Microsoft Explains Lagging Games on Demand Releases


When Microsoft announced their Games on Demand service, everyone just assumed that by now, you’d be able to buy a game digitally as soon as it was available at retail.

Yet, that hasn’t happened. Why? The answer is what you might have guessed — retailers hate the prospect.

“We have a lot of strong partnerships with retailer. We really need them to do a lot for us,” Games on Demand Senior Business Manager Erik Yeager said via Joystiq. “They’re the ones out there selling the consoles, selling the peripherals and, in this time, we’re trying to figure out how to fit that in to the whole digital landscape shift. We’re just taking a bit of a measured pace with it.”

Despite what some core gamers think, a lion’s share of game sales still come from retail. Having promo material in visible spots, end-cap placements, and retailer specials is still really, really important to spur unit sales. If Microsoft didn’t play ball, it’s not that retailers would drop their products out of spite, but they’d lose priority placement in stores.

Given that the Xbox 360 has held the top sales spot in the United States for a very, very long time, they’re doing something right eh?

I’m mostly curious how they’ll handle this with the Durango on the horizon. Digital distribution will be a necessity rather than a novelty in the next generation, and I’m sure Microsoft is already working out with retailers a solution that works best for everyone.

My guess is that it will involve cases with nothing but a download code inside them. That’ll make loss prevention a very interesting prospect for retailers…

[via Joystiq]

  1. The problem with not having day 1 digital is in places where there’s no retailers.
    I live in Uruguay, to get my game I have to buy it online on eBay or some Chinese website, then wait 8 to 30 days to receive my game after release.
    For me it would be great to have the game in a digital form at launch.

    Also there’s no Xbox live here, I have a USA account and some things are ip limited.
    Something this big should not be so small.

  2. My guess is that they will keep giving us games via disc for a bit longer into next gen, but will start asking us to burn the games to our hard drives. If that no used game thing is real, this could be the point where the console matches its ID to the game. Still, I hate having to go down to the freaking store to buy my games. On Demand is a seriously undermined concept.

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