News Article

Talking Point: The Inevitability of Digital Retail Games

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

How will it affect our gaming?

For Nintendo gamers, the video game market is currently a simple, relatively traditional place. If you want to buy a retail title, you hit the high street or visit your online retailer of choice and pick up a box with a disc or game cart inside. Pop that media into your Wii, 3DS or DS and you’re immediately playing your game: it’s fool proof and reliable. If you’re feeling extravagant and daring you can venture into the eShop, DSi Shop or Wii Shop Channel, where you buy digital, download-only titles; a wonderland where games appear out of the ether.

At least, that's how Nintendo's approached digital gaming until recently; an optional extra to be flirted with, if not wholeheartedly embraced. Wii and DSi are perfect examples of online strategies that have been behind the curve, failing to match or even come close to the set up on rival consoles. With the 3DS eShop, however, Nintendo appears to be catching up with a strong line-up of exclusive content, a dynamically changing marketplace, retail game demos and DLC (downloadable content) on the way. Wii U, which will also be part of the Nintendo Network, will surely include all of that as a bare minimum.

Retail downloads are an obvious and notable exclusion from this digital evolution. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has stated that Nintendo is considering retail downloads on 3DS and Wii U, but there's no true indication of when this will become a reality. We’d suggest that Iwata doesn’t procrastinate too much, however, because in this case nothing comes to those who wait. For anyone who doesn't think it's important, consider these issues.

Microsoft and Sony have been there, done that

Let’s face it: Nintendo is already way behind in this market. Full retail downloads of many major titles have been available on Xbox 360 and PS3 for years, with updated models offering more hard drive space to help accommodate those who don’t care about a box and disc. Technical limitations made an equivalent service almost impossible on Wii, though in some respects Nintendo can claim that it was right in this strategy: Wii challenged its rivals with affordability and unique gaming experiences, and won handsomely.

The industry progresses and develops, however, and Nintendo now faces an entirely different reality. It no longer has exclusive rule over the motion-gaming dominion, and is facing competition for the so-called ‘casual’ crowd. In order to win gamers of all levels, Nintendo has to match the experiences and conveniences offered on rival platforms, so Wii U fundamentally has to offer a strong digital retail offering.

This requirement surely rests on 3DS, too, with PlayStation Vita offering the majority of retail releases for download at a slightly discounted price (in some territories at least). While proprietary memory cards will potentially make Vita owners think twice, high-capacity SD cards can be purchased relatively cheaply and eShop games already run from this extra memory, so the issue of space shouldn't be a problem for Nintendo's handheld.

Some consumers simply place no importance on packaging or physical media, and it would be foolish not to accommodate this demographic.

Nintendo and its rivals also face competition from Apple and Android smartphones and tablet devices. For many gamers this is irrelevant, with games on these platforms not providing the same experience, but that’s an issue for another feature. What these devices undeniably offer is almost unrivalled accessibility and convenience: tap a few buttons and a game is downloading, without a cart or disc in sight. There are also services such as OnLive or PC applications such as Steam, so there are plenty of competitors offering substantial content through digital downloads. Some consumers simply place no importance on packaging or physical media, and it would be foolish not to accommodate this demographic.

It’s all about the money, money, money

The argument for bringing full retail downloads to Nintendo consoles isn’t just about ideology or consumer demand, it’s also about making the most of the company’s business. Recent news articles about retailer GAME Group’s issues are worrying and concerning for the store’s staff, in particular, but it's also representative of a gradual decline in the high street market. It’s vital that high street game sales continue, simply for buyer’s choice and, of course, for the sake of thousands of retail jobs. Despite this, the digital market is accounting for a bigger share of sales, something that Nintendo isn't exploiting anywhere near enough.

Only last December, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime let slip that digital makes up 14% of key Nintendo franchise sales: outside of developers defying non-disclosure agreements and some speculative analyst comments, this is one of the few indications we’ve been given about the state of Nintendo’s digital revenue. While 14% sounds respectable, it’s well below par.

Digital sales are already vital to some major developers, as shown in an interview that Christian Svensson, senior vice president of Capcom, recently gave to Gamasutra. Take these comments about potential revenues in the next five years, and his predictions on the future roles of digital and physical games to future consumers.

I’d like to say that within five years, certainly well north of 50 percent of our revenue will be coming from digital, and significantly higher than [50 percent] of our operating profit will [come from digital].

Retail will always have a place in our future, but I think that five years down the road, the value proposition of retail and publishers will change. I think that retail’s role will shift from planned purchase to impulse purchase, predominantly, and planned purchases will increasingly happen online, just for sheer convenience’s sake.

Even if predictions such as these are ambitious or overstated, it would be foolish of Nintendo not to exploit this market, especially as its rivals are already doing just that.

It won’t suit everyone

The march towards digital content is unsettling for some, including a few of us in the Nintendo Life team: we even wrote about the desire for physical media just one week before this feature. The prospect of an extensive market of digital retail titles also has its share of issues that naturally follow when ownership is rather perilously established by a non-physical entity. Without a disc or cart issues of hacking, copyright disputes or server failures represent a potential future of trouble and controversy. Despite these cons, there are also pros, and this is an area where the revolution has already started; it cannot be undone.

It’s our view that there should always be physical retail games, as not everyone has suitable internet access or even the desire to go all digital. It should be about choice, so that neither side of the argument has any cause to complain. If Nintendo is genuinely planning to introduce full retail downloads to 3DS and Wii U, however, we suggest that it doesn’t take too long to get the wheels turning. In a current economy where the company is striving to return to profit, it simply must exploit every potential money-making avenue: technological change and progress never waits, and this is surely an area that Nintendo can't afford to neglect.

What do you think about digital retail downloads? Will you always prefer physical media, or do you want the option to download all of your games?

From the web

User Comments (130)



shingi_70 said:

Digital Future is a sweet one. Have a couple of Xbox and 360 games bought digital. can't find tales of vesperia anywhere s im buying off of xbox live next month.



Chrono_Cross said:

Digital future? No thank you. I'll just move on to something more productive than playing a video game like a family or golf.



Smitherenez said:

I do prefer physical media, because of the extra's. But if a publisher gives me extra's/goodies with a downloadable game, it's a different story.



MetalMario said:

Do not want this. At all. The only thing this has going for it is convenience. I would much rather have the disc or cartridge.



TrueWiiMaster said:

Though the idea of always having Mario Kart 7 with me is great, I'm definitely one of those people who is wary of digital retail games. Servers don't stay up forever, games get removed, storage is limited, and there can be plenty of internet bugs and issues. I don't have a problem with the option of downloadable retail games, but I'll still prefer getting hard copies of my games whenever possible. What I want from Nintendo is digital sales. Being able to buy an eshop game for 30% off would definitely give me that extra push towards getting it, whereas I might wait for months, or even years, without the sale.



Terave said:

I think it's a good thing having those retail games on online stores, but still.. You can't let gameshops disappear.



Megumi said:

Although it would be nice...I'd like the option to have my game on a disc...Especially when its a huge game, and I don't have to wait around a long time just to play a game. >.>



theblackdragon said:

i'm guessing this 'digital future' will bring along with it significant jumps in storage space, home network/internet bandwidth, and available catalog solutions. until then, i'm not sweating it, nor am I chomping at the bit for it to get here. it'll be here when it gets here, and not a moment before. look how long it's taking Blockbuster to die in the face of Hulu and Netflix, y'know? There'll be a place for brick-and-mortar game shops for years (decades, probably) yet :3



Rockmirth said:

@Viewtiful_Joe whats a family and where can i download/buy one?
i always loved getting to the store and buy a game to hold in my hands. things like and ipad is good and all but they have no spirit of gaming



AbuJaffer said:

Nintendo can continue to offer both, until the physical market stops being profitable. It is a business though; digital titles offer higher profit margins for both Nintendo and the publisher (no retailer). I'm all for it; bring on the digital downloads Ninty!



Corbs said:

I'm going 100% digital with Vita and all 19 of my launch titles are on the memory stick. We'll see how this experiment goes.



komicturtle said:

I'd probably only download Smash Bros. 4- wanna have that game with me at ALL times. Otherwise, I don't want my precious 16GB SD card to be depleted so quick.



Pikachupwnage said:

Enjoy have to buy alot of over priced memory cards then corbs

I will buy retail games digital on Vita/3DS when its hard to find/out of print or has a SIGNIFIGANTLY lower price on the PSN/eshop



bricabrac said:

I would rather say goodbye to gaming than ever bought digitaly distributed game.
So only phisical media and in nice packaging please.



shimage said:

Just a nitpick, but I feel like the word "digital" doesn't really need to be used anywhere in this article. All videogames have been digital more or less since the late 70s (though there may have been an exception or two). Moreover, to call something a "digital download" is redundant; anything that is downloadable is necessarily digital. What you are actually talking about are retail downloadable games. You even manage to use that phrase in some places.



WingedSnagret said:

I don't like this. I'd rather have the games in real physical form. Going all virtual sounds too risky.



Corbs said:

That is a bit nitpicky. While you're correct about the use of digital, it's kind of become the understood way of describing the downloads in recent years so until the word usage police actually cite me, I'm sticking with it.



Burning_Spear said:

I think the balance we've got right now is just right: Smaller gaming experiences are available for cheap prices via download, and major releases — games you'd be more inclined to hold onto for years of replay value — are sold through traditional and online stores. I buy so much stuff off Amazon that I actually look forward to going to the store and browsing through the games every now and then. And I'd be reluctant to switch to downloadable games if it meant the game might someday disappear off of a server or be rendered useless when my console needs to be repaired or replaced.



belmont said:

I am also going 100% digital on PSP and Vita and like having a whole collection of games on a memory card. I greatly helps handheld gaming, you only have to carry the device.
I'd like going digital on the 3DS as well for the same reasons.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

Games that dont have much in it or pretty simple will be on the eshop, games that are full and all- out will be on real cartridges or discs.



ChosenOne25 said:

The packaging is part of the magic of the game. Digital is convenient but doesn't give you the feeling of ownership that you get when you buy a physical copy. Opening the box and all is part of the magic I believe ^^



k8sMum said:

until nintendo decides to link purchases to a person instead of a piece of hardware, i will opt out for anything big/expensive.



theblackdragon said:

@shimage: no offense, but it's like talking about your 'PIN number' or an 'ATM machine' — there are some things we just accept in daily usage :3



Chrono_Cross said:

I want a digital girlfriend. They're so much more convenient than those outdated physical ones.



Angelic_Lapras_King said:

It's nice to have the option, especially when some games become very rare and/or pricey on disc.

Also, if Nintendo can release 3DS games for download, they can so easily not only release GBA games, but full retail DS games too!



MasterGraveheart said:

Again, my biggest concern is the game stores, big and small, whose employees lose their jobs in the inevitability of an all-digital distribution.



Ryno said:

I wouldn't buy a digital retail retail download because you can always find the physical copy cheaper somewhere else. I am not one that has to have a particular game right away anyway.



Noire said:

It should be about choice, so that neither side of the argument has any cause to complain.

Fo sho.



SkywardLink98 said:

I'd still buy my releases physical for a couple of reasons. 1. I won't have to buy a whole lot of SD cards or 1 or 2 external hard drives. 2. I can pre-order and get bonuses, used discounts, etc while I probably can't get that with a download. 3. With Nintendo linking your purchases to your system if you break it, lose it, etc you lose your library of games. Buying physical just seems less complicated and a good bit cheaper, so until it can compete with that, no thanks.



Chobi said:

Hrmm, I've never been much of a fan of digital retail titles. Simply because you need a large hard-drive to store them.



she_gamer said:

I'm on the fence. I would love to download titles that are no longer in (physical) production... Actually, I probably would download most of my titles, as long as they were playable offiline. I wouldn't have to worry about "RARE" titles being so incredibly expensive anymore. I've had to buy Mario Kart Wii twice due to scratches (and I'm careful). So there's another plus for downloads.
Side note, I'm dealing with this same issue with my book collection. I love buying a new book, and having shelves full of them, but I see the practicality and convenience of e-Readers.
So, if I woke up tomorrow and games were suddenly download-only... I'd be ok.



SBOY said:

you need a large hard-drive to store them or redownload every time you want to play it even if it's for a quick pick... I like to play my old (black and white) Game Boy but if they were downlaod they would probably not be there anymore...



Linkstrikesback said:

I like physical releases as much as the next guy, but there are some huge advantages to download titles. Europe has already seen a good argument for Full retail downloads in the form of Tales of the Abyss. That game was virtually impossible to find for over a month, and buyable copies were all ridiculously overpriced.



Maggots said:

how about both? ... Buy the Box edish... get a free download version... so you can collect your boxes and just use the download version... you are basically paying for a license anyway... like with blizzard... I bought starcraft II boxed... but downloaded it onto all of my computers that I own... THAT is what nintendo should do...



Samholy said:

i like my physical copies. they last for years, they work offline without worries, and yet they still exist if your game system breaks.

but i do like digital ones too, since they are usually cheaper. i like what sony did with the PSone. i can revisit oldies without paying too much or seek for copies online and pay a load of money plus shipping costs. i can even find japanese titles that never came here for cheap,



ZurrrrBlattTron said:

Isn't that how the psp go EPICLY failed? I hope if their are eshop retail titles nintendo don't pull a Sony that would suck



Graph said:

What happens when companies decide to stop offering your paid for games for download? You paid for nothing. Especially if you can only play them if connected to the internet. We need both.

Not to mention, they are thousands of games on steam that are the same price digitally than the retail version. Which is a total ripoff.



Tasuki said:

Physical media will never go away. I am so surprised that people support digital media after all the games that have been pulled from the Wii VC lately.

I mean come on you like to spend your money on stuff that after so long the company can take away and than you have nothing.

Ok fine if you are that stupid I will sell you my car than and in 5 years I will come and take it from you without giving your money back.

No thank you I will sooner give up gaming than buy games if everything was in digital format only. I like to be able to keep my purchases untill I am ready to get rid of the item not when some corporate idiots say so.



Corbs said:

PSPgo failed because idiot Sony only made about 1/4 of the PSP library available for download and many of the new titles (Kingdom Hearts) wasn't even made available brand new for download. Sony has a deal in place that makes every Vita title released available for download.

And I also see physical media in video games pretty much completely gone within the next 5-10 years. It's coming, especially as the number of households with fast internet connections continues to grow. It's just too cost-effective for developers and publishers and allows companies to take more chances with less risk.



Yosher said:

I much, MUCH rather have something I can actually physically touch and look at than having a massive digital collection. It's one of the reasons for me why piracy in itself isn't so attractive, because then you'll only get the digital stuff, nothing to show on your shelves. (Other reasons being.. self-explanatory.)

If digital-only gaming is the future, then I really hope it's in the far, far, far, far, FAR distant future. I enjoy my physical copies of games too much, it's bad enough that we have to settle for obscure tiny manuals already as it is (in the case of 3DS games at least).



DarkKirby said:

There are advantages to full digital as well as physical media. Full digital of course, means a massive decrease in productions costs which means releasing games is much less risky. This is great for small companies releasing games and localizing foreign games which companies fear might not sell well. What is also means however, is easier piracy. Some companies "solve" this issue with extremely intrusive DRM and unfair/ridiculous policies that border on or actually are unfair to legitimate customers. When you decide it's okay to be unfair to legitimate customers to "counter" piracy you are doing something wrong (Sony for example). Physical media is of course, harder to pirate and spread, but has higher productions costs and leads into the developer dread of "used" games being sold. Stuff like SOPA and PIPA, are corporations paying the government to make laws to let them "have their cake and eat it too", even at the cost of destroying the free internet, so they can abuse their power to the extreme for profit and have nobody have a choice but to hand their money to them for entertainment.

Also of course, the new "trend" of many developers like EA and Capcom deciding $60 is way too low for the initial retail price of a game and are developing content important to the game during the development process to be sold as DLC before the game is even finished.

In short, games which companies are confident will sell well, release on physical media. If you are unsure of said game's success, use Digital Distribution. But NEVER decide it's okay to enforce unfair policies, DRM, and rules that hinder legitimate customers from using their purchase in any way they choose to "counter piracy".



Hardy83 said:

I'm totally for games going completely digital, I just won't be buying from certain companies, Nintendo being one of them.

Cause, as it stands (things can change) I hate hate HATE buying games that are locked to a system and not an account. It makes upgrading/replacing/etc are huge pain in the rear.

And Nintendo never, ever EVER has digital sales, which is one of the best things about platforms like Steam and GoG. I'm not paying for a 5 year old games for full price.

Also some other companies like EA who if they ban you, lock you out of all content you paid for, course I think issues like that should be addressed with consumer rights laws within a persons country.
Companies can't come and take your physical copies of games if they ban you from a store/forum, why can they do it when you buy digital?
EULAs? Pffft, laws will always trump them.



dizzy_boy said:

if digital is the way to go, there really needs to be playable demo versions of each game made available.
i`ve been burnt more than enough times with wiiware games that have turned out to be less desirable.
atleast with physical copies, if i don`t like a game, i can return it. and with old ganes i don`t want any more, i can trade them in. how are you gonna do that with digital games? you can`t.
the other thing is aswell with download only consoles, as somebody mentioned above, some games will eventually be removed from sale on the nintendo shops. the other point to add to this is, i can`t see nintendo continuously rolling the entire back catalogue of download games over to each successive new generation of consoles, there`s going to be some cut off point where nintendo will say enough is enough.
even if you took a download only console into a store for trade in, the staff are going to delete everything off of the memory regardless of how much you`ve spent on games. then your only left with what ever the value of the console is.
the other thing that will be a worry is if you sold the console on privately, you would still need to be very carefull with it and still delete off anything that holds personal details within the console. names, credit/debit card numbers, phone numbers, your friends list, etc.
tbh, the whole digital age has way too many things to worry about, even if they are only small things.
really, i just hope physical media still hangs around for as long as i`m still gaming, having the choice is always the best option, whether or not if they are the right choices, it`s mine to make.



theblackdragon said:

@Corbs: then what's up with charging retail prices for downloaded games? I've been looking through some of the PSP titles i can get for mine lately to see what's interesting, and to be honest i may as well go for the disc version instead of filling up my Memory Stick for all the discount i'd get. why does it still cost so much when there's no middle-man and i'm not getting a physical copy?



Tigus said:

If the option to port said games to the system and back then yes why not having this option would be nice in the event of playing a game without having to consistently take the game card out would be nice while still being able to buy that same game on retail with box art and all.



Corbs said:

I agree 100% Des, publishers and developers do need to pass some of that affordability on to the consumers as well and will have to if they expect gamers to give up the physical copies of games to purchase the download version. Ten percent isn't enough of a bargain, especially when these developers and publishers are saving quite a bit more money by going the digital route.

But as long as we see publishers still providing retail copies of games, as most of the digital download Vita titles still alternatively provide, I doubt we'll see a lot of savings passed onto digital buyers as those publishers are still having to provide the retail packaging and still taking quite a risk at retail. Perhaps when we finally do reach a totally digital level, the savings will then be passed on more substantially. I hope so, at least.



Chris720 said:

How about that saying... if you can't hold it, you don't own it.

That said, I'd like to see more digital gaming, however I don't want to see boxes and discs flung out the window because now you can download it on to your console and have it wherever you are without changing over cartridges/discs. It could work, but it could also really kick consumers in the rear.



Burning_Spear said:

Let's face it: Game manufacturers prefer downloads because they're cheaper and they largely prevent resales. It has nothing to do with making things better for the gamer, and I'd be shocked if any of the cost savings were passed on to the customer. They're going to tell us that cost savings and greater sales will mean better games in the long run, but that's a crock. If anything, I think downloads will lead to games being more expensive because of additional DLC.



theblackdragon said:

@Corbs: i think the quickest way to wean Joe and Jane Q. Public away from their physical media and get them hooked on downloading for reals is to start offering deeper discounts in the online stores. the occasional sales are a good start, but that kind of thing is mainly an incentive for impulse buying — chances are most people who were already going to purchase these games have already done so by the time they go on sale, y'know?

another thing that would help is doing limited edition runs of games in stores (at full retail price) and then offering the same games immediately (at the cheaper price) in the online stores, no waiting a few days for a store update. that way the collectors get what they want, the distributors make their money back via the jacked-up LE costs, and then digital sales make up the rest. i think the bottom line is that the companies setting the prices will have to make the first move, not the consumer, but they've got to go about it the right way. cutting us off from our physical media entirely and forcing us to go cold turkey would likely kill whichever company tried it :3



FonistofCruxis said:

I dread the day gaming becomes download only. I like having something physical as it feels more like something that I own and I like the having the boxart to look at and instruction manual to look through. There's also the risk of downloads being pulled off services or servers going down but services retro download services have some great games and the likes of Wiiware and DSiware have some great games.



Corbs said:

Indeed Des. And we just saw Motorstorm RC released as a download-only title after it was considered to be a retail release and it was only $10. In fact, it was free for early buyers, but that's exactly the kind of savings we need to see in order to entice gamers to go digital. As I said earlier, the 10% off in the PSN store right now isn't enough for most people.



Mk_II said:

Im old-fashioned, I like owning stuff and i like the fact that i can still play all my old cartridges forever and ever.



Bankai said:

I love digital downloads. Can't wait for them to replace the stupid retail system the games industry has to deal with right now.

I'm also a fan of retail prices for digital download games. Perhaps now the companies that people claim to be fans of will get paid properly. (ie "I'm a big fan of Nintendo. I'm going to wait for Super Mario Galaxy second hand." I honestly don't think the majority of people realise how unhealthy that is for the industry. Oh well.)



x-mas_mii said:

If nintendo made free accounts for eshop, I would be happy.

also,I can't lose my copy of gta chinatown wars in my room,
my buddy's house,
my grandparent's house,



Slapshot said:

I'm on the fence about this subject. I adore the digital distribution of games on the indie front and smaller services, but when it comes to full retail titles, I want it on a disc.



Pokefanmum82 said:

I'm all for some games to be available for download but you would need to be continually buying memory cards which adds up and if they have to pay retail that jacks up the money you will be spending each month. I can't afford that right now. Also people who live out in the country have crappy Internet which means it will be a long time before the game downloads. I'd rather go into a store and buy it and be able to play it right away. In the future yeah I'd be for downloading games when they have hard drives or something like icloud where you can store your games instead of having to buy sd cards for downloadable games. But I still like physical media when it comes to games and books.



Ren said:

true we will never see a huge price drop, just more profit, which hopefully at least means more games faster.
I could care less about having a plastic box and some cheesy artwork that's not what we buy interactive games for so why do we have to have it? It's almost a capitalist, consumer addiction that people feel like they have to "hold" something to prove that they got their moneys worth and it's "all theirs". I think it's shallow and petty. but that's me.
I do worry like others about storage space, long term ownership and those obvious issues which will hopefully be worked out as our entertainment venues switch over in the coming years (movies/tv included; BR disc is already less relavent with HD downloads). I'm with Corbs, it WILL happen and pretty soon, so just decide how you want to deal with it.



Hokori said:

only if storage isnt a problem and i can somehow download my ds/3ds game cards into an app on my 3ds so i dont have to rebuy them and start over



Yogsoggoth said:

I wouldn't use the Playstation store as a model for digital distribution. Sony overprices games on the PSN and you can often buy the UMD for a tenth of the price of the digital download. There pathetic discount on Vita games is not much better.



edhe said:

Small companies like Mojang rely on digital sales to sell their games because they just can't afford to release a game through the retail market. Generally, they are much kinder with the consumer right business too. It's not hard to imagine why bigger companies would want to see a digital only future.

They can charge whatever they want and they can finally destroy the secondhand game market (in the case of UK store GAME, they probably brought it on themselves) that they've despised for years.

Jim Sterling of Destructoid said it best - Kickstarter and the Double Fine Adventure game demonstate that publishers aren't neccesarily needed. Oh, how I'd laugh when these big game companies force us into the digital only dark ages (no more game shops, sales or returns), but find themselves obselete because the releases no longer need as much money to bring them to market. Yes, there's advertising & marketing, but Nintendo proves (with their non-existant Last Story and Xenoblade marketing campaigns) that it isn't actually neccesary in the gaming industry.

If the market has to go digital only, I'm sure as hell never buying any EA or Ubisoft games. And if the other big companies follow their example (endless DRM, constant online authentication, etc.), I'll never buy games from them either.

But if it's any consolation, outlets like GOG should continue to be around - at least not every game company wants to completely screw us consumers over.

Seriously, is it too much to ask to actually be able to buy a game nowadays and conceivably be able to play it in about 40-50 years time? My only fear is that in the future, when I'm an old man, I won't be able to boot up Steam and play a little Saints Row in between naps.



Bankai said:

@edhe: Jim Sterling hasn't got a clue about how business works. He's an angry video game nerd. Giving him credibility when talking about the business behind gaming is... not wise.

Let's go over a couple of things: Advertising and Marketing involves more than shoving TV ads down people's throats and throwing a few paper ads in a few magazines. Both The Last Story and Xenoblade had small scale marketing campaigns, but there were marketing campaigns. Social media strategies, working with journalists, promotions, working with retailers. All this consumes marketing resources. Of course, the typical angry video game nerd never sees any of this, so it must not exist, right?

Publishers also play an important role in doing things that are beyond the developer's capabilities. Localisation is a big one. No one seems to realise how complex localisation can be, but it is. There are entire textbooks out there on the subject. But again, it's behind the scenes, and because Jim Sterling reckons it's easy, it must be. What with his extensive experience in games localisation.

Kickerstarter has only proven that when you've got a celebrity (Tim Shafer) heading up a project, you can crowdsource funding. That's also stating the obvious. Crowd funding has been around a long time, but the smaller developers and startups out there have no guarantees that they'll be able to get the cash from those, much less create sustainable business models out of it. Oh couse, Jim knows this because he's been reseraching Kickstarter and crowd sourcing for years, right?

Publishers like Paradox Interactive, a company that is becoming bigger and bigger as digital downloads take off prove there's a role for publishers still. And always will be.

And finally, perhaps video game companies will stop trying to "screw over" consumers when consumers stop trying to screw over video game companies. I've never seen anything like it, where people who claim to love these games and gaming are so hell bent on not supporting the people that provide them the games.

Stop buying second hand games, stop waiting for clearence sales, stop pirating games. If everyone did that then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now with crappy DLC practices and DRM. Fact.



AVahne said:

Always keep physical media available even with digital's existence, and things will be fine. Those who want something that has value can get physical (like me) and those who simply want convenience can get digital.




The game industry need to remind itself to be better than what already exists. I don't want the industry to head toward what Music and Movies are doing.

Granted, that is the only model we have to go on right now. But I think we should evaluate the technology we have at hand and optimize that first. We could be a powerhouse of innovation and affordability for a broad audience if we target our energy instead of always giving ourselves restrictive ultimatums.

Competition drives innovation. Why don't we compete with ourselves. Money will always be there until it isn't. Support options and embrace change.

Anyway; physical media for me please. No one will ever prevent me from owning something I paid for. I like knowing I can lend, break, sell, and play all my games at anytime. I also fully support ways to stop used game sales; unless a way is figured out to give that money back to the developer. Not the publishers.



MPMutt said:

If I want to lend a cart or disc to a buddy I can. I can't do that with a digital download. If I want to take a game into EBGames and get some credit for it and trade for a game, I can. I can't do that with a digital download. Digital Downloads are also limited to how many devices it can be installed in. What I do like is I can compare the prices of a retail disc and digital download and sometimes I'll go for the cheaper of the two.



grimbldoo said:

@Order-Sol #1
All digital will suck, they can at least put the games on small chips. I would rather buy the game than just the licence to play it.



edhe said:

"Stop buying second hand games, stop waiting for clearence sales, stop pirating games. If everyone did that then we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now with crappy DLC practices and DRM. Fact."

I'm proud to say I do exactly as you advocate...except shun secondhand games. Unless you mean secondhand current games, in which case, you may have repeated yourself (stop buying secondhand games, stop waiting for clearance sales...).

However, I would never (unless forced) stop buying secondhand games if they are grossly overpriced on a digital format, and of course, if the game is not available online, but I assume you aren't suggesting that.



The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

No clutter
No cartridge or disc wear
No worries about theft
Download content and patches

Lack of variety, especially for classic games
Inability to return accidental or disappointing purchases
Digital corruption
Emulation difficulties
Difficulty with controller equivalents for classic games



Crystalline said:

@MetalMario I second this! It's the way it all started and it's the way it'l remain (hopefully) Although I do welcome changes, I just can't see it happening in any other way, I mean, this is the way we've spent our childhood. Being excited to open that shiny new game box, read through those huge booklets and finally sticking that cartridge in our beloved consoles



Mariotag said:

Physical media, absolutely.
As so many people have already stated, physical media includes extras, and cannot be repossessed, also, looking on xbox live, it seems you can download retail titles for free if you have the disc in the xbox.
Digital media should stick to small stuff.



edhe said:

On a final note before I go to bed, it has to be said, I feel I'm moving towards free (with the exception of Minecraft, which is pleasingly cheap anyway) games more nowadays.

Dwarf Fortress, Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe, et al, I may suck at them, but they still offer me a great deal of enjoyment for all their production values. And they're all digital of course.

I hope games like that never go away.



TrueWiiMaster said:

What makes the current retail system stupid exactly? I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you (yet), but I don't really understand why you think that.

There are arguments for and against used games. Personally, I always try to buy new when I can so that I'm directly supporting the company 100%. That doesn't mean I always spend the full $50 price for new Wii games though. Used game sales don't only hurt the developers; some new game sales only happen because of the used market.

What do you have against clearance sales? When a game doesn't sell well, stores have too many left over copies and they try to get rid of them. There's nothing wrong with picking up a game you had a slight interest in when you come across it for $6 at Target. Your whole idea of all games being sold exclusively at retail price is flawed. It would never work in the real world, nor would an exclusively digital industry be feasible any time soon.



Ren said:

It's silly how attached we've become to the physical media but you can't forget that this has always been a media that is just a computer program. It's a delivery method, nothing more. It's not like we're saying all sculptures and meals will go away and be digital soon. these are computer programs that exist simply to be interacted with on a piece of more permanent hardware. It's just not useful for anything else so when the need for it is gone, theres no reason to hold on to it.

when you buy a game you're paying for design, programming, marketing, and to a tiny extent producing the plastic thing it comes on and a tossed together pamphlet with colors on it (that most people will never look at again). Even "extras" cost very little to make and accrue small arbitrary value for some fans, but have nothing at all to do with the experience who's design we are actually paying for. Sure the business model will have to change, some games will have to get cheaper (hopefully) to reach more people and there will be bumps in figuring out proper storage and rights, but you will NEVER 'own' a game you've bought because you have the plastic thing it's been copied onto, it's just a computer program that you've been licensed to play. If you owned it you could copy it and sell it and we know that's not right.

The world has changed, just as business, art and entertainment has. Data exists in compressed fast moving internet streams now so theres no reason not to move on to the model that makes more sense for the medium (for consumers and producers). If you base your self worth on all the stuff you "own" than that's another issue, but it doesn't change that that game isn't any more yours than if it sits on your hard drive. Play it and enjoy it, it's the same game as it was. (good riddance to Gamestop, too, I'd rather pay full price for a retro download than give them any more of my money)



Bankai said:

@edhe - you're right, I should have mentioned that. Obviously for games that are out of print it doesn't hurt the publisher in any way if there's a second hand market going on.

I know I pick up a few PSOne games from time to time

@TrueWiiMaster The current retail market is stupid, because it is encouraging retailers to compete with the hand that feeds them. Publishers supply the retailers with games, and yet the retailer goes out of its way to encourage people to buy the second hand games, which offer it a better margin.

I can't think of another example out there in retail where a new product is put side by side with a used product of the exact same kind. If this happened in the fashion industry, or publishing, or possibly even music, the retailer would be blacklisted instantly.

The only arguments "for" used games is by the consumers that don't understand the damage that the used game industry does to the whole industry. The benefits to the publishers are few and far between, and when a publisher isn't seeing a good steady flow of reliable income, it becomes very hard to experiment in new IP development or give big projects the budget and time they deserve.

Clearence sales are the bane of everyone. There isn't a retailer out there that isn't trying to solve the problem, and ween consumers away from the sales mentality. Once again, a game that you buy for $10 when its RRP was $40 means that no one - not the publisher, not the retailer, and ultimately not the consumer - benefits from the sale.

The only reason that games won't ever be sold exclusively at retail price is that there will always be someone that undercuts the competition to increase their own sales. That's not healthy, and that's not ideal. It's just an unfortuante fact of life. It doesn't mean that the ideal is wrong though.



Corbs said:

The bottom line is that we want as much of the money to go into the developer and publisher pockets. That's good for the industry and in turn, good for us gamers. And if that in turn saves gamers some money along the way, then it's icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.



Gioku said:

I don't really mind either way; I like having physical media, but I also think it's cool to have games saved on my 3DS that I didn't have to wait to come in the mail or have to go out and get. So i'm fine either way, so long as they both still exist.



Redfield_Lynch said:

It's difficult not to mention this particular reality so,yes, nintendo must take this issue in consideration, but please companies, have in mind that a huge amount of players, myself included, want the physical support. If everything for everyone is considered, then by all means, go digital, but keep physical



Chubbo1793 said:

Although I have downloaded a few digital titles, I will always prefer my games in physical form. I love getting a case, manual, and the physical cartridge/disc rather than just using up storage; It adds to the whole buying experience.

Also, I like being able to share my games and borrow games to play. With digital, rental stores would be gone much quicker than they are now.



Wheels2050 said:

While I don't have anything against digital distribution per se, I do have a problem with the way many publishers go about protecting their IP (which is fair enough).

While I gather most console gamers do not have a lot of experience with DRM (from what I can tell, it mainly exists behind the scenes on consoles), I've come across more than I'd like on PC.

My biggest problem is when games have limited or no functionality unless they can connect to an internet server. Someday, that server is going to go down, and if the game hasn't been patched, you can no longer play it.

I've heard several companies promise to patch out the DRM 'later' (EA, 2KGames come to mind) but let's face it - doing that costs money, and what developer is going to do that when they stand to make little or no profit from it?

Personally, I'm more inclined to skip a game than buy it if I'm not sure whether or not I'll be able to play it in 5 or 10 years time. I know it's not a concern of everybody's, but it worries me a lot.

On the other hand, I've bought several games online (mainly indie ones) that I can just install and play, with no problems. I'm more than happy with that, but unfortunately the prevalence of piracy means that the prospect of releasing a DRM-free game isn't all that attractive to publishers (even if DRM does little to curb piracy).

@ChocoGoldfish: I agree with you that the DRM wouldn't be there if people didn't pirate, but I think DLC would have come sooner or later, regardless of people's buying habits. DLC=extra money, and devs/publishers would have figured it out sooner or later. I think the recent explosion in DLC has more to do with the ability to easily distribute DLC to people than offsetting the loss due to second hand game sales and the like (although I'm sure that was even more impetus to bring about DLC).

Before the internet was so ubiquitous, expansion packs were readily available for popular games. Same idea: make more money after the initial purchase.



TheN64Dude said:

I'd go with digital. That way when you want to buy it nothing can go wrong. One time I went to GameStop and they said they LOST their box of Super Mario 3D Land copies and only had ONE left when I got there. Plus if we want to buy a game maybe a couple days after release than we won't need to worry about it being out of stock



Haxonberik said:

Would be great for games on demand and Nintedo Selects classic cheaper games to reach those who haven't bought, but I hope it never replaces retail



Lalivero said:

@Ren , not all of us who prefer physical copies think that we 100% 'own' a game that way, you're just trying to twist it up. It's more so we don't have to worry about losing our libraries and such incase a server goes down, games get taken down so we can't get them back, etc. It's to ensure(as long as we don't physically break them ourselves and take care of them) we can have them for many years to come.

As for myself more on the matter, unless the companies start adding ALL of their libraries of games from over the years available for download, I won't ever stop making physical purchases for as long as they stand. Don't they know they could make money off of that, too?

Want me to get away from 2nd hand stores and make money off of me for the older games no longer in production, etc.? Easy, sell the games yourselves at a price reasonable for the game(s)' age(s). I would be much more enticed to buy digital games if I could actually find what I want and not look only see like 20 games. Now I admit I probably wouldn't switch over 100%, but you'll definitely have A LOT more of my attention, possibly most of it.

It's a bit disappointing looking at the online shops and such only to find out that you'll probably never see the titles you want to see.



Bankai said:

@Wheels2050 - I think DLC is a good thing. I think bad DLC exists because of the second hand market and this resistance gamers have to paying fair prices for content.

And yes, I do mean fair. Do me a Time/ $$$ spent comparison and find an entertainment that is better value than proper RRP-priced gaming. Books is the only one I can think of.



Lalivero said:

@Choco , speaking as someone who uses secondhand stores, I don't use them to buy cheap 'current' games, I use them to buy games that I want that are no longer in production. Until gaming industries can show me older games that I actually want(by that I mean put up as many as they can, and they should be able to get the majority up, for digital sale), and not just 20 random games they see fit to put up and leave it there(obvious exaggeration, but you get my point), maybe I would consider actually purchasing their downloads more often.

Why get upset if people are paying secondhand stores for 'retro' games that you can't get anymore if you can't even put forth the effort to sell them yourself(through the 'cheaper' digital way, as everyone keeps referring to)?



Bankai said:

@Chriiis - see above. I've already said - assuming a game isn't in print any longer, and isn't available for download via Virtual Console or PSOne/ PSTwo classics, then buying the second hand version of a game doesn't harm a publisher in any way.

Why get upset? I genuinely love the games industry, and I know some great people who work in it. I find it rather irritating and rude that there's a whole bunch of gamers out there that object to the idea of paying these guys for their hard work.



ToxieDogg said:

'Some consumers simply place no importance on packaging or physical media, and it would be foolish not to accommodate this demographic.'

Um...a lot of consumers don't have or use the internet at all with their game consoles, it would be foolish not to accomodate that demographic too.

A future where if a game never gets released (online) in your region, you probably won't even be able to download it and play it on an imported or modded console? No thanks.

A future where a game can just be removed from sale forever (say if a publisher goes bust) and if you missed your chance to download it, tough...because you'll never be able to buy an old copy to play it on your own console? No thanks.

A future where all the game prices are kept artificially high even long after they were first released? (just look at the absurd prices on PSN) thanks.

A future where you buy a game and then have to wait hours for it to download before you can play it, and that's dependant on whether your internet connection/the server craps out or not? No thanks.

I like digital downloads and retail copies co-existing alongside each other but I fear the day when everything shifts completely towards digital.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I used to think there were no redeeming qualities to the used market other than the availability of older, no longer in print games. I was almost as opposed to them as you (I still hate Gamestop, but for multiple other reasons). Then someone reminded me that those games are usually traded in for credit, which in turn, many buyers put into new games and systems they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford. In other words, purchases otherwise impossible become possible. When they buy those new games, they support the developers. I'm not saying these kinds sales completely justify the used game market, like I said before, I always try to buy new, BUT you cannot say that the used game industry is having a purely negative effect on the developers when many of the new game sales from stores like Gamestop are attributed to that industry. There are also people who buy used systems, which often account for no loss on anyone's part (stores often sell them at no profit in hopes of making it up on the games, or that's my understanding). After they have the system they become viable customers for whatever developers want their business.

Maybe you can answer a question for me. Why do Nintendo, and many other developers, continue to have special deals and exclusives through the biggest used games store in America if their very existence is hurting the developers' business?

The game industry is hard to compare to other industries because of its unique properties. Obviously it falls into the entertainment category alongside movies, music, toys, and some books. It differs from these other items, however, in that it's more expensive in almost every case than they are. You may think, "hey I've seen toys way more expensive than $50", but don't forget a game is nothing without a system, and sometimes 1-3 additional controllers, plus accessories. They are also much more profitable and re-sellable than other entertainment items. Music and movies are too cheap to make much from selling them used, toys often break or get damaged from use, and books get creased from reading and are often cheaper than CD's. Reselling a game can turn a large profit, and all you need is one relatively scratch-free disc; no loss to the game from its use (though I prefer complete copies).

A store selling both new and used books, CD's, and DVD's is indeed unheard of, but stores selling just used books, CD's, and DVD's are fairly common. Whether it be a local thrift store, consignment store, or used book seller, consumers can often get great prices on used items. It doesn't stop there though. Ebay, flea markets, Amazon, yard sales, and just trading with a friend can all be considered as bad or worse for the gaming industry as a store like Gamestop. To stop used game sales at stores like Gamestop would certainly cause them to go up at these alternate outlets, as people try to get money from their expensive, beaten games. To stop this would be telling people what they could and couldn't do with their own property, which in my opinion is far worse than the damage caused by stores like Gamestop.

Yes, sellers and producers hate clearance sales. It means their investment won't have any further returns. But customers love them. If people aren't willing to spend a certain amount on an item due to bad marketing or design, so be it. When the item doesn't sell for those same reasons, it gets a price drop. Eventually the room it takes up is more valuable to the store than the item itself, so they sell it dirt cheap. Some people, who didn't find it worth the previous price, might now find it worthwhile and buy it. That's basic business. The higher the price, the fewer people willing to buy it; the lower the price the more people want to buy it. Stores want a high price and consumers want a low one. The seller has to try and find a balance. That's not to say many great games turn little to no profit and end up on the clearance rack, but oftentimes those games are either poorly marketed or targeting a very niche group. For example, Sin and Punishment 2 was sold at some Targets for under $10, though I believe its full price was $50. It was an excellent game, but if I wasn't in the know I would have never heard of it. That said, it was never worth $50 to me. Because of its genre and short length, it would be worth around $20 to me. The idea was simple. If it stayed at $50, I wouldn't get it. If it dropped a lot, I would. I don't think that's selfish or spoiled, just logical. Sadly, I still haven't gotten around to getting it...Too busy with the games I was willing to pay full price for.

Actually, I'd say it IS healthy and it IS ideal. It's capitalism at work. Correct me if I'm wrong, but stores buy games from the producers, and then sell them at a marked up price, right? So why would it be unhealthy for the game industry if stores decide to take a loss/lower profit margin in order to draw customers to their door and away from their competitors? Customers, while there, might see something else they want or just start to like the store and become a regular customer. And all this causes no loss to the game developer; the store itself takes any loss. Besides, if all games stayed at full price and could never be bought at a discount the industry would suffer far more. Sales numbers would drop as people ONLY buy their favorite games. Stores would be more cautious with what they stock, afraid of investing in something that wouldn't sell. Most people, with no way to convert their games into cash, would stick with certainties instead of taking a chance on a new IP while it's on sale.

Phew... I love Nintendo Life. No text limit.



Lalivero said:

@Choco , I'm talking in general, a lot of people act as if secondhand stores are the root of all evil in the gaming world, sorry if it seemed like I was pointing the finger at you for most of that.

I've actually gotten into some games due to secondhand stores and was interested enough into buying full retails of the newer sequels and such. I have other friends like that as well, they find a slightly older game they like(not really 'retro') on sale and it ends up making them want to actually buy the successors as day 1 buys, etc. Taking out these stores doesn't mean that everyone is going to suddenly flock to you, it's only going to leave some people heartbroken.

I also go back to my other point. Of course I like supporting them by buying new games, but they also seem to just be mad at the secondhand store concept in general. Once again, if you aren't going to put forth your own effort to bring as many titles as you can, you have no reason to get mad for such purchases that are made elsewhere. Current titles, sure they have a right to be mad, otherwise, no.



Millenia said:

Digital is great and all but there's nothing like taking a game out of its plastic wrap and checking out the inserts and such. I like to keep a visible collection of what I own on display, makes me feel happy. I think we should just have the ability to save it to the hardware from the cartridge. Besides I'm sure all the companies have some type of partnerships with Gamestop, Wal-Mart, GAME, etc. There would be no use for them if it was all digital.



Bankai said:


“Then someone reminded me that those games are usually traded in for credit, which in turn, many buyers put into new games and systems they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.”

And then the next customer comes in and, rather than buy (or even look at) the new games, they go and buy the used game that the first fellow just traded it.

The used game market doesn’t generate new dollars for the industry at all. It saps it away, forcing price erosion on new games by making sure that they can only be sold at RRP for the first week, before the new game has to effectively compete with its used counterpart.

Also not healthy. Even if you believe that sales are not a bad thing, a product needs to maintain its RRP for far longer than a week in order to remain sustainable.

“There are also people who buy used systems.”

Very, very different situation. Used systems are not a problem for the system builders because systems are usually sold at a loss. One extra number in the home, regardless of where it comes from (as long as it can be accounted for by Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft), is a good thing.

“Maybe you can answer a question for me. Why do Nintendo, and many other developers, continue to have special deals and exclusives through the biggest used games store in America if their very existence is hurting the developers' business?”

Because that’s how retail works. To be competitive, specials and sales need to exist. It’s not healthy, but as long as one major party out there is willing to undercut the competition, everyone has to play ball. It’s still unsustainable, but it’s a slow death. If you don’t play ball you go out of business even quicker.

“The game industry is hard to compare to other industries because of its unique properties. Obviously it falls into the entertainment category alongside movies, music, toys, and some books. It differs from these other items, however, in that it's more expensive in almost every case than they are.”

No it isn’t. The games industry is by far the cheapest if you do a cost/ benefit (where benefit = hours of entertainment) analysis. By far

“You may think, "hey I've seen toys way more expensive than $50", but don't forget a game is nothing without a system, and sometimes 1-3 additional controllers, plus accessories.”

My 3DS, which isn’t even my most played console, is showing about 400 hours since I bought it at launch. That’s less than a dollar per hour. Obviously there’s game costs on top of that, but going to the cinema to watch a movie is around $10 per hour.

” Reselling a game can turn a large profit, and all you need is one relatively scratch-free disc; no loss to the game from its use (though I prefer complete copies).”

Not denying that. It’s just not a good thing, which you seem to be suggesting.

” A store selling both new and used books, CD's, and DVD's is indeed unheard of, but stores selling just used books, CD's, and DVD's are fairly common.”

Irrelevent. It’s when there’s side-by-side competition between used and new that games, which offer very little value aside from what’s in the box, that’s the problem.

Hypothetically; a dedicated game shop for new games could excel in customer service, offering warranties, loyalty clubs and the like. In that way, the shop could beat out the competition, which is offering crappy 2nd hand games at a cheaper price. There’s value add there.

The problem is when it’s the same game shop doing both, but encouraging people to buy second hand, because the retailer makes more money off it, that there’s a problem. The local EB Games in Australia gives people twice as many loyalty points for buying and trading in second hand games. That’s incentive NOT to buy new games. THAT’S what’s killing the industry.

” Yes, sellers and producers hate clearance sales. It means their investment won't have any further returns. But customers love them.”

Here’s a secret for you: customers are stupid people that don’t care about killing the entertainment they love, because they fail to understand that giving less money means less money for the producer.

Another little example for you: In Australia the two major supermarkets are currently undercutting one another on the price of milk. It sounds trivial, but the dairy farmers in Australia are quite literally being starved out of business. The consumers love it because who doesn’t love cheap milk? The consumers are stupid.

” When the item doesn't sell for those same reasons, it gets a price drop. Eventually the room it takes up is more valuable to the store than the item itself, so they sell it dirt cheap. Some people, who didn't find it worth the previous price, might now find it worthwhile and buy it. That's basic business.”

You’re still struggling to understand that basic business is not necessarily healthy business. If you understood the pressure that the global retail system is under, you’d reassess your opinion on how “good” “basic business” is.

“For example, Sin and Punishment 2 was sold at some Targets for under $10, though I believe its full price was $50. It was an excellent game, but if I wasn't in the know I would have never heard of it. That said, it was never worth $50 to me. Because of its genre and short length, it would be worth around $20 to me. The idea was simple. If it stayed at $50, I wouldn't get it. If it dropped a lot, I would.”

That copy of Sin and Punishment 2 either cost the publisher, or the retailer, a lot of money. Fact. If the retailer took the loss, then whatever, I have little love for retailers. If it cost the publisher money, though, then I’ve got a big problem with it.

” Actually, I'd say it IS healthy and it IS ideal. It's capitalism at work.”

Haha, capitalism isn’t a good thing, buddy. I’d point you to the Occupy movement, or the European/ US economic crisis, or the Great Depression, or Japan’s economy, but all of those would be way too obvious, wouldn’t they.

” Customers, while there, might see something else they want or just start to like the store and become a regular customer. And all this causes no loss to the game developer; the store itself takes any loss.”

Unfortuantely, until digital downloads can take over entirely, the games industry still needs retailers. GAME in the UK has shown why it’s not a good thing for a store to take too many losses.

“Besides, if all games stayed at full price and could never be bought at a discount the industry would suffer far more. Sales numbers would drop as people ONLY buy their favorite games.”

Lower sales but bigger margins is a far better way to do business, as long as you're still able to shift enough boxes to break even. That’s business 101 for you.

In other words, 950 units at $100 is better than 1500 units at $30, with 500 of those being sold via the second hand market.

Stores would be more cautious with what they stock, afraid of investing in something that wouldn't sell.

Just as well that digital downloads is going to take over then, isn’t it? Bringing me right back to my first point: Retail is stupid, and poison to the industry

Wow that was a long thing to write. ^_^



HandheldGuru97 said:

I am one of those people who don't want to see physical media go. I enjoy being able to go to a store and buy the game. While being going all digital may help with less clutter and having all the games at a time, but that is all part of the fun of being a gamer.



DrDaisy said:

Be careful what you wish for. No more physical media could also mean no more renting.



Lalivero said:

A world where gaming goes completely digital is one where I would prefer to be an outsider then. I would much rather hold physical copies that, under care, I can definitely look forward to having as long as I am here.

I'm not looking forward to spending a great deal of money on game titles that, if some hacker pulls through and ruins stuff/something occurs that results in corrupt data/etc., I can lose my collection without much proof of having it in the first place. Unless something pulls through which guarantees I won't lose a thing in such occurences(which is likely to not ever happen), then digital only definitely isn't going to win me over.

This might help industries in the long run, but it also would hurt customers who'd have almost no choice but to fork over yet more money to get their purchases back(we all know companies would not hesitate to take advantage of this, despite how nice they may seem).

Certain people cough act as if all game makers are the innocent little "please help me feed my family" type when underneath, like a lot of us, most want what benefits themselves, with little care for the other side of the fence.



TrueWiiMaster said:

Like I said, the credit-towards-new-games only partially justifies the used market. In the end, Gamestop sells quite a few new games. I don't have any statistics for you, but I would certainly think they're a big seller. Many of those sales stem from the fact they give credit for used games, but regardless of where the money comes from, new games are sold and the developer profits.

It's pretty common for games to go on sale right after launch. Again, the stores use them to attract customers. It doesn't hurt the games industry.

Many developers give specials EXCLUSIVELY to Gamestop. They could give them to other companies like Best Buy and Amazon, but they don't. Why give so much specifically to Gamestop?

I agree about games being cheaper when counting hours-per-dollar, but I was referring to actual price. Most books, CD's, and DVD's are under $20 when new, while most games are triple that. Because of this a store like Gamestop can afford to pay $10-20 for a used game and sell it for $40-50 to make a huge profit. There's no such room with the other items. Oh, and I was referring to movies on DVD, not in the theater.

I don't think I'd ever say Gamestop had quality customer service...

I disagree on one thing, and it may be a cultural difference. Many Americans would still go to Gamestop even without new games being available. Excellent service is undermined by low prices most of the time. Also, many people couldn't care less about the case and/or manual as long as they get a working copy of the game for cheap. And Gamestop does promote new game purchases, at least here. They often offer trade-in bonuses when the credit is used on a new game, and contest entries for buying/pre-ordering a new release.

Milk is fairly different from games. Again, price comes into play. Offering a game for even $10 off stores still make a profit; there's a pretty big margin. The developers aren't charged for the sale, nor are the games sold to the stores for a lower price next time. With milk, there are many other considerations. For one, there's less room to cut the price, because it's a far less profitable item to begin with. Under the cost of getting the milk would be the purchase of the milk, its refrigeration, and the expected loss of expired product. It does seem odd that the farmers over there are being starved. The stores should absorb the losses and make it up through additional sales from the customers attracted by the milk. That's more stupidity on the part of the companies than on the consumers. What are the consumers supposed to do? Not buy milk? The companies are they ones hurting the farmers.

It may not be in a company's best interest to have to clearance an item, but it is an integral part of business. No store will ever be 100% in tune with its consumers, putting up only what they want in exactly the right number and at exactly the right price to please everyone. They have to learn and adapt.

The loss on that copy of Sin and Punishment 2 was probably absorbed by the retailer as overstock, but the responsibility lies more with the publisher than the store. It was the publisher, I think Nintendo in this case, who released this game and gave it very little backing. If the game had been marketed better, it might have sold well (though I still think it was overpriced at $50 for such a short game). Of course, even when a game DOES sell well, if it doesn't sell out, there will eventually be discounts and clearances.

The economic crises the world is facing right now are not entirely the fault of capitalism. I understand that it's natural for there to be peaks and dips in economics, but the reason those problems were so bad was more because of poor/shady business practices. The Great Depression came after years of great prosperity, and also the rise of credit. Need I say more? The housing issue that happened in America recently was from irresponsible buyers and sellers. And what do you mean Japan's economy? Are you referring to the slump after one of the biggest nuclear disasters in history? Capitalism works. The major problems arise from the additions people make to it. If you don't believe me look at America, back before it had so many laws, taxes, and tariffs infringing on capitalism, so many credit-related problems. That's when it rose to the top of the world (no offense to non-Americans) as a superpower.

Umm... I don't think second-hand games account for 1/3rd of total game sales... That would basically mean 1/3rd of consumers shop at Gamestop... Besides, many of those second-hand buyers wouldn't buy the full price version, and I'd imagine some of the people who usually buy at full price would jump ship too. There would be fewer than 950.

No retail games would also mean a stagnant or shrinking market. Without games being apparent to them, many would pass them by or buy far fewer. Of course, this would stifle those new creative games that tend to stand out less. There is definitely a marketing role in just having the game on a shelf as you walk by, plus those demo stations that many stores have. Also, system prices would jump. If stores are going to continue selling consoles, they'll need a reason, which would mean they get paid. That either adds to the price or to the publisher's loss. Unless all systems had to be purchased online, making the industry even more invisible. I'm assuming the $100 mark was either an exaggeration or a joke. At those prices, plus the higher prices of consoles and the mandatory jumbo hard drive, gaming would become a rich man's hobby. With all of this the industry would shrink. Even if the companies continued to break even or turn a profit, there would be little growth to keep them going as game development costs continued to rise.

Retail may not be perfect, but it serves an important purpose. It's far from stupid.

I think you might have a different idea of the game industry's success than me. I'd say it's successful when selling well, turning a profit, and entertaining more and more people, all the while growing and innovating. It seems your only condition for its success is to make as much money as possible, no matter how small the number of players gets. Clearly a fundamental difference.

Oh and one more thing about download-only games. How do you feel about there unavailability in 10-20 years? It seems unlikely that every game ever released would stay on the shop forever, and as such many gamers would miss out on it after it's removed. Even people who buy the game and keep it downloaded could fall prey to a corrupted hard drive and lose their property, through no fault of their own. Then there's forced re-buying to consider. Maybe you'll own a game, but after you beat it you delete it for space. Later on it gets removed from the shop, or the whole shop gets closed, when a new generation begins, keeping you from getting it again. Then they bring it back on the next generation after that and you have to re-purchase it, even though you own it. This is very different from the Wii's VC because you can still play the originals. In this all-too-possible scenario you'd be kept from your own property.



DarkLloyd said:

theres got to be pricing structures when it comes to this like renting it for certain set of time then it becomes inactive unless you , ahh screw it that would need alot of work

your bassically asking me to become a pc gamer since i might as well be if this is all going digital, you wont see jack daniels digital console sales wise compared to steam which is awsome and i know where to give credit where its due

but if it goes digital expect less sales from me i wont be buying a stack of games at once i'll buy one game and play it for example 100 times getting every cent of my moneys worth till i get bored of it then move on to another game a month later



Bankai said:

@TrueWiiMaster I'm not sure where your ideas of economics come from, but they're fundamentally flawed, and in addition I suspect you either skimmed through my wall of text (not that I would blame you for that, this is getting excessive), or misinterpreted some of what I've said, because you've missed the point in some cases up there.

If you're genuinely interested in continuing this discussion, email me or something, and I'll explain the theory behind what I'm saying further for you. Otherwise, to be blunt and to the point (please don't take this the wrong way), you're wrong according to every understanding of commerce, economics and business that I know of. I don't think further discussion here is fair on everyone else, though.



kurtasbestos said:

I will always prefer physical packaging, especially if the people responsible for a game put some effort into making it beautiful or include extras. However, I'd much rather play games in English than Japanese, and since I moved to Japan permanently it's become extra challenging to get a hold of the games I want. So if I have the option to buy an American Wii U/3DS/whatever and simply download the games I want to play rather than having to depend on my mom or a friend to send them internationally to me, that's a million billion times easier to deal with. Speaking of which, my entire Sega Saturn collection is still patiently waiting for me back in The Americraine... I sure wouldn't mind having it with me since most, if not all, of those games will never be available for download anywhere.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I did read the entirety of what you posted. In fact, I copied it to a document so I could check it as I typed my post. Maybe I did misunderstand something (hey, it happens) but I have no clue what that might be.

I'm no economics buff, but I don't think I'm quite "wrong according to every understanding of commerce, economics and business". I would appreciate an explanation since you offered, but I don't know how we would do that without outright posting our email addresses. Would it be allowed/okay to continue this under the "general discussion" forum?



retro_player_22 said:

Digital download for the future? I would had like that if some of those so called digital full games didn't disappear from existence within two years or so.



wolfhound91W said:

This is going to happen, but I'm not okay with it. I love knowing that I own the physical media to play without licensing issues from huge companies. Why lease a car when you can buy it? It will ruin gaming as we know it. It is a disease that should be stopped, but it's all about money, and it will happen.



theblackdragon said:

@TrueWiiMaster: please, Waltz gets soapbox-y enough as it is; i think if there were a full-on topic devoted to him running his mouth it'd just start a riot. If you're that interested in what he has to say, his contact info can be found on his website (the first address in that list is his).



kdognumba1 said:

Me personally, I prefer physical media and for games I really want to get, I'll always get the physical version (many times in a collectors edition) however, on that same note, a lot of games become hard to find very early on and those games having a digital version would completely stop this "rare game syndrome" we've seen most notably on Wii this generation.

Another thing is, while I prefer having a physical version of a game, honestly I don't have the room or space for every single system that the services between 360, PS3, Wii, and 3DS offer and I no longer have any of my old games previous to PS2/GC era do to them being stolen. So me personally, if I can get the older games digital, I'll be a very happy camper, which is also what I intend on doing with PSP games on Vita whenever I decide to purchase one.



JimLad said:

It is inevitable. Nintendo can either make a start next gen or get left behind again.
It will make games cheaper for everyone eventually, so I welcome it.



seronja said:

both! some of us perfer physical media and other digital, nintendo should make this happen for the wii-u too



kyuubikid213 said:

Physical media for me please. I like being able to download the Virtual Console titles because it would be ridiculous to sell them on a $40 cartridge even if there were 20 games on it.

I really want physical media because there is no greater joy in selecting a game than laying them all out, picking the one you want, and putting it in your system.

Also, if we went PURE DIGITAL, then we wouldn't have such wonderful failures like the Resident Evil Revelaitons box. Am I right?



buzzn said:

I think digital retail games must be on offer on the eshop especially because of several reasons. 1. Because its very convenient to have all your games together on the go 2. It would show other gamers that Nintendo is catching up in this field and 3. Most importantly, not everyone lives in the U.S.A/UK where you can get games on day one aswell as prices like 40 dollars, some people like me live in places where they ship the games here which takes weeks aswell as being overpriced, i pay 50-55 dollars for 3DS games, this would be really great..



RonF said:

I brought a 3DS just to play Fire Emblem, among other Nintendo games. However, I am much more interested in the Vita distribution mode. The convinience of not swapping discs or cartridges is precious while I have far more games than space to storage them and I am sick of physical media becoming defective after a while.



HiroshiYamauchi said:

As a person who lives in a country where games are worth a fortune and that has to buy all his games from a online store from Canada, downloadable retail titles would be like a dream coming true.



Undead_terror said:

digital downloads will be much better and safer when NN comes out so you wont lose you paid download (just like PSN)



Mr_Reece said:

I just spent on and off around 52 hours downloading DC Universe Online. So until my area of Cardiff can get fibre optic broadband — at a reasonable price; my brother pays £30+ a month for it; I pay £50 a month for Sky+ TV, broadband, phone and line rental... who's getting the better deal there? — I'd rather the industry continues to lean more towards physical media than digital downloads.



Tasuki said:

Companies should just offer both a physical version and a digital version like EA did with Starwars: The Old Republic for example. That way everyone is happy.



Sam_Loser2 said:

Going all digital takes away ownership of the game. We buy "licenses" to play the game. How long before companies make licenses expire? I like a small downloaded game every so often, but I prefer to buy retail when I can.



vherub said:

What I like about digital is sales always support the developer/ip owner. I might not be that interested or want to spend full price on a game, so if I wait to buy it on clearance or used, the developer gets nothing. But a sale on digital content, the creators get a piece of my payment.



ToxieDogg said:

@TrueWiiMaster Very Interesting points you make there, and I agree with some of them, if not quite all. One flaw in your arguement though is when say that with digital downloads, you could potentially be kept from your own property. Games are never your property, you only own the media they're on and have a license to play them on the system they were developed for. If you 'owned' the game itself, what would be to stop you from hacking the code, changing the graphics (say, swapping Mario for Sonic in Super Mario Galaxy) and then releasing the game yourself under a different title, with all proceeds going to you? Obviously you can't do that as you only own a license to play it. That's what copyright laws are for. So, in a situation where the physical media doesn't exist, you don't 'own' anything, therefore you can be forced to pay again and again and again with each console generation for the same game, if you wish to play your older games on newer systems.

Actually, that's pretty much how it works already. You say 'the Wii VC is different because you can still play the originals'. How so? There'd be absolutely nothing to stop Nintendo at any point in the future changing their online services for newer consoles so that things we download now couldn't be transferred to them in the future and we'd have to pay for them again.

What baffles me most though is how some people are actively welcoming a digital distribution only future and think it will lead to lower only have to look at the absurd prices that Sony charges for retail games on PSN (often higher than they sell for in stores complete with box and manual) to know that this won't be the case.



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

If nintendo do this, they need to change from a console based to a account based system. At the moment if my 3ds gets stolen, my eshop account goes with it. My retail games however stay in my possession. If they go for downloadable retail games I would loose them to..



TrueWiiMaster said:

I agree with what you're saying. Just buying a game, digital or not, does not give you the right to play that game on the next generation, nor any other format than the one you bought it on. What I meant earlier was that the companies could keep you from playing a game you bought on the system you bought it for by closing the store on that console. With digital games, space is always important, and it's a common practice to delete a game after playing it to free up room for the next game. If the service is no longer available, you no longer have any way to access the games you bought on the system you bought them on. In an all-digital setup this would mean every game you buy could realistically be withheld in the future by the company you bought it from, forcing you to re-buy it on a new console to play it at all. There would be no option of playing it on the original console, which I feel is a right of the consumer (once I buy a game, assuming I keep it, I should be able to play that game whenever I want on its native system until it breaks).

With the Wii's VC, every game has been released as a hard copy at some point in time; there are no new games. Though they might be expensive, you always have the option of searching for the original cartridges. With the all-digital movement even that would be impossible.

By property I wasn't referring to ownership of the license so much as ownership of the actual copy of the game. When I buy a copy of a game, I'm free to play it, leave it on the shelf, sell it, break it, or give it as a gift. As long as I don't make copies of the game, I can pretty much do whatever I want with it. That freedom is significantly hindered by an exclusively digital distribution.



lmwtw1 said:

I have some digital games I cant play and I cant trade them in. Catridge games can be traded in at gamestop if I cant play them. Sometimes digital games is lost money for me. NOt affordable with limited internet access.



Token_Girl said:

I like the idea of going all digital, as long as price savings are passed along to me. It's somewhat of a double edged sword though. Game prices have to be somewhat high on digital distribution systems now, likely in part to not piss off Sony/Nintendo/M$ofts publishing/retail partners. But if you thing savings will get passed along to us once retail dies - think again. Especially in the case of Nintendo, we've got monopolies at work. Not gonna happen. Hopefully, we'll see more sales as game companies in the stores fight each other.

That being said, bring on the digital revolution. I know Apple isn't always super popular on here, but all of my games have lived through four generations of devices (3G - 4S). I haven't lost any of them (though, to be fair, I don't have that many - probably many unsuccessful games won't get updated). The ideal situation for me would be to buy 1 console, download all of my games, then transfer them all over when the next gen comes out (and I think we're going to start seeing more and more time elapse between each generation, which is nice). We have the internet speeds and hard drive/memory card capacity to make this a reasonably inexpensive and viable option, unless you live in some more rural areas in the US, but let's not get started on all the issues facing infrastructure development/maintenance in this country.



sdcazares1980 said:

@Graph I really hate the trend that there are some games (like Star Wars Galaxies) that are playable ONLY for online, you pay for it, and then because of lack of consumer demand, it just perishes.

However, that's not how most digital downloads work. If a game is no longer on the market, you can still download the game as long as you made the purchase. You don't have to worry about getting the game stolen or erased: you can always download it as many times as you want. That's an awesome advantage.



sdcazares1980 said:

I think there will always be a market for both (as it should be, IMO). We need the physical media to rent games because downloading them would be too much of a hassle. However, I very much prefer the digital media since it takes up a lot less space.

There seems to be a common misconception even if you buy the digital game, you won't download it again if the company goes down under. Not true. The company has a record of your purchase and you can download it as many times as you like. It's just that it won't be available for first time buyers.



Skitrules said:

I would be okay with it as long as it wasnt all digital because i feel like most discs or cartridges have collectoin value and it feels more like i own it but other than that digital is really easy to access so i would also like that a lot because it would be easier to get games.

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