On Online Distribution

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Digital distribution: Keep the money and run? is a new Hollywood Reporter article, talking to Valve's Doug Lombardi and Erik Johnson, and Scott Miller of 3D Realms among others about online distribution of games. The article touches on additional profits for developers, resistance from retailers, and publisher support.

Valve has since split with Vivendi in a highly publicized trademark infringement lawsuit. But, prior to the settlement, Vivendi announced in January -- two months after the game's release -- that it had sold 1.7 million units of "Half-Life 2" in stores. Valve won't talk about how many units it's sold through Steam, but Lombardi describes the venture as being "extremely successful. Even though the lion's share of our sales is still at retail, the digital units are wildly more profitable for us."
Scott Miller also updated his blog about this.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 14, 2005 3:36 AM

    I know I am all for getting rid of gaming stores and buying my shit online but I am also picky about that ... namely I want

    * A discount -- if a middle man, the publisher, hs been cut out AND materials have been cut out, don't charge me the same!

    * A DRM free system - "cd key" or product key is about as much as I can handle. But an offline mode as well as a "oh shit we went bankrupt cause we blew our money on hookers and blow so just let the games play " mode is a must

    * non crazy EULA -- valve, im looking at YOU

    * good customer service so that 3 years from now when Im not at the same address, phone number, etc etc etc and I want to download and play again I don't have to jump through friggen hoops.

    Keep it going :)

    • reply
      June 14, 2005 4:00 AM

      What's so crazy about Valve's EULA?

      Usually, EULA's act as a last resort, a legal security to give the developers some legal power in specific cases. Many players break the EULA of various games, but this is typically overlooked by the developers because often no harm is done and in some cases, the game is only improved somehow. The EULA acts as a way to get back at people who refuse to cooperate in situations where they're damaging the game for other players, or damaging the company itself.

      Of course, you're probably talking about the Steam username/password/rights transfer etc., but it was a good excuse for a rant.

    • reply
      June 14, 2005 4:12 AM

      ya, everything rosewood said :)

      • reply
        June 14, 2005 10:37 AM

        dont say that too often or ill get a big head

        • reply
          June 14, 2005 4:33 PM

          Show me where on the bottom line all of these things make sense. I'm not being sarcastic, but it has to make business sense to do it.

          • reply
            June 14, 2005 4:54 PM

            Because most of these "copy protection" schemes are actually costing more money than they are "saving." As said countless times they only harass legit people who as they become more invasion are less likely to buy your product entirely (aka Starforce). Pirates get around this and don't even have to deal with it except to crack it and it WILL be cracked or some way found around it.

            So all of those things that publishers pay millions of dollars for are millions of dollars that they could be getting as profit. Also you will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in support alone. We all know how awesome these things play with various CD/DVD drives or with other software.

            • reply
              June 14, 2005 4:59 PM

              You have actual data to support this or just anecdotal evidence?