Author Topic: "Retailers are 'Parasites and Thieves'"  (Read 17199 times)

« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2010, 08:16:22 PM »
Chupperson: I was using the music industry as an example primarily to demonstrate the co-existence of digital and physical means of consumers obtaining the product, not necessarily as an example of how much money the artist/developer earns from them.

I understand the fact that not everyone has broadband, but not everyone has video games, either. Saying not everyone has internet isn't fair because that includes the entire population of the United States, so of course it's a small number. We're only talking about the percent of the population who are gamers. Besides, among the correct social classes, it's assumed that people have internet access, anyway. At my school, and probably most schools, teachers give assignments and post essential class materials all the time. Especially in the gaming community, it's highly likely a gamer will have internet access, since the internet is such a huge part of gaming. And I know not all internet access is high-speed, but Warp, your sucky internet connection hasn't stopped you from digitally downloading all kinds of games from Steam.

Plus, I think you're ignoring the part where I said physical copies of games won't completely disappear. People who legit have no internet but play video games will still be able to get their copies. The industry will just begin to put all the incentive into digital downloading. They already are, pretty much, with these online multiplayer access codes and all sorts of downloadable content, which brings me to my next point.

Yes, games are getting big, but there's no reason why game companies can't break them up into easily downloadable chunks. Say, release the game, then a few days later release some free downloadable content to add on to the game. Game companies do this literally all the time. In fact, I'd argue digital distribution is why games these days are so big.

As for cool pre-order and collector's edition extras: yes, those would be difficult to integrate with a game that is solely available online. The only solution I can think of for that right now would be to have gamers send for that stuff in the mail. I'm not sure how feasible that is, but right now the game companies are shipping that stuff to retailers, so I don't see why they can't ship them straight to the gamers.

If you're gonna pick nits about things like people getting annoyed making trips to the store for controllers, first of all, you can't really speak for everyone on that. People go to the store all the time to pick up an extra controller, or a memory card, or whatever they feel like buying. That's what the store is for.

Chupperson: in case you're not aware, the 360 install feature still requires you to put the disc in the 360 in order to play it. It just puts the game content on your hard drive and reads it from that, instead of from the disc, so really the only reason to install games is for faster load times and a quieter system, because the disc isn't spinning. I mean, those reasons are good enough for me, I install games all the time. Anyway, just clearing things up, maybe you already knew that.

« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2010, 08:17:46 PM »
Warp: didn't you buy that Big Daddy figurine completely separate from Bioshock? In fact, didn't you buy Bioshock on Steam?


  • Paid by the word
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2010, 09:46:39 PM »
I'm pretty sure I don't own any games on Steam that are more than five or six gigabytes for the download. And on my sucky connection I can download about three gigabytes total in a twenty-four hour period, on a good day. And that's only because I have a five-hour free period every day - a lot of capped-bandwidth users, satellite or otherwise, don't even have that. (And you're completely screwed if you're on dial-up!)

(Social classes have nothing to do with parts of our country, or any country, just outright not having regular and fast Internet access. And most schools frown upon students bringing in game consoles and connecting them to the school's network to leech bandwidth.)

(Incidentally, Luigison pointed out that a lot of digital distribution services for books, music, and video have been starting up and that digital distribution seems to be catching on for those media, but even with video, easily the largest example there in terms of file size, you can often fit an entire season or two of a TV show in the same amount of disk space a single game's installation files take nowadays, and that usually means the same for bandwidth usage for downloading either. So take what bobman said about the car argument, but change price difference to size difference.)

You said physical copies wouldn't disappear, but you're also saying that digital distribution should become the norm. So we're clear here, the "norm" usually refers to the majority. And the majority here would be locked out of gaming if digital distribution became the norm, especially since games would inevitably start being available only through digital distribution (already sort of happening now with some games on the console services taking up almost as much disk space as a retail game, and definitely happening with PSP titles that are full games but only available through PSN, like Fate/Unlimited Codes Upper and Patapon 2) - with the current situation, you already have people (BP) unable to download games on XBLA in their own home, so imagine what it'd be like trying to download full-sized games that aren't available any other way.

And DLC is another touchy subject entirely. I hate this idea publishers seem to like that involves shipping a game with some of the DLC on the disc and "releasing" it over time. It might work on consoles (though it's still just selling an incomplete game for full retail price and making you pay extra for the rest - definitely not what DLC should be at all in the first place - except even worse because you're paying for something you already paid for), but so far all it's done on PC is put pirates further ahead of actual consumers than usual, since when a game like that gets cracked it usually includes full access to that DLC.

Releasing part of a game to start and then releasing the rest in chunks over time for free could work, but again, publishers whose names are not Valve love to milk consumers dry with paid DLC, just because they know they can. (See: $15 Modern Warfare 2 map pack with three maps, Oblivion horse armor.) There was a digital distribution service a while back that used an interesting model involving the client downloading a game a piece at a time, so that you could start playing a game and have the rest of it download as you played, but I don't think it had any actually-current games, and it didn't catch on anyway. Same for OnLive, which sounds good on paper but requires impossibly-good Internet in practice.

I'd guess the costs of shipping limited edition bonuses to a bunch of individual consumers' addresses would be a lot worse than sending a box or two containing several LEs to each store along with the rest of a shipment.

And I'm not referring to buying extra controllers, which, yeah, everyone does all the time. I'm referring to buying a game online that requires a special peripheral and not having it, and having to go to a store to buy the peripheral. Basically, making an extra trip when you've already bought the game. It's a psychological thing (the "extra" trip is the same trip you'd have made to buy the game bundled with the peripheral in a store, but it's extra now because you already have the game) similar to what I mentioned with waiting for games you ordered online to arrive.
Obviously the easiest solution to that problem is just not making those games available for purchase digitally, but publishers don't think that way.

No, I own the LE legit, and don't own the game on Steam:

Chupperson Weird

  • Not interested.
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2010, 09:48:54 PM »
I didn't know that but it makes sense.
Also re: your DLC idea, I don't know if games' core engines are going to be small enough for that in the future we're talking about here.
That was a joke.


  • Paid by the word
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2010, 10:00:10 PM »
It's mostly assets that take up so much space, not the engine. And even if it was the engine that took up a lot of space, you tend to have multiple games running on the same engine nowadays anyway, and sharing engine files isn't too hard to make work. The main issue with the idea is regular old greed on the part of the publishers.

« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2010, 10:30:29 PM »
This comic seems relevant.
Kinopio is the ultimate video game character! Who else can drive a kart, host parties, play tennis, give good advice and items, and is almost always happy??

« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2010, 11:45:17 PM »
No, what I mean by "the norm" is that eventually, most game companies will be delivering their content online (perhaps as well as in disc form), and then tons of people will be downloading their games online, and then before you know it, digital distribution is a widely accepted and used format for obtaining games. I don't know exactly how many people would be doing it, I don't care if it's the statistical majority or whatever.

You keep saying people with bad internet won't be allowed to play games anymore, and you even used BP as an example, but that's just it: that is a problem right now, because digital distribution exists right now. I don't know why we keep talking about it like it's going to happen in the future, because honestly it's happening right now. Really the only thing left to make people understand that is to get most big-title console games to be released online.

You also keep bringing up the subject of games being too big to download. I've given my solution, and you've even provided some examples of how it can be managed, so really it's very doable. Regardless of whether you like it or not, game companies will continue to release downloadable content for their titles. At this point, all it comes down to is people will probably be waiting around for a while waiting for their big-title games to download, but honestly, so what? What if that becomes standard procedure for the videogame industry? You purchase your game and wait for it to download. No big deal. People can play another game or do homework or maybe even go outside. Download it at night while you're sleeping, whatever. Minor inconvenience. Or go buy the disc version, doesn't matter.

Which is another thing you keep forgetting. I'm talking about a world where videogames exist both in digital and physical form. Don't want to wait for the download time? Don't have internet? You can still go to the store and buy the disc. Maybe it'll be harder to find, because maybe digital download will catch on and game companies will make fewer and fewer discs, but who knows.

Extra Trips to the Store: again, that's pure speculation. You and I can sit here and argue about whether or not people would be upset about driving to a store, but that'd be a stupid argument.

You keep reasoning with me about why digital distribution can't happen, but then you give evidence in the same post that digital distribution is reality right now. It's not like game companies are all of a sudden going to stop releasing games online, it's only going to get more popular as time progresses.

Again about core games being too big for downloading: I think breaking up the core game into chunks is very reasonable. I can vividly picture in my mind the Xbox Live Marketplace, with Halo: Reach (PT1) (PT2) (PT3) available for download. Warp brings up a fantastic idea: you can play Part 1 after it's done downloading, while the Xbox is still working on parts 2 and 3. I can see it working.

Chupperson Weird

  • Not interested.
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2010, 12:32:17 AM »
I don't think you've ever worked in a store. People get upset about driving to stores. All the time. They tell you about it when they get there.
That was a joke.


  • Paid by the word
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2010, 07:17:53 AM »
The only way I could see full-blown digital distribution working would be if the companies set it up like Steam, where you can usually preload big-name games (but with better servers that don't get raped on launch day even with that provision in place). Again, people want to be able to play on launch day, and again, it wouldn't be discs just being harder to find; it'd be new games ceasing to be released on disc at all.

You have to understand that a lot of game companies are really bad at a lot of this stuff. It's why Activision released a billion Guitar Hero games in a single year, and why UbiSoft implemented DRM on their PC games that requires you to be online to play a single-player game. It's why Jim couldn't buy BioWare points so he could buy DLC for Dragon Age. And it's why you'd see disc releases stop entirely rather than just slow to a trickle. Like I said, there are already download-only retail games on at least one platform. The companies' logic: if you go to digital-only, you eliminate the used game market entirely, and as a bonus, you get to set prices however you want, so you can keep charging $60 a game (or more) even though you've eliminated most of the costs that should justify that price. Even better, if it's all-digital, you can always legally disable people's accounts and access to games they purchased at your discretion! (If you think they wouldn't do this: Some people have been banned from Xbox Live not for modding their system or other unwholesome activities, but rather for using a third-party hard drive.)

I really do like the idea of being able to download games a part at a time and them being set up to be playable like that, and it could work even during this generation (and, as a bonus, it screws over the pirates as well as the used game market, since as I understand it, it's basically impossible to pirate XBL Marketplace stuff), but companies would have to be willing to program a game like that, and the console manufacturers would have to be willing to let things work that way. And you'd have to work out all the possible bugs with the system, which includes testing on every possible model of your console rather than doing Sony's retarded thing and having every one of your dev systems be the same model.

As an example, I've talked with one of the devs from Rockin' Android, a company who licenses doujin games for English release. They recently released Gundemonium Collection as a set of downloadable titles on the PS3. Unfortunately, the games in the collection have a problem where if you download them all at once while you're playing whichever finishes first, the audio gets screwed up (I think it's more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it). And they couldn't possibly catch this in testing, because every dev console Sony supplies is the same model (though apparently it probably wouldn't have mattered because it's incredibly inconsistent with regards to which models do or don't have this problem). And they aren't going to be able to do a patch to fix this problem or any of the other problems the team that ported the game (unaffiliated with Rockin' Android) introduced, either, because apparently Sony makes you go through so much red tape to do anything that it's not worth the effort. (Said red tape would be another issue relating to the all-digital idea, along with the sheer size of games on Sony's console - Blu-ray discs are absolutely massive - versus games on the 360.)

And I like the idea of DLC. I like the idea of being able to buy extra stuff for a game - maps, challenge levels, full bonus campaigns, whatever - to extend its playability. You know, basically like what an expansion pack used to be, except cheaper, and you don't have to go to the store to buy it a year after the base game's launch. I don't like what companies do now, which is sell a purposely-incomplete game at full price and then release the rest as paid DLC (as well as DLC being on the game disc to start, which is just an open admission from the company that they're trying to milk you). And it's not going to stop, because gamers let it work. (Note that I have less issue with releasing an incomplete or ultra-buggy game with the intent to release massive patches or free content additions shortly after launch. It's charging extra for stuff that should've been in the game to start that I hate. And I'm aware some of this is Microsoft's fault more than the publishers' - they really don't like free DLC in XBL Marketplace, so companies don't have a choice but to charge for stuff that should've been free.)

Oh yeah, and I missed this before:
Another [way to combat used sales] would be to simply lower game prices. I'm not sure how feasible this one is, because I don't know how much of a margin there is between the cost of making a game and the new game price
I think the prices of new games basically boil down to costs for everyone except the developers (again, devs make far less than they should), plus publishers knowing they can get away with charging high prices for new games. Aside from boosting sales numbers, which I guess would look good for the stockholders and probably fuel more anti-video game arguments ("video games are bad because they sell so well and kids could be spending that money on more wholesome things") but is otherwise not particularly important, the publishers wouldn't really be any better off if they sold two copies of a game at thirty dollars each than they are selling a single copy for sixty now, so there's no reason there to lower the price.

Theoretically, digital distribution should involve lower prices than retail, since it eliminates things like retail and manufacturing costs and (in most cases) limited supply from the mix, but I think gamers are just used to spending fifty or sixty dollars on a game at this point, and the publishers certainly aren't going to stop if there's a market for it.

« Reply #39 on: August 26, 2010, 01:19:23 PM »
At this point you're just talking about minuscule details companies will have to work around in order to enable digital distribution, which I agree would be issues. But I'm not the one getting paid to figure out the solutions to those problems, and besides, I've made my point, and it seems you agree: digital distribution is a possible future for videogaming. It's very convenient for gamers and developers alike, and heck, it's even more environmentally friendly, if you want to go there. And, bringing the discussion back around to the point of this topic, it's a fantastic way to combat the used game industry.

« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2010, 01:20:08 AM »


  • Paid by the word
« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2010, 04:57:46 AM »
Pretty sure the game is big enough that it would've used a full eighth of the space on that 16GB system anyway.

And now I feel even sorrier for anyone who bought a PSPgo for Birth by Sleep than I would have before.


  • Ridiculously relevant
« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2010, 08:22:09 PM »
Just a thought: Has anyone figured out how many equivalent "gigs" an average shelf can hold in relation to a game system's memory?
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

« Reply #43 on: August 28, 2010, 10:14:00 PM »
Uhhhh... no. When I install games to my 360 hard drive, they're about 6-7 gigs.


  • Ridiculously relevant
« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2010, 07:57:42 AM »
You get what I'm saying, though, right?
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef