Category — Digital Distribution
For years I have called for video-download services to be provided directly to a TV-connected consumer electronics product such as the Xbox, TiVo or PS3. This Variety article discusses how the Xbox 360's new Internet-based video-on-demand service is having relative success (where others have failed) due to its available HD content and its direct connection to the TV.
The relative success of video downloads on Microsoft's Xbox Live and disappointment of Amazon.com's Unbox point to two factors that differentiate Xbox from Amazon and its many other competitors — consumers who download a movie want a simple way to watch it on their TV, and those with high-def TVs want high-def content.
A primary reason for its success lies also in the fact that DRM is not a relevant consideration for most users when the content is delivered directly to the display unit of choice. iVOD services to PCs have largely failed because most people do not want to watch TV and movies on their computers. And the DRM used by most of those services preclude users from copying the movie onto a DVD for playback where they want to watch them – in the living room.
FYI: Joystiq has a pretty good preview of the system here including a YouTube demo. Note that the demo was done early-on. As I understand it the slow-downloads and other glitches experienced in the early days have been resolved.
GameIndustry.biz Article: "The Evolution of Distribution". This GameIndustry.biz feature article discusses Introversion Software's fierce independence and success with digital game distribution.
GameStop has launched its new Internet-based digital distribution service “Download Now“. The service launches with some 1,000 titles including games from Capcom and Eidos.
Dale’s Comment: Internet video game distribution is an inevitability. The only thing surprising about this is that it took GameStop this long to get into the game that Valve has been in for several years with its Steam digital distribution system. I believe third party digital distribution has a very bright future. GameStop may face the same challenge that the likes of Cinema Now and others have faced in the context of online movie distribution – an industry reluctant to share revenue from 3rd party online distributors in the hopes it can bypass such distributors. But just like movies, in the main, I believe gamers won’t want to surf from publisher web-site to publisher website when searching for online game purchases. They’ll want a choice of one stop online game aggregaters just as they have a choice of brick and mortar shops to shop for games today.
Attorney Tom Buscaglia discusses some of the advantages of digital distribution for today’s video game developer – including higher profits, retention of IP rights and new funding models.
Related Stories: GameIndustry.biz