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[Poll] Digital Sales vs Retail Sales

digital retail sales

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#1 MrIllusion

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:42 PM

Can the mods help make a poll?

Which would you rather purchase?
1. Retail
2. Digital

Discussion brought to you by the ongoing debate on MoP sales.

It's good that the industry is no longer quoting one single source of information.

Previously Lazard Capital was quoted as saying that the initial retail sales of 700k for MoP were disappointing, and even if digital sales were to be included, the total figure would still be lacklustre.

Quote

That said, to make up this kind of shortfall - over 2.5 million units difference between the expansions, assuming the 700,000 Pandaria figure is correct - digital would have to have become the primary means of selling product. Digital is certainly important; a 57% increase in digital sales was responsible for Blizzard's profits bump in the third quarter 2011. But if, for the sake of discussion, digital sales brought Pandaria to exactly the same sales level as Cataclysm, then retail would be just a little over 21% of total sales. Even given the growth of digital since 2010, that result doesn't seem likely.

Now Brean Murray, Carrett and Co gives a more optimistic forecast:

Quote

They see one million year long subscriptions purchased as part of the Diablo 3 bundle as a good sign, and they believe that even with retail sales down, digital copies will move far more quickly, and have a better profit margin by cutting out the middleman. They predict 4.5M units of Mists of Pandaria will be sold in the third quarter.

After reading both sides, I think the crux of the matter is in the ratio of digital sales to retail sales, ie what percentage of sales is made through retail, and what percentage through digital?

The reason they have conflicting forecasts is because they are making different assessments of what this ratio will be.

Just to put things in perspective:

For MoP to match Cata with their retail sales, they would need to have 80% of their entire sales made through digital channels, ie for every 5 games sold, 1 person is buying the box, 4 people are buying online.

I prefer digital sales myself, and I think digital sales is catching on. But to have it constitute as much as 80% of all your sales? Do you think it's possible?

#2 Lady Rhonwyn

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:33 AM

View PostMrIllusion, on 01 October 2012 - 04:42 PM, said:

I prefer digital sales myself, and I think digital sales is catching on. But to have it constitute as much as 80% of all your sales? Do you think it's possible?

I prefer digital sales.  And I'm getting close to 100%  on that.  This year is the exception, as I bought the GW2 CE (but I also got a GW2 Digital copy).  And I've pre-ordered the ACIII CE.

Last year, I had 100% on the digital sales.  So, yes I think it's possible...

#3 NickOfTroy

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:07 AM

I'll always prefer the physical box, personally.  It's just the physical, tactile contact with the product that makes my sense of ownership that much more satisfying.

Having said that, I'm not opposed to buying a digital copy if that I'm not a massive fan of the title.

#4 Lady Rhonwyn

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:37 AM

View PostNickOfTroy, on 02 October 2012 - 10:07 AM, said:

I'll always prefer the physical box, personally.  It's just the physical, tactile contact with the product that makes my sense of ownership that much more satisfying.

Having said that, I'm not opposed to buying a digital copy if that I'm not a massive fan of the title.

I'll only buy the physical box if it gives me extra's (CE's mostly).  

But I foresee a problem when I get my ACIII...   My new motherboard doesn't have an IDE slot.  And my DVD is IDE...

And that also shows why I prefer digital copies.  I've had games where the CD was damaged, so I couldn't use them anymore.  And I once had a DVD player that didn't work anymore (I found out about it, when I tried to install a game from CD...).  And re-installation is a lot easier with a digital copy as you can simply go to the site again and re-download it, instead of searching amongst my dozens of CD's for that one I'm wanting.

#5 NickOfTroy

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:23 PM

View PostLady Rhonwyn, on 02 October 2012 - 10:37 AM, said:

I'll only buy the physical box if it gives me extra's (CE's mostly).  


I count manuals as an extra, always have, no idea why!  But with the current trend of developers giving us bare-bones slips of paper instead, I'm getting warmer to digital downloads (GW2's "manual" was rather pathetic compared to the fantastic GW1 one).  Which is the developer's goal, i guess, with the massive reduction in production costs.

The cost here for digital download vs retail is a little ridiculous though, and still needs to adjust itself, the price difference can sometimes only be around $10. Diablo III was actually selling for cheaper than direct download att some retailers on launch!

Edited by NickOfTroy, 02 October 2012 - 12:24 PM.


#6 MrIllusion

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:00 PM

If digital sales are really catching on, the distributors and retailers would be the first to be affected. So that's a tell-tale sign to look out for.

The other thing is physical copies of games actually have resale value. I was just reading about:

http://en.wikipedia....ed_games_market

This may not be a factor for online games, but I can imagine offline games being more attractive in this aspect.

#7 Ivarr_Ironfist

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:29 PM

View PostMrIllusion, on 02 October 2012 - 01:00 PM, said:

This may not be a factor for online games, but I can imagine offline games being more attractive in this aspect.

The major games companies are increasingly trying to shut down the resale market. Examples: DRM and/or mandatory Internet connections. See comments here: http://games.slashdo...ayer-only-games

I would be surprised if the game resale market existed in 10 years time.

#8 slafko

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:31 PM

I prefer having a physical copy. Got GW2 DDE only because I wanted to start three days earlier; couldn't wait for the game to come out. Bought CE as bday present for the gf few days later and really enjoyed browsing the materials. Watching her struggle with the figurine was a welcomed bonus.

Before that I've bought CIV5 Gods and Kings expansion on Steam. Was pretty pissed when I found out a local retailer got a bunch of physical copies. I just like to own something physical I guess and keep it stashed somewhere.

#9 Lady Rhonwyn

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:33 PM

Yet the resale market must be opened up in Europe...

http://arstechnica.c...oaded-software/

But I never sold any of my old games, so that's never been a reason for me not to buy digital downloads.

#10 Zephire

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:43 PM

I prefer physical copies, honestly. Well, if they come with DVD's and a manual at least. Plus I'd be lying if opening up a new game and smelling that new game smell doesn't trigger some good ol' nostalgia.

Of course if I can't get a physical copy of the game, it just comes with a code, or digital is a better deal I'll go with digital. Especially since I don't always have to pay tax on digital copies whereas I have to pay 14% for retail (on top of the $5 bus fare).

In the specific case of MoP, I would buy it digital if I were ever to get it. DVDs are useless unless one uses them for a fresh install and the manual (if there is one) is probably out of date already :P

#11 MrIllusion

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:00 AM

But what if we restrict to just MMO games?

MMOs require you to have a decent internet connection, and digital downloads tend to allow you to login earlier than retail copies.

I'm thinking MMO gamers will be more receptive to digital sales than retail.

#12 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:27 AM

When it comes to standard editions, it's all about the price - I go for whatever is cheapest. And this mostly means Steam-sales, which means digital.
The catch is that I rarely buy games, so when I do, I mostly make a big deal out of it and get the CE, which means I get a physical copy.

So I guess, physical CEs, digital SEs?

#13 Lady Rhonwyn

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:18 AM

View PostProtoss, on 03 October 2012 - 08:27 AM, said:

When it comes to standard editions, it's all about the price - I go for whatever is cheapest. And this mostly means Steam-sales, which means digital.
The catch is that I rarely buy games, so when I do, I mostly make a big deal out of it and get the CE, which means I get a physical copy.

So I guess, physical CEs, digital SEs?

I'll buy a CE if I really expect to like the game.  If I don't want the CE, I'll buy digital unless I absolutely can't.  Then I'll probably not buy it at all :P

#14 MrIllusion

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:32 PM

Turns out Lazard Capital was right.

Week 1 sales of MoP was lower than Day 1 sales of Cata.

#15 Yuerai

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:34 PM

I kind of prefer the physical copy, but I often find myself going by prices. If the digital is cheaper, I buy that one and vice versa.

#16 LlyranKeen

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:59 PM

I stopped buying physical copies years ago. After I moved one too many times I realized I was sick of packing and moving packaging for games I hadn't played or thought about in years, sometimes for systems I didn't even own any more, and threw it all away. Now I only buy a physical copy of something when I catch it on sale by chance or there's a CE with something I want in it.

#17 eisberg

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 04:39 PM

I am a 100% digital sales.  Boxes, instructions on how to install the game and the warnings about epilespy, hardware/software paper ads, all get thrown away anyways.  So why create waste, when I can just get what I wanted anyways without the waste?  I also keep my games to 2 places only, Steam and GoG, with the exception to MMOs, those I buy directly from the developer/publisher.

#18 Leyana

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 10:25 PM

For me, I will choose digital over retail only when the following are met:
1. I have full access to whatever I purchase in perpetuity - no online login/always online/ rubbish, no 'you cannot download the installer and keep it' rubbish.
2. Cheaper than retail

#19 Lady Rhonwyn

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:54 AM

View PostLeyana, on 08 October 2012 - 10:25 PM, said:

For me, I will choose digital over retail only when the following are met:
1. I have full access to whatever I purchase in perpetuity - no online login/always online/ rubbish, no 'you cannot download the installer and keep it' rubbish.

I was like that too.  Until I thought of the games I can no longer install yet have a phyiscal copy of.    My Thief Gold CD is no longer readable (CRC error).  I have games that came on floppy disks which I can't use anymore due to a lack of floppy drive...

About that always online thing, I agree.  That's why I buy from Steam, which allows me to play in offline mode (which was nice when I was without internet last week).  And if I installed a game, I won't have to install it again, unless I remove it from my HDD (which I found out recently, because I did a re-install of my OS).





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