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Game Retailers Hurting Themselves With Digital Distribution

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-download-a-guitar dept.

The Almighty Buck 167

GameBiz recently had the chance to speak with Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, about pricing and distribution within the games industry. Wardell follows up a bit on the Demigod piracy fiasco from a few days ago, and mentions that retail outlets may be on their way out. "Retailers need to be careful about this stuff. They're kind of signing their own death warrants once they push digital distribution at the store. Once you have the thing set up — once you've experienced how to purchase the game or deal with it online — why would I go back to the store for the next purchase? Especially if the store isn't providing added value. If you're a retailer, you're killing yourself. If I can't get a game off Impulse, I'm going to Steam. I like stores, but I'm really lazy."

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Hey Soulskill, wanna date me? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656771)

Do you ever read these threads? Would you like to date me? (You seem incredibly gay, so I had to ask!!)

Yes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656871)

I would like to date you. But I have this Jurassic Park roleplay thing. I have to be Dennis Nedry, and you have to be either John Hammond or Timmy. It's usually a pretty big turn-off to the guys, so I wait until someone is interested in me before I bring it up now...just shoot me an email [mailto] , and let's talk about this!

Also, I wrote a poem about us. What do you think?? :)

Do you know what it is to be an outsider
on the other side of the fence?
How alone you would feel, if excluded you were.
Does it make any sense?

Can you imagine the isolated soul
with no-one in sight to hear
the cries and the tears that your heart would shed,
and the constant, looming fear?

Can you see in your mind the life of a man
without anywhere to belong?
Because a society judged him unworthy,
because they think they're right, and he's wrong.

Try and imagine the pain that you'd feel,
with sneers and hateful words, and spit at your heels.
What would it be like if the gates were locked;
you couldn't get in, and you couldn't get out?

Imagine the feeling that you're worthless,
some dirt that's been stepped on by someone's uncaring shoe.
Perhaps at that point it's too much for your heart,
and you take your own life, to stop it hurting you.

Imagine this world, for maybe a minute,
after that you can stop; you don't like it, sure
but there are people who go through this every day,
and they can't stop it, unless they're no more.

So when you hear of hate, bigots and death,
don't side with haters, cause that's how you've been bred.
Imagine how it is, or was for that guy,
the one that's hurt, or lying dead.

So imagine the feelings and memories too,
of people oppressed, hated, abused;
Of people who lived outside of that fence
and what they came to - does it make sense?

See ya later this week, I hope!

--ScuttleMonkey

Seems kinda obvious. (3, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656781)

If you go into Dymocks or Barnes & Noble or some other book store, you don't really expect them to say "go buy it from Amazon.com", do you?

This applies even more so for digital media where the entire product can be downloaded (barring shiny manuals and soforth that rarely happen these days anyway). Isn't a physical retailer becoming irrelevant anyway?

Re:Seems kinda obvious. (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656807)

Borders advertises their online presence in their stores. I personally stopped buying paper books about 3 years ago.

Seems is all there is. (2, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656929)

Books don't run on a computer. You can "download" a book, but using a laptop to read a book is inconvenient, and an e-book reader is expensive and clumsy.

But software needs to run ON the computer. There's no real benefit to the packaging and/or CD itself once it's installed, other than you can get $3 selling it back to (ahem) the local software/games store.

Used games is what the local software store makes money on, anyway. I bought GTA 3 for PS2 at the local store for $7, and I doubt the the original guy got more than $2 for the game.

Re:Seems is all there is. (3, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656963)

You all seem to be ignoring that deep down, most of us are still hunter-gatherers.

Personally, I like reading stuff on screen. Gives me way less cramps than holding a book or keeping my head at weird angles because the book is on the table. Yet, when I buy stuff, I want a physical presentation of that to put on a shelf. I want my books looking as nice as possible, I want my movies as DVDs and I want the good games to have the packaging standing around somewhere (with such a low number of good games coming out these days, the space used is negligible).

What I'd like to see is this: I go to Amazon, buy a book/movie/game/music and they'll send it just as we're used to. Then there's the option, like a gift wrap, to download the thing for another 3 bucks (gotta pay for bandwidth and server storage after all).

That's the way I want it. I don't want to have to bend over backwards to get my digital content from my media onto my harddrive. Even worse with non-digital content. The mind boggles at the thought of scanning a whole book let alone half a dozen or more. Considering that publishers have digital versions of just about anything they produce, one should think this would be a piece of cake.

Re:Seems is all there is. (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657907)

What I'd like to see is this: I go to Amazon, buy a book/movie/game/music and they'll send it just as we're used to. Then there's the option, like a gift wrap, to download the thing for another 3 bucks (gotta pay for bandwidth and server storage after all).

Nah, that's redundant. Why should I have to pay to get dead trees when I only want to read it on the screen? You like dead trees, that's fine, but I don't have the skyscrapers to put all my downloaded books in. (Naturally, all from a legal source, and naturally, I wouldn't have this many if I had to build a library to store them.)

Maybe download could be a delivery option, but forcing me to get it in two formats is just weird.

Re:Seems is all there is. (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658233)

I said that's what _I_ would like to see. Naturally, the other way round wouldn't be rocket science after that.

Read on your Mobile (2, Insightful)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657253)

A good mobile phone can be used to read eBooks. And that is not at all expensive and clumsy.

I know it is off topic but I hate amazon for breaking the mobipocket idea of "read on the device you already own" to push there Kindle thingy.

So stupid - got the whole infrastructure for platform in-depended eBooks when they purchased mobipocket and they broke it.

Re:Read on your Mobile (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657481)

Ebook readers have screens that are so much nicer to read for long periods of time, it's just like reading a real book, and not at all like having a light shining in your eyes.

I was going to buy one for my commute (by train), but then I noticed my nearest public library was just over the road from the station and didn't bother.

A good solution would be to put an e-paper screen on a phone, although currently that'd be at the expense of watching video etc.

Re:Read on your Mobile (2, Informative)

krischik (781389) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657913)

I don't mind eBook readers. What I do mind is reduction of choice or unnecessary and incompatible changes to an established file format.

Mobipocket can be read on various eBook devices, Windows PCs, PDAs and Smartphones.
Mobipocket. You can buy Mobipocket eBooks from about a dozen shops - most of which even features in the Mobipocket software them self.

Mobipocket was inviting other companies to join in.

And what did Amazon do after they purchased Mobipocket? A minor but incompatible change to the file format and reduction to just one device.

Re:Seems is all there is. (0)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657389)

There's no real benefit to the packaging and/or CD itself once it's installed

There's the useful advantage of having the physical media. It came up before in a previous topic, but I'd still rather have the physical item rather than the binary download because a) it won't get lost in a disk crash or reinstall etc, b) the DRM is (generally) still slightly less and c) it is generally easier to install it on a second computer (for use at a different time rather than getting multiple copies from a single purchase).

Re:Seems is all there is. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658211)

There is one good reason for buying it at the store - price.

Spore, when it came out here in good old rip-off Britain, was a whole 10 pounds more expensive online than it was in store.
WTF? Surely it's cheaper to push some bits around than to ship it out? And 10 pounds? That's a lot.

Either way, I went to GAME and got it there. Now I not only have physical media, but I got it for three quarters the price.

Re:Seems kinda obvious. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657657)

A business owner should not allow sentimental opinions about the method of marketing or delivering the product to limit his business. The business owner should seek to implement the model or models that maximise the profit of the company. Or someone else will, be able to thrive with lower prices, and then put the sentimental business owner out of business.

Social considerations can be difficult to balance with the need to maximise profits and be lean.

Not necessarily (3, Interesting)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656797)

With music, the stuff that really matter to me, the musicians I really like, e.g. U2, Def Leppard, etc. I still buy the physical CD even though I could just as easily buy the digital versions from the comfort of my room. Not only am I a completist, I am a fan of those bands. My "B-class" bands or one-hit wonders, yeah I do buy the digital versions.

Same principle with games. I've been waiting for StarCraft II, Diablo III, etc. Even if I could get them digitally (if offered), I'd still buy them from the local store when they come out. I've gladly paid a premium for the physical copies of the games I really like over the years. Not just for the nostalgia, but also to support our local store.

Re:Not necessarily (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657047)

That's nice that you buy the CD, but you're part of group of consumers that are fast becoming a minority.

Obviously game stores won't disappear soon, but they'll definitely become very niche, for collectors. Forget about nationwide chains. Remember "Tower Records"?

Re:Not necessarily (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657129)

There is a "Tower Records" in the mall near me (AEON Okazaki, Japan), it is just the stores in the US that liquidated.
Too bad so many of the CDs in that store are over ¥3,000.

Re:Not necessarily (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657835)

Too bad so many of the CDs in that store are over ¥3,000.

You're so exotic! Do you read mangas all the time?

Pity us poor fools who don't know the exchange rate between our local currency and the Nippenny.

3000 Bells, says the raccoon (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657937)

Pity us poor fools who don't know the exchange rate between our local currency and the Nippenny.

Let me Google that for you: 3000 yen in usd [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657925)

Are you sure? At the Takashimaya near me (Matsuyama, Japan) there used to be a Tower Records in there, but it's now a Tsutaya. The store might be there, but it might be a different chain.

Re:Not necessarily (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657143)

But why buy from the store? If you attend the concerts, you can usually buy every album you want at a discount, with no retailer involved.

For less well known bands (i.e. not U2 and Def Leppard) the amount you save by purchasing albums at the show can cover the entire ticket price.

Re:Not necessarily (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657535)

The small artists I see seem to charge more for their CDs at a show than it would cost me to get them from Amazon.

For instance, I saw Zeromancer [www.last.fm] a couple of weeks ago. They wanted £14 (or more? can't really remember) for their latest album, but it's available for £9.25 on Amazon marketplace. Admittedly, that's from the USA, but I don't mind waiting a couple of weeks for CDs to arrive.

I'd like to support local independent record stores, my favourite is Resurrection Records [resurrectionmusic.com] in Camden, London, since they're the only specialist industrial/gothic store I know. The CDs are mostly £14-20, but they're £2-3 less on Amazon, and another £3-6 less on Amazon marketplace.

Apparently, I can get music recommendations from the record store. I've never asked though, I just go to last.fm and click "Similar Artists", or go to a gig and remember what the support acts are called.

Re:Not necessarily (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658275)

By making that choice you're supporting the "music industry" rather than "the artists". Granted, the producers make as much money either way, but by purchasing directly from the band you would cut the distributors out of the money, and give a proportionally larger amount to the group (who will hopefully put out another album for you to enjoy.)

Put it this way: buying a £9.25 disc from Amazon you'd give £6 to the producer and the RIAA, and £3 to the store, leaving about 25p to the artist. Buying a £14 disc at the show you'd still give £6 to the producer and the RIAA, but £8 to the artist.

Go away, you're not 21 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657961)

If you attend the concerts

A lot of bands play in bars and in other venues that are legally classified as bars [itstheparty.com] , shutting out their fans under age 21. By the time a fan is old enough to attend a concert, the band will likely have broken up.

Re:Not necessarily (2, Interesting)

Urd.Yggdrasil (1127899) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657681)

I still buy CD's as well, but it's mainly due to a lack of quality online downloads. When you buy a game at a store or on Steam you get exactly the same game, but buying a lossy mp3 isn't the same as ripping a CD to FLAC. If there were some decent online retailers of lossless audio I would probably buy from there.

Re:Not necessarily (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658259)

I still buy CDs, but for me it's largely a question of price. The last few albums I've bought have been cheaper on CD from Amazon (including delivery) than they've been from the iTunes store. Given the choice between a CD which I can store somewhere as a backup and can rip in any format I want, or paying more for an AAC version, it's a pretty easy choice. If I could buy them online for $2-3 then an album would be an impulse purchase and I'd buy a lot more.

why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (5, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656801)



Online distro favors devs / publishers for several reasons:
  • Cut the retailer out of the cost column.
  • Reduce packaging expenses.
  • Reduce overhead.
  • Small guy boutique can make a fortune with just a spare-time effort..
  • End user can't re-sell the purchased product.

The last is the huge one. Adobe and Microsoft have tried all kinds of tactics to supress consumers' ability to re-sell software. The game companies no doubt hate seeing used game transactions taking place without them getting a cut. With online distro, the re-sell market is crippled.

Seth

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656843)

# Small guy boutique can make a fortune with just a spare-time effort.

That's a good thing, considering spare-time effort often results in a better product than what big studios can produce.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

f0dder (570496) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656901)

Seriously... name one small boutique game that's consistently better than the big boys? I think you're full of shit. Starcraft, Counter-Strike, Total Annihilation, MechWarrior4, Crimson Skies, Sub Command, 688i, IL-2 Strummovik, Falcon 4, FallOut, Warcraft series, Diablo series. World of Warcraft, Everquest, Dark Ages of Camelot.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656933)

Starcraft, Counter-Strike, Total Annihilation, MechWarrior4, Crimson Skies, Sub Command, 688i, IL-2 Strummovik, Falcon 4, FallOut, Warcraft series, Diablo series. World of Warcraft, Everquest, Dark Ages of Camelot.

With the exception of Fallout, I'd take Cave Story or N+ over any of those.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657009)

Nice cherry-picked list of names you've got there, as though that's somehow typical of what "the big boys" produce. How about Spore, Alone in the Dark, Madden Roster Update 2010, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games and Golden Axe: Beast Rider. I'll stick with my "spare time" efforts like Braid, thanks.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657203)

Cherry picked? So what? Doesn't the smart gamer cherry pick the games they buy? If they don't cherry pick the quality titles they're not really a smart gamer are they? Smart gamers don't buy crap.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657269)

Then what were you trying to prove with that list? Nobody said that [name of indy game goes here] was better than the absolute best of "big-name" games.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657245)

Alone in the Dark

You're kidding, right? AitD was the first modern survival horror game! It had evil dogs bursting through windows four years before Resident Evil turned it into a cliche. It used 3D layouts and polygon characters back when most games were stuck on sprites. Genre-defining, period.

Man, it'd be dreadful if they'd tried to "reimagine" it last year. Thank heaven that never happened.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657285)

Braid wasn't a spare time effort, it was full time though made with a smaller team than the big name games.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657471)

Thus the quotation marks.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657549)

Nice cherry picked name you've got there, as though that's somehow typical of what "spare time efforts" produce. There's a whole lot more crappy flash games with no redeeming value whatsoever than crappy professional games with no redeeming value whatsoever.

I'll just add a few names to his list. Fear, Battlefield 1942, Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, Homeworld, Deus Ex, Call of Duty, Freelancer, Freespace 2, Mafia, Grand Theft Auto, Far Cry, LOMAC, Total War, Need for Speed, Thief, World in Conflict, Ground Control.

If I really think hard, I can come up with two low budget games I really love: Dwarf Fortress and Mount and Blade. I didn't even like N.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657693)

The original claim was:

That's a good thing, considering spare-time effort often results in a better product than what big studios can produce.

Emphasis added for the terminally retarded.
Here, I'll use small words.
1) AC claimed that spare-time efforts often result in better games than what a big studio can produce.
2) f0dder responded with a list of good games that big studios have produced.

Unless you can provide evidence that spare-time efforts often result in products better than the list f0dder gave, then the original claim stands. It's called logic. It's something that woefully underused organ between your ears is supposed to be used for.

That being said, I can only think of a few indie efforts whatsoever that are in the same league as that list (e.g Braid, World of Goo, Geometry wars), and none of those are really "spare time" efforts. There's a whole steaming pile of indie crap out there as well, so you really can't say indie stuff is "often" better than what big studios can produce.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (2, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657077)

Ummm, do you realize that Counter Strike was originally a mod for Half-life?

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658295)

Not only that, it was the entire reason a lot of people I know bought Half Life (I had a copy already, received as a christmas gift). Half Life was fun in single player, but in multiplayer it was just okay. Different enough from Quake to be played for some variety, but not particularly exciting. Then came Counterstrike, which was a completely different game, and suddenly everyone was playing that instead of Quake at LAN parties and was buying legal copies of Half Life to play it on online servers. Without Counterstrike, I doubt Half Life would have been anything like the commercial success it was.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657109)

Another one: it screws over the assholes at gamestop. There was some speculation that gamestop was trying to punish stardock for digital distribution. There's as of yet no evidence that I know of to suggest it. I wouldn't be surprised though, gamestop is fond of trying to annoy people into giving them money.

The game companies no doubt hate seeing used game transactions taking place without them getting a cut.

A bit of a tangent, but I just have to point out that many other goods are sold second hand, they only rarely result in direct profit for the original manufacturer, and that hasn't hurt those other industries. I think game manufacturers are being absolutely ridiculous, if car manufacturers suggested the same thing, they'd be burned at the stake.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

MortimerV (896247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657273)

First StarForce posting a link to a torrent of Galactic Civilizations II, [gamespot.com] now Gamestop breaking the street date. We can only assume that Stardock is doing something right, to be earning so many high-profile enemies!

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

MortimerV (896247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657295)

Now that I think about it, a better place for this would've been in the article about Gamestop breaking the street date. Oh well, it's probably been posted there already.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657821)

Your forgot to include the troubles and issues of online distros:
1) You MUST support every single country's credit card. On the internet nobobody cares you are from USA or EU. They wanna play. And if you limit them, you pay the price of a pirated copy.
2) You MUST have 24x7x365 online access. No lunch breaks, no Christmas holidays, no bathroom breaks. Your time is NOT your time. You don't own it anymore. Even if you fail and go bankrupt you MUST provide access to your products. For instance i bought a huge number of mobipocket ebooks from paperbackdigital.com They went kaput. What did mobipocket.com say? Not our problem. What did i do? Downloaded pirated copies of those books. Would i trust mobipocket once more? NOPE. Did they get the message? NOPE.
3) Localized problems are Global problems. As i said earlier, if your online server is down due to a power cutoff (a la NYC) or Earthquake, your customer in Florida or South Africa doesn't care a sh1t. OTOH if you had sold through GameStop and Keene,NH Gamestop closed due to earthquake, it was not your problem. Welcome to One World.
4) You WILL be using a brand new mode of distribution: one that did not exist for 100 years. if you are shipping DVDs to Gamestop, you used a distribution that was tested over time, perfected over time, clockwork, covered under bank guarantees, etc. Not digital.
5) You WILL pay for bandwidth. Bandwidth is free is a myth. Steam will charge you for distribution by volume. Impulse does the same. Only other seemingly free route is BitTorrent, but only if you allow others to seed without permission. That means allowing unknown people to load up all your DVDs on to their plane, throwing it out of the window over towns, villages and cities, and You ferevntly hoping a few of those morons call you, pay you to load the Game on to their PCs. Tough Luck. OTOH, if you use DRM to control installs, you pay the price of a backlash where your Game will be pirated out of spite.
6) Unless you are paying the costs for every piracy, meaning you pay for bandwidth so that some thief can play your game without paying you, stop worrying about piracy. If your printing presses were not used to print your book, you are not paying the cost. And NO, not every pirated copy is a valid sale. 11 yr old kids don't have 49.99 They WILL pirate. Get used to it. Be happy you are not paying for their torrents.
All said and done, make sure you are funded adequeately. Banks get queasy when you don't include DRM and all that crap.
Good Luck.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658013)

You MUST support every single country's credit card.

What developed countries do payment processors such as PayPal and Google Checkout not support?

Localized problems are Global problems.

That's why you put eggs in more than one basket: host your downloads on multiple servers at multiple hosting companies.

You WILL be using a brand new mode of distribution: one that did not exist for 100 years.

The Internet is a packet telegraph network. Electrical telegraphy was commercialized in the 1840s.

You WILL pay for bandwidth.

Then design your product to use less bandwidth. If Nintendo can fit Super Mario Bros. into 40 KB, and .theprodukkt can fit .kkrieger [wikipedia.org] into 96 KB, think of what your team can do with 100,000 KB.

11 yr old kids don't have 49.99

Did you mean "35 year old moms don't have 49.99"?

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658285)

What i stated was preconditions for sole online distros. PayPal and iTunes do not exactly match.
iTunes still accepts PayPal, but PayPal insists (Apple) that my account is funded with a US billing address. Like i care.
You are talking about Hosting. Am talking about others too.
Electrical Telegraphy did NOT send Moby Dick to my home. The internet can. 24x7.
Payment for bandwidth is advice to the newcomers. Most think bandwidth is free. To make sure they understand that they can't send across a 1.7GB crap called Tales of Valor and cry when AT&T charges them.
So, why exactly were you commenting my posts?

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27658081)

On 5);

Is it not possible to develop a BitTorrent client which works on a subscription and the .torrent files encrypted so they can't be used in other torrent clients to prevent piracy?

Just a theory.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658335)

True. But allowing the whole Game to be distributed by others is a better choice. Like WarCraft clients. Hell i can install it in as many PCs i want.
I can download it from anywhere.
But that's limited to online play.
While the game executable can be distributed by anyone, to unlock would require a special file, got by purchasing (much like earlier day shareware or even WinRAR, but more robust).
 

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658103)

"4) You WILL be using a brand new mode of distribution: one that did not exist for 100 years. if you are shipping DVDs to Gamestop, you used a distribution that was tested over time, perfected over time, clockwork, covered under bank guarantees, etc. Not digital."

Let's see... Gamestop broke the Demigod street date last week. That's when it's even possible to FIND a new PC game there (good luck at the ones near me).

If Gamestop has this retail thing "perfected", its no wonder everybody wants to get away from that model ASAP.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658197)

Gamestop was ONE Retailer. BestBuy, Walmart, etc. also exist. Compare that with sole online distro.

Re:why the devs / publisher's LOVE online distro (2, Insightful)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658517)

This is a double-edged sword. They'll probably need to re-do their pricing structure, because many people who currently pay $60 for a game do so knowing they can get half of that expense back on the used market.

No Thanks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656825)

I liked Stardock before they went all Impulse crazy.
But now:
- Maybe the game wont activate in the future
- Who knows what kind of spyware is in Impulse
- No separately downloadable patches

I bought Sins but was rather unhappy when they switched the patching system to Impulse. So you could no longer play online (game versions must match between players) unless you installed their spyware.

No thanks, if I wanted Steam I'd go with Steam.
Is it so wrong to want to buy a truly DRM-free game?
On a DVD (which I can backup), with no passwords/serials to forget/lose?

Re:No Thanks (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657299)

- Who knows what kind of spyware is in Impulse

If that's your worry you should never buy any binary blobs from anyone. They don't need an online download platform to stick spyware into, they could just do that with the code you buy at retail.

Re:No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657325)

That's what firewalls are for.

We already know Steam keeps all kinds of statistics about your hardware, how long you play each game, who you play against etc etc.. Along with your account details they can build a nice profile.

Thanks for the strawman though.

Re:No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657469)

That's what firewalls are for.

Um no, actually firewalls are for blocking and filtering network data based on port usage (talking about the firewalls you get on windows, not complex iptables setups.)

Firewalls don't do a damn thing when you download and install a file.

Also, I can't argue with the poster 3 levels higher, because every point he makes is a legitimate concern, and yes, he shouldn't consider binary blobs to be safe. Some people are fine going through life not concerning themselves with stuff like this, but if security is a concern, then stick with open source stuff you compile yourself.

Re:No Thanks (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657849)

...because there isn't any way to give open source spyware to the average computer user, right?

Re:No Thanks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658055)

Firewalls don't do a damn thing when you download and install a file.

They do when you block any network connection from a program not approved by you. Spyware could pipe its connections through the programs already on your system (e.g. wget); to block that, you can run each non-free application in a VM with no access to the Internet.

but if security is a concern, then stick with open source stuff you compile yourself.

Including the compiler [wikipedia.org] ? Besides, what sort of open-source self-compiled platform fighting game replaces, say, Super Smash Bros. Brawl?

Re:No Thanks (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658125)

"Is it so wrong to want to buy a truly DRM-free game?
On a DVD (which I can backup), with no passwords/serials to forget/lose?"

The 82% piracy rate on Demigod last week that took down the entire server infrastructure would suggest that yes, there's a problem with that model. It's not terribly good at keeping the companies who make the games in business.

Re:No Thanks (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658445)

Do you have any financial data from Stardock to back that up? Of course not, because Stardock is making money hand over fist.

Cries proclaiming the death of media companies (especially the recording and film industries) would be far more convincing if I didn't keep hearing the words "record profits" bandied about whenever a story doesn't mention piracy.

The PC gaming industry as a whole MAY be the exception to this, but Stardock isn't.

communism = forced economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656831)

The people who most despise communism and are staunch criticizers of communism (a.k.a. retail businessman who got rich from retailing goods), actually have to rely on the communism idea of a planned economy (i.e. government intervention to limit the digital distribution industry and protection of retail industry) for the retailing industry to survive.

What irony.

Re:communism = forced economy (4, Informative)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656965)

Right, because before Marx, there was no government intervention in economies. I'm guessing you're from the USA by the casual way you throw the term "Communist" around.

Re:communism = forced economy (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656981)

Government as referee is different from government as boss.

Re:communism = forced economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657021)

Isn't that pure capitalism? Retailers buy politicians to pass laws to protect their business.

Re:communism = forced economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657163)

Pure capitalism can only happen when there isn't politicians to buy out.

Re:communism = forced economy (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657317)

Okay, then make it bribing the local functionaries of the mob or whoever else managed to get the firepower advantage first.

Game retailers are antiquated (3, Interesting)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656855)

It's a highly inefficient operation in terms of getting a good return from the shelf space. It's taken up by giant empty boxes that don't do anything.

Here's an idea. Tear down these remaining stores and turn them into arcades with every game loaded on a server with terminals all around. You pay-for-play and if you decide it's something you'd enjoy pay for a copy on a USB stick. Now you have instant gratification and avoidance of downloading of 3 gigs of shit on Steam.

Game retailers .. antiquated - What is their Role? (1)

The_Myth (84113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656905)

This is actually not a bad idea. I walked into my local EBGames store to get a classic old fashioned Joystick to play X-Wing vs Tie fighter as my current computer doesnt have a MIDI port to pulg my old joystick into. Where they used to stock hardware like this there were a couple of racks of Wii Controller covers, DS and PSP "Skins" Bargin bins of empty boxes and shelves lined with more empty boxes and Collectible Card Games behind the counter.

The only Joystick they had was under a bargin bin out of sight. I had to ask a staff member did they still sell them. The staff member had to ask the manager who asked another assistent where they moved the old stock to. The second assistant pulled out this old Logitech box (circa 2005) and said it was the only one they had. Ironically is that it comes with a 12 month warrantee that as I had just bought it is only now coming into effect.

With MMOGs, the PS3/Xbox360/Wii marketplaces and things like Steam what role does the game shop serve now? If not this one of demoing the game to get you to want to buy it then what?

Re:Game retailers .. antiquated - What is their Ro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657065)

It's a different experience.

Some people still like to have something physical. Something the store cannot take away from you because for some reason they decide to turn off their servers.

If you buy in a retail store, you can play the game now. If you buy in a download store, you have to wait several hours for the download and in my experience in 1/4 to 1/3 of the cases another 1-2 days for support because their precious store has a bunch of bugs.

Re:Game retailers .. antiquated - What is their Ro (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658087)

If you buy in a retail store, you can play the game now.

No; you have to wait days for shipping when the retail store has to special order the title you want.

Re:Game retailers .. antiquated - What is their Ro (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657327)

EB/GameStop have a very small store and almost no hardware, you'd have been better off asking at an electronics retailer, they have entire shelves of joysticks with unpacked ones placed on the top of the shelf so you can try them out before picking one.

Which electronics store (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658115)

you'd have been better off asking at an electronics retailer, they have entire shelves of joysticks with unpacked ones placed on the top of the shelf so you can try them out before picking one.

I tried a Best Buy store in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it had two PC game controllers on display: an Xbox 360 USB gamepad (compatible out of the box with Windows XP Service Pack 1 and newer, but apparently not Ubuntu Hardy) and a Logitech gamepad. Conspicuous by their absence were arcade-style PC joysticks.

Confusing Headline (4, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656877)

How is it that "Game Retailers" are hurting "Themselves".

Shouldn't the headline read "Online Game Distributors killing Game Retailers"?

I haven't seen any actions on the Game Retailers part that is hurting themselves except for existing. I suppose you could argue they should have become what steam is. But that's passively letting yourself die out.

Re:Confusing Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656917)

The idea is that Game Retailers are hurting themselves by promoting online distribution. If they push online distribution they are basically telling they're customers to not come back to their store, and instead do everything online.

While this could be bad for the retailers, not moving to online distribution soon would be a worse mistake, as can be seen with Hollywood Video and Blockbuster here in the US.

If only there was something that gave more info (0, Troll)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656957)

Perhaps something like a linked article!

Fuckwit.

Surprise Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27656961)

I'm not surprised to see the Demigod case(quick recap: the multiplayer servers were slowed for a day by pirated copies that were attempting to connect for registration) being touted in another anti-piracy article, even though the company behind Demigod stated themselves that the problem was their own, not piracy.

Re:Surprise Surprise (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657019)

Well, the person they're interviewing is in fact a representative of the Demigod company, so of course they're going to ask him about it.

Also, they took responsibility for the pirates hampering the game for the legit users... but didn't exactly say that the server problems weren't the fault of the pirates. They said that they shouldn't have configured their game so that the large number of pirate copies (which they say they should have anticipated) affected the gameplay experience of the paying customers.

In short: they state that the problem was caused by pirates, but that they shouldn't have allowed the pirate copies to fuck up the experience for their paying customers; piracy is inevitable and should be planned for; and that pirate copies are usually not lost sales. Their biggest regret was that some customers who pre-ordered were left feeling like chumps when the pirates got copies first thanks to Gamestop. All in all, a very astute and correct analysis of the situation, I think.

Re:Surprise Surprise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657599)

The problem was not caused by piracy. Demigod automatically polled an update server with HTTPS to check for updates, and the update server was hosted coincidentally with the actual game servers. They were brought to their knees by a large number of requests, and it would have happened even if they had sold 100,000 copies. The means by which those 100,000 clients got into people's hands has nothing to do with it.

Re:Surprise Surprise (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658089)

Hmm. They obviously didn't account for the actual load; I had thought it was due to failing to account for piracy, but now that you mention it, I suppose 100,000 legitimate copies is not an unreasonable number for the opening month of a new game (although probably far higher than what they actually expected). Having that load arrive earlier than the game's actual street date probably didn't help matters, either.

I guess my point is that it's not hard to imagine that the architecture they had *would* have handled the load of all the reasonably expectable sales. So I think it's hard to say that the 9 pirate users hitting the server for each actual paid-for-copy had nothing to do with its inability to handle the load. You're absolutely correct that 100,000 legitimate sales would have been just as bad for the infrastructure, but that seems a high number of early sales for a frankly small-fish game to my ignorant self. You're likewise correct that they should never have set up their server architecture that way, and they agree.

Used game sales (1)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656969)

With no more used game sales, the publishers can finally have everyone buy new copies and be rid of their number two complaint.

It'll be a slow transition, but we'll eventually see them discount games down to factor this in, right?

online retailers (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27656987)

Most of the games I buy are through online retailers. I prefer to own a physical copy. I don't like spending over 20 euros on something I cannot touch. (That, and I'm a sucker for collectors editions.) And I don't mind waiting a few days. Offline retailers usually suck, because it's a big mess. It's not easy to find stuff or browse through the whole collection.

Whaaat?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657059)

This crazy man's statement is so backwards, it's millions of years ago, in this dinosaur conversation:

Mammal: Hey Dino, there's a cold snap coming on, maybe you should get warm-blooded and grow som fur.

Dino: Nah, us dinosaurs would be hurting ourselves by doing that. If we were all warm and furry, why would we need our cold reptile skin??

Online is not really cheaper... (3, Interesting)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657079)

It seems to be popular opinion that downloads cost are so close to zero that it does not matter. Well after pricing bandwidth deals for servers and minimum bandwidth cost, since you need enough bandwidth for peak demand not average. I was surprised that pressing DVD's and posting could easily be cheaper.

I can get 1000 DVD pressed for 30p including art on the disk and a 4 page slick. 10000 is much cheaper since it can use the same master. Its not much more for a box. Postage is pretty cheap if your not using amazon pricing as a guide. Now for bulk distribution to shops, I would estimate that is cheaper to sell box sets that online copies.

Really the price of infrastructure is the killer here. If you could get away with average bandwidth rather than peak it wouldn't be so bad.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27657135)

You need a small lesson in Economics 101 my friends:
1) The cost of a product is NOT equal to its cost of manufacture, storage, shipping & profit. It is much more complex. For instance store display: Shelves are pricey. If you do not want your Game to be relegated to the corner, you better be prepared to give the Retailer a larger share of your take.
2) The cost of in-store advertising, banking costs (LoC, and other bank costs), add up to your margin; Seriously you are not thinking of shipping 100,000 copies of Tales of Valor to Gamestop without buying insurance against their bankruptcy, not to mention getting their banker to issue you a letter of credit, accounting fiascos, etc. Its not just production+marketing costs. (FYI marketing is NOT selling. Marketing includes everything).
3) Storage space, warehouse rentals, insurance, shipper costs, insurance, finances, banking lines of credit, etc., take a bite out of your profit.
Getting a DVD manufacturer to press 1000 DVD at 30p is the start of your troubles. The maker will charge you for shipping to/from his factory, you need space to store it till you ship it to shops/retailers/direct purchases, money to tide you over until then, etc.
Which is why CDs cost $19.99. (all of the money does not line up the RIAA pockets. And NO, am NOT a supporter of RIAA/MPAA. I buy my music from Russian websites).
So, there goes your arguments.
Being Digital involves a different set of troubles: You need to purchase bandwidth and in this age of throttling, double-dipping by AT&T, you need the clout of Google and the bank balance of Bill Gates to muscle in on a online store like Impulse or Steam. They handle your troubles for a fee. And that is not cheap.
You need to tie up with PayPal or credit card processors who take a a cut.
You need to make sure your latest fixpacks or updates are shipped via the same media.
You need to make sure your online support is available 24x7x365. And NO, you cannot set timings like 9AM-6PM Central. You DO NOT sell at BestBuy. The customers fix your timing. And according to them they ARE calling you at 9.30AM their time. NO they don't care if its 10.30PM your time.
You need to make sure that if you want to sell a second Game you better be prepared to make sure your planned downtimes are PLANNED. No unscheduled downtime. If its down for 10 mins, its down for 10x1,000,000 mins (1,000,000 users).
Above all, prepare to have DVDs ready for shipping when somene wants the physical copy and is willing to pay for it.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (2, Interesting)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657403)

My arguments went nowhere....

I didn't add all these thing because they distract from the point and they exist on *both* sides of distribution as you said. Really We had full quotes including insurance, storage, legal (a big one) and cost of credit (we don't need much we have cash) but only door to door. Not to a shop. I was not much extra. Once you hit the 100000 copy mark things get cheaper per unit not higher.

And *lot* of extra cost too. First is the costs of SLA and associated legal fees, no to mention that already you have to pay a pretty penny and are on a 2+year contract for this end of the server market with expensive termination options. Now you need a merchant account or to out source online transactions. Again this is not cheap and again its expensive if you want a SLA. This gets even more complicated in that its generally a pain if you can't really predict the transaction volume.

Yet you mention all that and then claim I'm wrong. We priced it up. It was about the same to cheaper with shipped DVD's than online. Both is worse of course. The claim that online distribution mean the cost of a copy is nothing is simply not true.

And yet there is even more. One of the big headaches is ratings. In some countries is fine to sell without a rating if you are not based there, in others you must get the game rated first regardless. Legal fees are a bit of a killer since its all international.

However there is another option. Bit torrent. But i don't know if that will really work with paying customers. I think a full download option would be needed at a minimum.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657557)

Yet you mention all that and then claim I'm wrong.

Sorry. I didn't mean you were wrong. If i had implied it, am really sorry.
You seem to have gone through all the options and done a good deal of research.
That said, online distribution is more of a pain than DVDs. With physical media you have a proven, established, experienced network that works like clockwork.
With online like Steam or impulse, you entering a new world. Many things may go wrong which are not covered under SLA.
For instance Steam servers may melt, Earthquakes in CA which really do not concern the man in CT (but yet gets affected), etc.
Your local problems become globalized and they are YOUR problems. If a DVD shop were to experience an Earthquake, it is the shop's problem. not yours. But if the same Earthquake hits Steam, you are hammered because ALL your customers are hammered.
Ratings as you say is a BIG, BIG pain in the A$$.
Relic is now trying BitTorrent-like P2P downloads to speed up patches.
But even that is slower than Direct from Steam (comcast anyone).
You may want to look at separating content from the license.
Meaning you upload the stuff to BitTorrent. It takes its own path much like the latest DVD Screener finds its way. Others take care of distribitution.
You then sell only Licenses to the Game.
Like winrar does. No, not like Shareware. You still provide direct content and your own torrents, but people are free to download from elsewhere (like Rapidshare, Torrent, FilePlanet, who cares).
Once they install, they need a license file to unlock. This is generated uniquely for each user and centrally validated. Like a COM GUID. Universally valid ID and yet unique. Tied to User , but not tied to online.
Yes, hackers WILL hack your game to produce a hot rodded license file. That's the price you pay.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657605)

Yes, hackers WILL hack your game to produce a hot rodded license file. That's the price you pay.

I agree completely. I only hope its gets popular enough for this to be something that could happen. I was only going to have a "cd-key" or as you suggested a downloaded keyfile. I really want to be able to ban cheaters. But tell lawyers that and they a little crazy.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (3, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657739)

From time immemorial man has had the tendency to acquire for free if he could get away with it.
Stealing Electricity when it was introduced was a BIG problem. Big enough for many companies to die. Eventually it got straightened out.
Same was with Telegraph. The number of times codes changed in Telegraph is too numerous. Since telegraph companies charged by word, companies had exotic dictionaries with vast number of definitions for each word: Long sentences for single meaningless words.
So was it with Telephone. People still steal phone talk time through pranks, tapping, etc.
Internet stealing through WiFi...
You can't prevent stealing.
You can only control your own costs so that a stolen Game did NOT result in adding to your costs. Like DemiGod is doing now for Stardock.
A .license file which embeds the user's email ID, hardware ID and a few random details is quite hard to break yet not too costly.
No, DRM would not do it. Gamers get mad when their PCs are hacked legally.
If your Game is stolen, and exchanged for free in torrents, but it does NOT add to your running costs, forget worrying about it. What does not cost you, should not worry you.
Of course your lawyers will argue that each illegal install is money stolen from you: that's not entirely true. A 11-yr old kid may want to play, but does not have the money to buy it. He will somehow steal it. You can't get money from him. But you can bet that he will praise it to his friends, some of whom will buy it.
Other crowd is the earning well-to-do crowd. They will the latest. And they will yours.
Others are professional hackers. They thrive on challenge. They WILL crack the most hardest Games, even BioShock. You can't control them.
Some, like me, will buy out of loyalty, or will crack it if it can't be bought in my country, or play a hacked version to see if its Good and buy it to keep my PC free of Trojans. And yes, i buy every Game stardock makes: Why? NO DRM. I don't even play their Games. I just buy and that's it. I play Company of heroes ONLY. Not even Crysis. But i still buy Political Machine, Gal Civ II, DemiGod, etc. Why? NO DRM, plus i like Stardock.
Their support is cool and their CEO seems to have realized that DRM a la, BioShock hits them back.
Thier only slip up was online resources. This is where they pay costs.
If yours is not online gaming, then you are good to go.
People who steal your Game may buy, may not. But as long as they don't cost YOU in server time or resources, why worry?
Its a Business Risk. Much like CISCO doesn't care if clone copies of their routers are sold in China. Why? They don't incur costs on such cloned copies. So no worry.
Think about it, but consult with a lawyer. IANAL. So beware. I talk from my experience only.

The parent buys the game (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658183)

A 11-yr old kid may want to play, but does not have the money to buy it.

In practice, you're saying:

A 11-yr old kid may want to play, but her 35-yr old mother does not have the money to buy it.

But why doesn't she?

Re:The parent buys the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27658507)

But why doesn't she?
Because it is inappropriate for them? She is a single mother on a budget living off tips? There could be a ton of reasons just pick your favorite. But the point is *THAT* child is not a sale, can not even be converted to one, will never be one. However, his friends might be.

I *KNOW* when I was 11 I did not have enough money to buy videogames. That came from my parents. They usually got them for me but if there was something on the cover they didnt like...

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657843)

I wonder whether it could be interesting to distribute via torrent. Instead of putting the game on a server you'd put the torrent file there and run a private tracker. Those of your customers who are prepared to seed at least twice the download size would get a small compensation - maybe a slightly reduced price, access to a mini game, or an additional level for the game.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657957)

I wonder whether it could be interesting to distribute via torrent. Instead of putting the game on a server you'd put the torrent file there and run a private tracker. Those of your customers who are prepared to seed at least twice the download size would get a small compensation - maybe a slightly reduced price, access to a mini game, or an additional level for the game.

That'd be great. But what about the rest of us who don't have 100gb/s connections? And this is aside from the fact that torrents are always (in my experience) shit slow.

Re:Online is not really cheaper... (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658261)

Well you need a halfway decent connection to download the game in the first place. The upload is slower, but would it really matter if you get the extra level in a week's time, while the torrent client runs in the background? Some torrents are very fast - that just depends on the number of seeders.

No story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27657085)

You drink the kool-aide, or you don't.
Introduce an enjoyable, playable game with many hours of playable/mod-able content, and you will strike it rich.
Otherwise, try for legislation that benefits your business plans while keeping Pterodactyls our primary commercial flight platform.

Both plans seem to work for some stupid reason.....Unfortunately, I have not seen 'Pterodactyls_make_ur_Windows-world-too_fscking_stupid.deb'...yet.
It's only a matter of time....and will REQUIRE me to 'sudo apt-get install 'Pterodactyls_make_ur_Windows-world-too_fscking_stupid'....and rejoice when I can do so.

Do yourself, or better yet the world, a favor....Heinously shoot a Windows user(and yourself) in the face/balls with a BFG-9000...the more of you sterilized, the better for humanity and it's future.

Harsh, and uncaring you say???
Hah!!Hah!1Hah!1, that does not even begin to express the disdain and lack of respect/full contempt we have for you bacterial cultures(not even upper=level enough to be sheep). LOL!!! We have ROFLCOPTER to at your misplaced arrogance, and mis-guided/deluded attempts at you naively refer to logic/rationality.

Bullshit, to you,...and the White Mule you rode in on.
Contribute, prove yourself worthy, or die!!
If you can't prove yourself worthy, and nothing but a leach. then Fsck you, DDT has *something* for your worthless ass...good riddance to the gene-pool!

Silly Humans...Trix are for intelligent beings, not for you kids!!!
Come back in several Millennium, you may be worth our time then to talk to.

Re:No story... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657615)

Introduce an enjoyable, playable game with many hours of playable/mod-able content, and you will strike it rich.

You forgot the "make it appeal to the masses" part there.

Re:No story... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658205)

Introduce an enjoyable, playable game with many hours of playable/mod-able content, and you will strike it rich.

But console games sell despite the lack of mods.[1] Why is this? Oh, it's because four people in your home only need one console, one TV, and one copy of the game for a game in a split screen (e.g. Mario Kart Wii) or a shared camera (e.g. Super Smash Bros. Brawl), not four PCs, four TVs, and four copies of the game.

[1] Apart from token moddable efforts like RPG Maker and Fighter Maker.

WTF? (1)

berenixium (920883) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657499)

People still buy stuff at stores? Meh, Amazon and Tesco.com forever.

SneakerNet Lives! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27657923)

Surprisingly, it's not necessarily the case that "digital delivery is faster."

I bought Fallout 3 from Steam. It took about 2 hours to download via WiFi (yes, mine) to my target machine.

It occurred to me, about halfway through, that I live 20 minutes from the nearest Best Buy, and had I bought the game on physical media I'd most likely be playing by now.

Not that I don't appreciate the convenience of not having to leave the house, but it seems like the size of games is growing at least as fast if not faster than the speed of networks.

I could purchase online (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 4 years ago | (#27657933)

But I don't. I am in Australia and I have a 12GB/month download cap (after the 12GB my speed is slowed/shaped/capped/whatever to 56k). I am not gonna use up all my bandwidth downloading ONE game. This is aside from the fact that it'd take me longer to download than drive to the store and grab the boxed copy. Maybe we're behind the rest of the world in AU (I dunno), but at this point in time I sure aint in hell gonna download something as big as a game (or Fedora... except that my ISP mirrors Fedora and it's not counted towards my monthly limit, so I do that).

If game companies go the online route only, then they will lose a customer.

On a related note (1)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658131)

Why are digital copies of games bought online via Steam, Direct2Drive and so on nearly always the same price (if not sometimes more expensive) than a retail box version?

It can't be a bandwidth thing, not for Steam at least, since retail versions activated on your Steam account can be downloaded without the media as well.

Why the big swindle? This applies to digital music as well I've noticed. iTunes charges 99p or more for a song in the UK, which equates to 10-15 pound an album depending on the amount of inspiration the writer had at the time. When you can buy a new release at 9.99 in your local food store, why bother with online purchases?

It does make me believe that some people may have genuine intentions to legally purchase digital products without leaving their homes, but pirate them instead when they realise they are being conned.

Steam is horrible for impulse buys (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 4 years ago | (#27658357)

No matter how horribly broken the game is that they sell you, they don't take refunds.

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