Coffee Talk #566: What Will Make You Go Digital?

While digital downloads are definitely the future for the majority of videogames, it looks like the upcoming generation will start off with physical media dominating while publishers try to push gamers towards downloads. I know that many of you still prefer physical discs for various reasons, but I wondering — specifically in the context of the upcoming consoles — what would get you to switch to digital…more

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While digital downloads are definitely the future for the majority of videogames, it looks like the upcoming generation will start off with physical media dominating while publishers try to push gamers towards downloads. I know that many of you still prefer physical discs for various reasons, but I was wondering — specifically in the context of the upcoming consoles — what would get you to switch to digital? My friend Paul and I were chatting about this during our weekly high-fat lunch and thought of a few things, some less likely than others.

Cheaper Prices: This probably won’t happen for years (though probably should happen sooner), but what if new digital releases were $10 cheaper than discs? I don’t expect this to happen straight away, but perhaps at the midpoint or tail end of the next console generation. Retailer relationships are still too important.

Earlier Release Date: What if you could play a digital copy of a game a few days before its physical counterpart? Is that enough incentive? Again, I don’t think this is likely initially, but could happen later. Retailer power is still too strong, for now.

Bonus Content: Would extra costumes, exclusive weapons, or free map packs be enough? Even though I’ve made fun of costume downloads a bit, I totally admit to buying them. I consider my bonus Street Fighter costumes and bikini Serah to be among my finest digital purchases. Getting these things as a digital bonus would totally work for me.

Would any of the above get you to go digital? Perhaps a different kind of incentive? Or are you sticking with physical discs until publishers stop making them? Please share your thoughts on the matter in the comments section!

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV

14 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #566: What Will Make You Go Digital?”

  1. 1) Cheaper storage for the machines. Microsoft has expensive proprietary memory.

    2) Cheaper titles. Digital games do not need to be $60 plus charge you for DLC. Torchlight 2 sells for $20 and the Dev is on record as saying he will make as much from a $20 digital game as a $60 box.

    3) has to be on pc. I’m not interested in a locked down console for purchasing any games or other media. Allow cross platform or gtfo

  2. ISPs being much faster and possibly removing a throttle cap.
    Piggy backing on SG’s point I’d love to be able to buy a game and be able to play it on other consoles.
    I’ll stick to physical so I can play games offline as well

    1. ISPs are a different issue, but one with a lot of relevance to the future of digital downloads in America. It’s quite possible that ISPs will be the biggest inhibitor. Since most areas are covered by a duopoly, there’s little reason for the cable and telephone companies to push the envelope. Most of them reap huge profits by providing adequate services that are competitive or slightly better than the competition. It would be awesome if Google Fiber were available in most major cities. Google would clown cable and telephone companies.

      1. Seeing as how AT&T has said they will no longer invest in wireline infrastructure beyond the bare minimum of maintaining what they don’t sell, the future isn’t bright if you don’t have at least a DOCSIS 3.0 cable pipe coming into your home.

        I don’t think people on DSL can watch HD from netflix and with the caps…the US sucks in this regard.

        When you consider the fact that states will pass laws preventing municipal fiber projects to underserved and unserved areas it just gets even more frustrating.

        We are destined to live in a world where our games are short 20 second affairs much akin to the popular music in Demolition Man.

      1. Like I said in a previous post; console makers are not that stupid. I wouldn’t worry about “online only” consoles just yet. Aside from the “give-the-people-what-they-want” argument, there is also the fact that a significant portion of consoles sold are (30, 40%… or something like that) not connected to the Internet. Console makers know this and are not dumb enough to shoot themselves in the foot by restricting their next console market by that number. Not to mention that if your competitor doesn’t require an online connection, you’ll be handing over said competitor a whole ass-ton of new customers. It’s just a profoundly bad business descision no matter how you look at it. I don’t think it’s going to happen like people think. Most likely that the online connection will be highly incentivized, but not mandatory

      2. I believe the most recent Xbox 360 numbers showed that the percentage of systems not online was in the low 20s. The argument is that the number is getting lower every year and that any lost sales would be worth keeping developers/publishers happy. I’m not necessarily buying that argument, but that’s the one being thrown around.

      3. You are right to not buy into that argument because it is stupid. One of the factors to bring a game to a certain console or territory is how big the install base is. The bigger the install base is, the more tempting it is for the publisher to bring the game to that system. The last thing console makers want is to make their install base smaller.

        I’m telling you, online-only is not going to happen for the next generation. Write it down so I can rub it in your collective faces in a couple of years when we play the “Iceman-was-right-all-along” game. It’s my favorite game ever.

        By the way; here’s some “evidence” in favor of my argument… from EA’s CFO, no less!

        http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122104-EA-Executive-Admits-Used-Games-Arent-All-Bad

        So there you go! Straight from a big wig at one of the largest publishers in the US. Used game sales create “liquidity” in the market.

        See, I told you they can’t be all that stupid.

        -M

  3. In addition to what Smartguy and Tokz said, I would like to add on the legal aspect of “ownership.”

    I’ll buy into the “all-digital” thing when they say that I have a legal right to ownership of whatever digital thing I am buying. Whether it’s the actual content that I am buying or just a licence to use the content, I want to be able to transfer, sell, give away, etc. that content as I see fit. When they do that, then I’ll turn to the dark side.

    Also, I want to emphasize the ISP problem of bandwidth and the whole “charging-$60-for-something-that-should-be-about-half” argument. Getting rid of distribution, retail mark-up, transportation and physical production (of disks, box and artwork) should cut the prices of games at least in half.

    -M

    1. I agree that digital games should cost less, but I’m not certain about half. For digital, the costs include servers, bandwidth, and customer support. The bigger issue is that game budgets — especially for triple-A games — keep getting bigger and bigger, while games costs are about the same. That’s one of the reasons so many developers flocked to mobile; the scale is much more reasonable and manageable.

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