Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

November 1, 2011 -

Dino Patti, CEO of Limbo developer Playdead, says that retail in its current state is "broken" and "inefficient."

"The retail model has always been and still is broken, from a developer's point of view," Patti told Eurogamer at the GameCity6 festival. "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."

While Playdead prefers the digital distribution model to deliver its games, Patti admits that retail isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"There will be discs for a long time from now, but the world has adopted download. When your mum and dad start to download things, that's when it's everybody who does it. So many publishers are pushing [discs] and there are so many channels which just won't die easily. In terms of money it's still bigger than download. There are still a lot of people who buy their games that way. It still makes a better presence."

Patti also says that disc-based games almost always require patches and other content like DLC still need to be downloaded in order to get the most out of a game.

"I hate to have the disc myself," Patti continued. "I only buy the disc if I want a console game, but everything else I download from Steam. And all the new games today also need to be installed. Why did I get a console if the games need to be installed? That really sucks. That's a PC. It should be more like plug and play. The first consoles were cartridges. When it takes one hour to install Gran Turismo 5? I don't know. Obviously it improves performance, but they should be able to build consoles with better performance from the disc drive."

Source: Eurogamer by way of IndustryGamer


Comments

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Retail is broken due to publishers holding out and seeking safe profits that devaule a products long trem gains. If anything short sightedness is to blame.

Copyright tho is becoming nothing more than chains to enslave the public with.


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Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

I like buying my games, not renting them.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

I would support a digital only future if developers would realize that(at least in the US) not everywhere has high speed internet.

 

Secondly games must be cheaper and feel like a full product, if Battlefield 3 came out on disc and download for $60/$30 I would be behind downloads.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Thinking that a downloaded game should be half the price of a physical game is nonsense considering the print, press and distrobution of a game only amounts to roughly 2% of its cost.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Maybe if the current instantiation of the digital distribution model didn't involved stripping so many rights away from consumers, it would be more openly accepted. At least when I purchase a retail game, I own my copy of the game. That's the way it should be.

For me, I won't accept digital distribution as a consumer-friendly format until I see clever ways of enabling freedoms that are inherent in physical mediums automatically. The ability to loan my game to a friend, the ability to take my game somewhere with me and play it on a different console just by slipping the disc in, the ability to sell a game on if I'm done with it or thought it was rubbish, the ability to play it without being connected to the internet, and the peace of mind that my purchase won't some day stop working or become inaccessible due to some poorly-functioning online service failing or going under.

I have some very, very old games in my collection. I think of the next generation of gamers and feel it's very unlikely they'll have the same kind of collection to covet, the way digital distribution is going.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Do you own your copy when you buy a disc?  You own the physical disc.  But you likely own a license to play the game, not the game itself.

And as for just slipping the disc into a friend's console to play... I direct your attention to the 1 hour install time noted in the article.  Not particularly better than a download if you ask me.

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Chris Kimberley

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

I own the disk, my copy of the game, and I don't hold fast to the software licence bullshit that keeps creeping its way into games - that same model is exactly as guilty of throttling consumer rights as the digital distribution model is. I don't own the game IP, nor do I pretend to, nor do I intend to make any illegal copies of the game. But that disk? Mine. Paid for, bought, rightfully mine. I'll play it, loan it out, sell it on or snap it in half I so desire. I'm a consumer, and I purchased it, and those are my consumer rights.

1 hour installs are the exception, not the rule. They have little to no bearing at all on the matter.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Sophistry and bullshit. I own Saint's Row 2 on disc, so if I want to sell it, trade it, lend it, or whatever, I am perfectly capable of doing so. A friend bought it from Live's On Demand service. He can't do that.

As for the hour long install for Gran Turismo 5, an hour long installation makes it an outlier, and if this installation is mandatory, that is not an inherent limitation of consoles, but the developers fucking up.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

I agree with a lot of what you wrote, especially with being able to lend games to a friend. But if I lose my physical copy of the game I have little or no recourse in getting it back, other than buying it again. I can't lose any game on my Steam account, however, and the team at Valve is making their digital platform better each day.

 

Managing Editor at The Best Game Site Ever

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

True, that's one of the benefits of digital, along with your games collection not taking up quite so much room! But I guess I inherently mistrust the digital platform for these kinds of things. I've been screwed over before after purchasing digital music infested with DRM, switching computers, needing to redownload licences and WHOOPS. The entire site is gone! Along with my money and purchase!

It will happen. Steam is the better service available right now, but none of these services will last forever and at least one of them will screw up when shutting down. I have zero confidence that various DLC I've ended up with will remain accessible to me forever the way my oldest games from several console generations back are.

There was a very well-written Cracked article that discussed how games are now too varied in nature to all subscribe to one business model and distribution model, and how true ongoing services, like multiplayer, should be priced and made available in a different way to offline single-player content, etc. Even within the same game now you can have components that appeal to completely different audiences, and you'll probably have a lot of players who only play one of those components. I thought it was very insightful, and I believe its the way the industry needs to go.

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Another random thought: A lot of the games being released on digital platforms are older games that have been neglected by their development team for years. So when they get "re-released" this way, it's an incentive for developers to make sure the game works for the current crop of PCs without us having to fiddle with a janky fan-made patches to get a game to run.

 

Managing Editor at The Best Game Site Ever

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Yeah, I would love to be able to buy just the single player component of games.  I almost never play anything multiplayer online.  Coop with friends on a couch is one thing, but pvp against random internet assholes?  nothankyou.jpg

Re: Limbo Developer Calls Retail Model 'Broken'

Well put, Samster.

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