Want Xbox Games On Demand? It’ll Cost You

By  |  Friday, August 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm

xbox360Come Tuesday, Microsoft will begin selling major Xbox 360 games for download through its Xbox Live service, but from the prices we’ve seen so far, it’s not a sound investment.

Endsights got a hold of the pricing for nine of the 24 games that will be available initially. Using the online retailer Newegg as a comparison (because of its consistent pricing and free shipping), it’s clear that in some cases you’ll pay $10 or even $15 more to download the game than you would to order a boxed copy over the Internet.

A chart, and some more thoughts on Microsoft’s bold venture away from retail, after the jump.

As you can see from the chart below, you stand to save $49 total by getting all these games new, in-box, from Newegg:

xboxondemandtable

Microsoft has said Games On Demand will cost either $20 or $30, so even without the complete price list, we know two more games, Kameo: Elements of Power ($10 on Newegg) and Perfect Dark Zero ($15 on Newegg) will be more expensive to download. Additionally, as Endsights points out, you can buy Bioshock and Oblivion in one package at retail for $30 — the same price Microsoft is asking for each game separately.

The problem is, you’re not really getting anything in return for buying Games On Demand except instant gratification. Meanwhile, your digital copy can’t be brought to a friend’s house, has no resale value, requires a lot of hard drive space and is far less likely than a boxed copy to be backwards-compatible with Microsoft’s next console (whenever that may emerge).

It’s easy to criticize Microsoft here, but the company does face a dilemma: Games On Demand looks like a push away from retail, but Gamestop and its ilk remain in control of the market. By selling used games for less, these retailers drive prices down on all games. As frustrating as the sale of used games is for publishers, it’s just as bad that buyers intentionally wait for a game to devalue before making the purchase.

But that’s the reality. If Microsoft wants Games On Demand to take off, it’ll have to get competitive.

 
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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    Pricing on digital downloads is so messed up, and Microsoft is one of the worst offenders. When the end-user is not receiving a physical-copy that can be traded and re-sold, the value of download media is significantly less than it’s tangible counterpart.

    Even where the pricing is equal, it still doesn’t make sense. If I can buy a game for $20, play through it, and sell it on eBay for $10, then that game is only worth $10 to me. I’m not going to pay $20 to download it. Only if they priced the download at $10 would I consider it.

    The principle applies to new games as well. I bought the most recent Call of Duty game for $50 the same day it came out 10 months ago. I plan on selling it on eBay when the new one comes out in a few month, and the current eBay prices are around $45. I’ll have gotten almost a year’s worth of play-time for only $10 or so (after taxes and selling fees). If I could have paid $30 up-front for a digital download, it still wouldn’t have made sense.

    I shudder to think of what will happen in the near future, when every publisher goes all-digital, and tries to sell digital copies of games for $60 that can’t be re-sold. They believe that killing the used game market will save them, but I’m sure it’s going to be incredibly destructive for the industry.

  2. Superdave Says:

    Well, personally I would actually pay the extra $10 to have a digital copy stored on the hard-drive. I hate having to have a DVD in the machine and having the cumbersome job of switching DVDs to play other games. But then again I rarely trade in my games.

  3. JDoors Says:

    I too can’t see paying AS MUCH, let alone MORE, for a download over a packaged product, but Superdave has a point: For some people, it makes sense. Enough to make money for MS (or others)? I seriously doubt it.

    On the other hand, new products and services often, for many reasons, start out at a high price point.

  4. Juan David Says:

    Well i dont really mind paying the same ammount for a download game, but that is because i live in south america and with shipping and extra taxes and money exchange a 60 dollar game ends up costing about 80-90 dollars to me (thats the price im used to pay for games, so now its not so bad as it sounds… it sounds horrible tough). Considering this and the fact that i never resell games, the digital distribution is really cheaper to me, but if the price are actually higher, like the ones listed in the articles, then forget it, i can get the physical copy for that ammount.
    I buy digital distribution whenever i can,steam mostly, but unfortunately xboxlive and ps3 store are not supported in south america so i have to get psn cards to buy things, and this way the savings for digital downloads are lost. If psn store would allow me to pay wiht my colombian credit card i would buy a lot of games i want, but the way things are now, it is not really a good alternative, so i only consider going digital if that is the only medium for the game.

  5. Davey Says:

    Convenience has its cost and this is good news for people who don’t live near a retail store. Of course they could get them by mail but people want instant gratification.

  6. Ricky Davis Says:

    These games cost lesser up to date but yup shipping costs are expensive. I`m just hoping that these games or Newer games will reach nearby retail stores as soon as possible. Downloading sometimes is a bit risky for me.

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