Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Developers want digital distribution, and I do too....

I've read many stories in the last six months or so about how developers feel as though used game sales are hurting them. I saw another one just today.

They are wrong, and that's fine. The developers' solution is simple, digital/online distribution. If you buy the game online, you can't trade it in at GameStop, or even Toys R Us.

Of course they forget that they'd put thousands of people out of work by doing this (what is GameStop going to sell? Genesis games? Actually, that'd be awesome, but that's not the point), and the number of people who could buy games would decrease. On top of that, it's a different shopping experience to go online and purchase a game than it is to pick one up while you are in a store (especially if you didn't go to the store specifically to buy the game). Anyways, I don't want to get into the arguments against digital distribution. The developers are wrong, and that's fine.

I want the industry to switch to digital distribution. Why? Because I'll finally have a good reason to stop buying and playing videogames.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I think that 90% of online-distributed-for-a-fee content is a complete ripoff and is horribly overpriced. $20 for the Watchmen game?! $15 for Braid?! $15 for Street Fighter II HD Remix?! $30 for Tekken 5?! Don't even get me started on the pillaging that is Guitar Hero and Rockband track pricing. That crap is so expensive, not only has it propped up the gaming industry, but the music industry is relying on it to stay alive!

It's so rare that online games are well priced, much less worth what the companies are charging for them. I will say that there are exceptions. Bionic Commando: Rearmed was incredible, and only $10, which was totally appropriate. Wipeout HD, while overpriced at $20, is an excellent game. These games are exceptions to the rule, and that's why I want companies to move to digital distribution. Why would I pay their stupid prices anymore? I wouldn't have anything to show for it, and games would never go down in price. It's a racket, and I think it's hilarious that these gaming companies think that it'll work for them. They're making analogies to iTunes, and that's great, but what they're forgetting is that iTunes is a better value than shopping in the store. I can get just the tracks that I want, or I can get whole albums for less than I can get them for in stores. With online game sales, I'm paying as much, or more, than I would for the game in its physical state, and there is no value-ad.

And of course there's the micro-transaction piece of this whole puzzle. I think it's totally awesome that my $80 Street Fighter IV game is incomplete. For only an additional $20, that is, an increase of 33% over the already-too-high MSRP for just the game by itself, I can have the costumes which should have shipped with the game. Yay! Crap like that is rampant throughout the industry, and wouldn't get any better with a shift to digital distribution.

So I reiterate my stance; I agree with the developers that gaming companies should move to digital distribution as soon as possible. That will finally allow me to stop spending inane amounts of money on videogames. Money that I could be putting to better uses, such as: my hot car, hot women, booze, baseball, another "B", international travel, and other stuff.

This digital revolution can't come soon enough. Please, evil videogame companies, do it for me. My life would be so much better without your product! I could finally have a chance to go outside and see the sun!

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