Jason Rubin Believes Digital Distribution Will Help Gaming Thrive

Naughty Dog founder and current Monkey Gods chief executive monkey Jason Rubin believes that there’s one thing that will help the gaming industry thrive: more cowbell. Wait, that’s not right. I meant digital distribution. In an interview with Character Arcade Rubin said:

Inefficiencies in distribution tied to the box release are hampering that part of the business. If publishers and developers could recapture the 20 percent stores’ take, plus a substantial part of revenue lost to piracy, rental, and resale, not to mention the cost of shipping pieces of plastic all over the world, then I think that part of the industry would be in a better position financially, without a single extra dollar of cost to gamers. Digital distribution can help with all of those inefficiencies, at the same time as it improves the gamer’s experience.

From a developer’s perspective, I totally see where he’s coming from. From a consumer’s perspective, I know that some of you have issues and concerns about digital distribution. What do you think of Rubin’s take on the matter?


Author: RPadTV


22 thoughts on “Jason Rubin Believes Digital Distribution Will Help Gaming Thrive”

  1. Steam proves that digital distribution works quite well. I am starting to think I prefer digital ownership to physical ownership. There is also a feeling of "instant ownership" to it — no trip to the store, no camping out, no preorder. Just buy it when it's done, day one…and any day thereafter, because it's never out of stock. I welcome gaming truly joining the long-tail economy.

  2. Ladies and gentlemen, you are among greatness once again. It's Activision's Dan Amrich!

    Dan was a veteran (four stars, I believe) at Future Publishing for a long, long time. Old-school gamers will remember him as Danelectro from GamePro. Dude has his own action figure and everything! I can only dream about having my own action figure.

    *bows* to Dan

    @On Topic I prefer digital distribution too. I would to get rid of all my physical media. One concern with games is that in some cases you're leasing them instead of buying them.

  3. @R-Pad

    If you are leasing the game then it needs to be part of a service and not an individual purchase. This is how I think OnLive should work. You pay a set rate for their services and they let you play any game in their catalog for no extra charge.

  4. So I guess he thinks that MS and Sony won't take the cut the stores normally take? Also why is nobody bringing up that it doesn't seem they will lower the prices to consumers since selling a $60 game, or should I say lease, is batshit crazy to most consumers.

    I think it's arrogant as hell for them to say piracy hurts their sales. If someone stole your product, they were never going to buy it in the first place. How can you say that is a lost sale?

    Why are rentals bad? They sell a copy of the game to whoever for 5 times the amount than a consumer purchases it in the store, and they must recoup the premium by multiple renters.

    Second hand sales….why oh why does the entertainment industry feel it is entitled to stop second hand sales or get a piece of second hand sales? If you sell a consumer something they can't resell or loan to someone, or even play on a separate console in their own home…then you greatly diminish the value of the product.

    Digi dist games full versions need to retail for no more than $10. $15 max.

  5. @Sandrock323 Yeah, I totally get your point, but for me it's totally worth "leasing" a game for a certain period of time just to get rid of the clutter.

    @Smartguy As always, you have great points, but like I told Sandrock, I'm totally down with leasing games to increase the usable space of my apartment.

  6. @R-Pad

    I like the concepts for Gamefly and Gametap when it comes to leasing games.


    Yes, it should be cheaper, but I think $15 is way to low of a price. The only thing you are cutting out is material and shipping costs which are dirt cheap at the large of quantities games are made. $50 sounds like the best price point for digi games. (Most are sold at that price now)

  7. Leasing is an interesting concept when it comes to games, I usually only play the ones I'll like but most of those I'll never play again. I usually take my time to enjoy a good game so rentals are a bit rushed for me, but having access to a game when you want it is a nice thought.

    I guess gamefly works a lot like that but I don't like waiting for the game to get shipped to me, I can be a little impatient that way.

  8. @Sandrock

    Don't take offense to this, but you really don't know how to value something the same way that I can. There are tangible costs and benefits as well as intangible costs and benefits that have to be considered. (read my retort to Dan following this)

    @Ray and Dan

    First off Dan, steam works because it isn't locked to a Dell, HP, Vaio, Compaq, Gateway, etc. These digi dist stores for the consoles would be locked to that console. I couldn't buy "Game Title" and then decide I don't like the brand of machine or OS and take that game title to another console. You can do that on Steam. I buy a Dell desktop, download some games from Steam…in 2 years I decide to buy an Alienware laptop, now I can put those same Steam games on the laptop. I couldn't bring the Halo game to my Sony or Nintendo console. This system will not work for consoles, for that reason.

    Ray, your mind would change damn near instantaneously if that said digi content was more expensive and sold to you in smaller quantities than it is now. You would wish you had DVDs to rip, CDs to rip (though this can be argued since CDs are inherently overpriced anyway) etc.

  9. @Smartguy

    Of course the distributer is going to take their cut. All you are doing is changing distributers, not cutting them out of the picture. Also, Valve wants what you are saying to happen. They want Steam on consoles. Personally, I don't see digital distribution happening this gen. Hard drive space, bandwidth, and publisher rights are still issues that need to be resolved first.

  10. @Smartguy

    I understand. Microsoft, Sony, Steam or whomever is going to take their cut for selling the game the same way Wal-Mart, Target, and GameStop do. The only way the Publishers are going to get more money is by cutting out the middle man, which they are already trying to do (especially EA). That is what I meant when I said all we were doing is cutting material and shipping costs.

  11. @ Mr. Padilla;

    I would be more than happy to buy all of your physical media that you want to get rid of. But in doing so, you've just proven my point of digital distribution’s greatest weakness- recouping some of your money from a second-hand sale of YOUR original purchase.


  12. @Sandrock
    The guy’s comments intimated that the cut not taken by Walmart, Bestbuy or Gamestop would then go to the publisher and or dev. That’s not true. MS or Sony will juice them more if someone is eliminated. The same price model can’t be adapted into a digital market. Do you understand by what I mean with tangible and intangible earlier?

  13. Man I really need to find that interview. It was about a digital distribution service that let you sell and trade games. They were also pitching their game in the interview, but I can’t remember what game and what studio it was.

  14. @Ray
    You should get some interviews with ppl who would be adversely affected by digi dist to present a whole picture. I see the game dev side of the story, but I also think it is arrogant on their part.

    Kinda like only hearing half the story. To be honest, I’d like just one…JUST ONE to admit how consumer unfriendly the enterprise would be.

  15. Call me crazy, but I like owning the physical media. As I've said before, if you're giving the consumers the choice of either physical or digital, much like the movie or music industry does, than I'm all for it. If you're taking that choice away, than I'm not.

  16. Amen, Thundercracker.

    I miss the old days of cartridge blowing.


    Ok, that did not come out the way I wanted it to.


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