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Microsoft 'Not Anywhere Close' to Simultaneous Digital, Retail Launches

Though sales of digitally distributed games are quickly increasing, and the impending launch of Microsoft's Games on Demand store, Microsoft says that it will likely be some time before new games are released digitally and in retail stores on the same day.

"There are a lot of complex issues to deal with here, especially if you start talking about day-and-date release with retail availability--which is not something that we're talking about at all, today," said Microsoft VP Shane Kim to Fastcompany.

"And publishers have to do some technical work in order to enable this," added Kim. "But when it comes to us saying we want Games on Demand to enable day-and-date release of new titles, then there's certainly a lot of work we would need to go through."

When it comes to that "work," it seems that handling the transition without upsetting retail partners may be a large part of the process.

"We're not anywhere close to that world today," reiterated Kim. "We have great relationships with the retail channel--they're important partners. We sell a lot of hardware and software through retail channels. We have to be smart about how we approach this business."