1C's international publishing director Darryl Still has accused retail of failing to support boxed PC games.
The industry veteran says that by refusing to stock certain games and moving PC titles to the back of the store, retail is forcing publishers to head towards digital distribution. And that PC games software will be sold entirely through digital channels by next year.
In the PC market at the moment the growth in digital is phenomenal,” said Still.
If PC games manage to get listed at retail, then they're rarely getting any exposure because they're appearing at the back of the store.
There is still demand, but retail is forcing PC games out. Digital is fantastic, and we're very pleased with it. But it is not us as the developers and publishers driving products to digital – it is because the options for the PC at retail are so limited.
You just have to head into a games store and look for their PC titles, and you'll see there is no focus, listings or promotions for them.
It is extra strange because there is a much better margin on PC games,” he continued. The industry should be embracing PC more enthusiastically.
Digital proves there is a consumer waiting for it. But these consumers are now more than happy to click the download button.
Q1 2011 is my estimate as to when PC games will be sold completely via digital. I have seen the predictions that by 2013 more than 50 per cent of our revenues will be earned digitally. But if the PC games market has to wait until 2013 then we are all in trouble.”
Despite this, Still admits there are still some challenges in the digital market – partly caused by the sheer number of digital platforms out there, with publishers having to try and pick the right ones carefully.
I feel like I am at the front of an express change, and every week we're adding an extra carriage at the back, which is a digital distributor. We have contracts with 25 of them at the moment, and of that amount six or seven are producing decent revenue numbers.
And this year I know more carriages will be added on and others will be coming off the rails. The issue is we don't know which ones will succeed and which ones won't.”