Early thoughts on Christmas and football

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This Sunday, that’s the 9th October, don’t go to Oxford Street because the road will be shut. It will be shut because the Christmas lights are going to be hung up. It feels strange that last week in London the temperature was over 30 degrees and next weekend Christmas lights are being hung up.

Fifteen years ago, even five years ago, the Western world was buying discs and tapes of films, music and computer games.

At least the retailers on Oxford Street could sell something because yes you can still buy a physical DVD or BluRay, but it’s now easier to download an ‘on demand’ movie via Sky, cable or BT Vision.

Music CDs? In our house we use Spotify (Premium – so that we can use the iPhone app in the car) to listen to music. I haven’t bought a music CD for years.

The one physical format that has stood the test of time is computer console games. Although you can download demos for the Wii, PS3 and XBox, most consumers still need to buy a physical disk for the latest releases. 

Perhaps the main reason for still needing a physical disk is the price point. A music ‘album’ (how much longer before no one understands what that word means?) costs under £10 on Amazon. Watching a film on BT Vision and Sky is under £5. Compare those costs to the latest football game, FIFA 12, which is £43 on the PS3 and Xbox. Perhaps buying a product for over forty quid is too much for a virtual object.

There’s also a school of thought that because most games are bought as presents, you need to be able to wrap and hand it over. I don’t necessarily agree with this because a console such as an Xbox has a much higher age group and the gift element doesn’t apply so much. And personally I’d welcome downloadable full games because my kids wouldn’t be able to scratch the disks without any possibility of exchanging the useless £45 circular plastic.

Back to FIFA 12 for a moment… at the time of writing this post:

·         Xbox and PS3 versions both cost £42.89

·         Wii version costs £32.99

·         PC version costs £27.51.

(All those prices are from Amazon).

Now hop over to the iTunes store to buy FIFA 12 on an iPad. It’s £5.99. Why such a huge price difference? I wonder if the iPad version cannibalises the other formats, or whether it helps market the other formats (i.e. iPad users try the iPad version and think it’s so good that they want it on their Xbox).

At least if you do visit Oxford Street this weekend, you can download FIFA 12 to play on your iOS device while the lights are being put up.

Photo courtesy of dark delicious on Flickr

 

0 thoughts on “Early thoughts on Christmas and football

  1. Hard to tell your kids here’s your IOU for a movie or game download though. At least Lego isn’t downloadable otherwise things will start to get pretty boring at birthdays and holidays.

  2. I actually downloaded a full game to my Xbox hard drive from Xbox Live a couple of weeks ago. I was bored with the games I had (anticipating launch of 3 or 4 big titles) The game cost me £15 which was debited straight from my credit card (details were already on file so didnt need to enter anything at all) and it was very, very easy.The price points are kept (pretty much) exactly the same as the game would cost physically in stores or online. But, as pointed out above – you wouldn’t want to give your kids a download token if a game (in box, with manual) costs the same.Something else to think about is if you have a big enough HDD, you can insert disc, and copy the game to your hard drive. This removes the need for a disc that can get scratched (allowing you to sell it after your kids have ripped open the wrapping paper) and also improves performance – load times reduced, no jumping (waiting for the laser pick up to read the CD)We are moving to an age where the physical format dies out – I just think the gaming industry are milking it while it lasts – they know how to do the Apple-esque launches! Given the amount of time and money spent on producing these games (even writing the storylines) they will always command higher prices than an MP3 or MP4 file, even when available for download only.

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