Retail holding back launch day digital Xbox 360 sales, Microsoft says

The Xbox 360 Games on Demand digital distribution service traditionally has lagged behind the PlayStation Store--and even Nintendo's eShop of late--when it comes to day-and-date releases of new titles. It appears that won't be changing anytime soon because of Microsoft's concern over its retail partnerships.

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Unlike Xbox Live Arcade or Xbox Live Indie Games, "Games on Demand" allows players to buy full retail games directly on their Xbox 360. However, downloadable games typically appear weeks and months after their boxed counterparts. For example, the most recent batch of titles include Risen 2, Dance Central 3, and PES 2013--games that are at least five months old.

Games on Demand senior business manager Erik Yeager said that the delay is due to a "strong partnership" with retail.

"They're the ones out there selling the consoles, selling the peripherals and, in this time, we're trying to figure out how to fit that in to the whole digital landscape shift. We're just taking a bit of a measured pace with it," Yeager said at a recent MIT Business in Games conference (via Joystiq).

While pointing out the Games on Demand has been getting better with games being available on release day, he stressed that the partnerships are important because the retailers sell the company's console. "The ability to sell our console is the most critical thing for us. If you don't sell the console, you can't sell anything else."

However, Yeager's explanation makes little sense when looking at Xbox's rivals. Both PlayStation Store and Nintendo's eShop offer day-one downloads of retail games, both first and third-party. And last time we checked, Sony and Nintendo consoles are still sold in retail stores.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 22, 2013 3:00 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Retail holding back launch day digital Xbox 360 sales, Microsoft says.

    The Xbox 360 Games on Demand digital distribution service traditionally has lagged behind the PlayStation Store--and even Nintendo's eShop of late--when it comes to day-and-date releases of new titles. It appears that won't be changing anytime soon because of Microsoft's concern over its retail partnerships.

    • reply
      March 22, 2013 3:06 PM

      Well duh?

    • reply
      March 22, 2013 3:07 PM

      If they're the same price, I'd rather have the disc.

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        March 22, 2013 4:14 PM

        I'd pay about $10-15 more for the disc, honestly. I can't play my arcade games half the time because Microsoft's validation process is so screwed up, let alone a retail title that came out a couple days ago.

        In 4 years it will be easier to rip a DVD to my computer and play it on an emulator than to dust off the old Xbox and hoping everything still works.

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        March 22, 2013 8:46 PM

        Discs go on sale, even the UK 360 is region compat with the AU, so importing is kind of possible. Fuck digital downloads - not when online digital stores continue to rip off the consumer.

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      March 22, 2013 3:12 PM

      So Sony and Nintendo don't care what retail thinks, Valve and online sellers don't care... that all suggest MS is living in the past and being held hostage to a bluff. They need to get over that hump because they're not looking too bright there.

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        March 22, 2013 8:21 PM

        Yeah, I was thinking, "Um, Sony manages to get PS3 titles up on PSN on day one, soooo..."

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      March 22, 2013 8:43 PM

      i'm not completely sure that focusing on a strong partnership with retail translates to anything good for the consumer. consumers want to buy stuff digitally immediately and the partnership is holding that back. in the end retail is going to sell the hardware regardless because the consumer is going to be looking for a place to buy it and if they don't have it, someone else will.

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      March 23, 2013 7:19 AM

      If I can get it digital I prefer that. I hate lines, bullshit customer service and scratched up second hand discs. Id rather click a button and I'm done. Something I realized, even though I am a collector backwards compatibility is shit, we all ask for it and few of us ever go backwards, we just want to make sure we can play them when we want. Well as long as the game is on my hard drive I can play it. Its not clogging space and it works beautifully for Steam. So, bring on the digital revolution.

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        March 23, 2013 7:29 AM

        And what about when the next Xbox ships? Wouldn't you want your digital games (bought in the 360 era) to work on that as well?

        Can't be compared to Steam (yet) as we don't know what Microsoft have planned.
        I have a ton of digital games on the 360 (a lot of which I haven't played yet, and most aren't on my local HDD), and because of that I'd hate for the next Xbox not to have backwards compatibility. Also, do you trust Xbox live like you do Steam? I don't (yet).

        If MS plays their cards properly then no problems... As a modern company you have to think backwards at this point in time.