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Call of Duty Ghosts - Xbox Live, PSN and Steam price rip-off continues

Seth Barton
5 Nov 2013
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Why do digital downloads continue to cost more than physical copies?

Microsoft had its nose bloodied when it tried to make a step towards digital right management and digital distribution with the Xbox One. Gamers like their discs apparently, and though digital content has a number of advantages it will be very hard for anyone to make the switch wholesale to such a system without public support.

That support will continue to be thin on the ground while digital copies of major titles continue to cost significantly more than boxed retail copies. A digital copy of a game, that you can't resell or pass on to someone else, consisting only of bits of data, delivered via your own internet connection, is more expensive than a physical copy, that must be made, shipped, and sold by actual people.

This is surely madness and is a key reason why gamers don't trust the publishers and platform holders. Once the retailer is removed from the loop, surely the game should be cheaper?

Taking Call of Duty: Ghosts as an example:

CALL OF DUTY GHOSTS XBOX LIVE

Xbox Live (US site only) - $60

Overstock.com - $54

CALL OF DUTY GHOSTS PSN

PSN UK - £50

Tesco UK - £40

CALL OF DUTY GHOSTS STEAM

Steam UK - £40

Amazon UK - £35

It's not hard to make the point. Yes there are exceptions, such as the special 20% deal that Greenmangaming is currently doing that reduces the price of the PC version down to £32, but those are rare.

It's hard to know how to blame, but we're guessing that both the platform holders and publishers are to blame to some extent. They have everything to gain by cutting retailers out, reducing the price to the customer, and in return gaining greater control over piracy and removing second-hand sales. At present these two activities take money from them that could go back into development or into profits.

No one is expecting big corporations to act like angels. All we're asking for is that they act logically and in their own interests, and you think they'd be able to manage that.

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