Xbox Games on Demand

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  • Johnhost 1 Jul 2009 14:11:51 55 posts
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    At E3 microsoft announced Games on Demand service which include 30 titles at launch of Xbox 360 classics and popular games. No prices was mentioned.

    I want to share my views on such a service and how I find the current retail market and used game market.

    Retail vs. Digital Download

    Retail
    I went and purchased a new game today from Morrisons. A month ago I purchased a game I pre-ordered from Game. Both experiences were similar. Rubbish.

    Besides the obviously getting to the shop in business hours I found the end product treated no better then a used game. And yet I was paying full price. The packages was unwrapped, the disk removed from it, there were stickers placed directly on the box. And in the case of EA Active I ordered from Game the box was crumpled and looked used. This was the day of release!

    Staff never seem to be very interested in you or your business and it's clear that major chains like HMV and Morrisons that do not deal in second hand games hike the prices of games to full MSRP if not higher. And these prices usually stay that way even six months after a release. Stock is usually limited and again you get your order in a used condition.

    If you do purchase from a major game retailer you will find they treat all their games new or used the same.

    Additionally you can buy physical copies online but this also got it's problem. For a popular game stock will be limited and depending on where you buy you can end up with shipping charges or even price inflatted.

    Shortly after release online retailers like Amazon and Play who offer a marketplace will see a drastic inflation of prices for new products. This is especially bad for "collector editions" where they know months later people will pay for it.

    Digital

    Digital download has it's advantages but several key problems still remain.

    Digital media can be a dodgy purchase depending on who is selling it. For consoles there really is no options except on Xbox 360 for a small selection of Xbox Original games. However with the launch of Games on Demand we will see some better selection. Pricing hasn't been announced but we can assume that titles that have been around over a year will be priced at around 19.99.

    For PC gamers there is some good and bad options. EA has it's EA store which offers its catalog of games for more then MSRP (i.e. Sims 3 costs 40.00 when in retail it's 30.00). Why do they think people will pay MORE then Game or Amazon is charging for the same thing I don't know. Steam is a fairly good option, and more good deals are coming along offering gamers back catalogs for cheep.

    Then there is storage. Right now at max you can have 120GB of storage on an Xbox 360. Oblivion alone will take about 8GB of that. Considering that in reality you will be getting more like 100GB of actual storage, and you have to consider movies you download, avatars, demos, DLC and arcade is all going to sap the space down. I am using a 60GB drive and I am nearly out of space with about 3 games installed to it.

    If Microsoft does release a new hard drive they may still charge 100 or more for the drive, which is well above the cost for the drive itself.

    The other issues is bandwidth. I believe most gamers will have at least 2Mbs at their disposal which is more then enough to download a game overnight. Obviously this is still awhile to wait considering you may be able to purchase a game and be home playing for the time it takes you to go to the store. But then that can be problematic.

    However if pricing is fair and games which are less well know, or always out of stock are always available, this will make it easier to get and potentially boost sales. And more importantly is what I will call the Psychonauts effect.

    Sometimes a game is poorly advertised and may not seem that good. But later on after people have played it they realize actually this is an awesome game. By this point retail will have no copies and only used games will be available. That means no profit going to the game developers and publishers. So even though the game took longer to catch hold, due to the limited retail shelving space it dies a slow death and if it has the budget to advertise like Nintendo and Blizzard it could have sold well.

    The best thing about Digital is developers and publishers get paid everytime. And that will create a trickle effect where games at launch will have a certain level of sales, but then for those who may not be able to buy right away, or might stumble upon the game down the road will still be paying the developers. Certain titles which might do very well in the used market such as Call of Duty 4 (still very expensive used) can be be selling and paying the developers for years after. And prices can be adjusted so that day of release buyers will pay the most and after the game has been out a couple of months the price slow drops.

    Pricing may well be the very thing that keeps gamers away from Digital. It is a much cheeper to sell on a game and use those funds towards other purchases. This is really felt with annual games like PES where the street price drops to a few pounds.

    However there are ways to keep people who finish a game and want to move on happy. A subscription model is the best for this type of gamer. Rather then paying for individual games, you pay one price to rent any title, play through it and once your done you can play another. Pricing is something that will have to be worked out. But considering that it works for so many game rental companies like Gamefly, Metaboli I don't see why it couldn't work with digital download.

    Or there is the option to rent a one off for a period of time. I don't think piracy would be much more a problem then it is with physical media.

    At the end of the day shouldn't game developers get paid for their work? And should consumers be able to get access at a fair price to games and feel good about their purchase?

    I know one of the complaints is also going to be people like to see the games on the shelf. I know I am one of those people too. But retail has ruined that for me. Everytime I peel off a sticker from my new game I feel less and less happy about retail. Game trading used to be done between friends, but now is a Million Industry which has left the game buyer standing in a long que to buy something which is basically used for new price.

    I am for digital distribution, it is the future and I feel game publishers can find new ways and new pricing models to please everyone.
  • AaronTurner 1 Jul 2009 14:17:10 7,755 posts
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    Can't wait but I do feel sorry for retail shops, can't see shops like Game lasting once services like this are up and running. They must have already lost a sizable chunk of game sales to Steam and the like, thinking the same may happen to consoles must be pretty worrying.
  • oceanmotion 1 Jul 2009 14:27:23 15,969 posts
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    Both will coexist. I only buy from Steam when it's a good sale and Microsoft certainly isn't going to be generous and neither will other publishers through Xbox 360. Still, prices have yet to be seen and how they are priced later in life. One good thing is dev/publishers will get more money but only when they don't take the piss price and drm wise.
  • Paperghost 1 Jul 2009 14:30:55 1,702 posts
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    i like to pick up XBLA games for the price they come in at, but as far as making full price retail games available to download....

    1) they need to reduce the idiotic price of their HD or i'm not jumping on the bandwagon.
    2) they need to take more than a token two or three quid off the price of the game, or there's absolutely no point in buying a game you can't sell on or take back etc etc etc. and we know the chances of them pricing these games at reasonable prices is slim at best.
    3) when the next gen of consoles roll around, will all of these digital downloads - XBLA and especially the full price retail titles - still work on the new ones? who wants to bet there'll be "problems"?
  • AaronTurner 1 Jul 2009 14:37:15 7,755 posts
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    I went into game the other day and traded in a game for another. At the end of the transaction the guy asked me "Do you know you can trade old games in for credit at this store?". That's Game for you.
  • BabyJesus 1 Jul 2009 15:56:07 4,412 posts
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    Paperghost wrote:

    1) they need to reduce the idiotic price of their HD or i'm not jumping on the bandwagon.

    ^This x100
  • wayneh 9 Aug 2009 20:09:29 2,350 posts
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    I just checked the *NEW* prices for the boxed retail versions of the 360 games on demand, Assassins Creed 8.99, Mass Effect 13.19, Need for Speed Carbon 16.79, Oblivion 14.75, Call of Duty 2 14.67 and finally Lego Star Wars 14.99. Microsft have them all listed for 19.99. I think they will need to re-think their prices before I buy any LOL.

    Act like a dumbshit and they will treat you as an equal

  • Paperghost 9 Aug 2009 21:45:41 1,702 posts
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    Obviously the head honchos at MS didn't bother to get with the program and read my three points.

    Ah well. I can't see anybody buying any of these things.
  • paul_haine 9 Aug 2009 21:47:58 4,205 posts
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    Paperghost wrote:
    Obviously the head honchos at MS didn't bother to get with the program and read my three points.

    Ah well. I can't see anybody buying any of these things.

    They'll be bought by the same sort of people that buy films and TV series from iTunes, even though they're usually more expensive than the DVDs.
  • Duffking 9 Aug 2009 21:55:19 7,269 posts
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    wayneh wrote:
    I just checked the *NEW* prices for the boxed retail versions of the 360 games on demand, Assassins Creed 8.99, Mass Effect 13.19, Need for Speed Carbon 16.79, Oblivion 14.75, Call of Duty 2 14.67 and finally Lego Star Wars 14.99. Microsft have them all listed for 19.99. I think they will need to re-think their prices before I buy any LOL.
    Erm, Mass Effect is 1600 points.

    Which makes it 13.60.

  • Peew971 10 Aug 2009 00:30:56 4,818 posts
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    The convenience factor will make this service work, it's like buying points from the dashboard. I know I can shop around and get points cheaper but sometimes I'm just not bothered moving away from my couch and buy them instantly. My girlfriend does the same wih itunes and I'm sure we're not the only ones.
  • LetsGo 10 Aug 2009 00:45:00 5,242 posts
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    They will always be a little more expensive, I'm guessing they wouldn't want to piss retail off?
  • Whizzo 10 Aug 2009 00:52:39 43,151 posts
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    DUFFKING wrote:Erm, Mass Effect is 1600 points.

    Which makes it 13.60.

    I've got the UK marketplace open right now and it's 19.99 or 2400 points, all the 360 GOD titles are the same price.

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  • Duffking 10 Aug 2009 01:39:57 7,269 posts
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    Really? There's a video on the dashboard showing how the interface works and Mass Effect is clearly priced at 1600 points.

    And here:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2009/08/05/xbox-360-games-on-demand-priced-between-20-30/
  • funkyd 10 Aug 2009 03:37:12 7,522 posts
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    DUFFKING wrote:
    Really? There's a video on the dashboard showing how the interface works and Mass Effect is clearly priced at 1600 points.

    And here:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2009/08/05/xbox-360-games-on-demand-priced-between-20-30/

    I assume that's the US Marketplace.
  • Johnhost 10 Aug 2009 08:20:26 55 posts
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    The prices will stay at 19.99. After looking into this further Microsoft's MSRP for it's Classics series on 360 is 19.99.

    And while I think Call of Duty 2 and Need for Speed Carbon are a rip off, the other titles are worth 20.00. Both Call of Duty and Need for Speed are last gen games redone for 360. They were released around four years ago.

    Ok so if every Games on Demand title which is either on Classics Range or is over six months old is sold for 19.99 that isn't too bad. Yes it's not as cheep as used but it is a solid price that can be counted on.

    The only thing Microsoft needs to do now is release an affordable large capacity HDD.
  • Paperghost 10 Aug 2009 08:44:58 1,702 posts
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    well, i wouldn't say there's much "convenience" in paying a lot more for a download that takes up precious space, can't be resold and in many cases costs a lot more than a disc version.

    if someone can't be bothered taking the time to pick up any of those titles online for a lot less and actually have some patience for a 2+ year old game to drop through the letterbox then it's a little bit weird imho. if they were brand new titles and you absolutely HAD to have it ten minutes after midnight on launch day i could understand it, but surely most of the stuff there has been out long enough that anybody with keraayze purchase impulses would have picked them up already?
  • thenastypasty 10 Aug 2009 08:56:25 5,183 posts
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    To be honest if I buy any games from GOD iv got to feel like I'm getting value for money,which is why if I can pick up oblivion up for 1800 points or less then I'll buy it.
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 10 Aug 2009 08:58:49 38,338 posts
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    Yeah, I went into GOD on Saturday and had a look at the prices. I was shocked that they were all 19.99

    Hey MS... How about NO?

    Follow me on Twitter: @MrTom
    Voted by the community "Best mod" 2011, 2012 and 2013.

  • Whizzo 10 Aug 2009 09:05:56 43,151 posts
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    Fuck convenience or some "solid price" nonsense, some of the games on GOD are less than ten quid brand new.

    If you want Oblivion, Play are doing it for 11 quid as well.

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  • BartonFink 10 Aug 2009 09:11:47 34,948 posts
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    Yup that is stupidity of the highest order. They really need to have a look at the pricing and do something realistic. I wouldn't mind paying a few extra for the convenience of GoD but like Whizzo pointed out 10 difference between GoD and retail is a bit daft.
  • Deleted user 10 August 2009 10:03:04
    I only see one benefit to buying a GOD. That is that in three years time or maybe even longer when i suddenly get the urge to replay a game i can just re download and not have to find the game in some obsure bargain bin in a shop.

    The downside is that IM NOT MADE OF FUCKING MONEY.
  • WolfHook 10 Aug 2009 11:45:48 2 posts
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    I don't think that this service is in direct competition with retail, they know full well that they shouldn't bite the hand that feeds.

    I only see this direct download stuff being used as a back catalogue and not a place to offer pre-orders etc.

    I am not against this download service but I doubt I will use it. Someone said earlier up the thread that consumer choice is key and that is correct. The more choice the better as it will benefit the consumer and force competitive rates.

    The thought of not actually having something tangible in my hand that still retains some value is what puts me off. I buy games and play them a few times, throw them on the shelf and might go back to them later. In the last two weeks I have regained over a 100 on selling old games, and that is important to me. Buying online as a digital version does not give me that option.

    nice idea but I will stick to buying the actual game disc online from Amazon.co.uk.
  • lucky_jim 10 Aug 2009 12:54:08 5,308 posts
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    I bought Sega Rally, new and sealed, from a bricks-and-mortar HMV two days ago. It cost me 10. I really can't see me making use of this new "service"!
  • Page1 10 Aug 2009 13:01:41 2,618 posts
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    Well as my DVD drive is broken and MS want a silly amount of money to fix, I might give one of these a go while I save my pennys for a new 360.

    So not so bad for me.
  • Peew971 10 Aug 2009 14:04:13 4,818 posts
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    There's a lot of whining for a service that's actually good. I know I won't buy any of these games because I pretty much buy all the games that interest me on day one but still, this is a good option to have.
    If it's too expensive for you don't buy it, who cares? I'm sure MS won't lose money if we don't use GOD so they don't care either, it's just an option!
    And yes in the UK we're blessed with all these websites that discount games but it's not the same everywhere. In some places you'd pay close to RRP for these same games even if they're old. And some people just refuse to shop online.
    By the way, COD4 is a 2 years old and I've never seen it at 19.99, people would be happy to see it on GOD.
    Come on it's a new service and not it's not forced on anyone, give it a chance! You don't have to use it but can appreciate its existence.
  • seasidebaz 10 Aug 2009 15:06:53 6,126 posts
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    Johnhost wrote:
    The prices will stay at 19.99. After looking into this further Microsoft's MSRP for it's Classics series on 360 is 19.99.

    Unless you go to GAME, who seem to think pre-owned games from the Classics range are worth 24.99...
  • Whizzo 10 Aug 2009 15:15:46 43,151 posts
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    GOD Mass Effect being more expensive than it was at retail on launch in Australia is pretty funny too.

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  • LetsGo 11 Aug 2009 22:26:06 5,242 posts
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    im so lazy, im willing to pay an extra few quid for a game which, if I want to join a friends online game, I don't need to change the disc as it will be downloaded to the hard drive!

    bonus!
  • SomaticSense 12 Aug 2009 02:53:41 8,429 posts
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    The only problem with that is that they'll have gone to bed by the time it's finished downloading. Unless they are insominacs of course, and are still online for the 6 or so hours it'll take before you are able to play it.

    Bought Viva Pinata:TiP myself through the GoD channel, as I've not seen it anywhere for much less than 20 anyway so price isn't much of a concern. But the fact it takes so long to download completely ruins any pretension of 'convenience'. It'd be quicker to take a 30 mile long round trip to buy a boxed copy than download as a GoD.

    I can see this fatal flaw becoming even more major when (if) MS start to sell games on their respective release date. Imagine trying to download a 6.5gig Gears 3 on release day with everyone in the world trying to download it at the same time. The service slows to a crawl when a lukewarm 1gig demo is put up on the Marketplace, what the fuck will it be like for a big name release?
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