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Most Console Gamers Still Prefer Physical Media 232

arcticstoat writes "Despite the advent of online game stores on all three major consoles, most console gamers apparently still prefer hoarding collections of gaming discs to downloading games. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos in the UK revealed that 64 per cent of the 1,000 users polled would rather have games on physical discs, while only 25 per cent would prefer digital copies. In the survey, 55 per cent of those polled said price was the key factor in determining their interest in downloading games, while 27 per cent said they wanted games available online before they were in the shops. Ipsos' director Ian Bramley explained, 'Interest absolutely drops away when you get to the types of pricing that you might charge for a new physical disc. People's perceptions are that they're not prepared to pay as much for digital content — they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper.'"
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Most Console Gamers Still Prefer Physical Media

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  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:38PM (#32780102)
    Well that and things like ubisoft changing stores. I got an email from them earlier today that they'll be changing stores the beginning of August. Subsequently I won't be able to download those games again because they're not going to carry over those purchases. Now, fortunately I already have a copy, and am downloading again just to make sure that it's fully functioning, but this is why I don't generally buy download only games.
  • Re:DRM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CordableTuna ( 1395439 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:42PM (#32780158)
    On my shelf is the boxed copy of Empire: Total War. Every time I want to play it I have to ask Gabe Nevell for a permission. In some ways the non-DRMed downloadable games are more real than that box.
  • by ndnspongebob ( 942859 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:44PM (#32780198)
    I second that, also, i can let my friends borrow a game and try out some of their games. gaming is very social, its something we do for fun. too bad soul-sucking gaming corporations cant understand that. a game that is downloaded cant be shared, everyone has to download their own copy. so a digital game provides less value than a physical game.
  • by Flowstone ( 1638793 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:52PM (#32780332)
    That alone is the strongest point of it all. you can't trade in a downloaded game, you can't lend a downloaded game to a friend, blockbuster can't rent it to people (although im sure gaming companies would love to do that first hand.) and ultimately it's condition and working nature is upto the user's level of care.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:13PM (#32780572)

    I like having as many of my games as possible all loaded in a harddrive, so I can just turn on the console remotely and play. No swapping discs, no noisey cdrom drive, etc. Same principle as why people prefer a "jukebox" they can stick in their pocket.

    However, I do still prefer physical media, since I want to actually OWN what I purchase. So while I have bought a few independant games via download, I prefer discs for the AAA stuff.

    Now, the irony here to my first comment above is that even if I install my games to my XBOX hard drive, I still have the inconvenience of swapping the damn disc as "proof" I own it. Legit customer, inconvenienced. I was much happier with my PS2 and HDLoader. Power up, get a menu of my games, pick one and play.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:26PM (#32780718)

    After seeing games that are only a couple years old on Steam for under $10, I could give a shit less about physical media. I have lost all interest in being a "hard core" gamer having to have the latest and greatest in hardware and software. I barely have any time to play much less go up to Best Buy to dig through the somewhat limited selection they have.

    I don't much follow anymore the release dates of new games. It helps me not get overly excited about the next big thing and keeps me from pre-ordering it. My biggest indicator as too whether or not a game is going to be a AAA must have title is when they hold the $50 release price for 4-6 months. You don't even much need to read the reviews since most of the companies panic and drop the price on a game they know is shit.

    Once any games hit the $10 and under mark I'll buy it just to have something to play with for a few hours/days and then delete it off my system. It's the gaming equivalent of one of those snack bags of chips.

    As far as sharing with friends, fuck them, they need to go buy their own damn copy so we can play co-op or multi-player.

  • by Warhawke ( 1312723 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#32780830)

    This is a major consumer misconception. While I'm the first person on the "give me reliable physical media that you can't revise post-purchase a la 1984" bandwagon, I've spent a long time dealing with smaller publishers in switching to digital distribution models (and all the while explaining why DRM is evil), and I was surprised as anyone to learn that packaging costs, storage, shipping, hardware, printing, and media costs are an infintesimal part of the production cost. More than that, digital distribution comes with its own set of incredibly high costs that actually outpaces traditional distribution: data servers, drive platters, support staff, server storage location... not to mention all of the costs that remain the same - graphic design, advertising, product placement, and even physical-copy game-cards so people without/uncomfortable with using credit cards online can purchase too -- which all has to incur traditional packaging costs, warehouse storage, shipping costs, duplicating hardware, physical media, package printing, etc.

    Not to mention online advertising is a total b*tch to do right. With a physical product, it has the added benefit of advertising itself (forgetting for a moment retailer practice of charging for shelf-space placement). With digital, no one knows it's there unless you're paying someone to advertise it for you, or giving them a substantial chunk of the pie. So yes, digital distribution is not only going to NOT cost less, it's probably going to cost a whole lot more. Just look at e-book pricing arguments, because the same amount of work is going into them, and that work usually costs a lot more. Web developers get paid $75-$125 / hr. industry rate; truckers get a touch over minimum wage. Why bother with digital downloads, then, if it's going to cost more? Perishability and tracking. Not only can you ensure a 1-1 purchase / use rate by destroying the secondary market, you can also research market variables by looking at the profiles of who is downloading your media and what other kinds of media they are purchasing. Hence, this is why DRM has become so attractive to publishers, because in everyone's cry for digital distribution, what everyone REALLY wanted was cheaper IP, and publishers as for-profit organizations were compelled to recoup on profits lost by the shift to digital distribution.

  • by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:46PM (#32780916) Journal
    I get a lot of value out of the five quid Xbox360 Arcade games. I only bought Risk a few days ago and it already say 18 hours of gameplay!

    Sure, I can't sell them but they're only a fiver. I loss far more money selling a brand new game after a couple of months.
  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:00PM (#32781082)
    Oddly though, despite cutting out the middle men, the prices don't get lowered. With a boxed game, you can expect the price to drop rapidly after the first few months, and eventually you can find it in the bargain bin. Digital prices drop extremely slowly though. The cost of inventory is high for stores, but it's also the reason that prices drop over time, so that they can get rid of the inventory and free up shelf space. No such pressure for digital downloads.

    Even the initial day one prices are similar between stores and digital downloads. Maybe there's a tiny discount for digital downloads, but not nearly as much as cutting out the middle men would imply. Basically boxed games are expensive with tiny margins, and digital downloads are expensive but with huge margins.
  • by aiwarrior ( 1030802 ) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:13PM (#32781226)

    I totally agree with you. In slashdot there is this stigma about trading a physical good for a digital one. Don't get me wrong i love buying music CD's but when i do it i get a personal satisfaction feeling and nostalgia that is not really connected to the end product which is music. The music is equal to the flac or high quality mp3 counterpart.
    But i also find that steam is a good platform for a games library that is both versatile and convenient.

    Some users replied that they can't sell their games or that they have to log in to play the downloaded content, but not with steam and steam is basically DRM. With steam you can play in offline mode and can play as you mentioned in any computer you own just by logging in and downloading. It's true you can't resell but steam constantly has such good deals that not even in your dream store you will get so much discounted titles. In my opinion they may even be cheaper than second hand games bought of ebay or any online store.

    There is just one thing i am afraid regarding the fact that in some jurisdictions the digitally transactioned goods may not be regulated by the same solid physical goods laws.

    PS: Steam's recent promotions are completely brilliant []

  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Saturday July 03, 2010 @10:13AM (#32785512)

    Yeah, except Steam doesn't sell games. They get around that nasty doctrine called "first sale" by selling subscriptions to game. Subscriptions that basically last forever, but regardless.

    As the brother post says, its all in the licensing agreement - although if someone did sue and a court forced Valve to allow first sale of that nature things would be pretty topsy turvey in the digital gaming world.

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