What direction for downloadable games

A fair few people have talked about downloadable games. I for one, personally, have never been a fan of the idea, but, I want to know what you all think. So, I’m going to run a poll to see what people like the idea of, and what you all want us to provide you with.

So, what would you like to be able to do?

  • Yes, I want download only games (10% discount) (46.0%, 188 Votes)
  • I want the boxed copy shipped, and to download immediately too (10% extra) (18.0%, 73 Votes)
  • I want to download but I wont touch it unless its half price (14.0%, 56 Votes)
  • I want boxed copies with extra stuff, like the X3 special edition (13.0%, 55 Votes)
  • No, I just want the boxed copy (normal price) (9.0%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 410

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Before you ask, this poll does not decide company policy, but I am hoping to get an insight into the minds of you, our customers. Thanks for your time!

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39 Responses to “What direction for downloadable games”

  1. blindcoder says:

    Personally, I like having the game up and running and the box sitting on my shelf. I’m quite clumsy and usually rip the whole box apart :(

  2. Nemoder says:

    For online-only games I’d much rather just be able to download it. For games that I primarily play single player I prefer to have a box that I can easily find and install from when I’m offline.

  3. SlickMcRunfast says:

    It all depends on limitations. If we are setup for download can we download it forever? Meaning more than once until the end of time. If so I would definitely take download over physical.

  4. jae says:

    Immediate downloading == impulse buys. I’d have already purchased Sacred and maybe even X3 but the shipping time means I can’t play it then, when I have the itch.

    I’d go for either option 1 or 3, though if it is either or I’d pick 3. As I usually like to have the box.

  5. Vadim P. says:

    Thanks for the poll. Download-only for me.

  6. Chris says:

    I prefer download. Why? Instant gratification, with (potentially) less overhead for you. The first thing I do when I buy a boxed game is ISO it to my fileserver anyway, so a binary download is just that much simpler as far as I’m concerned. I usually throw boxes away anyway, since they tend to just get dogeared and take up space on shelves.

  7. Max says:

    I chose “I want the boxed copy shipped, and to download immediately too (10% extra)”
    Because it’s just so hard to wait for the box to arrive when you really really really want to test that new LGP title.

    I’m definately against “Download only”.
    It’s also not too big of a deal to keep the current system where there is just boxes being shipped.
    Waiting for three days does not kill anyone i guess.

    In future i guess i’ll order all my titles directly with LGP.
    Up to now I’ve been ordering them at a local reseller, but it always took em TWO WEEKS to ship the titles.
    When I wrote them an email i got responses like “Oh, we just ran out of stock” although the titles were listed as “In stock” when i ordered and even afterwards.

    I also think that it might be better when all the money goes to LGP and not a single percent goes to some reseller.
    The only thing that held me from ordering with LGP right from the beginning of LGP, was the ordering by email.

  8. C. says:

    I prefer download only too.

  9. Eric says:

    Well, I would like an option you don’t offer: being able to download immediately and getting the boxed copy, but with no extra cost (at the price of the boxed copy). This is what you already do with the beta program by the way. Other editors (Introversion) do that also. Indeed, if I pay for the boxed copy, I don’t think waiting for delivery is worth 10% of game, especially considering you have to pay P&P.
    The solution “Download only” with a discount is good though, but very often I prefer to get a box and a manual. Also it makes a good backup copy.

  10. M1AU says:

    In my opinion, the price for most titles are already high enough, though a free additional download service for every game provided by LGP (without the 10% extra fee), could give me a reason to buy some.

    • OK so the thing is, bandwidth isnt free, when someone downloads a game, it costs us.

      • M1AU says:

        Sure, but I see this as a good will service. Other companies do the same thing and it looks like it works.
        Another idea is to use torrent like distribution. As I understand it correctly, there’s already a DRM system integrated withing the game, so piracy shouldn’t be a problem (besides the regular piracy problem most companies have to solve with).

      • RK says:

        Now you’re just making excuses. Unless your servers are connected to the internet via a mobile phone, bandwidth costs are a pittance. Amazon S3, for example, costs at most USD 0.170 per GB of traffic.

  11. Mimox says:

    I voted 1. For a long time I used to collect boxes but in the end I realized they don’t really add anything to the game experience and just take away space on the shelf :)

    The 10% off thing sounds like a fair deal, as you get the download instantly and also save shipping costs. But, will this work? From the current poll result it looks like you could expect to have about 50% less physical orders. Will the +10% for half the amount of orders still work to pay for the physical packaging?

    Also, think about how you can add value to a download only option. For example, Playgreenhouse has a nice forum and community as well as user stats. Goodoldgames has a lot of addons for each game (wallpapers, walkthroughs) as well as “the shelf”.

  12. titi says:

    I voted for #1 , but I want something that I can sell If I don’t like the game (anymore). Something like a key.

  13. Nath says:

    For me it depends on the price of the game. If it is around 10€ like what I paid for the Penny Arcade game, I prefer the download. For something costing 20€ and up, I’d expect to get something looking nice on the shelf, a printed manual (and for the higher priced games nice things like big colourful maps etc).

    It also depends on whether I could redownload the game even three years later when I lost my files for some reason.

  14. Manuel says:

    I am interested in simply downloading games into an account, which is persistant and will allow to get them again, if i chose to reinstall my PC.

  15. Lord Kellmar says:

    I like the idea of offering the choice :
    - Downloadable game instantly ;
    - Boxed version with some extras. Poster, Soundtrack CD, etc…

    I really enjoy my X3:R Collector with real extra stuff :)

  16. Qwerty says:

    I want download only – I don’t want to wait for delivery, I don’t want the box, I don’t want a cd. It’s all just data.

    I did buy X3 today – but that’s an exception. It’s very rare for me to buy anything that’s purely data that isn’t downloadable. For two reasons. The first is a general mechanism for saving money – I figure, well, if I have to wait, I’ll just make do without it. The second is that I hate the collection of physical anachronisms.

    Also for the latter reason, I don’t care about the cost. I’m buying the same product either way. It suits me to download it, I don’t care if it’s cheaper or not. Of course, it’s nicer if it is…

  17. Patrick says:

    I only want boxed copies. No way I’m ever going to pay for a download.

    I don’t care about the price. If a boxed version would cost $50,- and the download version would cost $5,- I’d still go for the boxed version.

    I’m not going to pay for just some bits and bytes. When I spend money, I want to receive something physical.

    Without a boxed version available, I’m not buying the game. Even better would be some boxed copy with extra stuff, like the X3 Special Edition. I really like Special Editions. When I was still using Windows, I always looked for Special Editions. If there was a Special Edition available of I game I wanted to buy, I always bought this Special Edition. Those big boxes with all those extras (Age of Empires III for example) are really great to own. I’m proud to own these boxes and show them to others. It makes me happy to look at those boxes. Download only games only leaves you with empty shelves. I don’t care about gigabytes of games on my hard drive, I want them on my shelves in nice boxes.

  18. Roberto says:

    You could offer both products:

    · Boxed edition at full price.
    · Download edition with a (10-20% discount)

    It can be also a good idea to offer older products (I mean older for Linux, not for their equivalent in other platforms) with bigger discounts.
    · Game older than 1 year -10% extra discount
    · Game older than 2 years -20% extra discount
    · Game older than 3 years -40% extra discount

  19. SpoonMeiser says:

    Generally I want a boxed copy of a game, and all the gubbins that go with that.

    However, I also appreciate that I’m a typical Linux user; someone who’s not used to parting with cash for software and is therefore reticent to do so.

    Therefore, I think I cheaper download option, coupled with a full price shipped version is what I’d like to see. That’d let me buy games I’m not sure about cheaply, and pay full price for the games I know I want.

    Maybe there could be a cheap upgrade option from download to physical purchase? Don’t Introversion software do something like that?

  20. Adarion says:

    Phew. I mean… well. I don’t really care that much. Maybe a download option would be nice for international customers since shipment can be expensive, takes time or a shipment could get lost.
    (Normally I always take boxed ones, with a printed manual (someone here remember e.g. Fallout 1 & 2? Awesome manuals!) data carrier (CD/DVD/floppies back at the time) etc.)
    The main thing I care about and that really matters is the exclusion of digital restriction management. We’re speaking Linux/BSD here and we don’t want the same shit like the games on Windows have. I will not buy anything that comes with online activation, CD checks and whatsnot.
    There will be a day when the activation/authenticication servers are down, you have no net currently or something else. And also CDs/DVDs are not absolutely scratch resistant, besides I know a lot of people having trouble with CD checks and not being able to play the game they just bought.

    Remember that LGP, we neither need nor want the same DRM stuff like these games on Windows have. It causes only trouble and ugly moods on your customers.

    Furthermore game titles should be ported earlier. I mean, what’s the sense in e.g. porting Sacred now, since Sacred was out many many years ago on W32 and now is on sale for superdumping price. I know that porting is probably a lot of work for sure but who’s going to buy the full price Linux version now when they played the games on W32 many years ago or could try to run the 5$/5E edition W32 version in Wine/Cedega? So I wish porting was closer to the Windows releases.

  21. Thomas Becker says:

    Hi there,

    in my opinion, it’s not really a question of how much we have to pay for the ports. Well, despite the fact that i’m not a highly paid it professiona (i wouldn’t consider myself a professional, but i’m in the it business) , i wouldn’t mind paying twice the money as long if i get what i want. Most of us do have access to Windows, due to it is delivered with a PC or you can get it for free from your university (at least here in germany this is quite often the case). The point is that we are a bunch of geeks! I love to spend money on software (especially games) that isn’t addicted to windows. LGP is heading the right direction. They keep feeding the little child inside of me. When i saw, that some people (or even a lot of people, when i have a look at the poll) are keen on download only games, i get a little bit confused… am i the only one who wants a damn good looking box on my desk?

    Move on! Your work is important. Whoever appreciates this will pay for a boxed copy. I’m glad that you are taking the risk of offering games for Linux.

    I’m sorry for my bad english.
    Greetings from Germany


  22. Max says:

    For the better sold linux games, LGP needs service like Steam.

  23. Max says:

    It’s actually pretty lame and confusing of you to use the same name as i do, especially since i already wrote a comment earlier on.
    And again, i want boxed copies.

    An optional download as offered by tuxgames.com is nice.
    But a download only option would be very unsatisfying. I have hundreds of game boxes and i love them all equally.
    Buying something without receiving a box somehow feels like buying a pinch of air.

    So although i have a very fast Internet connection, I’m in favor of boxes.

    Also, seing a port of “Silver” or “The Settlers: Rise of an Empire” would be nice.

    • Patrick says:

      I completely agree with you about boxed copies.

      I would like to see a port of a game called The Book of Unwritten Tales and the upcoming Wolfenstein, RAGE and Doom 4.

      • Max says:

        Well, the games you named there are likely to be ported, not by LGP though, but by their publishers directly.
        I really hope that ID releases RAGE for Linux because Rage looks so sweet.

        • Patrick says:

          True, but it most likely will be a downloadable installer, so you still have to buy the Windows version. I don’t want to buy a Windows version, but I want a boxed copy for Linux.

          Even worse, EA is the new publisher of id Software and they use very invasive copy protection. As a Linux user I won’t be using their copy protection, but I just don’t want to support EA and their invasive copy protection by buying their games.

          • I know what you mean. Although I did hear that EA have realised they made a mistake and are backtracking. We’ll have to see how that goes.

          • Patrick says:

            True. The Sims 3 and Dragon Age will both be free of online activation. Let’s hope these games have good sales, so they’ll see they don’t need such invasive copy protection and they’ll release games like Wolfenstein with the same kind of copy protection as The Sims 3 and Dragon Age.

  24. Maxim says:

    I’m all for choices.
    There should be a box and a download versions available.
    Almost all of the Linux games I bought where downloads except those 3 box versions I bought on the LGP sales day – with a price like 9 Euros I couldn’t resist.

    Most indie developers offer a box version at $50 usually and a download version at $25 which I think is fair.
    Offering only 10% discount on the download version wouldn’t do the trick as the price of the download version will still be too high and we won’t “save” much money from it.

    Most indie developers offer a “free” download version to those who order the “box” version – why those who pay more should wait longer to play ?

    I will gladly buy a download version at $25 or less which is a fair price.

    —Off Topic—
    Most of the games LGP ports are very old, I know it will cost much more money to buy the rights to port newer games, but the money you will gain from sales will also be much higher.
    Sacred Gold is a great game indeed, I remember playing it at the days I used Windows – which was like 5 YEARS ago.
    Sacred2 was released not a very long time ago and for us the Linux users only the first Sacred is now available.
    Why not buy the rights to port a game when it released ? or even on it’s development stages ?

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