DC Universe Online: Are We Happy To Go Digital

DC Universe has had a bit of a bumpy ride in Australia, mainly as a result of cost complaints and initial claims of false advertising, but now Sony has announced that PS3 owners will soon be able to puchase the game online as a digital copy - ala Mass Effect 2.

There are no dates or specific details for Australia yet, but this is an interesting trend, and an area in which Sony seem content to pioneer and push forward. Earlier this week EA Boss John Riccitiello declared the Mass Effect 2 digital experiment a success, with a double digit percentage figure choosing digital over retail. With an online focused game like DC Universe Online, you might expect that figure to be even higher.

How long will it be before we start to see side-by-side launches for all console titles - and how will this effect business? In Australia we've already seen how the increasing influence of Steam has caused some retailers to stock less PC titles and, in some cases, demanding that publishers up the online price to match the Aussie cost in stores.

In the US at least, a digital copy of is set to have the same price as the PS3 retail copy, but how will this change if these 'experiments' continue to succeed?

What are your views? Personally I'm not precious about the concept of owning and collecting physical media, but I know plenty who are. Can we be expected to pay the exact same price for digital copies, and how would you feel about a move away from traditional box copies of video games?


Comments

    I don't care to own a physical copy. If the price is the same for digital and physical, I'll always go physical for the ability to trade. Considering that Sony will more than likely charge full price via PSN, I will opt for a cheap physical copy via ozgameshop.com

      Normally I would jump in and state that Sony don't set the prices for games on the store, it's the publisher that does that, though in this case one part of Sony actually is.

      The distinction to make though is it's not the store that sets the price, so when Mass Effect 2 which is $99 was set buy EA.

    When the digital copy on the PSn (for ME2) is $99.95, no disc, cover or manual, I'll GLADLY pass the offer...

      Damn straight. That price shocked and disgusted me. Its cheaper to distribute digitally, yet why does it cost $40 more than the shops? RIDICULOUS.

        It doesn't. The price is between $99-$109 for the PS3 version at all major game shops.

          Likely not for long... Definitely not in 6 months.

    I like physical media (it's a sentimental thing) and I really don't want to download 8GB+ games to a console because there are plenty of reasons why that'll screw consumers - prices already don't scale, becomes impossible to lend games, trade-in & buy pre-owned, et cetera. A lot of the freedom you receive by being able to physically hold a game in your hand (which is probably taken for granted) disappears.

    At the same time I can see why the publishers would like it - reduced costs, potentially less piracy (particularly on consoles), persistent availability (well, you would hope they wouldn't go out of production/stock) and this would (theoretically) have some positive flow-on effect to consumers.

    All that being said, side-by-side launches I don't mind - it's great to have the option and some choice - but the day they get rid of physical media is the day gaming dies (okay... slight hyperbole >_>)

      "becomes impossible to lend games, trade-in & buy pre-owned, et cetera"

      I think that's kind of the point. The more people that download digitally, the fewer dollars are "lost" by publishers in trade-ins, etc.

    Agreed with the above. In addition to the poor internet in Australia, another reason why Physical copies are better (our poor download limits, etc compared to other countries where they pay for the speed, where we pay for both).

    The main problem with digital downloads is hard drive space. With ps3/xbox360 games around 8GB each, it will be hard to have a big game collections.
    This is especially true if you are using your console for movies,pictures and music as well as games.

    Maybe with the ps4/xbox720, which will hopefully have larger hard drives, will digital downloads make sense.

    i bet they charge full RRP too... so 89 or 99$

    screw off sony!

    On topic - Physical Media >>>>> Digital Content

    Yes, EA / whoever set the price of $99 as a digital online copy, but Sony will also get a percentage cut of that action.

    They will also be wary of upsetting their major retail partners and will not want to undercut them in terms of pricing.

    It will be interesting to see if they experiment and exclusively release some titles online... eg. Uncharted 3, available exclusively on PSN for set number of months.

    Digital sales aren't flexible in terms of price competition or price matching. Recently, we've seen several stores follow the lead of Dick Smith in pricing the new Pokemon games at $49 instead of the retail $69. This scenario would exclude digital sales, and if the digital copies sell for retail price there will be a corresponding decrease in uptake.
    Furthermore, particularly in Australia, the availability of cheap imports can also be a detriment to online sales.

    And then there's the issue of download quotas (very relevant to most Australians). An average game (4-6Gb) would consume roughly a quarter of my peak-time monthly download quota. No way would I choose this unless there is a significant difference in price compared to the physical media.

      What ISP are you with? 4-6gb using one quarter of your peak download means you have 25gb peak right? I hope you pay very little for your connection. TPG offers a 500gb plan (with a very sizeable amount of that being peak data) for $50/month. Heck, I'm with telstra and get base phone line rental, a few included calls, $10 off my mobile plan and 100gb of data anytime for $88/month. So many times I see people stating on this site that they don't have enough bandwidth. Unless you are on 3G you really need to be looking at competitor pricing to make sure you're getting a good deal.

      Steam is the only really good digital distribution platform in my opinion. We do get screwed every now and then (I'm looking at you Black Ops US$90!) But most of the time the pricing on steam, compared to local retail (not imports) is considerably cheaper. All latest releases at the moment (Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, Test Drive Unlimited 2 etc) are all cheaper on Steam.

      If prices can become more competitive, digital distribution will take off. But, as someone mentioned above, it won't happen any time soon because Sony, Microsoft, EA, Activision etc don't want to piss off their retail partners because most of their sales would still be generated from traditional brick and mortar stores.

        TPG are not available in all areas, FYI.

        I missed out on TPG because they "have no plans to establish a service" in my area.

    lol don't do it, game is a POS.

    Personally I don't like the idea of online purchases, if you look at Xbox Live's Games on Demand you'll see that the prices are usually full retail price, for games that can be purchased at half the cost in store.

    I see so much in the news nowadays about retailers complaining about pricing vs downloads (or imports). Leaving behind the argument on what we should pay, I think any industry complaining about new innovations should be looking inwards, not trying to level the game field outwards.

    You've seen it all over with video rental shops, photo developing places or music stores. When the tech changes, so must the retail. Rallying to slow down the other methods -never- works.

    IMO they should be either petitioning the government about changing the rules that govern them so they can be competitive (as opposed to extra taxing others), or seeing how they can evolve into the digital marketplace. Anything else simply isn't viable in a capitalistic market.

    Good thing if you download it, you dont have to look at that hideous box art

    or u could do what i did and buy from us account psn
    mass effect is only $60 or so.
    $40 cheaper then retail here :P

    Yeah if someone wants to charge me $40 more then other regions simply because they can... Well they can go fuck themselves.
    I loved steam before regional pricing came. I am fine with paying $70 for a digital game... I am not fine if they make it $70 while it is $40 in America and they make us pay in USD... And download from US servers.

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