Friday, December 17, 2010

Digital Distribution is (not) Taking Over

The NPD group recently released their 2010 Games Purchase Drivers report and revealed that 29% of video game purchases over the last three months are delivered to the consumer via digital distribution. What this means, of course, is that 71% of video game purchases are still done incorrectly boxed copies from brick and mortar establishments.

Pictured: the right way to get games.

Let's stop delaying progress, people. Sure, there was a time back in cave man days where going to a special building to acquire <item> was like...what you did. Now machines are connected to other machines by lightning wizard magic the internet and we have things like sunglasses and toasters and stuff and you don't really need to bang a couple rocks together anymore for fire.

There's also this nauseating nugget of unjoy from the report:

"...nearly 10 percent of buyers report using a trade-in to fund their purchase."

Tear down the brick and mortar after the jump.

Now, I don't really take a stance on the whole software piracy thing. I buy my games...but I also understand that front-line AAA titles cost $60 nowadays on consoles and around $50 on PC, not counting scams Collectors Editions and their ilk.

How is it that software piracy by the end-consumer is illegal while that of stores like Gamestop and Play-N-Trade, etc. goes unpunished and even rewarded? How is it that a person sitting at home stealing a game for their own personal use is somehow WORSE than a company paying for a game and distributing it to multiple consumers at a price greater than cost for each sale?

On the surface, it looks like there's no reason for the consumer to switch to digital when they can get copies of used games on the cheap just by doing ridiculous things like driving and interacting with other human beings. The fact is, for the games you "want" you generally have to wait a significant amount of time before the jerks who bought the game the day it came out take it upon themselves to trade the product in. In the cases of some popular games, having enough trade-ins for used copies to become readily available can take months. By this time, prices for the same games on digital distribution platforms have already been slashed 20% or more.

Just think what would happen if developers and publishers didn't have to rely on 71% of their customers traveling to stores to purchase physical copies of games. There would be no more shipping costs. No more boxes. There would be countless numbers of trees saved by there no longer being a need to print instructions no one reads anyway. More importantly, the need for games to be priced what they are to offset all these costs would drop leading to lower prices for games (presumably). 

This is a gigantic win-win. We're just waiting on you jerks still comfortable enough with social situations to deal with other humans to come down to Earth and join the 21st Socially Anxious Century.

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