Stardock's annual customer report reveals 94% buy digital; states "retail is dead" | PCGamesN

Stardock's annual customer report reveals 94% buy digital; states "retail is dead"

Stardock Customer Report

In their sixth annual customer report, Stackdock have revealed some interesting facts from their customer statistics. Only 6% of their customer base buys physical retail product, which is an even faster decline than they previously anticipated. They’ve also acknowledged that digital distribution is consolidating, which is great for upcoming new developers but not without its own challenges.

Stardock knew that retail would be in steady decline, but the massive cut in physical sales has taken them by surprised. “Only five years ago, our survey showed that 58% of our customers bought their software in a box, at retail.” said the report. “Further, 24% of them expected to be still doing so five years from then. In reality, it turned out to be 6%. Retail disappeared even faster than our tech-savvy customer base imagined it would.”

Digital on the other hand is blooming and it’s easier to get into the industry than ever, but it’s also equally harder to get yourself noticed. “The barrier to entry for developers to create and sell software and games has been greatly reduced.” stated Stardock. “This is a wonderful thing and has created a new renaissance in the making of innovative and interesting software. On the other hand, it has also ushered in a flood of drek that has made it a lot harder for developers to get noticed.”

Mobile sales are also not up to par according to the report, which is often beaten by most DLC for the PC.“Our poorest-selling DLC for PC games generates more income than nearly every iOS or Android developer app we’ve gotten numbers for.” revealed Stardock.

You can read the full report here. Do you share their consensus?

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Dog Pants avatarhuldu avatarShriven avatarNick Wilson avatarbrj3 avatarJezcentral avatar+5
Dog Pants Avatar
1389
3 Years ago

Retail's dead for me. I couldn't install a hard copy of a game even if I wanted to - I don't have an optical drive. I have bought one or two things off Amazon and just used the activation codes, but I haven't walked into a shop and bought a game in years. Most shops don't even stock PC games any more.

2
Seafort Avatar
5
3 Years ago

I buy all digital now. I'll never buy them for full price though.

I always shop around and buy AAA games for £25 or less. Most indie games I buy are reasonable priced but I still look for the cheapest price :)

It seems Ubisoft, Activision and EA think their games are worth £50 digital for normal editions.

Just recently Ubisoft put Far Cry 4 and AC Unity on steam for £50. The forums were quite rightly disgusted and complained so much that Ubisoft took the games off UK Steam Store the next day. They are still on EU store for €60. The US store wasn't affected as they held their $60 price tag unlike the UK and EU price which was equivalent of $83.

The more publishers overprice their digital games the more people will shop elsewhere other than steam. The games still come back to steam in the end when you have to input the serial.

Digital gaming still has a long way to go on PC. Once retail is completely out of the picture the prices need to reflect what we are getting and not include everything the retail price compensated for like shipping, box, dvd, retail cut etc.

Until that day digital games will be overpriced and feed the publisher's greed.

2
huldu Avatar
251
3 Years ago

In some cases retail is cheaper than buying online but that is mostly because some companies do some nasty cheap tricks, like doing a euro == dollar. If that is the case then retail will pretty much always be cheaper. Obviously it depends on where you live, if you're using dollar then you're fine, if you're using euro then you're screwed in these cases.

1
Shriven Avatar
3488
3 Years ago

Just spotted Rome 2:Total War physical collectors edition on Amazon for £20. Game still selling on Steam for £29.99 for standard edition. Its not ALL better pricing on digital platforms. But, i think this is just the snap back from the last time a physical PC game had a retail version pushed.

1
Nick Wilson Avatar
359
3 Years ago

You'd be surprised at what some people will pay for the convenience of just hitting that "download now" button.

3
Jezcentral Avatar
536
3 Years ago

Or to get the game past spouses who would otherwise be curious as to why a dozen games simultaneously arrived through the post. ("It's the Amazon Summer Sale, darling!").

2
Nick Wilson Avatar
359
3 Years ago

This guy speaks the truth!

2
Tim Edwards Avatar
521
3 Years ago

You know my shame.

2
HansKaosu Avatar
11
3 Years ago

That game have been on sale a 100 times already on steam for far far less.

2
Ocid Avatar
272
3 Years ago

Might be true but on release games are almost always cheaper from the likes of Amazon.

Not everyone waits for a sale either. If you just randomly stumble across something outside a sale or feel like something then its still usually cheaper from Amazon.

1
HansKaosu Avatar
11
3 Years ago

Not true. Steam have gotten better at pricing. besides. there is usual launch discount

1
Ocid Avatar
272
Ocid replied to HansKaosu
3 Years ago

True but for me (in UK) its still almost always cheaper to from shopto/amazon/etc at release if its a boxed copy release.

Usually £5-10.

1
Mountain_Man Avatar
731
3 Years ago

I think the last time I bought a game at retail was id's Rage even though it was a Steam game, and that's only because I didn't feel like downloading 25GB of data.

(I'm talking about PC games. I still buy all my 3DS games at retail.)

1
HansKaosu Avatar
11
3 Years ago

Not surprised. With the rise of Steam and GOG etc have made retail games obsolete.

While having a physical game is nice we are in the Digital PC Age.

Steam sales ftw

1
brj3 Avatar
35
3 Years ago

Retail forces you to use steam now anyway and then you have to deal with forced updates and online verification. You get all the faults of digital even when you buy retail. The only way to get away from all that steam crap and get an experience closer to retail is to burn dvds with the pirate versions that have steam ripped out. You can then use those to install and play without an internet connection or any extra services just like it used to be.

0
Mountain_Man Avatar
731
3 Years ago

The pirate versions rip out Steam... and replace it with key-loggers, trojans, viruses, etc. Good luck with that.

2
brj3 Avatar
35
3 Years ago

The legacy of kazaa lives on.

1
Dog Pants Avatar
1389
3 Years ago

You can turn updates off on Steam.

I'm no advocate of online DRM, but at least a game warns you on the box when you need it these days. For a single player game with no online component I don't agree with it. If you're decrying the need to go online with your game, and then you use it as an excuse to download a pirate version though, your argument is flawed. It seems more like you're just using it as an excuse to not pay for a game.

1
brj3 Avatar
35
3 Years ago

If steam detects an update then it will stop you from starting the game until you get it. The only way to prevent this is to never let steam access the internet. Which basically requires you to firewall it like malware. The only decent successor to retail is GoG or making your own copies.

My main point here is that we've essentially moved people to digital not by making digital better, but by making retail much worse. This is the same shit we tore up MS for.

1
Mountain_Man Avatar
731
3 Years ago

I don't understand why you have a problem with your games being automatically updated. It sure beats the hell out of the good ol' days when you had to constantly keep tabs on developers' websites to see if they had released an update. Automatic updates across your entire library is one of the best thing to happen to PC gaming in the last decade.

1