Why Microsoft isn’t keen on day one digital content

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GOD

You can digitally download most big-name releases from Sony’s Entertainment Network on the day of their release (albeit at an inflated price) – but the same can;t be said of Xbox Live, which usually waits months before making the heavy hitters available on its Games on Demand service. You might have wondered why.

It’s all about keeping brick-and-mortar retailers happy, Says Microsoft, who they rely on to sell games and consoles. 

“We have a lot of strong partnerships with retailers,” said senior business manager Erik Yeager during a MIT Business in Games conference (via Joystiq)

“We really need them to do a lot for us. They’re the ones out there selling the consoles, selling the peripherals and, in this time, we’re trying to figure out how to fit that in to the whole digital landscape shift. We’re just taking a bit of a measured pace with it.

“We really strongly believe it’s important to have these retail partnerships and the ability to sell our console is the most critical thing for us. If you don’t sell the console, you can’t sell anything else.”

They believe that by taking that business away from retailers, they’d end up shooting themselves in the foot. While this news isn’t particularly interesting in itself, it does hint that the next generation Xbox’s rumoured used games block is a load of poppycock. As most game retailers rely on the sale of second hand games to stay in business, doing away with used games would be the quickest way to sour whatever relationships Microsoft has with them.

Microsoft has steadily been decreasing the time it takes for games to hit their digital distribution platform – but probably not quickly enough. Are we clinging to an outmoded and unnecessary institution?Would you prefer Microsoft to change their stance on digital distribution an give the middleman the skip?

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Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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