Is the Gaming Retail Model Broken?

Developer 5th Cell speaks out.

Everyone these days has visited a video or computer gaming retail store, but is the business model itself inherently broken in this day and age?  While many still frequent the standard brick-and-mortar stores for all their gaming needs, one can’t help but notice the increasing popularity of digital distribution within the world of gaming.  In a recent interview with Game Informer, the Creative Director at 5th Cell, Jeremiah Slaczka, spoke out. 5th Cell is the developer of the popular title Scribblenauts, as well as the Drawn to Life series of games.

“Before the model was tolerable, because the cost was reasonable enough to allow mediocre selling games to make money,” says Jeremiah Slaczka.

Much has changed in just this last generation of consoles and not just on the consumer’s end.  Competition has grown fiercer than ever before, with a waning economy and increasing number of developers on the market vying for your hard-earned dollars.  In the case of the title Homefront, a title not well recieved at the time of its release, Slaczka went on to describe why he believes the $60 price point these days to be “just insane.”

“As a consumer, why would I want to play an okay FPS when I can play a bunch of great FPS titles for the same price? And that’s what the consumers did,” he said.  “But what if you could rent Homefront for $4.99 for 24 hours from your console? What if Homefront was only $30 dollars upfront for the single player and if you liked it you could buy the multiplayer for an additional $30?  All of the sudden it’s not a binary purchase option anymore.”

The concept is sound in theory, and perhaps may happen very soon, but there are many things to consider when relying wholly on the internet.  There are multiple business models for gaming distribution that have worked before and many that still do today, but we gamers will just have to wait and see.

[Source: Game Industry]

Aaron Tomko
Aaron Tomko
Aaron Tomko

Guest Writer

Aaron has played games since before he could stand and has been doing so ever since. He is currently seeking a degree in game design and creates his own art.

The Latest from Mash