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Thursday, December 1, 2005
 

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Electronic Distribution On The Rise
7:53 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

With companies like Virtual Programming already providing downloadable formats for most of its games, and other alike in the industry, legal electronic distribution is replacing boxed copies of games. Recently, Running With Scissors announced the availability of Postal for download on the PC. Likewise, the developers of Darwinia has followed suit by providing that game as a download for the PC through Steam; the Mac version has always been a download version through Ambrosia Software.

TSR: Secondly, does your new agreement cover Darwinia only? Or will past and future Introversion titles be distributed on Steam as well?

IV: Currently it’s only Darwinia, but I wouldn’t rule out other Introversion games coming out on Steam. Let’s see how Darwinia does amongst Steam customers first…

The reasons for abandoning boxed retail copies for download stem from many issues, the main one being cost. The cost of making one boxed retail title is around four dollars, and includes paper, printing, ink, media disc, etc. This may not sound a lot, but if a company manufactures thousands of copies for release, the costs eventually add up. Of course there are other reasons including size of company, spread of broadband Internet or even widely banned games such as Postal that impact the decision to go distribute games online.

Yet with all the cost cutting, digital distribution isn't for everyone. There are still the gamers with dial-up Internet connection or similar speeds. Also, some don't trust buying commodities online and privacy concerns. For example, a few have complained about Virtual Programming's online verification of their games and asking for the administrator's password to install games. Additionally, gamers like boxed copies because the media disc provides a backup copy of the game, while digital download is on a prone to crash anytime hard drive. For now, digital distribution is another option to purchase games, but hasn't replaced boxed retail copies completely.

As a result of certain factors, game studios and other companies alike are beginning to look towards legal digital distribution of games and other media including movies, TV shows, and music as another way to get the product to the consumer.

Postal(PC) Available As Download
SteamReview - Darwinia As Download
Ambrosia Software
Introversion Software
Virtual Programming
Running With Scissors
Darwinia
Postal 2
Buy Postal 2


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