Dino Patti, head of Limbo developer Playdead, has delivered his verdict on the industry’s retail model and stated, “There will be discs for a long time from now, but the world has adopted download. When your mum and dad start to download things, that’s when it’s everybody who does it.”
Speaking to Eurogamer at the GameCity6 festival, the Limbo developer boss expressed his frustration with the current retail model’s heavy reliance on physical media.
“Driving discs in a big van all over the world is really inefficient. I don’t understand how anyone can make money out of this,” Patti said. “Driving a truck to Japan just to get it delivered to people when they can get it from the net? Hopefully the new consoles will embrace the download space even more.”
Patti acknowledged that physical media is still bigger business than digital, something that isn’t always apparent due to the lack of readily available data from publishers regarding digital sales, but he suggested that download is now very much a mainstream retail channel.
“There will be discs for a long time from now, but the world has adopted download. When your mum and dad start to download things, that’s when it’s everybody who does it. So many publishers are pushing [discs] and there are so many channels which just won’t die easily. In terms of money it’s still bigger than download. There are still a lot of people who buy their games that way. It still makes a better presence.”
Sony’s foray into download-only territory was aborted earlier this year when the manufacturer discontinued production of its PSPgo. The handheld had experienced resistance since its inception, with some retailers refusing to stock it due to the lack of further profit opportunities offered by download-only software.
Patti’s closing comments stemmed from his frustration with the requirement of some games to be installed from disc, blurring the divide between consoles and PC
“I hate to have the disc myself. I only buy the disc if I want a console game, but everything else I download from Steam,” he said. “And all the new games today also need to be installed. Why did I get a console if the games need to be installed? That really sucks. That’s a PC.
“It should be more like plug and play. The first consoles were cartridges. When it takes one hour to install Gran Turismo 5? I don’t know. Obviously it improves performance, but they should be able to build consoles with better performance from the disc drive.”
Patti has previously stated that Playdead’s next project will be download-only, like Limbo, and that it is “more crazy” than his team’s previous title.