Why Microsoft isn’t keen on day one digital content

1 min read


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?

Last Updated: March 25, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. 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.

  • OVG

    Middleman for sure. Glad to see somebody at Microsoft has brains and speaks the truth for once. Keep hard format for us collectors because on-line is virtual and you never know if you will ever be allowed to re-download what you have already purchased because the virtual space still owns it.

    The moment the middleman is cut out is the moment we all live in Big Brothers Matrix (Tin hat included)

    Mandatory Kinect 2 STILL SUCKS MICROSOFT. I dont want that FCKING EYE in my living room.

    • Andre116

      I sure as hell will stop watching porn on the xbox…or at least cover up the kinect with something. Oh, who am I kidding…I like being watched.

  • Deon Steyn

    I always wondered why new games cost more online than at BT Games. I still like to have my game disc in hand and I only have a 160Gb harddrive, not a lot of space for downloading AAA games.

    • Sir Captain Rincethis

      Only? 0_o, OVG ONLY has a 20 gig! HAHAHAHAHA

      • OVG

        A real man only needs a small HD, its what you do with it that counts.

        • Deon Steyn

          Good Lord man. How much time to you spend deleting game installs?

          • OVG

            One at a time, who said monogamy was dead.

          • Deon Steyn

            My girlfriend did…. You’re saying it’s not?

          • Sir Captain Rincethis

            Really man, you have NO idea what it’s like! I sit there, like some spanner, waiting while his xbox gasps and whirls itself into a catatonic state, so he can install an 8 gig game. Then, when we want to switch, oh man… *Gasps and runs out building…

    • PS store is sh#T expensive compared to buying the hard copy. No idea why, it should be a lot cheaper IMO.

      • Deon Steyn

        I know right, At least it’s very useful for PS+,Beta games and discounted deals. Plus I don’t think DarkStalkers : Resurection will be available on a disk.

      • Verrayne

        You can thank Ster Kinekor for that.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Goodguy Microsoft? Wait… Did I just use good and Microsoft in the same sentence? Say it isn’t so!
    My whole world is a lie!!!!!

  • It’s my personal opinion that having the physical game in hand is way too awesome to switch to solely digital, also it’d take waaaay to long to download full games.

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