DFC Intelligence: Nearly All PC Game Sales are Digital Downloads

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Rift2

The Physical copy is more expensive usually...

Just pre ordered Bloodborne for th' PS4.

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ApathyCurve

Oh, the PS4? Really?

Nearly All PC Game Sales
PC Game Sales
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I don't expect much in the way of reading comprehension from console players, but I'd thought this one was blatantly obvious.

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jbitzer

I f I have to download and validate online with a bunch of shit anyway, Why bother getting in the car when I can just skip that step?

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AFDozerman

It's kind of hard to not support digital downloads when physical media barley exists. He'll, even when I buy physical media, I'm still downloading gigs of data...

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btdog

I've often wondered about the predicament we are in now: digital versus physical copies.

This is a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this instance: did stores reduce their inventory because they weren't selling them (as a result of digital sales)...OR...did digital sales pick up as a result of stores reducing their inventory? I guess it really doesn't matter now. At some point, there was a massive snowball effect and digital sales took off.

Me? I always liked physical media. I liked having a tangible item that I could cling to and say is mine. Not so with digital media (in many cases you borrow, you don't own). I was late to the digital arena and didn't utilize Steam until it was the well established juggernaut it is today. Still, I've come to appreciate it and I'm pretty loyal to Steam (100+ games vs 6 on Origin and 2 on Uplay).

As for recent physical media purchases? I still peruse the big box stores (Target, Microcenter, Office Depot,etc.) and if I see a decent deal, I'll grab it. But like a previous poster indicated, you insert the CD and all it does is redirect you to download it from a one of the major digital stores. I picked up Assassin's Creed I maybe a year ago ($5); MS Office; Bioshock a few years back...yeah, I guess I'm nearly 100% digital.

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tetris42

I found this chart, it looks like retail was declining first:

http://www.philsteinmeyer.com/images/US_PC_Game_Sales_1994_2007.gif

I would credit the dive in 2000 to be a saturation of the retail market, and the steady dive after 2001 to the Xbox, since MS essentially dropped PC gaming like a hot potato and poured resources into Xbox instead. Steam didn't really emerge until 2004 and adoption was slow besides non-Valve games.

Also I wish people would stop thinking physical = tangible backup you can count on, those days are over. Digital media can easily be made physical as well. It's DRM that determines whether you can hold on to the game forever or not, not how you originally obtained it.

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germanogre

Personally, I liked South Park's "are you fat because you're on a scooter, or are you on a scooter because you're fat".

Oh, yeah. I forgot to add: Origin and Uplay suck ass!

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dokron

the last 9 of 10 games i bought were digital downloads, so i guess they got it about right. But i miss the days of walking into the pc section(about 90% of the store) of a brick & morter game shop, and making an "on the spot" purchase.I also miss the boxes and all the included junk, like, maps, posters, and a decent manual.

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Renegade Knight

The titles I buy on physical media tend to be EA titles that they refuse to sell through Steam. That and some overseas titles that you have to import.

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vrmlbasic

The semi-local Microcenter has a fairly extensive PC game section. Unfortunately almost all of them require either Steam or Origin so why bother getting the full-priced physical copy when we can wait for the inevitable sale on the virtual copy? :(

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rsaotome

Haven't bought many PC games recently, but there's something to be said about owning a physical copy, if available.

But I am a huge fan of GOG, mainly due to their no DRM. :)

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DEADLIFT

Agreed. When GOG Galaxy drops, that site is going to be absolutely perfect.

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vrmlbasic

GOG Galaxy might end my usage of GOG since, among other reasons, it was hinted to be a requirement for multiplayer and that would make it a step in the wrong direction, like their requirement for "CD keys" (which are a PITA to obtain) for some games already are.

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DEADLIFT

Even their flagship multiplayer title for GOG Galaxy, The Witcher Adventure Game, allows for offline local multiplayer. I think GOG's ethics will stay intact with the release of Galaxy. They really seem to have their heads on straight.

Man, I need a job marketing for them. I may as well get paid for putting them over all the time. It's just rare these days that I find a company that I really believe in.

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LatiosXT

Well, you can't skirt around the CD key issue because if you want to ensure the game works as intended, you don't modify it since it's last original release + official updates. Modifying it must come from someone and I doubt the folks at GOG know anybody that can.

I guess they can hire cracking teams and release separate versions under a "no warranty" clause.

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vrmlbasic

Sure they can. I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't be the first time that GOG has used unofficial mods to make a game playable on modern platforms.

If GOG Galaxy were to work as an internet tunneling software to allow games to only have to worry about including the LAN multiplayer and GOG would turn it into, optionally, worldwide multiplayer then that would be great and a rather welcome innovation. I believe that this is not the case and that GOG Galaxy is going to become a knockoff of SteamWorks.

When I have to send my data across the internet in order to play among machines on my LAN then something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

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DEADLIFT

Buying PC games in 2014:

1. Check GOG first.

2. Check the Humble Store after that.

3. Finally, check Steam.

4. If not on Steam, torrent.

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blacksand

Some good options there. I've also used Green Man Gaming - greenmangaming.com and Amazon.

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Random

I like the convenience of having all of my games in a single location (Steam) but I sometimes worry that Steam has quite a monopoly in the digital gaming arena. What happens if Steam goes under or if they adopt practices or policies that don't agree with me?

I feel my digital games library has the potential to be held hostage by a single company and this makes me nervous.

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wolfing

I'm not worried about that. In the remote (very extremely remote) chance that it happens, I'd just export my list of games from Steam and torrent what I want from there. It may not be officially legal, but in my mind it is, I already paid for those games so they're mine.

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vrmlbasic

As well it should.

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Ghost XFX

A lot of them lean towards F2P. But many of them are doing it purposely wrong (focused on making money, over providing a great gaming experience). Only a few of them know how or I should say, are willing to do it properly.

The difference between Riot and UBI, for example, are Night and Day. While Riot make4s it's money making sure the game is engaging first and foremost, UBI focuses on milking money from the player, by providing mechanics that the player can't avoid otherwise.

Developers that think like Riot does, understand the core reasons for gamers to gravitate towards their model. But those that think like UBI, are either incompetent in the F2P arena, or more than likely, secretly wish for P2P or B2P model to return to the masses.

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Volleynova

Back in September 2003 when I created my Steam account and started using it, how little I knew then what a major player this awful program would be within a decade later.

It was Modern Warfare 2's release in November 2009 that I realized Steam was more than just an easy way to get content patches and not having to find a disc, it was a way for my local friends to connect and play games together easier than it had ever been in the past. That's fine and dandy, but centralizing PC gaming into a single entity is a major no-no, which is why I'm glad there's Origin, Uplay, and Battle.net

Valve's discouraging moves of developing a Steam Operating System based on the Linux kernel, going for Console Controllers, and trying to move into the Living Room has me concerned. Stop wasting time Valve, please. PC Gamers love Microsoft Windows, because it lets us seamlessly move from productivity, business, office and work to gaming in the same environment, we don't want to have to load a different operating system to play games.

They need to work on Half-Life and Portal and Left 4 Dead and perhaps a realistic version of Team Fortress, like what TF2 was originally supposed to be, instead of trying to annoy Microsoft like they've been doing for the last few years.

I'm glad Blizzard Entertainment stays away from Steam, and I hope Robert Spaceworks Industries also stays away for its upcoming behemoth; STAR CITIZEN.

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EKRboi

"PC Gamers love Microsoft Windows"

woah, woah, woah, speak for yourself. I'm a PC gamer and I HATE windows. I do have it installed, but if you look at my "Programs and Features" it is firefox, teamspeak, steam, Origin, vaious drivers and MS updates, and games that I can't play on linux. Thats it. I use linux for everything else. All that producivity stuff you speak of... can be done with linux or even OSX the same, and in some cases probably better and faster. Windows has become horribly bloated and "kludgy" over the years, and I for one am not a huge fan of the direction they seem to be headed.

As for the steamOS, nobody ever said you HAD to boot it to play games (yet). It's simply another option. Valve, like me is not a big fan of the direction MS seems to be moving with windows, saw what could easily happen and made a move (steamos) to secure their companies future whether their worst windows gaming nightmares are realized or not. It has also already made them money... there are MANY linux games who won't boot windows and therefor will not buy games not available for linux. So they are getting sales they would have not otherwise, since many devs and publishers have jumped on the SteamOS bandwagon. All those "SteamOS games" are just linux games... you can use any linux you like. Linux gamers may use wine at times, but it's not usually a good replacement for a real native linux version of a game. Since most win games are d3d, the d3d->ogl translation takes some resources.

It has been my experience that linux seems to be much better with overhead and resource management and this translates to better gaming as well. Even for some windows games. Take for instance Wolfenstein:TNO, The tech5 game engine uses OpenGL and not directx, so with wine on linux it doesn't have to waste precious cpu cycles translating d3d calls to opengl. That coupled with the much less resource hungry linux it simply runs better. In windows at mostly max settings the game lags and stutters quite often on my machine. It's playable for sure, but in wine on linux, at completely max settings framerate is higher and there are no stutters or lag to be found.. the game is buttery smooth. Why they have not natively ported it to linux is beyond me. I had the same experience with RAGE(sameish engine) when I played it again on linux with wine.

Sure, 15 years ago, linux was "scary". That is not the case today. There are distros whose sole purpose is to be very hardware compatible and easy to set up with no more tweaking than you have to do to a fresh windows install. Ubuntu is great for this, and Xubuntu (Ubuntu, but with XFCE instead of unity/gnome) is even better if you want more of a "traditional" windows type environment. I nearly guarantee if someones grandma can surf the web and send the grandkids emails in windows, they can do it with little to no effort in linux these days.

There are also great and free alternatives to windows business, office and design software that meet and or exceed the needs of what MOST use the software for. LibreOffice or OpenOffice are awesome and free replacements for MSOffice that happen to be available for windows as well. I've read many times where experienced photoshop users have tried GIMP(also free and available for windows) and ended up abandoning Photoshop. If it exists for windows, it either exists for linux as well or there is an alternative 98% of the time and it's usually free.

I am not trying to shove people to linux, it's just high time some of the myths and fears get put to rest. It's not like I want to see windows gaming die, as someone who has had to deal with games not being on my OS of choice I would never wish it upon any user of any OS. It's just about time that developers and publishers are finally taking us penguins seriously. For windows gamers sake I hope the windows gaming fears of Valve and others are never realized.

All that said.. sure steam has it's faults in both windows and linux, it's still a great platform IMO. It has taken the "guess work" out for many a "not so PC savvy" persons and PC gaming has really grown because of it. Let them make their controller.. you don't have to use it (i wont), and you could still use an xbox or ps controller too. Whats so wrong about them wanting to make it "easier" to play PC games in the living room? I and quite a few other people I know have had dedicated HTPC's as part of our A/V lineup in our living rooms for a long while now. XBMC(kodi) is awesome, and when Steams large linux gui is really ready and I can easily switch between XBMC's "TenFoot" media GUI and the SteamOS gui with no desktop environment at all.. or even better have my steam games integrated in XBMC easily with a plugin or natively. Ill be setting that up on it. The latest steamos beta has made moves to help make that a reality because many are asking for it.

Well.. I intended that to be short.. oops =)

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Renegade Knight

Valve was wise enough to recognize that the Microsoft requirement that all Metro apps be sold through the Microsoft App store could be extended to Desktop apps with Windows 9. It's a survival strategy.

Since I'm heavily invested in Steam games I'm glad they are looking into options in case Microsoft does what they seem to be leaning towards doing.

As for the companies that stay away from Steam. That's their choice. I pick them up for 5 bucks on physical media or I don't buy them at all. That mostly hurts EA.

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vrmlbasic

I wish Valve would, since they have a borderline monopoly, improve Steam. The thing is an outdated kludge, a slapdash melding of a web browser and DRM.

The Steam "back up and restore" function is definitely still living in the past as it assumes that only burnable CDs and single-layer DVDs will be used and is absurdly slow.

Almost without fail, when I open Steam and attempt to log into Steam I am met with a brusque "cannot connect" error. On the second attempt I almost always get in without issue but each error reminds me that Steam is oppressive DRM that holds my game hostage.

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LatiosXT

Anyone who uses the backup and restore option is asking for it. You can just copy and paste the game folder itself to your backup medium of choice and when you want to reinstall it, just copy and paste it back to the game repository. Steam will figure out the files are there and your "install time" just got reduced to minutes instead of forever. Instantly if you backed up the appmanifest file.

Also there are a few games that don't need Steam. You can run all the DOS games from a standalone DOSBox.

The former I figured would be almost common knowledge by now for anyone who toys around with the directory. Then again you don't really get to learn these things if you're afraid to potentially break your software :3

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EKRboi

exactly.. just copy the games folder or "zip" it up and store it somewhere for later use. Screw steams backup feature. I have a 2tb drive in my fileserver dedicated to just this...

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vrmlbasic

Since Valve provides the option, they should provide an option that actually works like it should in 2014.

I know that Steam is a kludge-we all do-but I shouldn't have to resort to making a kludge of my own to get Steam to do what it claims to be able to do itself.

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LatiosXT

It's not really a kludge when it's a normal file operation that you probably do anyway, backing up or otherwise.

Copy it somewhere. Paste it back in. Done.

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vrmlbasic

It is a kludge as I'm having to go outside of Valve's system to do something that Valve's system supposedly provides support for, and the something that has to be done would look like arcane wizardry to a more average PC user.

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LatiosXT

Choices would be good... if they were competent. At least Origin improved and offered some competing services (like refunds). I refuse to install UPlay ever again though. That's a steaming pile of crap that Ubisoft doesn't seem keen on improving.

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Neufeldt2002

The only thing I'm going to disagree with is the love of Windows. I would love to get rid of Windows completely. I can do everything I need in Linux except play the majority of my games, and they are the only thing keeping Windows on my machine.