Valve no longer boxed in

SAS

Can't get enough of FH
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Valve's drive towards selling Half-Life 2 online via its steam content system, and recent announcement of the end of its publishing deal with VU Games has raised some questions. Will we ever see a Valve boxed games appear on shop shelves in future? Will other game developers sell their games direct to gamers? Would this be good for us?

As part of the recent legal settlement between Valve and VU Games, which will see VU Games withdrawing all of its Valve-created products from August 31st, could signal a move to online-only distribution for the firms products - Source GamesIndustry.biz

Personally for my money I'd like a shiny box I can rip open and a manual to flick through as the game installs 3 gb+ onto my space starved hard disk. But is this going to be seen as an old skool way of buying games in the future?
 

Jonty

Fledgling Freddie
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Hi guys

I'm with you, SAS, I prefer having a tangible copy of games too. If broadband were fast enough (like the 1Gbps (!) service rolled out in parts of Hong Kong) then fair enough, downloading and updating would be harmless, but presently it's not really viable for 512k users, let alone 56k.

That said we have Steam and others like Direct2Drive, so perhaps it will be the future?

Thankfully Half-Life 2 will be staying retail, though, according to Doug Lombardi:

Doug Lombardi said:
We are making arrangements to continue retail distribution of our products post August 31. Should have more details to share soon.
Rumour has it Activision will take over, but that's just speculation at the mo.

Kind Regards
 

Embattle

I am a FH squatter
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I only got it via steam because it was free with my gfx card otherwise I would of bought a boxed version.
 

Embattle

I am a FH squatter
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Didn't think the standard steam license did either.
 

RandomBastard

Can't get enough of FH
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I got it off steam because i wanted the silver edition with all the extra source bits and peices.

While there is something to be said for having a boxed edition, steam does away with the hassle of switching cds etc and installing games on multiple pcs is as easy as installing steam,
 

Jonty

Fledgling Freddie
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I must say, in favour of Steam, I recently forgot my HL2 DVD and so wasn't able to install it on my new machine. However, with Steam I just installed the client, signed in, and downloaded all my games direct. That, if nothing else, made me a happy bunny (although even with a 100Mbps connection, it took a fair while to get everything).

Apparently the new Lost Cost chapter, for those few with machines powerful enough to run it, will be Steam-only and the Aftermath expansion pack may debut on Steam before it goes on retail sale. Another interesting thing I read was that Day Of Defeat: Source may end up costing $14.99 for those without existing licences, but don't quote me on that :)

Kind Regards

Jonty

P.S. Talking of games, if anyone happens to come across the Meqon Game Developers' Conference physics demo, have a play, it's stunning (I believe PC Zone have it on their May/June coverdisk). Realistic cloth, rope, tiles, glass, and hundreds of on-screen objects, this alone ought to make Duke Nukem Forever worth the wait :)
 

DaGaffer

Down With That Sorta Thing
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Something like Steam works for Valve because they appeal to hardcore gamers who are aware of who they are and are prepared to overcome the technical obstacles. To make download have broad appeal, people are not going to go to individual developers' sites and install multiple steam-type clients and have multiple accounts etc. They're going to want someone to do all that shit for them and they're only going to want one account, iTunes style. Once you're in that situation, you're back in the realms of middlemen. Granted, there will be fewer players taking a slice of the pie than the traditional developer/publisher/distributor/retailer mix, but I don't think the role of the publisher disappears; for every game that's a success because it happens to be a great game, there's a dozen more that get decent sales because they're well marketed, which is one the principal roles of the publisher. Even if games are distributed digitally, the need for marketing doesn't go away. In addition, publishers fund the development of new games and franchises and have the wherewithal to buy rights and intellectual property.

The new mix of digitally distributed games will look like this:

developer - publisher - aggregator/sales channel (which could be a retailer, content portal like Sony Connect, an ISP, something like froogle for downloads or even DRM'd Peer-to-peer).

Point I'm trying to make is that for most developers, download is not the holy grail that gives them a bigger slice of the pie.
 

.Wilier.

One of Freddy's beloved
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I must admit to prefer having an actual DVD/CD with the game on, although there are advantages to being able to DL I guess.

As far as the non-gamer type goes though, the loss of the shiney box sale would limit the amount of "Ooooh, this looks good. I think I'll buy it" type of person who strolls into Game whilst the missus is in Dorothy Perkins (or wherever)

I dont know how many sales this includes, but it must be a few?
 

DaGaffer

Down With That Sorta Thing
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.Wilier. said:
I dont know how many sales this includes, but it must be a few?
Tons (look at things like multibuys - they drive enormous numbers of sales, although you could do that on a download site too) And don't forget 60% of ALL games sales are at Christmas. To quote Bruno Bonnell; "You can't put a download under the Christmas Tree".
 

old.Tohtori

FH is my second home
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Actual game boxes are kicking the arse of internet d/l'd games every day in one aspect.

Come home with new computer.
Decide to install Half life 2 (as an example) and remenise(sp?) on ye old times.
Net not working...
Ah well, i got my boxed game so i dun need no stinking net! :D

Also what self respecting nerd doesn't have a closet filled with assorted game boxes that you have to swim through to find that soundcable :p
 

Tom

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Strange really, I prefer having a tangible product when it comes to music and films, but games - I really don't give a stuff.
 

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