Microsoft deliver a major blow to high street retail


The Microsoft E3 press conference was so full of big announcements and celebrities that they couldn’t fit everything in. So it was left to a press luncheon for one of the most important announcements.

Games on Demand will allow games to be bought, using credit cards, from the Xbox Live service for direct download onto the hard drive. Starting in August with 30 games with more added on a regular basis. They are talking about titles like Crackdown, Mass Effect, Call of Duty 2, Assassin’s Creed, Oblivion and BioShock. There is no reason why they shouldn’t make the entire catalogue of Xbox games available for purchase this way.

Of course Microsoft are, for once, behind Sony in going down this route.

The whole concept of high street retail and physical stock for digital distribution is looking decidedly archaic now, we are only holding onto it by habit. Getting rid of bricks and mortar is brilliant for publishers who can launch a game simultaneously worldwide without having to carry any inventory and without having to give massive margin away to the distribution chain.


  1. The big shift will happen when digital distribution won’t be aligned on street retail prices anymore. Call me old-school but for the same price I’d rather have a nice box together with my game.

    (on an unrelated side note, could you get rid of this flash ad with the annoying sound?)

  2. Also, what about second hand games? People who pay £30 and up for a full-priced release do so in the knowledge that they can trade it in when they’ve finished playing it. Will they be prepared to part with that much money for a game they can never trade in?

  3. In principle I am up for digitally delivered games (Steam is one of the few reasons I still touch my PC tbh). However, I have this tendency to take my 360 games to my parents house and use them on my brothers console whenever I stay over. So, if everything was digital, I would have to log in to my account via my brothers machine (because your HDD will only play games that are signed to your own console) and then download said game with “Little Britains” broadband. I think not.

    I know Bruce sees this as a magic bullet to destroy the evil that is second-hand software and trade-ins, but this is one of the few areas that I disagree with him. I would love him to explain to 15yr olds like my younger brother with limited incomes how they are able to afford the next release, as part-exchange is the main function they use in order to buy the next big marketed hyped-up release. Why shouldn’t he be able to part-exchange it? If he has played the game to death in the way that only a 15yr old can, and the devs havent been able to create DLC to keep him interested (I think DLC is intrinsic to stopping punters part-exing their games. Even If you finish it and their is no more DLC made, you have made an extended purchase on that game and most people are reluctant to trade in and would rather have it gathering dust on a shelf somewhere), he should be able to trade it in.

    I’m sure Bruce would tell him something like “get ANOTHER paper-round on top of the one you already have” lol 😉

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