Wired notices several of the ripoffs we’ve talked about recently – from digital downloads that are not cheaper than the physical product (or in fact more expensive) to funny money.
What’s wrong with this announcement?
Microsoft said at E3 earlier this month that one more title – widely tipped to be Halo 2 – would be released for the Xbox Originals service ahead the August rollout of Xbox 360 games for download…
Prices will be in line with retail boxed copies and new games will be added regularly.
Oh, come on. More electronic distribution at the same price as boxed copies?
What a ripoff.
Firstly, downloaded content has lower value for consumers. You don’t get a disc. You don’t get a manual. You have to pay for the bandwidth to download the game. Your content is locked to your console or gamertag. You can’t resell it.
Secondly, downloaded content costs manufacturers much less. They don’t have to pay for physical media, paper, printing costs, packaging, shipping, retail space, middlemen – if the free market worked properly, they would necessarily reduce the price accordingly.
Do they think consumers can’t see this? They’re potentially prepared to accept the disadvantages (no physical copy or supporting material, no ability to resell), provided that the the potential advantages of digital distribution (content provided quicker and cheaper) outweigh them; but if you’re going to take those away, and leave them only with the drawbacks, then why would they bother? Or, at least, why would they bother going through you? How do you think you’re going to build this new model, with all its advantages for you, if it’s obvious to everyone you’re trying to sell it to that you are unreasonably gouging them?
There’s a reason a whole generation has learned to pirate music, and it’s not that they’re flat-out unwilling to pay for it.