With Xbox 360's full games-on-demand service now just days away, Microsoft's VP of strategy and business development for Interactive Entertainment Shane Kim has stated that any possibility of digital releases going day and date with retail is a long way off.
There are a lot of complex issues to deal with here, especially if you start talking about day-and-date release with retail availability – which is not something that we're talking about at all today,” Kim told FastCompany.
But when it comes to us saying we want games-on-demand to enable day-and-date release of new titles, then there's certainly a lot of work we would need to go through. We're not anywhere close to that world today. We have great relationships with the retail channel – they're important partners. We sell a lot of hardware and software through retail channels. We have to be smart about how we approach this business.”
Whilst Kim clearly didn't want to go into too much detail, he did hint that the topic has at the very least been raised with publishers – and that Microsoft perhaps hopes to convince any remaining doubters.
Publishers have to do some technical work in order to enable day-and-date releases. There will be decisions that publishers have to make from a business standpoint.”
Nonetheless, Microsoft's enthusiasm for the possibilities of the service is very clear to see:
We're big believers in digital distribution, everything from downloadable content for games, to Xbox Live Arcade games, to the Xbox Originals. Now we are going to be delivering Xbox 360 games. This is a natural next step in the evolution of digital distribution.
But we're also big believers in retail distribution as well. Everything we've done in digital distribution spaces has expanded the market, has not been a share-shift between retail and online. And we think the effect will be the same thing here. It's a natural evolution, not only of the capabilities of the service, but the expansion of the business model that we offer, not only internally, but to our business partners.”