eBooks and video games

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VideoGameCritic
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eBooks and video games

Postby VideoGameCritic » August 15th, 2015, 4:53 pm

When eBooks hit the scene years ago and they were taking off, a lot of people suggested it would be the death of traditional paper books. I hate predictions like this, which inexplicably assume that the current trends of % growth will continue indefinitely. There is a novelty factor at work whenever a new technology hits the scene.

I just read an interesting article about eBooks and how the popularity of eBooks has leveled off and they are peacefully coexisting with traditional paper books.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/15/08/14 ... ith-ebooks

Might the future of physical games follow the same pattern? We're already see the popularity of mobile gaming (which some believed would wipe out the console market) level off. And while digital distribution has definitely established itself, people still seem to prefer tangible video games. I remember an engineer at Sony predicted the PS3 would be online only, with no physical games.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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scotland
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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby scotland » August 15th, 2015, 6:23 pm

I love them both. I seek out old used books, as well as new downloadable books. I prefer tangible books, but I am thankful for digital distribution too.

Many old books and magazines are online as pdfs, and while no one may have had the rights to upload and download them, without the scans those bits of history would be lost to no ones benefit. Old video game magazines for instance. Digital opens up doors not just to saving the past, but cheap distribution of new materials. Write a book and you can find a way to distribute it if you dont worry about making much money. Its easy to have a hundred hours of reading on a device in your pocket or backpack. Wherever I go, if I have my phone I have a book. Taking a book into a social situation is tacky but a phone is expected. Reading at night on a tablet beats a nightlight hands down. Digital is good for books or magazines to enjoy and move on without eating up shelf space. Digital is also good for sharing online.

Physical books are better if the topic is to be digested or notated or studied. Holding a book is a different experience, which in general I prefer. It engages the senses. It has a history of its own. A book is robust to weather or light. Out for a walk take a book. A book also has a physical presence that encourages reading and rereading, where digital is often just scanned, or worse easily downloaded and easily forgotten unread (how may game ROMs have been downloaded and never played I wonder). Physical makes better gifts or sharing in person. I value my physical books and comics because they are physically real, unique, and I remember acquiring and reading them as much as what is inside them in ways I don't value or remember an ebook file I bought from Amazon.

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Shapur
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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby Shapur » August 16th, 2015, 3:43 pm

It may have leveled off for now but the ebook will still probably kill off the book. It's just taking a breather. I suspect it just that so many young people have switched over to ebooks that its already saturated that market and the old fogeys just haven't died off yet. In thirty years, it'll be all ebooks.

Video games are in a worse position because it's a format actively controlled by 3(soon to be 2) console makers and thats it. Physical media doesn't exist at all in the phone marketplaces, and is long dead on the PC. Microsoft and Sony pretty much decide how long we'll still get discs, and as we saw from Microsoft they want them gone. It makes them more money. Piracy is more difficult, and most importantly you can't resell games. They don't have to print manuals, stamp discs, buy cases and ship the mall around the world and they still get to charge 59.99. In 10 years a game that would have been on ebay for $4 will be on their digital store for 19.99. That's the end game and consumers are going to go for it because of the convenience of downloading a game versus having it shipped straight to your door by amazon.

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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby VideoGameCritic » August 16th, 2015, 4:53 pm

Shapur,
You paint a depressing picture but I suspect you may be right. The point that really got me was how customers will go along for the sake of convenience. It does seem that a large portion of the population is willing to forgo physical ownership if they don't have to get off their couch. It may not benefit them as much in the long run, but most people aren't looking toward the future. They just want to have fun today and probably don't see themselves wanting to play the same game years from now. And in fairness unless you are a gaming enthusiast (like most of us) you probably look at games as a disposable medium anyway.

What makes me mad is how companies will save money hand-over-fist yet continue to gouge the customer. We're setting this in other industries - a "convenience" charge.
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Breaker
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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby Breaker » August 18th, 2015, 12:04 pm

While I think physical copies may become a much, much smaller portion of total sales, I don't think they'll fully dissappear, at least not in my lifetime (I'm 36). I look at the music industry...2014 was the first year that digital sales caught physical media. iTunes had been around for, what 10 years or more? And other services probably longer, with piracy even more of an issue in that industry. Also, formats like vinyl even stage comebacks occasionally.

Sure, DLC is the future, but I don't think it will completely take over any time soon.

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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby Red Clash » August 21st, 2015, 7:21 am

Eliminating physical games won't really happen as long as Gamestop and larger stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy have any say- good luck getting them to stock consoles that they won't be able to sell any games for. Gamestop in particular faces an existential threat from any sort of digital-only console as its entire business model is based around used physical media.

Even if (or unfortunately, when) one or both of the Big Two decides to launch an all-digital console, there will still be a market for physical games. It goes beyond things like lack of Internet/capped connections and higher cost of digital goods due to shortsighted greed. People like tangibles- things they can actually hold and derive a sense of ownership from that can never be matched by any digital download. Just look at how high "retro" titles are climbing on price and demand and shrinking in availability for proof of this- anything from before the 360/PS3 generation is going up, up, up. A lot of that has to do with people being turned off by the downward direction the game industry has been heading and the realization that there's 40+ years of physical copies of great games out there to play.

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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby Rookie1 » August 21st, 2015, 10:04 am

Red Clash wrote:Eliminating physical games won't really happen as long as Gamestop and larger stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy have any say- good luck getting them to stock consoles that they won't be able to sell any games for. Gamestop in particular faces an existential threat from any sort of digital-only console as its entire business model is based around used physical media.


I disagree with this. You will just see store exclusive digital game purchases. You already see this at most stores anyways. Depending on where you buy something, you get some sort of exclusive DLC. Gamestop sells 100% digital downloads for games as well.

This would actually be better for stores as they wont have to handle any big bulky product shipments, just a small box of download cards.

Red Clash wrote: Even if (or unfortunately, when) one or both of the Big Two decides to launch an all-digital console, there will still be a market for physical games. It goes beyond things like lack of Internet/capped connections and higher cost of digital goods due to shortsighted greed. People like tangibles- things they can actually and derive a sense of ownership from that can never be matched by any digital download. Just look at how high "retro" titles are climbing on price and demand and shrinking in availability for proof of this- anything from before the 360/PS3 generation is going up, up, up. A lot of that has to do with people being turned off by the downward direction the game industry has been heading and the realization that there's 40+ years of physical copies of great games out there to play.


This is the major hurdle right here. People still arent 100% cool with owning something, but not having it physically. However, the younger generation is being raised with that. Streaming services and digital downloads are going to be all they know, and with that, they will be more accepting of digital downloads for games.

Its going to happen, probably more sooner than later.

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Re: eBooks and video gamesp

Postby Tron » August 21st, 2015, 5:55 pm

I agree w/ Shapur & a Rookie. Digital is the future which makes the future suck. I still don't buy digital & I don't think I ever will, but for every person like me there are 10,000 more willing to buy digital.

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Rev
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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby Rev » August 21st, 2015, 7:28 pm

Yeah the future of gaming if bleak for collectors. When gaming goes solely digital I will stop collecting games for that generation+ and just pay casually. I'll keep my collection though.

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scotland
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Re: eBooks and video games

Postby scotland » December 31st, 2015, 8:14 pm

According to LA Times, print books are back, baby. Ebooks hit a ceiling of 25%, where they were predicted to be more than 50% in 2015.


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