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Microsoft: competitive pricing for digital downloads "on the agenda"

"We are way aware of this," says Major Nelson.

 

By Tom Phillips Published Friday, 24 January 2014

 

Microsoft has said it is looking into more competitive pricing for digital versions of Xbox One games.

 

Writing in a Reddit thread discussing digital downloads, Microsoft mouthpiece Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb said that the company was "aware" of community concerns surrounding the topic.

 

Xbox One owners have asked for the ability to pre-order or pre-load digital games, for more news on when the company's Games with Gold programme will be extended to Xbox One titles, and for the ability to buy digital game codes in bricks and mortar shops.

 

"We are way aware of this and many of the concerns of the community," Hryb wrote. "We have some great stuff planned for Xbox One this year (and beyond.) As soon as we can share some of the goodness...we will :)"

When specifically asked about more competitive digital game pricing, he replied that the issue was "indeed on the agenda".

 

Microsoft came under fire in December after it was revealed that it had raised the digital price of a number of Xbox One exclusives such as Dead Rising 3, Forza 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome from ?44.99 to ?49.99. Even before the price hike, physical copies could be found for cheaper than their digital versions.

 

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-01-24-microsoft-competitive-pricing-for-digital-downloads-on-the-agenda

 

I'll be the judge of that MN* :p

 

King of deals*

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They're probably going to have to work out something that keeps the retail partners happy I'm sure. I bet retail will have a set time advantage on price cuts, 2-3 days and then digital will come down as well. Or digital will come down but not as much as retail which gives them the advantage still, so retail could be at $40 and digital $45 for example.

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This is one of those issues that is tough for MS or Sony to deal with since they do have to worry about the retail channel.

If MS can change this and get the console digital market closer to the pc digital market, I don't think anyone would object.

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I think the lack of sales (compared to steam) or price drops in PSN/XLive was one of the factor's in Microsoft difficulty to win over games to an all digital model. 

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I think the lack of sales (compared to steam) or price drops in PSN/XLive was one of the factor's in Microsoft difficulty to win over games to an all digital model.

Probably because publishers have more of a say? I'm not totally sure how it works obviously since most of those contracts are secret but I think on steam when Valve wants to have a sale they have to get permission from the publishers first. So if they want to put Skyrim on Sale, Bethesda has to agree to it.

Now with retail channels, the store has already bought the game at an undisclosed price. They're merely reselling it so they can set the price to whatever they want to.

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Probably because publishers have more of a say? I'm not totally sure how it works obviously since most of those contracts are secret but I think on steam when Valve wants to have a sale they have to get permission from the publishers first. So if they want to put Skyrim on Sale, Bethesda has to agree to it.

Now with retail channels, the store has already bought the game at an undisclosed price. They're merely reselling it so they can set the price to whatever they want to.

 

From what I have read, Valve contacts them all and asks if they'd like to participate. The pubs/devs set the prices for the various price points (daily deal, weekend sale, community choice during big sales etc). Nothing goes on sale because Valve wants it to outside of their own games.

 

On the XBL side of things, Microsoft also offer a service where they say, hey you're game isn't selling at X price, we'd recommend dropping it. Then the dev/pub can take the advice or stick their head in the sand.

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From what I have read, Valve contacts them all and asks if they'd like to participate. The pubs/devs set the prices for the various price points (daily deal, weekend sale, community choice during big sales etc). Nothing goes on sale because Valve wants it to outside of their own games.

 

On the XBL side of things, Microsoft also offer a service where they say, hey you're game isn't selling at X price, we'd recommend dropping it. Then the dev/pub can take the advice or stick their head in the sand.

Yup. Which is different to how retail stores do it. Gamestop can price skyrim at whatever price they want to without having to ask anybody for permission.

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Yup. Which is different to how retail stores do it. Gamestop can price skyrim at whatever price they want to without having to ask anybody for permission.

The only way MS or anyone else could match that digitally is if they literally bought games from the publishers. They could buy a certain number of digital licenses like a store would buy physical copies. Then MS could set any price they wanted.

The downside to that is obvious. Suddenly, MS has to make money back on the sale of those digital copies just to break even buying the content. Currently, there is no risk to MS, Sony, etc with their stores.

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"Enter usual physical is superior catch 22 argument publishers publishers stufffff"

Actually, let's start a revolution. Sony and MS should stop being as scared, let's watch retail or publishers puff their chests and ultimately have nowhere else to go. I'm sure the dying retail stores can afford to do "boycotts".

Really but, drop them 1st party prices and make the internet laugh hard at EA trying to charge "double" the amount. EA tried to launch their PS4 store titles at like ?7 more or something than Sony. After a bit of internet outrage that was corrected.

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So why can Sony do this for years? I'm so tired of Microsoft's ###### PR.

Xbox has been my primary gaming platform since 2001. Every day I'm getting more and more tired of their "future vision".

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The only way MS or anyone else could match that digitally is if they literally bought games from the publishers. They could buy a certain number of digital licenses like a store would buy physical copies. Then MS could set any price they wanted.

The downside to that is obvious. Suddenly, MS has to make money back on the sale of those digital copies just to break even buying the content. Currently, there is no risk to MS, Sony, etc with their stores.

 

 

"Enter usual physical is superior catch 22 argument publishers publishers stufffff"

Actually, let's start a revolution. Sony and MS should stop being as scared, let's watch retail or publishers puff their chests and ultimately have nowhere else to go. I'm sure the dying retail stores can afford to do "boycotts".

Really but, drop them 1st party prices and make the internet laugh hard at EA trying to charge "double" the amount. EA tried to launch their PS4 store titles at like ?7 more or something than Sony. After a bit of internet outrage that was corrected.

 

Unfortunately it's not as easy as that, even if you do stick the 2 fingers up to brick & mortar. I have no numbers to back this up, but I'm willing to bet that the majority still buys physical more than digital. When Apple introduced the iTunes Store it was much easier to push for digital. You're talking about 128 kbps files averaging a few MB compared to games in their tens of GBs now, which not only stresses MS/Sony networks, but ISPs can't keep up. Until that changes (and no, gaming is not going to push ISPs), we're stuck with Gamestop et al.

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Yeah, the first Xbox One game I bought took a day and a half to download, any future title I buy will be physical.

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Yeah, the first Xbox One game I bought took a day and a half to download, any future title I buy will be physical.

If only they had a way to buy digital games on a disk... :p

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So why can Sony do this for years? I'm so tired of Microsoft's bull**** PR.

Xbox has been my primary gaming platform since 2001. Every day I'm getting more and more tired of their "future vision".

What do you mean? Sony hasn't been able to do this either. They are both in the same boat. Just look at digital game pricing on the ps4. It was horrendous at launch, especially in the EU. Both companies have yet to really try and break away from the retail relationships in order to force pricing down.

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Probably meant what Sony does with PS+ and the free games. No idea what the profit model is on that, likely Sony gives participating publishers a cut of the subscription revenue. I don't expect digital versions to be cheaper than disc at this point because as many said above physical retailers need to be considered, as do customers who may not be able to access digital versions at all times. But it would be nice if the prices were the same at least during the launch window.

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What do you mean? Sony hasn't been able to do this either. They are both in the same boat. Just look at digital game pricing on the ps4. It was horrendous at launch, especially in the EU. Both companies have yet to really try and break away from the retail relationships in order to force pricing down.

 

Sony do price drops and sales with a lot of high profile titles, usually a year or more after release. Some titles get only a few ? off, others do sometimes go for a lot less and are actually on the tipping point of a good price (for a digital console title). The initial prices are indeed ridiculous however.

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XBL have their sales too, but unfortunately they repeat far too frequently. RDR, GTA4 and CoD over and over and over :sleep: It's a shame really, there are so many great XBLA titles which never see a 2nd chance or boost online from sales.

 

I keep track of some of them because I refuse to pay the ridiculous 1200pt/?10 prices they started with. I had to wait for 3 years+ to get a discount on Rocket Knight, which is by no means a AAA title. It's a 20 year old franchise which is as good as dead by most accounts, but Konami/MS didn't bother to put on sale, despite PSN receiving one. Same happens with Capcom titles quite often.

 

Saying that, PSN has a Final Fantasy sale right now which they also held around this time last year for the 25th anniversary. I presume this time for FF13:LR. The difference is they have 2 sales each week usually and then PS+ on top of it, so there is always a lot of discounted games on offer.

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Sony do price drops and sales with a lot of high profile titles, usually a year or more after release. Some titles get only a few ? off, others do sometimes go for a lot less and are actually on the tipping point of a good price (for a digital console title). The initial prices are indeed ridiculous however.

That's true, but then so does MS, even if you could argue they are less frequent or don't cover the games you want. They have sales fairly frequently year round just as Sony does.

My point was that Sony and MS are in a similar place when it comes to ridiculous digital pricing of retail titles and a lack of price drops that either mirror retail price drops or get closer to something like the PC digital market.

PS+ or XBLG don't really count in that discussion since you have to pay to get access to the games offered for both or the extra discounts offered.

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I guess a store on there where third partys can sell the games direct to you on you console, allow some price wars to happen? Can you buy digtal games for xbox on amazon, and get a code to enter in on the console?

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I guess a store on there where third partys can sell the games direct to you on you console, allow some price wars to happen? Can you buy digtal games for xbox on amazon, and get a code to enter in on the console?

No, not currently.

I'm not sure if that would be enough though. Xbox 360 arcade games could be purchased direct from Amazon back in the day, but that didn't lead to price changes.

Still, I hope MS works out a deal like Sony did simply because it is sometimes convenient to buy from Amazon. If it also leads to better price reductions over time, great.

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XBL have their sales too, but unfortunately they repeat far too frequently. RDR, GTA4 and CoD over and over and over :sleep: It's a shame really, there are so many great XBLA titles which never see a 2nd chance or boost online from sales.

 

I keep track of some of them because I refuse to pay the ridiculous 1200pt/?10 prices they started with. I had to wait for 3 years+ to get a discount on Rocket Knight, which is by no means a AAA title. It's a 20 year old franchise which is as good as dead by most accounts, but Konami/MS didn't bother to put on sale, despite PSN receiving one. Same happens with Capcom titles quite often.

 

Saying that, PSN has a Final Fantasy sale right now which they also held around this time last year for the 25th anniversary. I presume this time for FF13:LR. The difference is they have 2 sales each week usually and then PS+ on top of it, so there is always a lot of discounted games on offer.

I think XBL does this weird themed promotions from time to time. Right now, they have a Tom Clancy sale in the US store that also includes Jack Ryan movies. I guess trying to tie-in with Shadow Recuit's release?

 

I don't know how smart that strategy is or if it actually works. :/

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I think XBL does this weird themed promotions from time to time. Right now, they have a Tom Clancy sale in the US store that also includes Jack Ryan movies. I guess trying to tie-in with Shadow Recuit's release?

 

I don't know how smart that strategy is or if it actually works. :/

 

Seems to be how they decide on all their sales.

 

Random picks please! Sick of the same games/dlc repeated every 3 weeks.

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Now we're talking! Blood Knights, Contrast, Final Exam and Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds are 50% off for XBL Gold members this week. Not X1 related obviously, but anything but poster boy sales ftw :yes:

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Now we're talking! Blood Knights, Contrast, Final Exam and Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds are 50% off for XBL Gold members this week. Not X1 related obviously, but anything but poster boy sales ftw :yes:

Crimson Dragon will be 20-25% off, just like Powerstar Golf was on special last week. I'm actually surprised they are dropping prices on games this early. Bad sales perhaps?

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Now we're talking! Blood Knights, Contrast, Final Exam and Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds are 50% off for XBL Gold members this week. Not X1 related obviously, but anything but poster boy sales ftw :yes:

I picked up Mirror's Edge :laugh: adding it to my loooong backlog of unfinished games.
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