If you’re on the PlayStation or the Nintendo Networks, you’ve no doubt noticed that more and more releases are available for digital download at the same time their retail counterpart hits store shelves. If you’re not wanting to get up off the couch, it’s truly a wondrous thing. In the same vein, Xbox 360 owners know that’s not the case for their console, with digital downloads coming out months after a game’s release in the Xbox Live Marketplace Games on Demand section.
Xbox Games on Demand Senior Business Manager Erik Yeager has recently spoken out to explain why. Sort of.
At last week’s MIT Business in Games conference, Yeager said, “We have a lot of strong partnerships with retailers. We really need them to do a lot for us. They’re the ones out there selling the consoles, selling the peripherals and, in this time, we’re trying to figure out how to fit that in to the whole digital landscape shift. We’re just taking a bit of a measured pace with it.”
While pointing out that the time between retail and digital releases has decreased, using Halo 4 as a prime example of this, Yeager stressed, “We really strongly believe it’s important to have these retail partnerships and the ability to sell our console is the most critical thing for us. If you don’t sell the console, you can’t sell anything else.”
So, really, Microsoft’s answer was almost a non-answer. And, with Sony confirming that digital downloads on the day of release will be a major part of the PS4’s platform, Microsoft’s going to need a better answer.