In case you haven’t heard Uncharted 4 has been delayed (once again) for another two weeks due to manufacturing delays for the physical discs. By all accounts the game is ready to meet it’s original late April release date but won’t because they can’t get the discs out on time. So this begs the question, if game makers want to push digital downloads instead of physical sales (and they do) why not give some incentives?
Probably the first thing that comes to mind for digital incentives are charging a lesser price. After all the company doesn’t have to pay for manufacturing costs of the discs and packaging (after all they’ve already gotten rid of instruction manuals) or the cost of shipping them to retailers. Per $60 game that could add up to maybe $10. So why not offer a $5-10 discount if someone buys a game from the Xbox Live or PSN Stores, after all games are usually $10 less when downloaded directly to the PC and that doesn’t even count the annual and random Steam sales. However, console game makers (same ones who also do PC ports for less money usually) say they won’t discount digital games because that is unfair to consumers who buy physical copies. Honestly though this all B.S. because they don’t care about what’s fair for the consumer, because in all honesty paying the same price for a digital game as a physical one is unfair to the digital shopper. They don’t discount them because they don’t have to, you’re paying $60 no matter what.
So this leaves it up to the consumer, do I want to pay $60 for a download or a disc? In the last generation this decision was fueled by two things, Hard Drive space on the console and whether you’ll want to trade it in later. Well the hard drive space isn’t a big deal now these days since you have to install the game anyways, so you’re using the same amount of space. Now the choice is, “do I want to trade this game in later?” Most people will say “yes” most games these days we eventually tire of and want to get something back for it.
As you may or may not know video game makers hate game trade ins. They hate the idea that you can buy a game and they won’t get any money for it. Since the advent of the second hand market video game companies have been trying to kill it. Any easy way to take a less of a hit from the second hand market is to discount digital games. To save money on a game people would probably buy the digital release instead of going to the store to get it. After all you can preorder a digital game and it will download to your console at 12:01 am EST the day of the release so you can wake up and the game is ready (unless you didn’t go to be at all).
So as of now a discount won’t happen anytime soon on new releases so what else could companies do to push digital downloads. I honestly think (for a change) the video game market should pull a page out of Hollywood’s playbook and release games early digitally. Now with movies most home releases get a two week early release digitally than on disc. And as seen with Uncharted 4, sometimes the game is ready to be released but not ready to ship because of the material involved. Well when a game like this one which has already been delayed once is ready to go but they can’t get it out the door that is unfair to people who download games.
If game makers don’t want to discount games but still prefer us to buy them digitally but don’t want to give us a discount, why not release a digital game early? Two weeks like the movies would be nice, but I’d settle for releasing it the Friday before so I can have it that weekend. Which if I can go off on a tangent for a second, I hate the Tuesday release model for games. I work (and before that went to school) so when a new game came out I was limited on how much I’d get to play it before the weekend anyways. So game makers, why not release a game early digitally, I bet that would spur digital sales and you can save on manufacturing costs, you cut out the retailers, and you discourage second hand sales.
So what do you think dear reader? Would you be more likely to buy a game digitally if say you were given a discount in price and/or an earlier release date? Let us know in the comments below.