1C on Steam v. Retail

November 30, 2010 -

Darryl Still, international publishing director for PC publisher 1C, writes an editorial in response to an MCVUK report ("Retailers blow off Steam") where brick and mortar games retailers in the UK said that they might ban games that have support for Steam built into them.

In his editorial for MCV, Still talks about how his company had the foresight to see three years ago that owning the digital rights to the games it publishes was important. At that time 1C decided that it needed to secure the digital rights to all the games it publishes. That decision has been very lucrative for the company.

But the most important take-away from this editorial is that 1C makes more money via digital distribution than it does at traditional retail, and the experience, turn-around time and costs of doing business are much more reasonable.

Here's an interesting bit on how retail does not go the extra mile for some publishers:

 

What is more surprising is the reaction of retail now. I have read it described as the reaction of a small child who threw his toy away because he no longer wanted it, but started screaming as soon as another child picked it up to play with. The metaphor works perfectly, especially in the light of the excuse I heard on numerous occasions.

'There is no demand' went the mantra. But is this really true? Not in our experience.

I remember fondly the meeting in my office with a red-faced publisher who was explaining why their initial order from a major retailer for one of our new releases was just 30 units. At the time I had my browser open on the Steam product data page, which updates sales numbers every few minutes.

"They have taken one unit for each of their top 30 stores" he told me. "There is just no demand from their customers."

I glanced at my screen, hit refresh and advised him: "In the time it’s taken you to tell me that there is no demand, Steam has sold 45 units."

You can read the rest here. Honestly it’s obvious to everyone except traditional retailers that the future is in digital distribution, and banning Steam-powered games won't change that.


Comments

Re: 1C on Steam v. Retail

Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fox_and_the_Grapes. I think this sums it up nice.

 
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Andrew EisenI think more professional gamblers should get into games publishing. They'll play the odds but they'll also take risks to maximize profits.06/30/2015 - 11:57pm
Andrew EisenAt the end of the day, the ball is rolling and it's rolling in the right direction. Maybe not as fast as we'd like, but it is moving. All we can do is play the games that interest us and make our thoughts known.06/30/2015 - 11:55pm
Matthew Wilsonits unfortunate that the dataset is so tiny for female leads, and is a mixed bag, so money people get the wrong idea.06/30/2015 - 11:54pm
Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
Andrew EisenOr, at the very least, that gamers aren't turned off by female leads.06/30/2015 - 11:49pm
Matthew Wilsonyou would think games like metriod, portal and tomb raider would show that it work, but hopefuly those knew ones will.06/30/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenBut, luckily strides are being made and the money peoples are slowly learning that diversity -> larger targeted audience -> more potential dollars.06/30/2015 - 11:43pm
Andrew EisenSure does. That's why there should be more than just one or two attempts. (7 games at E3 with female leads and 35 with a gender option. I think it's safe to say that not all of these will fail!)06/30/2015 - 11:42pm
Matthew Wilsonthat puts alot of presure on the early stuff to do well. lets hope games like recode and harizon are good, and sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:38pm
Andrew EisenLuckily, money people also like to follow trends. So, it's a "simple" matter of making proper representation a trend. And wouldn't you know it, we're seeing the beginnings of exactly that!06/30/2015 - 11:34pm
Andrew EisenBut yeah, money people are risk averse. That's why we see so many sequels, reboots, and adaptations. To a lot of money people, "there's no evidence this works because it's rarely ever been tried" is the same as "this doesn't work."06/30/2015 - 11:33pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I think it's worth convincing the money peoples that proper representation (in any of its forms) isn't a financial risk, it's the path to expanding your audience and making even MORE money!06/30/2015 - 11:32pm
Matthew Wilson@AE will I agree, I kinda understand why. when your risking 50 to 100 mil you are going to try to do the safest thing you can sadly.06/30/2015 - 11:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0a6H_7_A5o a fairly impressive fake nx showing by hyberes5606/30/2015 - 11:23pm
Andrew EisenYou see that kind of nonsense in the movie business too.06/30/2015 - 11:02pm
Andrew EisenI think the bigger problem are those who see such things as substantive evidence that games with female leads don't sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:01pm
Matthew Wilsonit doesnt help that games like beyond good and evil did not do well.06/30/2015 - 10:58pm
MechaCrashThey don't advertise games with women leads because they don't sell because they don't advertise them because they don't sell because (repeat ad nauseum).06/30/2015 - 10:52pm
Andrew EisenAnd, with representation getting better and better, I think that's exactly what we'll see over the years.06/30/2015 - 10:49pm
Andrew EisenOf course, there's always the opposite viewpoint: perhaps more women would be inclined to join in the so-called AAA space if representation was better.06/30/2015 - 10:48pm
 

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