"PSPgo will fail miserably" - McCabe

Console's lack of success will deter others from entering the digital space, says Chips MD

The managing director of the UK's largest independent games chain, Chips, has told he expects the PSPgo to "fail miserably".

Revealing his views on the newly released digital handheld, Don McCabe said: "My own personal opinion is that it's a no-go. I've been to a number of presentations to see if there's anything there and I don't feel it'll go anywhere to be honest.

"I'm 99.9 per cent sure it's going to fail miserably, in which case it's going to put back other potential people coming into that digital space."

This failure could be a positive for retailers of course, who stand to lose out on sales of software and trade-ins if digital sales completely take over from boxed ones. "From a retailers point of view the PSPgo is a good idea," he said.

"I heard from someone at Sony saying 'this steps our authority on the digital space and signals our intent,' and actually what I think is that they'll scare the crap out of anyone else who tries to follow."

McCabe's comments follow those of ShopTo CEO Igor Cipolletta, who confirmed to that sales of the PSPgo for the e-tailer have got off to a slow start. Part of the problem, said Cipolletta, is that retailers are unable to discount the console's relatively high price in the form of bundles, due to the absence of physical software.

But a secondary issue, said McCabe, is that while publishers see tremendous growth possibility in digital downloads, they are currently struggling to make profit from them.

"Everybody looks at Apple and says two billion downloads - well, yeah but out of two billion downloads I'd say maybe 70 per cent of those have been free. And of the ones that they've paid for they'll have paid pennies for.

"Apple's a tremendous success story for Apple, it's not a tremendous success story for anybody else."

As such, digital is a pipe dream at the moment, added McCabe, who compares its current state as "like the dotcom boom".

"It's going to come, no matter what, but a very small amount of people are actually going to go on to make any money out of it. One or two will make serious money and they'll be held up as 'you too can do this'. Whenever you see anyone producing fantastic figures, just ask them how much they actually made from it."

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Latest comments (4)

Laurent Benadiba CEO, SDP Games12 years ago
... need ... 3G ...
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard12 years ago
"digital is a pipe dream at the moment"
... I disagree. Digital Download titles at least have the possibility of creating revenue for a developer - boxed AAA games are sparse at the moment due to poor revenues. Development studios and hardware vendors alike are turning to digital download as a result of this. Sure, there are some breakaway hits like Batman, plus the sure fire hits like Fifa, Need For Speed and Modern Warfare / Call of Duty... but the market that was there a few years ago for new AAA IP simply isn't there any more.

The fact is that I can see the market completely changing over the next couple of years... whether it will go to something like OnLive with cloud gaming or to a new console that uses exclusively downloadable games, I don't know... but I definitely suspect a big change will be coming... it's the best way for Sony, Microsoft, Publishers and Developers to turn a higher profit - by cutting out the retailers.
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Chris Hunter-Brown IT / Games specialist, BBFC12 years ago
The truth is somewhere in the middle. That the MD of a games retailer is suggesting the "PSP Go will fail" is not exactly the most surprising soundbite I've heard. That's not that I think he's wrong as far as that device specifically is concerned, just that he has natural vested interests in bricks & mortar.

He's right to say that digital distribution is not a magic bullet for everyone. He's wrong to say it's a pipe dream. There are plenty of people doing just fine. Ask EA (Battlefield), RedLynx, Playfish, Valve and Team 17 to name just a few.
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard12 years ago
Exactly - right now, digital downloads AND retailer sales are doing well. But, obviously, the retailers will be getting worried that it won't be long before games sales go the same way as music ones - ie. mostly online.

The price of certain types of games are going up... look at Guitar Hero, Modern Warfare, etc... we're in the middle (hopefully) of a recession and yet these super-premium games are still coming out - and are looking to do well. People won't pay these prices forever, though, and the industry won't be able to push the prices up any further...

What I believe and what I've believed for a long time is that games - and consoles - will in the future move to a full subscription model. Rather than a gamer paying 30-40 for FIFA every year, maybe they'll pay 5 per month to play it online and get regular updates? Instead of getting Modern Warfare 2 for 60 plus 10 for map packs, maybe they'd pay 10 per month and, again, get updates regularly as and when they're ready?

The quality of games would go up with this as the developers and publishers would get a much larger cut of the pie.

XBLA/PSN could then be the base for more innovative games so that we're not just churning out the same game nonstop...

That's how I see things changing, anyway... whether it be through digital download or cloud gaming.
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