Integration Manager, SHR Interaktif Servisler9 years ago
Digital Downloads increase selling numbers of games. You don't have to wait for box, you have no problem with broken disc files and it is alot of cheaper. They can play with the price so easly and they have just 1 shop to worry about and there is no long shipment problems. Everyone with internet can buy those games. But after for a while the prices will become higher again cause those sites will be only option. During this process new options will surely appear. So keep watching.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ceyhun Alyesil on 8th July 2011 10:33am

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Marty Greenwell Software Developer 9 years ago
I've been gaming for thirty years odd, I can't recall a time I've ever had a broken disc at retail (online or brick and mortar), perhaps the odd cracked case from the postie stamping on it.

What I do know is that I can still play Space Invaders on my Atari 2600, SEGA Rally on my SEGA Saturn, AvP on my Jaguar, Super Mario World on my SNES and GoldenEye on my N64, hell I can still play JetPac on my Speccy and Stunt Car Racer on my Atari ST (admittedly my Beeb Model B has seen betters days).

I'm not convinced that I'll be able to say the same for the 150 odd XBLA titles I purchased in ten years’ time. I'm sorry but I don't see Digital Download as good for consumers with the trappings a sole publisher controlled route to market maintains.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Marty Greenwell on 8th July 2011 11:47am

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
I think the important thing that the platform holders consider when launching the next consoles is that, as at somepoint they will wish to discontinue network support for older consoles, and digtal purchases are much more a case of buying a licence for software than buying medium storing the software, it is important that a) backwards compatibility is a must, b) they don't try to charge you to redownload the same games on the new platform.
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