gameshop11 11 -
gameshop11 11 -

Microsoft went about explaining its Xbox One digital marketplace model like "an elephant in a china shop," Adrian Chmielarz, co-founder of The Astronauts and former-People Can Fly creative director, has told Edge.

Chmielarz penned a piece for the magazine outlining the need to kill off the boxed retail model, and believes Microsoft had the right idea with its original Xbox One design.

"So, a company named Microsoft had this really great idea: let's accelerate the death of the box," wrote Chmielarz. "The box is a mortally wounded animal in the need of the mercy kill, and Microsoft seemed to be ready to pull the trigger.

"But, as we all know, Microsoft went about it like an elephant in a china shop. Never able to explain what that 'once per 24 hours' check is for. Never able to explain how the used game sales work. Never able to communicate with clarity and brutal honesty. There was a great vision hidden somewhere behind it all, but all that people remembered was that waving your hands or speaking loud would change a TV channel."

However, Chmielarz believes it's not just Microsoft to blame for the failure.

"Everyone is to blame," he explained. "Microsoft and its messaging (and, honestly, a couple of indefensible, puzzling Xbox One features). Gamers and their resistance to change the status quo (unable to admit that the box is doomed anyway). Journalists and their inability to stand against the masses (there were lots of click baits and fan service, and not a lot of looking forward and analysis). Developers and their silence (the exceptions were all too rare).

"We've all decided it's better to watch the dying animal's painful, slow agony than to fire the bullet. The animal will still die, there is no doubt about it. The current ecosystem is rotten to the core, and unsustainable in the long term. DLC, micro-transactions and artificial length extenders will not work forever."

He concluded: "It's just that there's going to be way more suffering along the way than there needed to be. As long as there is no one playground to focus on and experiment with, the digital revolution will keep being the digital evolution.

"We're wasting time, and nobody won anything." Analysis

Do you agree with Chmielarz that the traditional retail boxed model needs to be killed off, or is there still a place for buying games in stores?

Source: Edge

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User Comments

FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ GrimGuvna

Originally Posted by GrimGuvna
The idea is futuristic and interesting but also inconsiderate and unfair to all the jobs and industry that revolves around the high street games market and even manufacturers of the disks and boxes. For the sake of industry and humanity there has to be line that should not be crossed.

Whilst I agree with the disc/box manufacturers, retailers that based their business model around making money off the back of someone else's IP by selling their games second hand knew the risks, surely?
Posted 00:44 on 25 June 2013


I'll believe in the death of the physical copy, when the Xbox doesn't ask me to buy the disk of it to then install it on my system. Before then, they're still in agony territory this guy is talking about.

Next generation probably will go digital, if not definitely the generation after. One way or the other, it will be determined by the market and the demand for it. As long as gamers demand offline consoles, the market shall supply them.
Posted 23:49 on 24 June 2013


The high street is irrelevant to this argument, though they serve the general public who still don't want to shop online. Yes, there are lots of them. But retail is both the high street and online shops that supply physical games.

As others have mentioned, there is no getting away from the fact that the current Internet infrastructure of many countries, including parts of the UK and US, can't yet cope with a fully online system and lack of choice limits the customer base. In some cases it completely shut some countries off, which would have drastically reduced day 1 sales of the console.

I personally like downloading games and having them available, though I can't see why MS didn't account for those who want to swap their hard drive for something more substantial. In my experience external drives are slower and more likely to go wrong. My 360 hard drive is full even after getting the bigger drive size!

So, no, retail isn't dying. The high street is having difficulties for many reasons, but the online retail business seems ok. And people want choice.

MS should have (and I believe still can) bring in their new ideas for digital only titles and price them at under retail or in line with it. Then they would really have the best of both worlds.

As just to make it clear; its not a case of one or the other, physical and digital can coincide and if gamers want digital it will automatically take over.

I want the new Xbox to do well and I do think they had to go back a little on their ideas for it to take hold.
Posted 23:32 on 24 June 2013
Llamazoid's Avatar


I think we need to step back for a moment. The death of a retailer and the death of a physical copy of the game are two different things.

Even now with the increase of digital film and music, physical copies are still readily available both from retailers or direct online providers.

As long as their is a void of ownership regarding who owns their digital content. Then there's the worry of what will happen to our digital downloads when servers are shut down and no longer run to keep our purchases validated. As long as these issues remain unanswered and a infrastructure isn't there to support it, physical copies will always have a place in the gaming market.

Retailers on the other hand, specifically Gaming retailers are mortally wounded. The recent decline in GAME and Gamestop stores are a clear illustration of this.

The main reason for this I believe is because of over ambitious plans to expand geographically. The stores just couldn't cope and are were in very close approximation from each other. This resulted in infighting because all the stores were fighting over the same number of consumers and stretched the stores to breaking point.

On top of that retailers are in direct competition with online providers like Amazon and Play who are significantly cheaper and usually can get you the game before it's official launch if you pre-order.

To stay in our highstreet's game retailers need to come up strategies to remain relevant and convenient for the consumer.
Posted 23:07 on 24 June 2013


killing off the Box and disc is only feasible in a Totally online connected world with fast broadband, and we are not. The idea is futuristic and interesting but also inconsiderate and unfair to all the jobs and industry that revolves around the high street games market and even manufacturers of the disks and boxes. For the sake of industry and humanity there has to be line that should not be crossed.

Microsofts business model was actually quite considerate by still having the physical disk option which is good for the high street etc and they had the other foot in the future vision of all encompassing connection prowess capability. Apparently having a super fast broadband wasn't important to the once daily licencing check which also makes owning an Xb1 feasible for those areas that didn't have fast internet. DRM is not evil and selfish as the backlash seemed to insinuate but a business necessity to protect the industry. It was generous for them to allow the game to be passed on free of charge to another person.

I am a Gamer to the core regardless of platform and company and I love following the industry. I like to think that some sort of money goes back to the devs who made the game so that they can carry on making great games and some to the retailer so they can stay in business and provide copies of games to those who dont have mega fast internet to download the digital versions (which could be about 20+GB).

As a purchaser with a limited disposable income I like to obviously buy a game as economically as possible, the current market promoted competition which keeps prices sensible. Digital only would be risky and might drive prices up. just look at digital prices on the consoles, way more expensive than retail.

The xbox one was a console that kinda respected both worlds, physical and digital, as a bridge to the future of possibly being completely online and digital, but now it is back on the same track as sony but with slightly weaker gaming power potential. they made a mistake going 180, instead they should have took a step back and done a special press conference to start again explaining their vision and reasons properly. i'm sure they could have worked something out for areas that lacked connectivity.
Posted 22:40 on 24 June 2013
Karlius's Avatar


One minute people are asking for cheaper games the next for discs. So which is it?

Retail stores are dying, I really want these guys to survive but it's just not looking good the way they work needs a shake up.

If we can take away some of the sales away from the mega retailers who dictate prices and price smaller or specialist stores out of the market all the better. Discounts for stores such as game on price so that they can display the games and sell at the same price as the huge supermarkets who sell games for just 99p profit.

Why do we need discs why not dlc cards that are swiped and become active then if we want to trade either do it online or take that card back to store and they buy it back for the going rate, you'd get a pretty pic on your card for the collectors.
Posted 22:27 on 24 June 2013
Weasel_Pants's Avatar


so the box is doomed, but you havent told us why. please explain your points, developers, or you just come across as money hungry assholes, like microsoft have this past month, which youre lamenting.
i agree, digital is the way forward, but itd alienate far too many people at the moment to be 'financially viable', unless youre cutting down on budgets and expectations, which is what needs to happen in this industry anyway.
Posted 21:14 on 24 June 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar


I used to be a touchy feely guy but I'm fine with digital now, but then I live in a city with decent broadband. My infrastructure is ready. I'll miss sniffing a good manual.

The current generation of kids - roughly anything under the age of 20 - is practically 100% digital already in terms of music (i-things), movies (streaming), they'd probably find buying hard copies of games a bit unusual thanks to Android and iOS and would give you a blank look if you bought them a CD-album.

Us dinosaurs need to hand over the gaming baton to this new generation. Whilst Microsoft were a bit naive thinking they could force this change now, they should have spoken to Sony first. If they'd both done the same thing at the same time we'd have moved into unknown territory and discovered whether or not they were going to fleece us or whether the digital console games marketplace could have become as discount heavy as Steam.

Guess we'll find out by next gen in around seven years' time.
Posted 19:34 on 24 June 2013
Rayqauzay's Avatar


I'd rather own the disk so I know its mine and the only way it will disappear is if I misplace it. I'm not that fond of digital due to the cases if anything crashes or fail in the cloud or the hard drive we are screwed.
Posted 19:16 on 24 June 2013
ShadowmanX5's Avatar


Google Fibre anyone?? ;)

In all honestly the box will eventually be a thing of the past but we are just not at that time right now. Also to be honest, I really hate the hypocrisy of the relationship between publishers and retailers.

Publishers say "Second hand games and the retail market are killing the industry!!" and yet at EVERY opportunity they are jumping into bed with them to sell their product. Want some special pre-order DLC? Well then you HAVE to buy from GameStop or some other retailer.

Hmm ok, so if you would rather me download it than buy it from a retailer, why is that DLC not exclusive to the Digital Download version?? How can they say the box is killing them, then go on and constantly push people to go out and buy them with the promise of exclusive add-ons?
Posted 18:24 on 24 June 2013
Tereus's Avatar

Tereus@ JPedz

The hope is that an increase in demand for better broadband will force Internet providers to increase speeds and remove caps. With a high demand for unlimited broadband all it would take is one ISP to offer it and snap up all the customers from their rivals.
Posted 17:18 on 24 June 2013
JPedz's Avatar


I'm hoping retail boxed copies don't go down under. The main reason being, my internet is just not fast enough to download a whole game... Especially when I saw Uncharted 3 (on PSN_+) was 28.5GB!! I also know of lots of people with download limits, and that'd be and insane proportion!

Yes there are a lot of people with fast fibre optic broadband at 40-100 mb/s, but I still think, in the UK at least, there are many more without this, and I can't see it coming soon. At the moment my internet is rated at 3mb/s. It's plenty fast enough for gaming, but if I want to buy a game, for PS3 or PC, then I'll go to the shops and do it. It's far quicker for me to do that, then start a download... I do have Steam and Origin, and I do download games on it, but they're typically not big games, like FTL and some DLC for things. But they both allow me to buy the game as a disk, install it, and then only have to download updates (which are a pain as it is).

Digital downloads are good and convenient for some, but I don't think the infrastructure is there yet...
Many of us still rely on those boxes to get our games! (It also looks nice to have a shelf with things on it ;) )
Posted 16:40 on 24 June 2013
munkee's Avatar


***** this guy. All these dickholes talking about how boxed games NEED to die and how we MUST go digital can jog on. They're talking about what THEY want to happen so that THEY can profit from it.

Well I want boxed games to stay.

I like to visit a store and buy a game when it's released. I like to have a collection. I DON'T want to download gigabytes of data every time I want to play a new game. I DON'T want to see thousands of employees lose their jobs. I DON'T want to consider HDD space before I download another game. I DO want to dig out a dusty old cardboard box from my attic in the future and find a pile of old video games that I forgot I had. I DO want to pass them down to my grandchildren.

These guys should stop bitching and instead focus their energy on retailers and how they can fix the problems that THEY caused. Publishers and retailers put us in this mess and now we're going to pay the price.

So, no. I don't agree with Chmielarz


And yes, I do realise it's not THIS guys fault. But how many times are we going to hear the same bull***** over & over again?
Posted 16:35 on 24 June 2013
DragonGuard666's Avatar

DragonGuard666@ Mr_Arrogant_95

Digital may be the way forward but only if all the major gaming countries have access to uncapped internet. Right now, it works best as an alternative. No need to kill off retail boxes.

Besides, I like owning a physical item, it makes me feel it is mine. A lot of people buy and download their music these days but I much prefer buying the CD.
Posted 16:34 on 24 June 2013
Mr_Arrogant_95's Avatar


I really don't see what the problem is with buying something at retail. I know several people without the capabilities to download full retail games, or who would prefer to buy them anyway.
I love having a games library on my shelf, I can browse easily, find an old gem I'd forgotten about, and easily lend any number to others.
Digital does have a lot of positives, Microsoft's family share system really could have gone places and been quite cool; but let us have the choice on that, don't force it upon the consumer.
Digital and retail can work hand in hand, people should stop seeing it as a case of "one or the other".
Posted 16:25 on 24 June 2013
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