"small child who threw his toy away", having it played with by someone else and now "screaming" they want it back.
The US and UK saw "massive" declines in PC sales as retailers favoured shelf space for the latest "twitch kids console title" - PC gamers moved on to digital.
The extreme rise of Steam, Direct2Drive, Impulse, GamesGate and others is all the fault of retailers themselves as they turned their back on PC titles to expand their console wares, despite PC sales still going strong. They butchered the demand says Still.
"...in the English speaking territories – especially in the UK and USA – we saw a massive decline in the way the PC market was being supported by the bricks and mortar retailers," said 1C's Darryl Still, explaining why they decided to retain all digital title rights.
"Shelf space was being reduced on an almost monthly basis in favour of the latest twitch kids console title and it was becoming more and more difficult to get titles listed in any depth – even when those titles were securing review scores of over 80 per cent."
"It’s not surprising that PC gamers turned to different methods of distribution, and Steam filled that need perfectly. Not just providing a well stocked distribution platform, but a whole social network for enthusiast gamers who were not getting supported elsewhere as their hobby went mainstream," continued the international publishing director.
"What is more surprising is the reaction of retail now. I have read it described as the reaction of a small child who threw his toy away because he no longer wanted it, but started screaming as soon as another child picked it up to play with. The metaphor works perfectly, especially in the light of the excuse I heard on numerous occasions."
"‘There is no demand’ went the mantra. But is this really true? Not in our experience."
1C's Still even provides us a lovely anecdote.
"I remember fondly the meeting in my office with a red-faced publisher who was explaining why their initial order from a major retailer for one of our new releases was just 30 units. At the time I had my browser open on the Steam product data page, which updates sales numbers every few minutes." “They have taken one unit for each of their top 30 stores” he told me. “There is just no demand from their customers”. "I glanced at my screen, hit refresh and advised him: “In the time it’s taken you to tell me that there is no demand, Steam has sold 45 units”.
“They have taken one unit for each of their top 30 stores” he told me. “There is just no demand from their customers”.
"I glanced at my screen, hit refresh and advised him: “In the time it’s taken you to tell me that there is no demand, Steam has sold 45 units”.Digital also lets publishers profit more from each sale as they don't need the middlemen of retail.
"...on a sale over the counter today, we can have our £3 by the end of March, or on a digital sale, we can have £20 by Christmas," said Still. "Remind me why we should choose to go with retail and decline to let Steam sell the game?"
Check out Darryl Still'son retailers vs. digital.