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Blizzard: "Retail is still important"

Blizzard: "Retail is still important"

Blizzard says that retail stores are still super important for PC games, including WoW.

Blizzard has commented that bricks and mortar stores are still important for PC games, despite the growing interest in and presence of digital distribution platforms.

'We've only been in bricks and mortar stores until the launch of StarCraft 2,' said Blizzard's Greg Street in an interview with bit-tech yesterday about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. World of Warcraft still regularly top the top 10 PC games chart, even six years after release.

'The retailers are still super important and are the reason we’re here in the UK, doing this launch event,' he added. 'The only way to get the Collector's Edition is to buy it in stores.'

Pressed for details about Blizzard's plans for the future, Greg said that there were no plans increase Blizzard's digital presence beyond where it is at the moment.

'I don’t think we have any plans to grow it,' he said. 'We’ll see how it goes. The PC market is changing rapidly and the scope of the internet is massive and it’s hard to predict where things will be in five or ten years.'

Check the full interview with Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street and Dave Kosak for more info, but let us know your thoughts in the forums in the mean time.

37 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Aracos 8th December 2010, 18:40 Quote
They really aren't if I'm honest, how many stores actually sell PC games these days? I would say only online retail is actually important for PC these days, plenty of bargains and just about every game you could ask for. I still think steams the best thing since sliced bread though with it's uber offers!
GoodBytes 8th December 2010, 18:55 Quote
I think buying the box physically is nice. You can buy it as a gift. Seriously, I would really prefer someone to give me a an actual gift, boxed and wrapped, then just go "oh yea... I just ordered XYZ game on Steam for you, because I just remember it was your birthday, despite you taking a big effort in going to a store, finding my perfect gift, wrapping it for me".

As to answer stom20200, where I live in Montreal, we are packed with stores that sells games. We have Game Buzz, Best Buy, Future-shop, EB-Games (Game Stop Canada), and of course Walmart and Costco. And even then, these are just big retail stores, that come to mind. You have all bunch of small stores here and there. Heck even Jean-Coutu and Pharmatrix (both are pharmacies), sell video games and consoles. It ridiculous. And I don't see this market dying here any time soon. In fact these game store exclusive, are actually opening new places. I can only accept this if the person that send me the gift is a family member and outside of the country or province.

Does stream provide you with a nice printed manual, a disk so that you don't have to download several GB of data which might take you a day or two (~11GB for Modern Warfare 2), and sometimes goodies, like The Witcher 2? No, of course not. And it's not like Steam games are THAT cheaper.. just a few dollars, and this is if they are special or is old, except in some rare cases, like Christmas.
leveller 8th December 2010, 19:17 Quote
Goodbytes, you are an old romantic at heart ;) digital is the new black as they say.
GoodBytes 8th December 2010, 19:48 Quote
hehe.

Here is what you can't do with Steam downloaded games over retail:

Step 1:
Get the ingredient: Game + chocolates + the cheapest box of cracker I could find where the game can fit inside (dollar store.. Hmmmmm... Yummy)
http://www.helpweaver.com/stp1.jpg

Step 2:
Open the box of cracker at the bottom using a knife. Empty the content (What I actually did, is cut each bag and leave 2 cracker in each.. so that when my brother opens the box .. he sees dollar shop crackers. :D
http://www.helpweaver.com/stp2.jpg

Step 3:
Then insert everything, and close the bottom with double sided tape.
http://www.helpweaver.com/stp3.jpg

Now, gift wrap, and put it in a gift bag with the full set... and well.. you can image the rest :D
We are all trained to open the box from the top... so he or she will really feel that this box of cracker was never opened, during the process of opening the box, as we opened the bottom. :)


So, in conclusion, we can clearly see that downloaded games are no fun as gifts.
DragunovHUN 8th December 2010, 19:55 Quote
Well, you can type in "I'm a box of crackers" as a message when you gift a game on Steam.

And they typically come with pdf manuals, which are just as good as printed ones(if not better) since the printed ones are really cheaply made these days.
Showerhead 8th December 2010, 22:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
And they typically come with pdf manuals, which are just as good as printed ones(if not better) since the printed ones are really cheaply made these days.
Except you can't have both open in the same time which is sometimes helpful. (ARMA 2 i'm looking at you) Admittedly though i haven't bought a game at a bricks and mortar store for over two years though i suppose it's still an important market for the more mainstream games such as WOW starcraft and The Sims
jimmyjj 8th December 2010, 22:51 Quote
I remember great big 300 page game manuals, perfect for the toilet!
Sloth 8th December 2010, 22:57 Quote
Blizzard games are quite huge in retails stores from my experience. They did a great job with their Battlechests. Every store I've been in which stocks video games has had a Battlechest of Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft 3 or WoW, or some combination of them. Yesterday at Best Buy there was a whole table of Cataclysm boxes sitting by the checkout line with expansion boxes, WoW battlechest boxes, WoW merchandise such as the Steel Series WoW mouse, and even non-WoW branded gaming gear such as regular Razer Nagas.

There difference is that Blizzard really pushes retail copies. They exploit the goodies factor with well made manuals, strategy guides, and decorative boxes. They then make sure that every retailer stocks it.
salesman 8th December 2010, 23:13 Quote
I just started seriously using steam for the last year, even though I have had an account since the release of half-life 2. I know for a fact that I have spent more money on games in the last year, because of using steam, then I did for all the years before that since steam has been around. I love steam. I love how I can find older games through digital downloads then I could at a retail store.
SlowMotionSuicide 8th December 2010, 23:17 Quote
Hope all of you old farts die quick so the rest of us can get our games digitally quicker, cheaper and easier. I don't know why Blizzard feel they are morally obliged to resuscitate physical sales, 'cause the sooner they die off the better.
GoodBytes 8th December 2010, 23:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowMotionSuicide
Hope all of you old farts die quick so the rest of us can get our games digitally quicker, cheaper and easier. I don't know why Blizzard feel they are morally obliged to resuscitate physical sales, 'cause the sooner they die off the better.

Old fart?! I am in my early 20's. :)
And you are one then, for not supporting Phantom console.. this Steam-like game console back in 2004 (announce in 2002). But instead you decided to keep quiet, and still purchase your game physically instead of sending letters to publishers so that they make their game available for the console to allow it to be released with some form of content.
A gaming console that was way ahead of it's time.

The real answer is that both are needed. The only difference is that retail store will stock less. Some games are best bought digitally, others retail box, depending on the person monthly bandwidth limit, if it's a gift or not, his or her preference and what goodies it comes with.
Madness_3d 8th December 2010, 23:45 Quote
All my local stores (even CEX) have shrunk down to a one shelf wide ~1m PC section from 2+ and they're overpriced. No reason to buy from them, Amazon all the way
Fizzban 8th December 2010, 23:58 Quote
I rarely buy digital downloads as I like a real hard copy in my hand. I only get things like Chime online. Proper AAA games I will keep purchasing the old fashioned way until they stop selling them that way. Things like Steam are more hassle than they are worth (yes I have a steam account but I use it as little as possible).
general22 9th December 2010, 01:14 Quote
I know I bought Starcraft 2 from retail due to the Blizzard price gouging in the digital distribution edition. Still it was nice to have a box for once but if games can be cheaper through digital distribution then it is a relic of a bygone era of gaming that I can do without.
SMIFFYDUDE 9th December 2010, 01:28 Quote
This year i've finally started buying games from Steam and GOG dispite only being able to download at 100kbps (last year was 60kbps), main reason is GAME and Gamestation have reduced the PC section to 1 stack of shelving in a cramped corner, and they're just full of copies of WoW, MW2 and Sims 3. Not even the used games section exists any more. I'm not sure i've bought any games from a highstreet shop this year.
Artanix 9th December 2010, 08:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
This year i've finally started buying games from Steam and GOG dispite only being able to download at 100kbps (last year was 60kbps), main reason is GAME and Gamestation have reduced the PC section to 1 stack of shelving in a cramped corner, and they're just full of copies of WoW, MW2 and Sims 3. Not even the used games section exists any more. I'm not sure i've bought any games from a highstreet shop this year.

This.

I prefer going to stores and just buying it, because downloading can be quite unreliable...(especially when my housemate seems to think he can hide his torrenting from me... the network engineer) although I did buy Civ5 a few days ago from game, and steam was down, so i couldn't play my fresh new game for 6 hours, oh fun!

But back on topic, in the UK at least, PC games sections are literally 2/3 small shelves now. I even popped into my local supermarket for the WoW expansion (just to see if its cheap), and their PC games section was just budget £4 or less computer games, mostly educational ones. Consoles had both rows on the same aisle devoted to them.

Retail may be important, but in the UK, for the PC at least, its really starting to die out. Unless you play the sims :P
SlowMotionSuicide 9th December 2010, 09:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Old fart?! I am in my early 20's. :)

Hostile opening is a great way to incite discussion. I'm nearing 30 myself.
Quote:
And you are one then, for not supporting Phantom console.. this Steam-like game console back in 2004 (announce in 2002). But instead you decided to keep quiet, and still purchase your game physically instead of sending letters to publishers so that they make their game available for the console to allow it to be released with some form of content.
A gaming console that was way ahead of it's time.

tbh, I haven't heard of that particular console ever before, but then again I wasn't too keen on gaming at the start of the millenium. Sounds great though, so it's a pity it didn't took off.
Quote:
The real answer is that both are needed. The only difference is that retail store will stock less. Some games are best bought digitally, others retail box, depending on the person monthly bandwidth limit, if it's a gift or not, his or her preference and what goodies it comes with.

Yea, I too prefer my odd collector's edition every now and then. But seeing even how these very forums are infested by leeching pirate scum, I honestly believe digital downloads with approriate measure of drm will be required If we are to keep gaming at all. Also, I dislike the idea that digital distribution will carry unnecessary price premium just because someone is too afraid to undercut physical sales prices. If Steam prices would exclude costs for physical media, shipping, storaging and other costs irrevelant for directly distributed digital media, how do you think it would affect the sales of physical copies? I doubt getting a cardboard box on top of your game would be very popular if it would come, lets say 20-30% price premium, or more over digital copy.
HyBry 9th December 2010, 09:22 Quote
You wanna know why they think it is important? This is why:
Quote:
'We've only been in bricks and mortar stores until the launch of StarCraft 2,' said Blizzard's Greg Street in an interview with bit-tech

If they had joined Steam or had their own platform for a few years as they should have, they would be singing a different song.
Xir 9th December 2010, 09:26 Quote
They've somehow managed NOT to make Starcraft 2 turn up at our retailers... Strange
Steelez 9th December 2010, 11:51 Quote
Well, according to reports they told GAME, Amazon etc not to ship their Cataclysm orders to arrive before the 7th December (launch was at 11pm on the 6th in the UK) and with the weather conditions this means many people didn't get their copies for launch, with some still waiting. Being WOW addicts this lead many people to order the digital copy from the Blizzard store for €35 and send back their other copies when they arrive. Can't help but think this was a cynical decision to rake in a bit of extra money and put people off ordering from anywhere other than their digital store next time around.
Xtrafresh 9th December 2010, 11:53 Quote
What i really wanna know is why a guy named Greg Street thinks he needs a nickname...
mav2000 9th December 2010, 12:30 Quote
Well for us down here in India and probably a lot of other places, not in the US or europe, we still find it better to buy our games at normal retailers.
kornedbeefy 9th December 2010, 15:18 Quote
Retail is still extremely important. Not everyone shops online. Even if they do they may not be fimiliar with digital downloads. Not everyone is a gaming nerd like........gamers. ;)

As a hardcore gamer I still prefer boxes. They look good on my shelf and are easier to keep track of vs 4 or 5 digital download clients. I've bought games online and forgotten I've bought them.
Dr. Strangelove 9th December 2010, 16:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtrafresh
What i really wanna know is why a guy named Greg Street thinks he needs a nickname...

Its his blizzard Forum name like yours for this forum is Xtrafresh.

He is usually the one who will post about big changes ect on the official forums, so most WoW players will know him as Ghostcrawler.
Xtrafresh 9th December 2010, 16:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove
Its his blizzard Forum name like yours for this forum is Xtrafresh.

He is usually the one who will post about big changes ect on the official forums, so most WoW players will know him as Ghostcrawler.
I did gather that much, but i'm wondering why he would need a nickname at all if his real name is already that cool.
DragunovHUN 9th December 2010, 16:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
Things like Steam are more hassle than they are worth (yes I have a steam account but I use it as little as possible).

Oh yes, having to do nothing extra whatsoever is just so inconvenient.
Waynio 9th December 2010, 17:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
hehe.

Here is what you can't do with Steam downloaded games over retail:

Step 1:
Get the ingredient: Game + chocolates + the cheapest box of cracker I could find where the game can fit inside (dollar store.. Hmmmmm... Yummy)

Step 2:
Open the box of cracker at the bottom using a knife. Empty the content (What I actually did, is cut each bag and leave 2 cracker in each.. so that when my brother opens the box .. he sees dollar shop crackers. :D

Step 3:
Then insert everything, and close the bottom with double sided tape.

Now, gift wrap, and put it in a gift bag with the full set... and well.. you can image the rest :D
We are all trained to open the box from the top... so he or she will really feel that this box of cracker was never opened, during the process of opening the box, as we opened the bottom. :)


So, in conclusion, we can clearly see that downloaded games are no fun as gifts.

Classic & awesome, what a kickA$$ surprise :D;).
Fizzban 9th December 2010, 17:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
Oh yes, having to do nothing extra whatsoever is just so inconvenient.

I order 90% of my games online (doing nothing as you put it) BUT I buy real copys..not digital downloads.

And yes Steam is hassle. Peoples accounts get stolen, people have problems accessing their accounts due to mess ups. And oh look what happened with Fallout NV where people were losing saved games. Yes I call ALL of that hassle I can live without thanks.

I inwardly groan when I install a game and it is connected to steam.
Sloth 9th December 2010, 17:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelez
Well, according to reports they told GAME, Amazon etc not to ship their Cataclysm orders to arrive before the 7th December (launch was at 11pm on the 6th in the UK) and with the weather conditions this means many people didn't get their copies for launch, with some still waiting. Being WOW addicts this lead many people to order the digital copy from the Blizzard store for €35 and send back their other copies when they arrive. Can't help but think this was a cynical decision to rake in a bit of extra money and put people off ordering from anywhere other than their digital store next time around.
Why on Earth would they do that? It really makes no sense. If they wanted to promote their digital store then they wouldn't offer online retail orders at all and save themselves the effort of making the boxes in the first place.

With a game with as many fervent fan as WoW, Blizzard can't afford to let the game out early. Imagine the shitstorm of nerd rage that would occur if a group of people in a certain area who ordered from a certain retailer all got their copies early. They couldn't play early because Blizzard gets to control the servers but there are enough fanatics to rage at others simply having the box.

Besides, all the competitive "First level 85 <class>" people will have ordered online anyway.
DLDeadbolt 9th December 2010, 18:31 Quote
I loved browsing for games at my local shops, which until last year had entire walls of PC games, both new and old.

I go into those same stores now and I'll be lucky if they have 2 small shelves (can hold about 5-6 different rows of 3-4 games each) which are filled with crap old games, or Sims + expansions... Their Cataclysm shelf was in a tiny corner, completely obscured from sight and only had 3 display boxes (normal, no CE). It is like this in all the Game, Gamestation and other stores all around my area (even been into stores in Birmingham and Manchester and its the same)

Quite frankly, they couldn't give a crap about PC reatail here, its all about the consoles, which pisses me off as I prefer having a physical copy of a game, and not a digital copy where you could loose the controling account easily.

PS... Ghostcrawler is a tw@
Waynio 10th December 2010, 00:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLDeadbolt
I loved browsing for games at my local shops, which until last year had entire walls of PC games, both new and old.

I go into those same stores now and I'll be lucky if they have 2 small shelves (can hold about 5-6 different rows of 3-4 games each) which are filled with crap old games, or Sims + expansions... Their Cataclysm shelf was in a tiny corner, completely obscured from sight and only had 3 display boxes (normal, no CE). It is like this in all the Game, Gamestation and other stores all around my area (even been into stores in Birmingham and Manchester and its the same)

Quite frankly, they couldn't give a crap about PC reatail here, its all about the consoles, which pisses me off as I prefer having a physical copy of a game, and not a digital copy where you could loose the controling account easily.

PS... Ghostcrawler is a tw@

Crap isn't it, I used to like browsing the PC section until it became an extremely pathetic few slim shelves, heck my own shelves hold more games than most game stores , it's all about the consoles sadly & even console games are grossly overpriced in brick & morter stores, a stack console games could buy you a GTX 580 pmsl.
Chappy 10th December 2010, 01:45 Quote
How about we Trash all of our DVD Drives and just Go All Digital from PC Games to Operating Systems that's Full of DRM, OS that runs in Full DRM, DRM in Notepad & Calculator, DRM for Turning On your PC, Steam all out! I Mean its like the Internet is your Computers Power Supply, Hey isn't that a Good Idea your LAN Card will serve as your PSU, Trash your PSU as well. . . Hehe
GoodBytes 10th December 2010, 02:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chappy
How about we Trash all of our DVD Drives and just Go All Digital from PC Games to Operating Systems that's Full of DRM, OS that runs in Full DRM, DRM in Notepad & Calculator, DRM for Turning On your PC, Steam all out! I Mean its like the Internet is your Computers Power Supply, Hey isn't that a Good Idea your LAN Card will serve as your PSU, Trash your PSU as well. . . Hehe

We are getting there (if true):
http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-may-fight-windows-8-piracy-by-using-the-cloud?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook
Fizzban 10th December 2010, 02:52 Quote
Quote:

Oh that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen..
Chappy 10th December 2010, 10:47 Quote
Quote:


WT*! S**t! Sorry for the Words. . . But Guys Read the Link! Your Right Fizzban "a disaster waiting to happen.." Indeed!
bobwya 10th December 2010, 11:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
...
I inwardly groan when I install a game and it is connected to steam.

And when it's linked to GFWL and The Rockstar Social Club?? 8-)
Fizzban 10th December 2010, 19:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwya
And when it's linked to GFWL and The Rockstar Social Club?? 8-)

Oh GFWL is terrible, I actually prefer steam to that ^^. Never come across the Rockstar one. I gather it is even worse? lol
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