Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brick-and-Mortar vs Online

According to Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard, brick-and-mortar outlets selling games for PC are a dying breed that would go the way of the dinosaur in 10 years time. My view on this: don’t count on it.

Now Jagex is a company that is best known for RuneScape, the world's largest free-to-play MMORPG so I guess it is understand why it’s CEO is gung-ho on digital download. However I just don’t see it happening.

Personally I have nothing against downloading games digitally, but brick-and-mortar outlets will always be there and in my view, will always take up the majority of game purchases. The reason I say this is because digital download face a lot of hurdles which companies have been unable to handle.

Lack of bandwidth, loss of content control, DRM and an artificial shelf life are all problems consumers face when we buy games online. Of the lot, the biggest concern I have is the shelf life of a game I bought. How long would an online vendor maintain a game so that I could download it whenever I feel like it?

Take for example when Majesty 2 came out last year. When it came out, I decided to play the original Majesty first to refresh myself on the controls. This is not a problem for me as I have the original game but if I didn’t...then I might have a problem. The thing is that Majesty is a 7 year old game and there are always doubts if online vendor will maintain a game for so long. I mean online vendors don’t offer warranties on how long they will maintain the games so how can I be sure if the game I buy now will be available 5-10 years down the road? The last thing I (or anyone) want is to see, "Sorry this digital content is no longer available."

Frankly I don’t mind shelling out a little extra now, if it ensures that I would always have the game available for my personal use in the future. So unless online vendor can offer that, I would have say Mr. Mark Gerhard is wrong. Brick-and-mortar outlets are here to stay.

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