David Darling, the CEO of Kwalee and co-founder of Codemasters pointed out the advantages of digital distribution for both gamers and publishers.
Social games may be increasing in popularity but that may for a number of reasons apart from their relatively lower price as compared to full-on console titles.
David Darling gave the example of Angry Birds and how the series managed to garner over a billion downloads since its release. The game was comes in both free and premium versions, allowing gamers who do not want to spend any money on the game to try out the free version, which can be likened to a demo, after which, when they get hooked to the title, they download the full premium version.
The model has proven to be a huge success for games on offer on Apple’s iTunes and Android’s Google Play. However, Darling believes that the fact that the game was made available digitally allowed a larger market segment access to the game, as compared to standard retail.
The co-founder of Codemasters believes that the age of physical production is at its end once publishers realise the added benefits of going digital. He said, “Digitally distributed games can reach players all around the world quickly, cutting out physical production, warehouses, distributors and retailers.”
One of the benefits of this is that game prices can be lowered as they would not have to bear any major costs in the way of logistics, transportation, warehousing and the like as digital distribution would end all of that and “ Therefore, it is no longer necessary to charge people huge prices to play video games.”
It should be sounding pretty good right to gamers right about now, however, the Kwalee CEO also went on to point that both Microsoft and Sony needed to adopt the change in preference so that they no longer had to follow the whims of the retailers, who add their own margin to the price of games.
He said, “Sony and Microsoft cannot let the retailers dictate game prices going forwards if they want to break free from the current over-priced model, their next consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 need to be digital only, or they will fail.”
It is an interesting period in the video game industry at the moment as it is showing signs of accelerated evolution; branching in to different markets, catering to different consumers and remodelling distribution techniques and channels.
With no official news on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 in terms of their development, one cannot comment on how the consoles plan on distributing their content, however, it would not be too risky to assume that digital distribution will feature more prominently in the future than it has previously.