The future of retail games?

Part of me never wants to see the back of retail games in place of free to play games (or whatever it is that will succeed retail) but then i look at the current trend and how its getting worse and the other part of me wants to see it die quickly before things get out of hand.

Little things like pre-order bonus’s where you get rewarded with a little bit of content depending on where you pre-ordered your game from, and multi-player codes for brand new games ensuring that 2nd hand buyers of the game will still have to pay money to the publishers as well as their 2nd hand games shop. DRM is another annoying issue of retail games. To the average gamer its not all that bad or annoying at this point, but its going to get alot worse- look at the new batman game (Batman Arkam City) if you get it from tesco you get a WHOLE mission that you wouldn’t get had you bought it elsewhere- this means the majority of players will never play this content!

The problem is that the cost of games development is increasing, but the price of retail games are not. On top of this the trade in market is very big. Publishers see the solution is to give you less content (or even worse give you half a game and make you pay more for the rest!). This kind of attitude is what has lead to things like annual COD releases because the publisher see’s all these players playing their games but they are unsure how to extract money out of it past games sales + DLC. So their answer is to make incremental games and release often (basically your paying yearly to taste all the different flavours of the same game).

So the bottom line is awkward things like shop specific content/DLC/multiple sequels/DRM etc etc are going to be around until the industry has transitioned to whatever retail system is going to take its place. Lots of things will define this (next generation consoles- do they have optical support?) will be interesting to see what is the dominant model in 3 to 5 years.

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