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access_time May 2, 2012 at 9:22 AM in Culture by Andrew Kent

Iwata: Digitally Distributed Software is of Equal Value to Physical Copies

Digital distribution versus physical copies: are they both equal in price or should digital distributions be less than physical copies of games? While many of you might say that digitally distributed software should be less, third party publishers for Nintendo however are divided on the matter. This much was revealed at an investors briefing where Satoru Iwata defended retail and digital games having similar pricing.

 I find the value in being able to store a number of software titles in a hardware system and being able to bring them with me wherever I go and, therefore, I may choose this option.

We do not hold such a premise that digitally distributed software has less value. In fact, as we have discussed this with a number of software publishers around the world, we have found that their opinions are completely divided on the topic of the price points of the digital distribution of packaged software.

You forgot one thing Iwata, physical copies of the game include things that we as gamers have to pay for. Let me show you them.

  1. The case the game comes in
  2. Instruction manual
  3. The physical copy of the game itself

These three things cost you, Nintendo, money to produce. A digital copy does not require any work at all outside of the publisher and developer. It’s data, data does not need constant attention like a machine or worker does. Data does not need to be payed to do its job.

Digitally distributed copies of games should be less. I should not have to pay $60 for Skyrim on Steam, I should not have to pay full retail price for a 3DS download, and I definitely should not have to pay full retail for a game on the PSN or XBL. If companies are going to sell digitally distributed games then they NEED to price the software at lower but fair price. This does not mean charging five dollars less for a digital copy of the game. This means a significant price drop. We as gamers should not even be standing for this and yet we do. We go on steam, Wii-ware, XBL, 3DS eshop, PSN, what have you and we pay full retail for a digital copy of a game. Why are we so content with this? Why is no one speaking up to the gaming industry and saying “NO MORE!”? Gamers please, we need to call attention to this especially now when games are at $60 a pop and the publishers and developers keep wanting more and more money. They can not and will not take advantage of us. Right now they are winning and we should not stand for it.

Source: Nintendo Universe


  • Max $terling May 2, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Awesome editorial.

  • Ramon Aranda May 2, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    I completely agree that digital copies of games should be cheaper. $10 less would be appropriate. I personally prefer hard copies of games so I take them wherever I want and I’m just old school like that. But there are some games that just make sense to be digital and giving us the option to go digital or hard copy makes the most sense. Just price it accordingly.

    • Andrew Kent May 2, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      As much as I really want to say that $10 isn’t fair for us it’s probably the right amount. Then again take a look at digital books. I can get a digital copy of a book on amazon for my kindle for under half the price of what the retail book costs a lot of the time.

  • Drew Robbins May 2, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I agree with just about everything in this piece. When I buy a physical copy of a game, that comes with the added ability to let others borrow it, take it with me without having to haul my console around, and having the box to display. A digital copy is limited in its use and should be charged as such.

    Of course, taking $10 off of the price doesn’t exactly pad their bottom line…

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