3DS

The 3DS Download Card Mark-Up Absurdity

by Danny Bivens - July 28, 2012, 4:29 am PDT
Total comments: 59

How in the world can digital copies cost retailers more than packaged copies?

The next wave of a completely digital Nintendo future has just started in the Land of the Rising Sun. The release of both New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Oni Training on the Nintendo 3DS have helped usher in this era but not without a few hiccups. When it comes to the price difference between the physical versions and the digital version, there is a disparity. Probably not in the way that you would assume, either.

I used to live in the United States, so I have a pretty good idea of how pricing on game software usually works there. Games are typically what the suggested retail price is and that’s that. In Japan, it’s a completely different ball game. For example, the list price for New Super Mario Bros. 2 is 4,800 yen ($61) and Oni Training is 3,800 yen ($48). If you purchase the titles directly from the eShop, you’re going to be paying the exact price no matter what. If you opt to get the packaged versions, you will typically be paying less money. At my favorite local electronic store in town, I can go out and buy NSMB2 for around 4,100 yen, 700 yen less than the list price! You would think that this would also apply to the digital download card that the store carries as well, right? WRONG! From my experience today, I can tell you that definitely is not the case. Of course, I can only report on the store that I went to, but from other articles I’ve read online, this is not just a local issue at my store, but an issue occurring all around the country.

Finding the digital download card for Oni Training was no easy feat for me. After walking into the store, it was easy enough to find copies of the game sitting on the shelf. After scanning the entire handheld gaming section of the store for about five minutes, I had no idea where they were keeping the download cards or even whether or not they had them. Instead, I just took the physical copy up to the counter and asked there. At first, most of the workers didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, but after some searching (apparently in the same area that I previously investigated), they managed to procure one and brought it to me. I noticed that the price on the download card was different than what was on the packaged version. The packaged version was right around 3,100 yen while the card was 3,600 yen. Begrudgingly, I pulled out my wallet and forked over the cash. For a moment, I thought about asking the clerk who was assisting me why there was a difference in the price between the two but decided against it. A part time high schooler probably doesn’t know much about financial decisions for that chain of electronic stores anyway.

I had been reading news about this for the latter part of the week. A digital card for the same damn game costs slightly more than a packaged version. I don’t even need to go into details as to why this is ridiculous. The digital distribution of all of Nintendo’s first party titles is perhaps one of the most forward thinking decision the company has made in years but aside from people like me (and you, too), who is going to choose a more expensive version of the same game? There should be absolutely no reason why the download card for either of these games should be sold at a higher price than the packaged versions. I mean, why in the world are they? If Nintendo were to be giving some kind of a kickback to the retailers for selling the physical copies, that would kind of make sense, but at the same time go completely against Nintendo’s new initiative. None of this makes any sense to me. For the retailers, it doesn’t really matter either way which version of the game they sell, just as long as they sell SOMETHING. Even though Nintendo has control whatsoever of retailers’ software prices, this is not a good start toward a digital future in Japan.

Talkback

Pixelated PixiesJuly 28, 2012

First of all let me just say that I agree that the situation you describe is ridiculous.


"There should be absolutely no reason why the download card for either of these games should be sold at a higher price than the packaged versions... None of this makes any sense to me. For the retailers, it doesn’t really matter either way which version of the game they sell, just as long as they sell SOMETHING."

Well, there are two reason I can think of for why retailers would price the digital versions more expensively. Firstly, it's not in their long term interests to push the digital versions. Although they will get a cut of that first sale of NSMB 2, what happens when that consumer becomes more comfortable with digital games? When NSMB 3 comes out they might just decide to cut out the middle man and purchase it directly from Nintendo. Secondly, retailers (at least in the West) make a good deal of money on trade in's and re-sell's, which of course isn't possible with digital games.

It is a bonkers situation and I don't agree with it, but I understand the motivation for it.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusJuly 28, 2012

The download cards take up less storage/shelf space too!
They could store thousands more games this way.

tendoboy1984July 28, 2012



Stuff

supergttJuly 28, 2012

If I had to guess, I would feel like there is some shenanigins going on, with nintendo not allowing them to price them lower.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusJuly 28, 2012

Quote from: tendoboy1984

You're only in high school? What made you move to Japan? Is the gaming culture in Japan radically different than the West (Europe and North America)?

Danny was referring to the clerk. Unless that was a joke, then disgard what I just said!
As for gaming culture in Japan, I hope you at least listen to the Famicast!  ;D

NeoThunderJuly 28, 2012

One important note is that manufacturers arn't allowed to sell items below MSRP to customers.  It might have something to do with why eShop games are the same price as a physical copy at the store

ymeegodJuly 28, 2012

Markup.  Some retailers run specials to get people in the door sometimes even selling the game at cost or below.  In the states for example they had prepaid DL code cards for Star Wars KoTOR but the retail package game was $10 less.  The reason why the store didn't discount the digital card was it only had an 5% markup vs the 15% it on hard copy.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 28, 2012

Quote from: NeoThunder

One important note is that manufacturers arn't allowed to sell items below MSRP to customers. 

Is that a Japanese thing?  Because here in America, that's called price fixing and will get you in trouble.

As Nintendo found out years ago.  I have the coupon hanging on my wall to prove it. :D

NinSageJuly 28, 2012

Don't care about digital.  They could make it $150USD for all I care.  There just aren't nearly enough pros compared to physical.  Looks like the retailers feel that way too.  Once the technofiles get over the fact that new methods of technology are not automatically better, retailers won't be scared of it and the matter will settle itself.

Fatty_The_HuttJuly 28, 2012

Do you need a card to download or is it just available for purchase in the e-shop catalogue? If its just on the e-shop too, is the price there the same as the download card?


I wish there was a premium bundle where you could buy the cartridge and for $10 extra get the option to download too.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 28, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

There just aren't nearly enough pros compared to physical.

As someone who really dislikes digital downloads at this point, I have to disagree with your statement.

There are many, many pros to a digital download.

There's really only one con... and that's the fact that (with most digital downloads, Nintendo in particular) you don't OWN the game.

Now, that's something that I just *can't* get over.  I like owning my stuff.  I like that I can put my original SMB or Zelda cartridge in my original NES (or, for that matter, any *working* NES) and play it whenever.  I don't own my downloads, so I can't do that.  That's really the only flaw... and if I or Nintendo could somehow reach an agreement on this that would allow me to get over it, then I would be more inclined to embrace the digital era.

But let me assure you - it's coming.  You and I may see the lack of ownership as a "con", but the content makers - they don't.  At all.  There are virtually no downsides for the makers to go completely digital - and the few that exist are simply things that will get better with time (for example, download speeds and accessibility).

TJ SpykeJuly 28, 2012

Quote from: Fatty_The_Hutt

Do you need a card to download or is it just available for purchase in the e-shop catalogue? If its just on the e-shop too, is the price there the same as the download card?


I wish there was a premium bundle where you could buy the cartridge and for $10 extra get the option to download too.

You can just buy it right on the eShop the same way you can any other eShop game, you don't have to buy the card to do it.

RasJuly 28, 2012

That's probably the answer right there.  Digital means the end of going to the store to buy a game, and the card is Nintendo throwing the store a bone.  The stores know that's only a temporary situation, and that once most people become accustomed to downloading, they'll just do it from home.  If they can make the cartridges cheaper, they'll continue to encourage their customers to buy from them. 

It's encouraging that the clerks in Japan are just as clueless as American kids.  The media acts like it's only us who would have clerks who wouldn't know where things are located or even what they are.



soberanalystJuly 28, 2012

Quote from: Ras

That's probably the answer right there.  Digital means the end of going to the store to buy a game, and the card is Nintendo throwing the store a bone.  The stores know that's only a temporary situation, and that once most people become accustomed to downloading, they'll just do it from home.  If they can make the cartridges cheaper, they'll continue to encourage their customers to buy from them. 

CORRECT

Consider the retail store that sells-out of packaged versions and only have digital cards available? ... or what if the store gets the digital cards first? ... or consider a game-release which is digital-only but still available in-store? ... it's the best-of-both-worlds for nintendo and gives them the most flexibility while making transition to digital-only in my opinion.

NinSageJuly 28, 2012

@Bob

So what are all those pros you mentioned?

Newspapers, magazines, music radio and soon, physical media.

What do they all have in common? Things the media promised would SURELY be things of the past, yet, are still around and show no signs of ever leaving entirely.


TJ SpykeJuly 28, 2012

Newspapers are getting thinner and more expensive (my local paper is now like 20 pages long total and $0.75 Mon-Sat, $1.50 on Sun) and less relevant than ever. They are not gone, but they are endangered.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 28, 2012

Newspapers are going the way of the dodo.  The music industry is virtually digital - CD sales don't even compare to what they used to.

As for pros, depending on the particular service - the ability to easily back up the media, the ability to play on multiple setups easily, the ability to carry your entire collection on a tiny chip (seriously, I would have *loved* to have been able to carry my entire music collection on me in high school/college)...

Of late, I picked up Heroes of Ruin - but I have to bring Mario Kart with me to work daily to play against coworkers.  I'd love the ability to have it "installed" on my system so I can be more mobile with Heroes of Ruin without having to carry multiple cartridges with me.

NeoThunderJuly 28, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: NeoThunder

One important note is that manufacturers arn't allowed to sell items below MSRP to customers. 

Is that a Japanese thing?  Because here in America, that's called price fixing and will get you in trouble.

As Nintendo found out years ago.  I have the coupon hanging on my wall to prove it. :D

I was talking about laws here in the US. I understand that when manufacturers make a product (Nintendo). They assign an MSRP or Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price to that item so when retailers like  GameStop or Walmart sell the item, they usually sell that item at that price. As I understand it a manufacturer, in this case Nintendo, could sell that item to the public too, but they are not allowed to sell it for less than the MSRP that they have set. Since, the ability to do so would allow them to undercut retailers and put them out of business. Retailers don't have to follow this rule of course.

This reason is why I was saying I don't think we will ever see retail eShop games be any cheaper than they are in stores

Quote from: NeoThunder

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: NeoThunder

One important note is that manufacturers arn't allowed to sell items below MSRP to customers. 

Is that a Japanese thing?  Because here in America, that's called price fixing and will get you in trouble.

As Nintendo found out years ago.  I have the coupon hanging on my wall to prove it. :D

I was talking about laws here in the US. I understand that when manufacturers make a product (Nintendo). They assign an MSRP or Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price to that item so when retailers like  GameStop or Walmart sell the item, they usually sell that item at that price. As I understand it a manufacturer, in this case Nintendo, could sell that item to the public too, but they are not allowed to sell it for less than the MSRP that they have set. Since, the ability to do so would allow them to undercut retailers and put them out of business. Retailers don't have to follow this rule of course.

This reason is why I was saying I don't think we will ever see retail eShop games be any cheaper than they are in stores

I'm really curious about this! Can you help me track down that law NeoThunder? It sort of suggests that we won't see any eShop sales on retail games due to legal reasons!

Since that happens on Steam all the time I don't think it means that.

EDIT: Although, since sales are usually on Nintendo software, and Nintendo never discounts their retail software, I wouldn't expect sales on the eShop either way.

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Since that happens on Steam all the time I don't think it means that.

EDIT: Although, since sales are usually on Nintendo software, and Nintendo never discounts their retail software, I wouldn't expect sales on the eShop either way.

But Steam isn't the manufacturer?

TJ SpykeJuly 29, 2012

Neo, I don't think any such law exists. You see video games, books, DVDs, cars, etc. all sold below MSRP all the times. After all, it's just the manufacturer's SUGGESTED retail price. They can't force retailers to sell it for that. A retailer could sell a new $50 game for $1 if they wanted, but they would only be hurting themselves. A retailer pays the publisher for the game, then sells it for what they want. The lower that the retailer sells it for, the less profit they make. So whether Target sells NSMB 2 for $10 or $40, Nintendo makes the same amount of money since Target already paid them for it.

Quote from: Kairon

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Since that happens on Steam all the time I don't think it means that.

EDIT: Although, since sales are usually on Nintendo software, and Nintendo never discounts their retail software, I wouldn't expect sales on the eShop either way.

But Steam isn't the manufacturer?

For certain things Valve is both the publisher and the distributor, and Portal/Left4Dead/whatever are routinely on sale on Steam for less than the MSRP of the boxed product.

NinSageJuly 29, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob

Newspapers are going the way of the dodo.  The music industry is virtually digital - CD sales don't even compare to what they used to.

As for pros, depending on the particular service - the ability to easily back up the media, the ability to play on multiple setups easily, the ability to carry your entire collection on a tiny chip (seriously, I would have *loved* to have been able to carry my entire music collection on me in high school/college)...

Of late, I picked up Heroes of Ruin - but I have to bring Mario Kart with me to work daily to play against coworkers.  I'd love the ability to have it "installed" on my system so I can be more mobile with Heroes of Ruin without having to carry multiple cartridges with me.

@UncleBob

The dodo, eh?  So when should we expect that? 5 years? 10? 20?  Cuz people said it would have happened as early as 12 years ago.

That's nice about CDs.  Now what about the things I was talking about, magazines and radio?

As for your

Quote from: UncleBob

many, many pros to a digital download.

Let's take them one by one.  I know there are a whopping 3 you listed but I'll try to address them all ...

1. Back-ups

How many companies are going to legally allow you to digitally backup software compared to ones that WOULDN'T let you make a backup of the same physical media*?

2. Multiple setups

Sounds good, but ... *

3. Tiny Chip Storage

Sounds great, but ... *

* Think about it.  Is that an advantage of purely digital releases, or is what you (and I) really want a system in which you buy the physical version and have the option of INSTALLATION to our devices (plural if possible)?

In other words, since those features are NOT mutually exclusive from physical media, it's not really appropriate to list them as an advantage of one over another.  A nice feature? Yes.  But not in a comparison sense.

Building on all of these points, let me ask you this ... which do you think would be easier to implement and more likely to happen given the corporate issues others describes above: software goes all digital or companies begin making those features you described standard on physical media?

I know the software providers would love to go all digital so that they don't have to pay to produce anything.  But would they love losing customers left, right and center who prefer OWNING the things they buy?  I know the internet is full of technofiles willing to make any sacrifice for "progress," but that is small, small fraction of the audience.  Would they like pissing off retailers? Or are they all going to drop out of the hardware/accessory/merchandise businesses too?  Yea, I don't think so either =)

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 29, 2012

Magazines and radio?

You want to talk magazines?  Do a little bit of google-fu on magazine sales of late.  Check out the number of magazines that have stopped publishing of late... Aside from Nintendo Power and the small handful of other gaming magazines published all by the same publisher, what gaming magazines are out there?  Wizard and ToyFare have both burned to the ground... is there even a comic-news magazine anymore?  Speaking of comics (which are magazines)... wow.  Should we even discuss how hard of a time they're having?

Radio?  It seems it wasn't that long ago, the major terrestrial radio conglomerates were trying to get a bill passed that would force any digital musical player sold in the US to have an FM radio antenna in it... if that's not a sign of desperation, I don't know what is.  For radio, it's just a matter of time until wireless providers get their heads out of their asses (or until technology/bandwidth improves) and we'll be listening to Pandora-esque programs in our cars.  The ability to stream her phone through her car stereo was the only major feature my wife wanted in her new car she just got... and she's far, far from a technophile.

They're not going to add those features to physical products. There's too much room for abuse, and to make it work you'd have to remove parts you like about the physical products. You will never be able to install a game from a physical product and be able to play it independently of that physical product while retaining the ability to play solely off the physical product without authenticating to a server.

And regarding newspapers, go find me a source that said they were going to be completely gone 12 years ago and I may take you seriously. I have family in the newspaper business, and know other people in it through them, and they are going through really rough times. They're either going to die out or transform dramatically into an entity that works on the internet, which they are currently very far from. Either way, they're going away.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 29, 2012

I've been digging and haven't had much luck... this is about the best article I can find referencing the push by terrestrial/FM stations to get FM antennas put into some digital music players.

http://www.mobiledia.com/news/73001.html

This article only references cell phones - but I could have sworn there was a similar effort for all digital music players...

I remember reading that as well, so it's not just you.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusJuly 29, 2012

Just to get this thread back on track, I think Sony are doing some cool stuff for their online stores.
*PSVita games are (a little) cheaper digitally.
*There are some PSVita games where you get the PS3 game free and they tie in together (or vice-versa)
*Transfarring on MGS games between the Vita and PS3 to encourage multi-game buying.

It would be very sad if none of these ever came true for Nintendo games/systems.

I mean technically, one day (far from now probably) NSMB2 and NSMBU will be available on the same store, yet will probably be the same price as they were in 2012 and will never come bundled together.
Please prove me wrong Nintendo!

NinSageJuly 29, 2012

@UncleBob

Fellas, the point wasn't that those industries aren't hurting or aren't feeling the effects of the internet.  If you haven't checked, right now just about every industry is hurting, and to ignore the impact of the internet on those particular industries would be idiotic to say the least.  The point was people being in love with predicting the complete demise of things that just never seem to happen, much as you are doing now with physical game media.

Also, Pandora is a radio service. It is even sometimes called "Pandora Radio!"  It's not that those things aren't allowed to evolve.  It's that there is a big difference between evolving and dying out.

Can I assume we're in agreement on the non-exclusivity of those features you mentioned?

@Insanolord

Here's a 1998 article from CNN summarizing the perspective from back then.  "Newspapers should have been dead by now. They lost nearly 5.5 million subscribers between 1986 and 1996, and pundits declared the end was near. Young people didn't read, they said. The Net would replace paper. Corporate owners were destroying newspapers' souls. In 1993, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote, 'The smell of death permeates the newspaper business.'"  LINK

Also, you say those features would never be universally added to physical media, so what's different about digital releases that would make it possible?

@famicomplicated

Perhaps I'm missing something.  You like Sony's practice that "encourages multi-game buying" but are disappointed that a console game and a handheld game will likely be sold separately?  Also, since when does Nintendo need to prove they will bundle old releases? Mario All-Stars, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Kirby's Dream Collection ...

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 29, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

Also, Pandora is a radio service. It is even sometimes called "Pandora Radio!"  It's not that those things aren't allowed to evolve.  It's that there is a big difference between evolving and dying out.

If you're going to group all music streaming services as "radio", then I don't think you'll find a single source that says that "radio" is going to die out.

NinSageJuly 29, 2012

@UncleBob

The prediction was that with entire music libraries at our finger tips people would no longer want to be at the mercy of random/unknown music, ie "radio."  The fact that people are still willingly participating in such practice (via new AND old services) when they have the choice not to proves those predictions wrong.  But, if you wanted an argument of semantics, I can't help ya out there.

@Bob/Insano

Back to the main topic, can I assume all my unacknowledged points were met with tacet, if reluctant, understanding?

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 29, 2012

I can't speak for the entire population of the world, but I don't think anyone with any credibility ever said radio would be dead because people wouldn't want random/unknown music.

A LOT of people still listen to radio/streaming services *just* because they *want* to be exposed to new music.  This will *never* change.

As per your other points - some are correct, some are opinion... but here's some more.  Digital releases have the potential to allow you instant access to the media with little wait (depending on your broadband speed), no going to a store and hoping it's in stock, no worries about it going "out of print", no concerns about pricing of second hand sales - and, as a salesman, no concerns about shoplifting and no concerns about taking a loss on markdowns if the product flops and doesn't sell.

tendoboy1984July 29, 2012

Quote from: TJ

Neo, I don't think any such law exists. You see video games, books, DVDs, cars, etc. all sold below MSRP all the times. After all, it's just the manufacturer's SUGGESTED retail price. They can't force retailers to sell it for that. A retailer could sell a new $50 game for $1 if they wanted, but they would only be hurting themselves. A retailer pays the publisher for the game, then sells it for what they want. The lower that the retailer sells it for, the less profit they make. So whether Target sells NSMB 2 for $10 or $40, Nintendo makes the same amount of money since Target already paid them for it.

Wait, if the retailer pays the publisher for a game, then ultimately consumer sales don't matter. Nintendo has their money.

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Quote from: TJ

Neo, I don't think any such law exists. You see video games, books, DVDs, cars, etc. all sold below MSRP all the times. After all, it's just the manufacturer's SUGGESTED retail price. They can't force retailers to sell it for that. A retailer could sell a new $50 game for $1 if they wanted, but they would only be hurting themselves. A retailer pays the publisher for the game, then sells it for what they want. The lower that the retailer sells it for, the less profit they make. So whether Target sells NSMB 2 for $10 or $40, Nintendo makes the same amount of money since Target already paid them for it.

Wait, if the retailer pays the publisher for a game, then ultimately consumer sales don't matter. Nintendo has their money.

The retailer only pays for each shipment as it comes in, and Nintendo only makes real money if they order more shipments. Also, if the games stop selling, retailers will stop even ordering the first shipment.

tendoboy1984July 29, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Quote from: TJ

Neo, I don't think any such law exists. You see video games, books, DVDs, cars, etc. all sold below MSRP all the times. After all, it's just the manufacturer's SUGGESTED retail price. They can't force retailers to sell it for that. A retailer could sell a new $50 game for $1 if they wanted, but they would only be hurting themselves. A retailer pays the publisher for the game, then sells it for what they want. The lower that the retailer sells it for, the less profit they make. So whether Target sells NSMB 2 for $10 or $40, Nintendo makes the same amount of money since Target already paid them for it.

Wait, if the retailer pays the publisher for a game, then ultimately consumer sales don't matter. Nintendo has their money.

The retailer only pays for each shipment as it comes in, and Nintendo only makes real money if they order more shipments. Also, if the games stop selling, retailers will stop even ordering the first shipment.

I always thought the retailer bought shipments in bulk (as in a "case of 30 games"). Then when a game is sold to a consumer, the publisher get a certain percentage of their money back. Is that how it works?

NinSageJuly 29, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob

I can't speak for the entire population of the world, but I don't think anyone with any credibility ever said radio would be dead because people wouldn't want random/unknown music.

And yet, many people did.  Just Google "death of radio" or any similar doom-inciting phrase.  But again, don't let the specifics trip you up.  It's not like everyone gathered around the national sooth sayer and he predicted it.  It's always just the mindless, knee-jerk predictions of every era's Michael Pachters, the general fear-mongering news and the general buzz-hungry populace that perpetuate these notions.  Just as they are doing today by saying physical media will surely be gone soon.

Quote from: UncleBob

As per your other points - some are correct, some are opinion...

Where is the opinion in saying those same things are possible w/ physical media?

Quote from: UncleBob

Digital releases have the potential to allow you instant access to the media with little wait (depending on your broadband speed), no going to a store and hoping it's in stock, no worries about it going "out of print", no concerns about pricing of second hand sales - and, as a salesman, no concerns about shoplifting and no concerns about taking a loss on markdowns if the product flops and doesn't sell.


No going to a store / Immediate access upon release.

No.  Online ordering means you can get games on release day w/o leaving your home.

No "out of print" worries.

YES!!!

No concerns about second hand pricing.

Sorry, that works both ways.  And way more often than not, games go DOWN in price and not up.  So, for the vast majority, nope =\

No headaches for salespeople.

Also, no since those folks would be too busy being out of business to care if there were no more physical versions.  But then there wouldn't be good places to sell hardware, which is why the manufacturers wouldn't be happy, which.. again... is why it ain't happenin'.

~~~

So, barring your identification of those "opinions," we have reached a total of 1 absolute advantage.  Which brings the score to 1 vs at least 1 (actually OWNING the media).

Now, even that advantage falls a bit flat when you consider the following ...

A) The vast majority of games are not hard to find within about 5 years of their release unless there is some REASON for it (poorly accepted, very obscure, some kind of controversy or legal issue).
B) After a game generation has passed, we still have to hope those same issues are not in play AND the service provider still feels like offering that game.  After all, even in digital services, games are sometimes taken down, are they not?

tendoboy1984July 29, 2012

Quote from: NinSage


No going to a store / Immediate access upon release.

No.  Online ordering means you can get games on release day w/o leaving your home.

No "out of print" worries.

YES!!!

No concerns about second hand pricing.

Sorry, that works both ways.  And way more often than not, games go DOWN in price and not up.  So, for the vast majority, nope =\

No headaches for salespeople.

Also, no since those folks would be too busy being out of business to care if there were no more physical versions.  But then there wouldn't be good places to sell hardware, which is why the manufacturers wouldn't be happy, which.. again... is why it ain't happenin'.

~~~

So, barring your identification of those "opinions," we have reached a total of 1 absolute advantage.  Which brings the score to 1 vs at least 1 (actually OWNING the media).

Now, even that advantage falls a bit flat when you consider the following ...

A) The vast majority of games are not hard to find within about 5 years of their release unless there is some REASON for it (poorly accepted, very obscure, some kind of controversy or legal issue).
B) After a game generation has passed, we still have to hope those same issues are not in play AND the service provider still feels like offering that game.  After all, even in digital services, games are sometimes taken down, are they not?

Look at the popularity of digital music/movies (iTunes, Netflix, etc.) and tell me why that wouldn't work for games. We already have services for distributing games digitally (Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, Nintendo eShop), and those are all doing well.


Pretty much everything is going digital these days. The creation of the Internet meant it was inevitable. And for those of you that still like physical copies, but hate going to the store, there's always Amazon.

broodwarsJuly 29, 2012

I'm surprised that no one's mentioned yet that digital releases allow you to access your games immediately without the inconvenience of having to locate and switch out a physical copy.  One of the nice things about my Vita is that I probably have 12-14 digital PSP games and 3-4 digital Vita games on the unit at any one time.  That's 12-14 UMDs and 3-4 SD cards I don't have to be concerned about transporting at any time, and I can easily and quickly switch between games whenever I want.  Sure, I have a portable carrying case for my physical Vita games if I ever wanted to play more than one at a time on the road, but I rarely need it.

As for the immediacy of purchasing, sure you can get cheap release day shipping on upcoming releases at places like Amazon, but for anything older you have to pay a fairly substantial cost to get games on Next Day Shipping.  Otherwise, you'll be waiting a while for your copy to arrive, and that's assuming that the game can be easily purchased online anyway.  By contrast, digital releases can be obtained immediately without having to pay any extra cost whatsoever.  I'll often take the hour or two of downloading a game over the week or so (+assorted hassles with the mail service and intercepting the mail, depending on where you live and how competent your local carrier is) waiting for the physical copy to arrive.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 29, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

And yet, many people did.  Just Google "death of radio" or any similar doom-inciting phrase.

I don't think that means what you think...  Quick look brings up articles talking specifically about terrestrial radio or articles talking about the current "commercial radio" business model.  Both of which will need to change and adapt or be destroyed.

Quote:

Where is the opinion in saying those same things are possible w/ physical media?

Quickly, the one that comes to mind is about storage size.  I said one advantage is having everything on a tiny chip - you came back with "Well, you can buy them and copy them to a tiny chip."  Yeah, but you still have a closet full of CDs that way.  Now you've got a tiny chip and 400+ CDs.

Quote:

No.  Online ordering means you can get games on release day w/o leaving your home.

And wait for it to come in the mail, hope it isn't damaged, hope you ordered from a reputable vendor and hope they don't decide to hold your shipment for whatever reason.

I tell you what - you place a pre-order for NSMB2 from GameStop.  I'll download it from the e-Shop.  We'll see who gets our copy first and the other pays for it. :D

Quote:

No concerns about second hand pricing.
Sorry, that works both ways.  And way more often than not, games go DOWN in price and not up.  So, for the vast majority, nope =\

Mostly true.  If you want a simple, mainstream title, then you'll get it cheaper second hand.

If I want to dig up a copy of Congo Bongo for my Intellivision though....

Quote:

Also, no since those folks would be too busy being out of business to care if there were no more physical versions.  But then there wouldn't be good places to sell hardware, which is why the manufacturers wouldn't be happy, which.. again... is why it ain't happenin'.

Yes, yes, robots are going to take our jebs and put everyone out of work.
ATMs may put a few tellers out of work, but it's going to create new jobs of people to fill and maintain the tellers.  I don't feel that jobs should be kept for the idea of keeping jobs around.

Also, I'm confused - why are MP3 Players sold in stores when the stores don't sell MP3s?

Quote:

A) The vast majority of games are not hard to find within about 5 years of their release unless there is some REASON for it (poorly accepted, very obscure, some kind of controversy or legal issue).

Which is great if you don't care about obscure games or games that have interesting backgrounds behind them.  Personally, I love to laugh at how pathetic Custard's Revenge is and the controversy that was around it.

Quote:

B) After a game generation has passed, we still have to hope those same issues are not in play AND the service provider still feels like offering that game.  After all, even in digital services, games are sometimes taken down, are they not?

Which is why I said I'm not sold on digital yet.  The potential is there... but the service isn't quite right for *me* yet.  I have little doubt that, as digital is becoming more in-force, the various contracts being written up are being done in such a way to cover some of the legal issues we're seeing now with re-releasing older products.

You know, it wasn't that long ago that TV shows would get a license for particular music, but only for broadcast - because TV shows on home media were fairly uncommon back in the day.  We're seeing the effects of this now with DVD releases, where shows have to edit/change music because they cannot get the license for a DVD release or it's deemed to be too expensive to be worth the cost.

So now, most licenses include clauses that cover for a release on home media.

We'll be seeing this more with video games - exact clauses detailing how and when a publisher/developer/license holder come into play with digital releases in the future.

I only wish I had a time machine and could go back to Capcom/Disney-era and get them to adapt these policies back then.

tendoboy1984July 30, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob



Also, I'm confused - why are MP3 Players sold in stores when the stores don't sell MP3s?

I love this rhetorical question, and I'm going to answer it anyways:

You need the hardware to use the software.

NinSageJuly 30, 2012

@broodwars

Quote from: UncleBob

... the ability to carry your entire collection on a tiny chip

@UncleBob

1. Having all the games on a tiny chip AND on 400 CDs is still having them on the tiny chip.  One doesn't negate the other.  If you're purely worried about saving space you can throw them out if you really need to =P

2. As for immediacy, yea, I suppose most games would release digitally by noon and most mail trucks deliver around 3 or 4pm, right? So, boom, there's 4ish hours of advantage for digital release. Whoopetydoo! =P

3. Right.  That Intellivision game would be a problem... which is why I said "the vast majority" go down in price.

4. I don't care about keeping those jobs around =P  But if manufacturers don't want their hardware/accessories/merch relegated to general electronic stores they would want GAME stores to stay in business =P

5. I'm not discrediting obscure/controversial games.  I'm simply saying that many of the same obstacles which make certain retail games hard to find would apply to digital versions as well.

~~~

I'm glad you're not sold on digital yet.  Neither am I =)

But, ultimately, the root of our conversation was whether or not digital would make retail extinct in the near future.  I just don't see that happening for a very long time.  What do you think? After the next gen? After two?

@tendoboy

Exactly.  His analogy falls flat because those are general electronic stores.  Not "MP3" stores.

tendoboy1984July 30, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

not sold on digital yet.  Neither am I =)

But, ultimately, the root of our conversation was whether or not digital would make retail extinct in the near future.  I just don't see that happening for a very long time.  What do you think? After the next gen? After two?

Hardly anyone complains about buying music or movies on iTunes (or a similar service), so why would they complain about having digital games?


I've bought plenty of games on the eShop, WiiWare, PSN, and iTunes, so I'm all for the conveniences of a digital future. No more scratched discs, no more broken disc drives.

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Hardly anyone complains about buying music or movies on iTunes (or a similar service), so why would they complain about having digital games?

Well the one difference right now is that games are still tied to proprietary systems, whereas music and movies are relatively standardized or universalized.

NinSageJuly 30, 2012

Quote from: MegaByte

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Hardly anyone complains about buying music or movies on iTunes (or a similar service), so why would they complain about having digital games?

Well the one difference right now is that games are still tied to proprietary systems, whereas music and movies are relatively standardized or universalized.

He said it so I didn't have to.  :D  Well done, 'byte.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 30, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

1. Having all the games on a tiny chip AND on 400 CDs is still having them on the tiny chip.  One doesn't negate the other.  If you're purely worried about saving space you can throw them out if you really need to =P

I'm pretty sure that current copyright laws require to you retain possession of the original media in order to retain copies... so if you get rid of the original, I don't think you get to keep the copies.

Quote:

2. As for immediacy, yea, I suppose most games would release digitally by noon and most mail trucks deliver around 3 or 4pm, right? So, boom, there's 4ish hours of advantage for digital release. Whoopetydoo! =P

Now, factor in the increase in price to get release date delivery as applicable...

Oh, and if it's a Nintendo game that releases on a Sunday...

Still gonna take me up on my offer?

Quote:

4. I don't care about keeping those jobs around =P  But if manufacturers don't want their hardware/accessories/merch relegated to general electronic stores they would want GAME stores to stay in business =P
@tendoboy
Exactly.  His analogy falls flat because those are general electronic stores.  Not "MP3" stores.

So, we want to save "game" stores?
Who here cares to save GameStop?  Show of hands?

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Quote from: UncleBob



Also, I'm confused - why are MP3 Players sold in stores when the stores don't sell MP3s?

I love this rhetorical question, and I'm going to answer it anyways:

You need the hardware to use the software.

Um... stores that sell MP3 players don't really tend to sell much in the way of MP3 software...?

tendoboy1984July 30, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob

I'm pretty sure that current copyright laws require to you retain possession of the original media in order to retain copies... so if you get rid of the original, I don't think you get to keep the copies.

Actually, you can legally copy music to and from CD's through iTunes and Windows Media Player. It's built into the software.

Quote from: UncleBob

Um... stores that sell MP3 players don't really tend to sell much in the way of MP3 software...?

Well of course not. You buy the MP3 player (iPod) at the store, then download all the music through your computer.

Quote from: broodwars

I'm surprised that no one's mentioned yet that digital releases allow you to access your games immediately without the inconvenience of having to locate and switch out a physical copy.

This is why I KNOW that I'm buying Animal Crossing 3DS digitally.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 30, 2012

Quote from: tendoboy1984

Quote from: UncleBob

I'm pretty sure that current copyright laws require to you retain possession of the original media in order to retain copies... so if you get rid of the original, I don't think you get to keep the copies.

Actually, you can legally copy music to and from CD's through iTunes and Windows Media Player. It's built into the software.

I'm well aware of that.

However, your original license for the music is the physical CD.  If you sell, lose, or throw away the original CD, you, legally, are no longer permitted to have the copies.

Quote:

Well of course not. You buy the MP3 player (iPod) at the store, then download all the music through your computer.

Again, that was my original point.  The store (most generally) doesn't sell MP3s (or, at least, isn't likely to be the one selling you MP3s) - yet they still sell MP3 players.  NinSage is trying to argue that console makers won't be able to get their hardware in stores if they don't let stores sell the games.

AnGerJuly 30, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob

NinSage is trying to argue that console makers won't be able to get their hardware in stores if they don't let stores sell the games.

Well, in my opinion he's not far off track. I personally have never seen a PSPgo at a shop in my home region and only very few retail stores in Munich or Augsburg have carried the go – mostly large chain stores. It may be a little far-fetched, but it appears to me that at least retailers will try to refrain from selling devices which they can't make more money out of. Though this may be only hypothetical.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 31, 2012

PSPGo had a *lot* going against it.

I can't buy iPad/iPod touch games, music or movies in stores... yet they're sold EVERYWHERE.

When the iPod first came out, I believe that people pointed out that it was simply a more expensive MP3 player. Let's not forget that Apple charges top dollar for their products, more than you can get with non-Apple consumer solutions. I think that iPods and iPod touches are sold "everywhere" because they are actually designed to have a sizable retailer margin. Game consoles, on the other hand, aren't.

PSPGo had the fact that it was a PSP going against it. Outside of Japan and its weird obsession with Monster Hunter, that system was a total flop. The Go was also more expensive than the other PSP models that had more functionality than the Go. The reluctance to carry it had little, if anything, to do with it bypassing retail for game sales.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 31, 2012

Quote from: Kairon

I think that iPods and iPod touches are sold "everywhere" because they are actually designed to have a sizable retailer margin. Game consoles, on the other hand, aren't.

The margin isn't that great.  The margin on off-brand MP3 players is better - and even then, the margin still sucks.  That's why stores try to push POS headphones, cases and service plans on you at point of sale.

Regardless, if retailer margin is the issue, then console manufacturers can simply lower their sell price to the retailers.  After all, they'll be more than making up for it in software. :D

TJ SpykeJuly 31, 2012

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: Kairon

I think that iPods and iPod touches are sold "everywhere" because they are actually designed to have a sizable retailer margin. Game consoles, on the other hand, aren't.

The margin isn't that great.  The margin on off-brand MP3 players is better - and even then, the margin still sucks.  That's why stores try to push POS headphones, cases and service plans on you at point of sale.

Regardless, if retailer margin is the issue, then console manufacturers can simply lower their sell price to the retailers.  After all, they'll be more than making up for it in software. :D

True, retailers don't make a ton of profit from iPods, Apple makes most of the profits (a huge markup) while retailers get very little. But retailers sell huge amounts of them (over 300 million sold since the original iPod launched in October 2001).

Quote from: TJ

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote from: Kairon

I think that iPods and iPod touches are sold "everywhere" because they are actually designed to have a sizable retailer margin. Game consoles, on the other hand, aren't.

The margin isn't that great.  The margin on off-brand MP3 players is better - and even then, the margin still sucks.  That's why stores try to push POS headphones, cases and service plans on you at point of sale.

Regardless, if retailer margin is the issue, then console manufacturers can simply lower their sell price to the retailers.  After all, they'll be more than making up for it in software. :D

True, retailers don't make a ton of profit from iPods, Apple makes most of the profits (a huge markup) while retailers get very little. But retailers sell huge amounts of them (over 300 million sold since the original iPod launched in October 2001).

Ah, thanks for correcting me!

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusAugust 02, 2012

Has anyone mentioned the fact that music/video stores sell iTunes cards? They don't usually sell iPod/iPads at those places either, as Apple has severe restrictions on how their products are displayed/sold.

A $10 iTunes card costs $10. I wonder if the store makes any profit at all on those things?


Also I think this price discrepancy will filter out over time, plus you have to give it to Nintendo, they're the only ones trying to gently ease (ahem) "normal" people into buying digitally. How many of your Aunties/Grandparents gifted you a game on Steam or PSN? Over the next few years we could be seeing every game have a box and d/l card side-by-side, with a few dollars difference (hopefully the correct way by then!).


It may suck a bit now, but things can only get better. Hopefully.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorAugust 02, 2012

Quote from: famicomplicated

Has anyone mentioned the fact that music/video stores sell iTunes cards? They don't usually sell iPod/iPads at those places either, as Apple has severe restrictions on how their products are displayed/sold.

A $10 iTunes card costs $10. I wonder if the store makes any profit at all on those things?

Virtually every store that sells iPods/iPads sells the gift cards.  The profit on them isn't bad - the main reason stores like 'em is because they only pay for them once they sell (i.e.: no inventory) and they take up virtually no space.

I assume, in some kind of all-digital future, stores would still sell the various Sony/MS/Nintendo pre-paid cards as they do now.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorAugust 19, 2012

Quote from: NinSage]

Quote from: UncleBob

I tell you what - you place a pre-order for NSMB2 from GameStop.  I'll download it from the e-Shop.  We'll see who gets our copy first and the other pays for it. :D

Quote from: NinSage

2. As for immediacy, yea, I suppose most games would release digitally by noon and most mail trucks deliver around 3 or 4pm, right? So, boom, there's 4ish hours of advantage for digital release. Whoopetydoo! =P


I got mine about 2 AM this morning.  When did you get your copy? :D

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement