Codies explains download-only PC F1 2010

"Appropriate to market observations."

Have you wondered why the PC version of F1 2010 is a digital download exclusive unless you've pre-ordered? Funny that. So did we.

Here's your answer: a Codemasters spokesperson explained the decision as "UK specific and appropriate to market observations of boxed versus digital distribution of PC titles".

"And it follows the game's US release, which is exclusively digital on PC," the spokesperson added.

In the UK the boxed edition of F1 2010 is only available if you pre-order it. With F1 2010's Friday release nearing, time is running out. But some shops, such as Amazon, are still taking pre-orders.

Codemasters' explanation of its strategy echoes the views of Championship Manager creator Beautiful Game Studios.

Earlier this month BGS boss Roy Meredith told Eurogamer the core PC Championship Manager series was "on hold" because of what he described as the ailing PC market.

"Sales are shrinking in that marketplace," Meredith said.

"I don't think boxed copy on PC is going to last much longer. It just feels like the boxed PC game is on its way out."

Meredith said PC users were smarter about how they shopped - choosing digital distributors like Steam or the EA shop or the Eidos shop over high street retailers.

"Because of that we've seen retail almost ignore PC.

"I was in GAME at the weekend and I couldn't believe how little there was. I saw a game, Bus Magnate I think it was, and I thought, 'Wow, is that what the PC market has come down to?'"

Over the weekend Kinect head honcho Kudo Tsunoda set the internet ablaze when he told Game Informer: "Hardly anyone plays first person shooters on the PC anymore" and insisted "it's all about the console".

A recent report from US sales tracker NPD claimed that during the first half of 2010 digital downloads of PC gamers far outpaced those from shops.

Commenting on the trend, NPD's Anita Frazier said: "The overall decline of PC games when combining sales via both digital downloads and physical retail sales is impacted by the expansion of social network gaming as well as the continued expansion of free game options."

Or, blame it all on Facebook.

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