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walker

Death of Retail. No future for the High Street and the Mall?

Is the retail games model in its death throws?  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the retail games model in its death throws?

    • I agree the future is digital download!
      37
    • No the future is DVD consoles, Retail games outlets will never die!
      6
    • On line consoles is the way to go!
      1
    • The future is one game to rule them all!
      8
    • It will all be replaced by some thing we have not seen yet!
      6


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Hi all

I refer you to the recent allusion by Marek about the decline in the number of PC Gaming outlets and that ArmA III's primary market is likely to be Digital Distribution; Sprocket, Steam, etc.

http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?t=119218&page=5

The move to web based distribution meaning out of town shops would decline over the long term as a result, is something I pointed out in 1996 to the head of Tesco distribution for SE England, at the time he poopoohed it and the rest of the people there laughed and said customers will never buy their shopping that way; Tesco is now one the biggest Internet shopping site in the UK, and is rolling out the model in China, the Czech Republic and Poland and this year.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Business/Tesco-Plans-To-Expand-Its-Online-Shopping-In-China-Czech-Republic-And-Poland/Article/201009315737530

I buy the bulk of my shopping online from Tesco with visits to corner shops for essentials and then my local market for bits and pieces or deli counter type purchases.

I certainly buy all White Goods on line; as well as a recent electronic Piano, but I would buy a guitar or mechanical piano from a shop. TVs I went to see before buying. Computers I spec on line then buy in person.

But overall I am buying more and more online.

In the games market retail has been in decline for some time. The retail shops moved to the consoles in the vane hope of the physical security of the DVD/CD would reduce piracy but the reality is that the only long term security model is a dynamic one, which is why those that stuck with PC games like BIS release constant updates and DLC improvements. A security model that can react to piracy cracks and encourage users to constantly download new content, that stays ahead of the cracks, is the future.

A constant drip feed via subscribers is the most successful business model so far. Shown in the Eve Online/WWO/Steam business model.

That is why Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo have moved in that direction too.

It is not that the future is consoles. They were just a reaction by the developers to their constantly loosing Intellectual Property(IP) to an increasingly commercialised Piracy market.

Consequently I predict the death of the Retail Games Stores, Producers and the CURRENT wholesale business, with the last physical Retail outlets being unmanned kiosks, that pump out DVDs or USB files written at the time of purchase, and person who services it from a van filling it with writable DVDs, before it too disappears.

Surprisingly I think there will be a resurgence in the PC market, but with PCs that full fill a gaming standard. In fact I think the future is a black boxed virtual that sits in a PC or Linux or MAC or Android etc providing a standard game environment that developers can then slot their game into.

Anyway I throw this electronic missive in to the forum to start a debate.

I am sure some one will pop in to insult me soon. :D

Kind Regards walker

Edited by walker
Grammar and Spelling

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The future is obviously digital but I'm not happy with that kind of "progress". Same (or higher) prices with fewer consumer rights.

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Buying groceries on the internet hasn't really hit Germany yet, unfortunately, but I buy almost everything else online. Amazon Prime is my friend. :)

I was actually against digital distribution of computer games until about two years ago, when I started using Steam more and more after having used it mainly (and begrudgingly) for Left 4 Dead. After a few months I got used to it, and finally found that it was quite useful, especially being able to install my games straight off the net, wherever I had access to a computer.

At this point, I wouldn't mind if BIS switched exclusively to digital distribution through Sprocket and Steam. More power to them, and screw the big publishers!

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I buy more and more online just becouse I have to. Buying something like grocieries online though is just... dont even know what to say about it. I wouldnt be surprised if kids 20 years from now wont even know how real food tastes like. But thats another story.

Im not happy about digital distribution. I love having games in a box. I remember that people here were not happy about DVD cases back in 2000 or so. Seeing my OPF GOTY box and all the manuals in it brings a smile to my face every time.

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Pretty rare for me to actually encounter another PC Gamer and when it happens, we have a FreeMason like nod of one another.

Rarer still is meeting an actual Arma or Mount&Blade player.

"Ahh, your a gamer eh, ever heard of Arma 2?"

*shrugs* "Nah, is it good? Hey, you ever hear of COD 4?"

.........

The only retail PC games now seem to be COD 2-infinity and Civ/Sims. I remember a store here in the states Electronic Boutique used to have shelf upon shelf of them. *Sigh*

If digital keeps us alive, so be it.

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especially being able to install my games straight off the net, wherever I had access to a computer.

This, 1000 times this.

Not having to drag around a huge box of disks is a huge bonus. I can have almost all my new games installed simultaneously at home, work and on my laptop, with no need to faff around with disks in the drive or whatever.

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Not having to drag around a huge box of disks is a huge bonus. I can have almost all my new games installed simultaneously at home, work and on my laptop, with no need to faff around with disks in the drive or whatever.

Blame obnoxious DRM schemes for that, not retail.

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I'd better not deal with digital distribution much, because due to Murphy's law connection may be lost at the moment of 99%-ready download or installation:)

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Most of my games I buy them online,I like to have the dvd,manual and all that crap.If pc games go 100% digital download I don't like it at all.With Steam you could loose your account and all those games you own if "big brother" wakes up pissed one day.Even though I don't like Steam much at least they have an offline mode unlike other dd services.

In fact I hate all this cloud shit that it seems to expand everywhere,movies,apps,games and how gladly some people accept this.

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Online distribution of course. I'll most likely buy the upcoming BIS titles through sprocket but I'll also buy them as retail. It's always nice to have something you can actually hold in your hands (also don't forget about nice manuals you can read on the way home), not just some 1's and 0's on your harddrive.

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I buy a majority of things online but when my HDD died a last week I was very happy that there were three computer stores in town. I only wish I needed them often enough to be of any use to them. As far as software, I haven't bought a music CD since 2000, or a DVD since probably 2005. I can't see hanging onto these discs either.

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Would say that more and more publishers are trying to sell small packages instead of a big great games. Something that can be very profitable with exclusive digital distribution only. Imagine they'll strip out at least 30-40% off the full game and sell it over the next months for $10 each as DLC. Seems to be a win-win for publishers and the online distribution company...

Guess sooner or later we will see some more restrictive systems that force the potential customer in a one-way road to buy + play games.

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The future even if you like it or not is pushing and being pushed to pure digital everything not just games, cashless, swipe cards, phone swiping, you name it everything is up for the digital transfer ... and then as we are blinded by how cool it all is, none of us have our hands on the off switch, and trap door opens as we are left silently swinging.

Yay! :yay:

Personally I would rather have it as it is now, a mixture of the two, but it doesn't take a 2 year old to work out the way things are going. What i dont like game topic wise is the notion we have only Steam and a select few for downloads, and this marketing affiliation shite with Steam .. IE software developers sucked into the net of the publishers all striking deals with say "Steam only" ... i can see more of that shit happening as things become more dependent on digital only.

I stepped into the digital download abyss with Sprocket and also using Game UK download recently (since up to Operation Arrowhead release I was always physical purchase). I thought they were ok as it was a case of download and key and no "stuck in the steam bubble bloat ware crap").

Strangely some games I dont care of too much like "fun" games I can digital download it, plus digital download is actually strong in the sense that it holds an infinite list of purchase so no "out of stock".

But things Like Arma2 and 3 I would want to own physical copy.

I say keep it mixed (even though it wont stay that way) and keep digital as a good place as archive for older games as the plus part.

I purchased batman Arkham Asylum recently, now this is a good example. Game £14.99 and most other places, then physical copy from Amazon icl postage = £7.99. So another argument is still high cost for the fact that its only bandwidth and other overheads to deal with than middleman and physical distribution and moving stock. I mean as in fixed prices that match the high street, yet its not physical and so no packaging, shipping etc overheads, which I find strange. Its just the one shot package and install data and bandwidth transfer ... once that's set-up and covered the profits are large.

I also am not a fan of this "download as you wish pay us monthly" either, seems that also is unbalanced with money made from it based on what you actually will get and its again, only bandwidth and server maintenance costs.

What im trying to say is there should be a direct reduction in asking price from digital download stores, yet they are not, so why not support physical to keep it alive seeing as its only the benefit of convenience than cost. I have only been dipping into digital for cheap things and older bargain games at the moment, not sure im willing to pay matching asking price for digital, so I will support physical for full price things for now.

Edited by mrcash2009

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Digital distribution will (if it hasn't already) take over. It seems that most of the opinions here are from the point of view of customers, but digital distribution mostly benefits the developers. I would say from a developer point of view, digital distribution is hands-down a much better option, and at the end of the day the devs have gotta chose the best approach for them to stay in business.

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Prefer DVDs. Especially until internet is fast enough to match a DVD in install speed. Online distribution by whatever means is obviously the future. A future I reluctantly accept.

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Digital distribution will (if it hasn't already) take over.

Not only is it more convenient (see my previous post) its better for the environment too. No plastic (disks, boxes) no paper (manuals, cover art), and no production waste (to make all the aforementioned).

Do we really need a disk and a box at the end of the day?

[/EnvironmentalHippyMode]

The theory behind that is that it either drives cost down for the end user (no box or shipping to pay for) or increases profit for the producer (which in the case of "indie" companies like BIS or Mojang is nothing but a good thing. Still have to deal with the corporate evils tho...)

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Prefer DVDs. Especially until internet is fast enough to match a DVD in install speed. Online distribution by whatever means is obviously the future. A future I reluctantly accept.

The god awful YuPlay service (the wannabe Steam), had one positive amenity: torrent downloads.

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I have no idea if this is widely known or not but Valve actually hired the guy who devised the BitTorent protocol to work on Steam. I would guess it's not entirely dissimilar.

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Not only is it more convenient (see my previous post) its better for the environment too. No plastic (disks, boxes) no paper (manuals, cover art), and no production waste (to make all the aforementioned).

Do we really need a disk and a box at the end of the day?

Do you Really need to pay the same cost for less then? The green angle is still flawed becuase games still push for new PC equipment and tech, all the power used to run servers and PC's ... all the old kit being thrown away, you could go on and on with that one.

The only time it will fully come to the only choice is when enough outlets move over to it and then the cost comes down (asking price without all the paper box and physical distribution overheads) take that off and charge for a data transfer bandwidth cost and then they might have something.

Lets face it pirated games (sorry to bring this up) is exactly the same process minus your key information of what you really pay for, the data is simply a install folder of a few gigs on a server to grab to your hard disk ... just binary. My point is, nothing to do with support of pirating but pirating was digital downloading before the days of official ways to do it, they had no costs or profit to work with (which ties in with mr Torrent protocol himself). Im just saying that overheads (shipping, packaging, creation boxing and so on) and costs come into the retail price and VAT etc, but the cost of all digital games should at least be less than on the physical side to be realistic, your simply torrenting binary in a few gigs package to pay for the key to set it up.

Thats why at the moment im reluctant to buy bran new games via digital download (as i said before I buy bran new physical copies) becuase they are same as physical price, so why not have the box and manual and things to look at read and store it in? Or are the green brigade going to pull out the al gore mantra and have me on that (I joke).

Im all for the companies getting their money back and developers, plus server costs, but can it really be matched to the overheads of physical and justify the exact same asking price? Plus we all know about mark up costs, so I still dont see how they can be same as retail/physical.

Plus digital download assumes internet connection access and enough bandwidth of the access, its still a case that many places and areas are not set for this for all manner of reasons. Then, you can also argue the costs you have to make for having the internet connection rather than having no cost for it and going out like the old days and getting a game in a shop and happily play it without any internet.

As long as its an option next year I will want to get Arma3 physical copy as with every other that I have purchased. DLC or addons, digital download, old bargain games, digital download, thats my "work flow" :)

Edited by mrcash2009

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Do you Really need to pay the same cost for less then?

No, thats why I expand on the theroy (and its failings) in the rest of my post ;)

As for the green thing, indeed, (and I couldnt really care). But less plastic use is always good...

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I know mate, I was banging the point home that was all hehe :)

But less plastic use is always good...

Does that mean we should ban boy band MP3 downloads? :)

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The green angle is still flawed becuase games still push for new PC equipment and tech, all the power used to run servers and PC's ... all the old kit being thrown away, you could go on and on with that one.

Perfect solution fallacy. Reducing unnecessary waste may not lower the energy consumption of our computers (which would exist regardless), reverse global warming, fix the ozone layer and suck you off after a hard days work, but it will still help. That's what counts. ;)

As for the whole thing about the asking price being the same, I agree that's certainly something that needs to change. The question is, how much? After all, when you buy a game you're not just paying for a plastic box, a leaflet and a few discs; the product you are purchasing is the game itself, which makes up the bulk of the actual value. It could even be argued that your copy of the game is worth the whole 50€ and that the packaging and disc were provided to you for free, simply as a medium for you to install it. By that reasoning, a digital copy of the game that comes with a digital handbook would have the same intrinsic value, merely provided on a different medium.

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