Game Install Sizes & Delivery Methods

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Jul 3, 2020
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So after reading this pc gamer article I reminded myself how much an actual Blu Ray disc actually held; 50gigs for whom don't know.

I don't agree with the idea that blu Ray didn't take off. Consoles (both Microsoft / Sony) utilize Blu Ray. Thus drives and discs will be used now and moving forward.
It is my opinion that this is the push by powers that be in order force people to digital distribution.

Why?
Two years ago there was some speculation on Reddit.

First, it cuts down (presumably) on piracy. Second, it cuts into the secondary market which saps secondary sales from the likes of Microsoft and Sony. Both are console companies, but; yes there is the but ; they also own stakes in numerous game publishers.

PC gamers can easily purchase a Blu Ray drive in order to cut down on download and install times.

A DVD holds 8 gigs roughly. A Blu Ray holds 50gigs. Sure people have broadband and can download. But, does it have to be that way? No and frankly it takes longer to download 100+gigs than it would take to install from 2-3 Blu Ray discs. PC gamers will upgrade to Blu drives in droves if just 1 company had the option of a Blu Ray disc installer. Not only would that reach people who don't have wired broadband . Personally I have wireless and it is painful to wait hours to download games like GTA5.

I'm glad PC Gamer brings up topics like these. They shine a light on areas that PC gaming tends to ignore (read:niche), such as a better packing algorithm for textures which would drop these install sizes. Where's John Carmack or Epic games? This sounds like a challenge for them to conquer. It also brings innovation for the entire PC industry. It also has the added benefit to bandwidth reduction industry wide.

This is an area I would love to see some innovation. I remember a day when game devs would try to out do the other with tightly coded games that not only broke gaming ground, but kept the code light. That showed how much they really knew the language and passion they have for what they do. Not to discount the awesome visuals we have now.
 
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Jun 26, 2020
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I think there are valid reasons why digital distribution is so much more popular for publishers than discs, one of them being the tendency to push out day one patches. Another is the cost of physical media. I personally prefer digital distribution as it's a lot easier to deal with, but I also have the luxury of having really fast internet so the downloads are usually pretty quick. So long as digital distribution is a thing, I will likely never go the route of a blu-ray player. Physical media in pretty much every form is becoming less and less common, from movies to books to video games.

Another problem with physical media, and it kind of relates to day one patches but is exacerbated over time, is that the benefits of the physical installation will only really be present on the first day a game launches. Since games tend to patch so much nowadays, you would end up installing the game, then having to patch some number of times, anyway. It would be largely up to the dev in how they handle patches over time, or how much they patch their game, but some games would likely require more time downloading a patch or series of patches than an initial installation of the latest version.

Games like COD are a good example in the article of how cumbersome such an effort to focus more on physical media would be, although COD is a good example of a lot of things done wrong in terms of game size, distribution, combining MP and SP into a single download, etc.
 
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I think there are valid reasons why digital distribution is so much more popular for publishers than discs, one of them being the tendency to push out day one patches. Another is the cost of physical media. I personally prefer digital distribution as it's a lot easier to deal with, but I also have the luxury of having really fast internet so the downloads are usually pretty quick. So long as digital distribution is a thing, I will likely never go the route of a blu-ray player. Physical media in pretty much every form is becoming less and less common, from movies to books to video games.

Another problem with physical media, and it kind of relates to day one patches but is exacerbated over time, is that the benefits of the physical installation will only really be present on the first day a game launches. Since games tend to patch so much nowadays, you would end up installing the game, then having to patch some number of times, anyway. It would be largely up to the dev in how they handle patches over time, or how much they patch their game, but some games would likely require more time downloading a patch or series of patches than an initial installation of the latest version.

Games like COD are a good example in the article of how cumbersome such an effort to focus more on physical media would be, although COD is a good example of a lot of things done wrong in terms of game size, distribution, combining MP and SP into a single download, etc.
You bring up a few good points, but also another topic, indirectly. That topic would be how developers have become accustomed to the idea to release a broken game, then patch it. I think in part Minecraft could be to blame. While it worked for Minecraft, notch was a single developer when he first started. The idea doesn't align with triple A titles. Regardless of the bad press games still sell. Which just encourages the behavior. Which frankly is a decision driven by money, not the actual developers. It's project managers who report up to executives, whom(execs) are threatened with joblessness depending on the quarterly earnings.
Otherwise day 1 patching would be minimal if no existent. Blizzard used to have the motto "it's done when it's done". Hell we've seen Cyberpunk take it's time, thank god.

However, you're right games have DLC and patches. But if you're studious you'll donwload these and place them on disc. Doing this cut down on huge wait times. Heck I waited 3 hours last night for SWkotr to download and it still only had 60% after that time. And I only played a single player (offline) game. Wifi that I use is capped at around 3 megabytes/sec. It may get throttled on top. This is a shared dedicated connection, with no other broadband options. Typically the household uses 100gigs monthly due to other streaming.

The idea being much of the world still is not on wired broadband. People in cities don't understand this as they don't think anything of it. But many only have wireless, sat, it dial up. Discs have a place and a market. And definitely are not dead, much to the dismay of some corporations. Once discs are gone there will be complaints about ownership etc. I've already dealt with issues once a service goes away. Software isn't a service, it's a product. But the owners who run large datasystems and libraries want to charge recurring fees to access content you paid 1 time for a little under 20 years ago.

Look at people who own records. They own those and can still play them without a sub or jumping thru hoops. But there is more money in forcing people to online only. Once people are used to it and there are no options no one will be able to do anything. What are you going to do, give up gaming?

It's like forcing renting golf clubs or some other product that is currently one cost.

It's a process to force change like this. Hopefully it dies or companies go under for it. Turning gaming into what amounts a utility.

Case in point, Stadia, which I'm on the fence about allows you to play games you "own". The difference is you don't have to own the high end hardware to enjoy triple A titles. But what if Stadia goes away like a lot of other projects that Google tests and gets rid of? Do you keep the games? How? And why do they cost the same amount as a hard copy? Steam shows time and again people wait for deals and cheap discounts on games priced too high.
COVID is a great example/test that people won't pay(in large enough numbers) the full price of a movie if it's digital only. How then do studios recoup the costs? You cannot price something if the value isn't in line with the distribution method. Movies of course are different than games. Games you have a computer to play them on. Not everyone has a theater room with large a screen and nice seats to enjoy a movie, 'the experience'.

I'm just not a fan of huge prices for something because a specific group expects a specific return. If I had a large disposable income I might not care, but that isn't the case for me nor a ton of other people.

Inevitably, this sort of discussion or debate will turn towards the idea of games being a drug, gaming being an addiction, and the content holders in the seat of the dealer. The dealer fluxuating the price model they see fit, after no discs are to be found. This sounds dark and dystopian. But how would you game if a game was marked based on certain metrics like your total household income or average money found in your account? Or any number of other marketing criteria. Once digital distribution is in full tilt the marketing can be automatic pricing games just in reach of your budget, but differing from your neighbor who paid a few bucks less or more depending on his metrics. Nobody would know unless they grouped these differences and reported on them. Still what recourse would you have? Complain, pay up or not play?
 
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A few thoughts I had while reading this thread:

Producing and distributing physical disks cost a lot of resources. Digital distribution probably has a far lower cost. Which is good for both the environment and the consumer.
As for why digital then costs the same as a physical disk, that's probably because game companies have been hesitant to increase the price of a full game above $60, even though development costs have increased over the years.

I suspect a lot of the problems with games nowadays are caused by games not increasing in price in line with inflation, causing game companies to cut costs and to find other ways to make money.

As for a game being a product: it just isn't any more. You're paying for the service of a company maintaining the infrastructure to make games available to you whenever you want. Which is why we see more and more initiatives where you can pay a monthly fee to access an entire library of games.

I don't expect any problems with sudden price hikes. I think there's enough competition to avoid that.
 
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Producing and distributing physical disks cost a lot of resources. D
I don't think it costs quiet as much as its made out to be, since over time discs become cheap to the point of costing pennies on the dollar. But this is not my area of expertise, maybe someone else who knows supply chain in discs could chime in.

problems with games nowadays are caused by games not increasing in price in line with inflation
That doesn't align with business 101. What I was stating was a huge what if scenario (frankly boarding on conspiracy ideology when it comes to big data) about determining price equilibrium for every single individual gamer who goes to buy a game digitally. It's akin to the same ai that prompts very specific ads for things like hygiene supplies right around the time you'd normally buy them. Or you mention a product to a friend and then end up with an advert for the same thing minutes or hours later. The examples I just gave are real world and have happened. That is the world of Amazon, google, and facebook all working in tandem.

The idea of price matching to someone's finances to eek out the most from someone doesn't sit well with me. But again, its just a worsw case scenario that more than likely wouldn't occur due to consumer outrage.
 
Jun 26, 2020
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I don't think it costs quiet as much as its made out to be, since over time discs become cheap to the point of costing pennies on the dollar. But this is not my area of expertise, maybe someone else who knows supply chain in discs could chime in.
It isn't just the cost of materials, it's the cost of producing the entire physical media (graphics on the materials, putting the media on the discs), but also distribution and shelf space. There's also the fact that you won't sell every single copy, some will get stolen, etc. Compare that to the cost of digital distribution, and it's a big difference.
 
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I don't think it costs quiet as much as its made out to be, since over time discs become cheap to the point of costing pennies on the dollar. But this is not my area of expertise, maybe someone else who knows supply chain in discs could chime in.
I don't think the production and distribution chain of discs has/had a major ecological impact, but every bit helps.

That doesn't align with business 101. What I was stating was a huge what if scenario (frankly boarding on conspiracy ideology when it comes to big data) about determining price equilibrium for every single individual gamer who goes to buy a game digitally. It's akin to the same ai that prompts very specific ads for things like hygiene supplies right around the time you'd normally buy them. Or you mention a product to a friend and then end up with an advert for the same thing minutes or hours later. The examples I just gave are real world and have happened. That is the world of Amazon, google, and facebook all working in tandem.

The idea of price matching to someone's finances to eek out the most from someone doesn't sit well with me. But again, its just a worsw case scenario that more than likely wouldn't occur due to consumer outrage.
I suspect you start having problems with the GDPR if you gather enough data to give different prices to individual customers. Though there's probably some stuff you can do within the law.

Regardless, I think that the current competition is strong enough to prevent this and that we're moving to a business model that doesn't rely on the sales of individual games, which would make this point moot as well.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
It is my opinion that this is the push by powers that be in order force people to digital distribution.
Customers AND companies are pushing that way.

First, it's a hell of a pain to do physical media. You've got to get started printing the things well before they release (remember hearing headlines about how such & such game has "gone gold"?). Then they've got to ship all those boxes around the fargin PLANET! You better believe those boxes are going to the richest places on Earth first. Here in Kansas City, we would regularly get games a week or two after California and New York. I don't believe they always dropped a few boxes off in Dodge City on the way in, either.

Second, stores run out of copies. Even when the local store gets the game, you might go in and find out there's none left. They should get a few more copies next Tuesday. Probably. Better call in first. (And even then there's a risk that the games that came in have sold out by the time you get there!)

Then there's selection. The really REALLY great thing about digital is that the games stay on the shelves - usually forever (with a few sad exceptions). Currently, I rarely buy games within a year of release. You couldn't do that back when we used physical media. A few of the most popular games might sit on the shelves that long but most were gone (possibly to Dodge City?) inside of six months. If you miss that window, you miss the game. Period.

PC gamers can easily purchase a Blu Ray drive in order to cut down on download and install times.
Excuse me? BluRay maxes out at 50-some MB/s. Steam downloads just as fast unless it's really choking bad. If Steam would actually invest in some bandwidth, they could feed me 125MB/s. (But then, everything is up to date in Kansas City. ;))

The idea being much of the world still is not on wired broadband. People in cities don't understand this as they don't think anything of it.
Yeah we do. There's just not enough money there to bother doing something about it. Physical media didn't vanish because of some conspiracy from unnamed powers. It vanished because so few of their customers demanded physical media that it became economically stupid to keep pressing discs and shipping them around.
 
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Great points on all accounts. I used to be in a clan and remember that (not finding a game on the shelf) happening a few times.

But yeah, deff have noticed a decline in physical media. I brought up some points because I know MS and Sony, from a console perspective, don't like GameStop.
 
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pocketshaver

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I can barely download fast, it takes a long time to download on DSL and its not cheap.

I cant and dont want to do online downloads as for me that represents time i have to spend on the machine that i need to be doing something else. somewhere else.

Companys WONT even let me send them a few bucks so they will put a 4 gig file on a little thumb drive and slip it in the mail. I tried with a pirate game this year, its like 6 gigs i think and they refused to do that as "we have a digital download on our website".
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Game companies just aren't set up to do that sort of thing now. The vast majority of players want the game (and the updates - especially the updates) to show up via download. I really don't expect those physical copies to ever come back, either. Digital distribution is vastly more cost efficient. Enough so that it's worth it to them to lose their rural customer base to do it.
 
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