Saturday, 18 July 2009

Rise of the digital game download - What consumers are paying for

The release of Battlefield 1943 reminds me that the digital downloads and the shift away from physical packaging. What exactly are people buying when they pay for a digital download?

Content - The initial game content itself
Multiplayer service - Ability to socialise with other players
Additional content - Post release extra maps, mods, content update
Technical Support - Patches

For a game with a one off purchase, gamers expect the company to provide all of these services for a year or two minimum. Gamers expect a subscription based service like massively multiplayer service to continually provide all of these as long as they pay.

Most companies like EA and Activision are starting to realise that selling a game isn't just like selling a bicycle or a music CD. It isn't quite like selling a service like power or a telecommunications package either. It's somewhere inbetween.

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