Playdead's Boss: Retail Model Is Broken - Always Has Been

#1 Posted by Contro (2040 posts) -

I was just reading this article with Playdead's boss Dino Patti. I'm a little puzzled by his claim that the typical software distribution model is broken and always has been. Obviously it must work when plethora of companies who do business this way, and have been doing for many years, continue to make sizeable profits. Could the profit margins be greater with a switch to pure digital distribution?, certainly, I think it's more than likely some years from now, but certainly not now or even early next gen.

The majority of consumers, of all kinds, are still very much in love with the whole retail experience, and what's more tangible to them, by that I mean physical copies. Also, there are countless business models today which are clearly inefficient, yet continue to make significant profit margins despite.

I suppose it's understandable that he'd say this given his companies focus on download products, and his natural want to see a new age of digital distribution ushered in asap...

"The retail model has always been and still is broken, from a developer's point of view. Driving discs in a big van all over the world is really inefficient. I don't understand how anyone can make money out of this. Driving a truck to Japan just to get it delivered to people when they can get it from the net? Hopefully the new consoles will embrace the download space even more."

- Playdead's Dino Patti

Your thoughts?

#2 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4816 posts) -

Man, driving trucks to Japan? I totally want an amphibious eighteen wheeler.

Fucking truck drivers have the coolest job ever.

#3 Posted by avidwriter (667 posts) -

I think by "broken" he means you stand to make more money for digital distribution then retail distribution. You cut the costs of making the discs, boxes, shipping, etc. Much more goes to profits. It's going to slowly go that way I think.

#4 Posted by Vexxan (4621 posts) -

I wouldn't say it's entirely broken but he's sort of right. 

#5 Posted by mazik765 (2315 posts) -

@KingWilly said:

Man, driving trucks to Japan? I totally want an amphibious eighteen wheeler.

Pretty much this. I wonder if he's looked into just flying them to Japan?

Also saying this model has 'always been broken' is kind of hyperbole, since even the idea that games could be distributed purely digitally is a very new concept.

#6 Posted by mlarrabee (2964 posts) -

Microsoft holds much the same view. They've discussed for a while now the future of consoles without disk trays. Even now, the only disc-based games on my computer are Age of Empires 1 & 2; everything else I have though Steam.

#7 Edited by Contro (2040 posts) -

@avidwriter said:

I think by "broken" he means you stand to make more money for digital distribution then retail distribution. You cut the costs of making the discs, boxes, shipping, etc. Much more goes to profits. It's going to slowly go that way I think.

Yes but when he says "always has been", it's a little odd. A pure digital distribution model has only become feasible in very recent years in this industry. If the typical retail model has "always been broken" in his eyes, I wonder if he had teleportation sales in mind beforehand.

edit:

The big companies like EA, Sony and Activision have already invested heavily in digital distribution, whether we like it or not it will be ushered in over the coming years. What we're seeing right now is these companies trying to ease us in slowly but surely, because they know they have a task on their hands trying to get gamers to make the transition.

#8 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -

@Contro said:

@avidwriter said:

I think by "broken" he means you stand to make more money for digital distribution then retail distribution. You cut the costs of making the discs, boxes, shipping, etc. Much more goes to profits. It's going to slowly go that way I think.

Yes but when he says "always has been", it's a little odd. A pure digital distribution model has only become feasible in very recent years in this industry. If the typical retail model has "always been broken" in his eyes, I wonder if he had teleportation sales in mind beforehand.

well, remember when the UN banned teleportation?

#9 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I read this more as him musing why more publishers haven't moved to a purely digital distribution method.

He clarified his statement about the retail model being broken by saying "From a developer's point of view." You guys have got to finish reading these sentences.

#10 Edited by Contro (2040 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

I read this more as him musing why more publishers haven't moved to a purely digital distribution method.

He clarified his statement about the retail model being broken by saying "From a developer's point of view." You guys have got to finish reading these sentences.

Broken is poor wording, when something is inefficient it doesn't equate to it being broken, it simply means it can work better. Of course it would be advantageous for developers, but it's simply not feasible now or early next gen. Our consumer culture has to continue to evolve for a good while yet before digital distribution becomes the primary form of distributing games software. and all these companies know this, which is why we're starting to see them make these sly little steps here are there.

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