I know that Dave at Blogography has complained about this many times, and I hope he will continue to do so, but digital download prices are sometimes just WEIRD!
The logic Dave has used and that I agree with is that, once the companies involved have put the infrastructure in place to support a digital download shop, that infrastructure should stay with, hopefully, minimal maintenance. Now I know Sony has proved that you do need a security budget and that even a multi-national corporation can make mistakes, but I think the theory holds.
When you compare the hoops you need to jump through for a distributor to get products into the hands of customers all over the world using retail (duplication plants, shipping and transport, HUGE fuel costs, retail cut of profits etc. etc.) surely using your OWN download service will, in the long-term, save a big company money?
I've had this brought home to me tonight as I've been experimenting with EA's new Origin download service.
It looks all nice and shiny, was quick to download and simple to install. I've browsed and I can see myself buying items from this snazzy service IF EA gets it's prices sorted.
What do I mean? Well, just check the image below:
You've got Amazon retail price on the left (for a physical, boxed copy) and EA's Download service on the right....( Collapse )
See what I mean???
For anyone who is surfing with images off or whatever, Amazon UK are charging £8.99 for a NEW copy of Mass Effect 2 on DVD. EA are charging £19.99 for a digital download copy (and leaving back-up costs to the user should the user want to do so). That's £11 or, if my maths are right, 222% more
Now I know EA has got to re-coup its costs for launching Origin but Origin isn't completely new, EA has had a download store of sorts from it's website for a while, it's just the client software that's new. Still...you'd think it's cheaper for them to ship a game to me digitally (just 1s and 0s at the end of the day) than to send it hundreds if not thousands of miles around the world on a boat, have it stored in a warehouse, have the retailer take their cut and for me to get it that way?
Don't get me wrong, I'm VERY glad Amazon (and bricks and mortar) retail still exists and hope that they continue to do so. Indeed, with distributors charging prices like this in their proprietary download stores, I fear what will happen for the consumer if the retail market shrinks too much....