Microsoft avoids digital downloads on retail release day

The platform holder believes that retail should be the focus on day one

Microsoft is not looking to have simultaneous releases at retail and on Xbox Live, according to Xbox Live UK product manager Pav Bhardwaj. Unlike its rival Sony - who has embraced selling games on the PlayStation Network at the same time as the retail release - Microsoft believes retail is where its primary focus should stay.

"We don't do Games on Demand on day one, we focus on boxed retail for day one," Bhardwaj told MCV. "That's where our focus has always been and will remain that way for the foreseeable future."

"We release a game roughly six months after it arrives at retail at full ERP. That's our model and we'll be sticking to that. It's a successful model, so why change something you don't need to?"

According to Bhardwaj, consumers still have a choice in where they purchase their game.

"The customer has the choice of going to retail on day one if they really want to buy a particular title, or to wait a couple of months and buy it full price from the Xbox Live marketplace. It's a successful part of our business, we're very pleased with the growth and it continues to do really well. Clearly there's an audience out there who are happy to purchase a product at full ERP six or so months after [its retail release]," he said.

Namco Bandai recently announced a switch over to simultaneous releases, with one of its first titles under the new system being the PlayStation 3-exclusive One Piece: Pirate Warriors.

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Latest comments (7)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago

Want to know one of the reasons for piracy? Consumers not getting the title they want how they want it. Why should a customer be tied into getting a title just because the publisher prioritises one format over another?
or to wait a couple of months and buy it full price from the Xbox Live marketplace
Yes. Because the customer is totally going to like buying a title that been out a couple of months for full-price. The only people being hurt by this process are the consumers... And why would anyone help the consumers, ne?

Seriously? It's... like... Steam just doesn't exist.
Clearly there's an audience out there who are happy to purchase a product at full ERP six or so months after
The people who prefer digital sales to physical. Way to gouge guys... Way to gouge.


No doubt this is meant to be a signal to physical retail that they shouldn't be worried about digital sales just yet. Just like Game stalled the release of games on Steam due to being scared about digital sales, MS is pre-emptively stalling releases of games so that their physical retail partners don't lose their revenue source quite so early.

As I said above, the only people hurting are the customers. Unless, of course, they get fed-up of waiting to be charged full-whack on a digital store and buy second-hand. Because that's so much better for everyone, right?

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th April 2012 10:55pm

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Stephen Richards Game Deisgner 5 years ago
Just who are these people that wait six months for a game and download it for twice the amount it costs on amazon? It seems microsoft has found a niche for customers who are incredibly price unaware.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
Stephan, or have so much money that it doesn't matter. But I really wonder how MS do make any money on Games on Demand. If new games cost what they should on demand, at the most the same as in retail at that same time, preferably a little less, and MS released a reasonable larger hard drive, I probably would only buy games digitally, so my kids didn't take the discs out to watch a DVD fir me to then have to search Thomas DVD cases for my games, or my wife to moan about the clutter, but whenever I look at Xbox GoD, or Zune movies for that matter, I just can't believe that anyone would go for it. It is also stupid in that after 6 months, it is really hard to get a new copy of most games in store, I rarely by second hand games when I have the choice to buy the game new at a similar price level, but I will buy second hand if the only way to buy new is games on demand selling for 2.5 times the price. (In reality more often I will see if Amazon have a new copy, but not everyone cares that much).
The point in that ramble, was that the high prices on MS's digital service push people away, and those people may end up buying second hand copies, purely because games stores no longer stock many new, catalogue titles. Publishers should be putting pressure on MS to make a more appealing deal, rather than rubbing hands together at the idea of a few compulsive spenders and well off people who put convenience that far over valid paying 40 for a 6 month old game.
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Show all comments (7)
John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
"We release a game roughly six months after it arrives at retail at full ERP. That's our model and we'll be sticking to that."

Some of the full game prices on PSN are daft too - Activision still trying to charge over 30 for Prototype certainly cost them a purchase from me, and means I probably won't bother buying the sequel either until they both drop in price. But pricing is up to the publishers, there are quite a few day and date releases (including big titles like Mass Effect 3), and there are actually some pretty good deals on older titles from some publishers, not to mention an increasingly large collection of full game one hour trials for PS+ subscribers which you can then unlock if you want to keep playing.

That's got to be a better, more profitable strategy than not making the game available online until six months after the retail release and then trying to gouge people for full retail price.
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis5 years ago
I would buy more console games (already buy a lot) if I could buy them day one through the Marketplace. As it is unless a game is down to 19.99 on Games on Demand then I don't even pay attention to it. There is no way I would buy a 6 month old game at full price, I wouldn't do it from a physical retailer let alone digitally.

Digital distribution needs to follow physical retailer pricing (it is never going to be less unless it is a sale offer) and not take weeks to react to price changes.
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Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert5 years ago
Everyone moans about digital sales and their prices. The whole industry is mumbling about destroying the preowned buisness. And Microsoft is thinking about the retailer? How can they be so rude to support the industry by pushing people to buy games in a shop? Damn! I've got to leave my house to get a new game! Totally ridiculous, isn't it.

If they start to get a good margin on the console sales, this might work. But considering digital distribution is the future, I don't see a future for Gamestop, Gamestore, Game and all the other shops where you can buy consoles. Why should a large company sell consoles, if they don't earn anything for the sales? You still have the controllers and other hardware that doesn't work as a dlc but it's lost space in a big shop if you ask me (wihtout the games). As a retailer you still earn most of the money on games and not the console. Cut the game sales and the retailer won't sell your stuff anymore, rude- yes but comprehensible.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
@ Joe

The 6 month "exclusivity", shall we say, of games is one thing. It's vaguely understandable, and very annoying. It's also somewhat short-sighted, since anyone who's anyone wants their product on as money shelves as possible, be they digital or physical. But what really pains is the high-price of the game once it's on the digital shelf. If I see a second-hand game on ebay or Amazon that's about half the price of the new release on the digital marketplace, I'd be a fool for not buying it second hand, right? Money saved is money earned. But that's not necessarily a purchase from a high-street retailer, so how does this help anyone? Cutting off Day One sales on the digital marketplace for a theoretical new or second-hand buy at some point in the future? That's not really thinking of the retailer, to me. If tyhey want to help the retailer, why not produce serial code-cards and let the retailer hike the price up a little on them?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 30th April 2012 8:46pm

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