Xbox One disc drive like having a "dead body handcuffed to you," says Codemasters founder

"I don't think Microsoft sold it in the right way--they weren't strong enough," says Codemasters founder David Darling.

Codemasters founder David Darling has said the Xbox One's physical disc drive is like having a "dead body handcuffed to you," and that console games publishers need to embrace the idea of lower prices.

Speaking about the backlash to Microsoft's now-reversed Xbox One's policies, Darling said Microsoft sold the idea of a digital future in the wrong way. "It was interesting how the market did pull back with Microsoft," he said in an interview with GamesIndustry International.

"I don't think Microsoft sold it in the right way--they weren't strong enough. I don't think they should have had a physical drive on Xbox One--it's like having a dead body handcuffed to you. It's dragging along this dead body and it's going to slow them down. They've let the market pull them back but I think that was a mistake."

After leaving Codemasters in 2007, Darling founded smartphone developer Kwalee, which is currently working on upcoming title Farm Fighters.

Darling also says that the price of console games needs to drop in order to stay competitive, and that such a move is inevitable for the games industry. "The price of console games has to drop otherwise they will not be competitive with Apple and Google," he says.

"The industry will definitely move in that direction, and I think it will move very quickly. It's a bit like flipping a coin--at some stage it will just flip. It will change in six months and everybody will wonder why it never changed before. There's no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists."

Ultimately, though, Darling thinks the mobile gaming has more opportunity for creative developers than the console market. "This industry has grown to be much bigger than the console and computer industries ever were," he said.

"Now you've got games like Puzzle & Dragons, which has allowed creator GungHo to grow enormously in just a few years. If you hit upon something really innovative in the mobile sector then you can have hundreds of millions of downloads, and some of those people will want to spend money--but they don't all have to. It's the perfect model for games. It enables the creative people to be really innovative and to entertain bigger audiences."

Written By

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor

Discussion

1718 comments
DWalker131
DWalker131

the article should read

:xbox-one Kinnect is like having a dead body handcuffed to you lol

ShimmeringSword
ShimmeringSword

It's like this guy has never heard of BluRay movies.

91210user
91210user

I don't think Microsoft are keen on the hard drive itself. I think the way Microsoft is behaving and which I've noticed, they're really want to ditch it themselves!

I somewhat don't blame such a statement being issued!

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

"There's no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists." I couldn't disagree more.

wwervin
wwervin

Why do they have to compete with Apple and Google? I'd rather not have a video game world dominated by lame phone game apps. I want AAA titles, not free to plays filled with microtransactions. I hope the market stays exactly the way it is.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"It's a bit like flipping a coin--at some stage it will just flip" It's like rolling the dice --at some stage it will just roll.

meedokicky
meedokicky

yeah well not everyone can download 15 GB or 40 GB games. Mobile games have much smaller size, no?

I would love to be able to go fully digital, but when it takes me about a week to dl a game, I'd rather pay for a physical copy.

Maybe make a model for ppl who have good internet idk

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

steam will probably to a better job. stupid M$ all that money no brains.

bschroth
bschroth

Sure, MS should and could have done a lot more to sell the digital only route of things, but this dead body shit is just sensationalist crap.

I agree that it was dumb to change, I was on board with it almost completely. They really only needed to address disc based gaming imo. If they had made it so that the system would only perform the online check for digital game and have the disc be the back up verification.

Nepti
Nepti

It may be true that MS is focusing more on countries with internet access. But I was responding more to what the person from the article is saying. There is this assumption from so-called industry insiders that the internet is everywhere from everyone. For these people, there isn't even the consideration about no internet access or unreliable internet access. They think and speak as if internet is globally available much like electricity is these days. But we're still not there yet... maybe in another 10 years, but right now, we're not there. This guy from this article and the ex-MS employee famous for saying 'deal with it' both are current events that illustrate the mindset of industry insiders. They just don't seem to get it that so many people all around the world still don't have access or reliable access to the internet.

tony93666
tony93666

oh please, having a physical hard drive is NOTHING like described here... having everything 'in the cloud'(gawd I hate that fake marketing B.S. term) is about CONTROL.  If the gamer doesn't actually HAVE the game/software in his/her possession, it's easy for whomever to simply 'turn it off' from afar... "oh yeah, don't like the fact that we just doubled your XBox Live Gold prices?  No problem - *click*  enjoy your $500 paperweight."

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

I'm sick of microsoft trying to act like they are trying to make gaming convient for the consumer, when they are really trying to shut out retail games so that you can only buy them from microsoft at inflated prices. Like I want to pay 50 dollars for a 5 year old game.

YoreLore
YoreLore

I thought he was saying the console prices need to drop to compete with PC digital prices.  Why is he comparing console games to crappy games on your phone?  The type of games you only ever play when you are bored on a train.

kiramasaki
kiramasaki

The sheer ignorance this man spews is amazing and baffling. The IOS market is reglegated to graphics found 15 years in the past, and that's on the high end games that are actually games. The rest is a bunch time killing games, things like angry birds that are not really games with any content, just a simple evolution of tic tac too, and tetris.

And I can see why this guy is at his current job, because he is under the impression that he knows better than the market.

dkeppens
dkeppens

So, to sum up, "Darling" thinks that

a) digital only is the future. Unfortunately, he's right about that. But the industry also has to understand that the current state of the internet is not ready to support everyone's needs. Secondly, when the coin flips, as "Darling" puts it, this distribution model should also NEVER be used to impose more restrictions than there are now on how consumer's can use and treat the products they bought.

b) Free2play is the perfect model for games since it allows creativity and reaches bigger audiences. Sorry "Darling", but not so much, no... It might reach bigger audiences, but most of those additional people you'll attract will most likely be people who are not going to put down cash for the extras. Not to mention that the ones you will gain will probably be offset by the people you'll lose who are put off by the model itself.

And Free2play allowing creativity ? I'm surpised you're this dumb. Even former EA CEO Riccitiello has recentlly come forward to admit Free2play actually limits the design choices when developing a game. If you want to squeeze every possible buck out of a game, that has an impact on gameplay amongst others.


Sod off "Darling"

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Woooshh ! Here is another 'industry insider' who just does not get the problem because they are part of it.  Here is two relatively quick examples of why digital only just will not work for 8th gen consoles. 

As most know general motors just about went under without help of a gov bailout from a few reasons but the number one was very poor mismanagement. Car industry and dealers made the most profit by selling very large and expensive SUV's through the late 90's. Well, with gas hitting 4$ the demand for low gas mileage soared but GM kept pushing 12mpg 40k suburbans that simply set on the lot. This is where a company tries to push a supply on its customers where there is no demand. 

You can tell, shout, show, push etc all you want that digital only is the way to go, and in the future it probably will be, but in the here and 5yrs from now, physical media still is the majority. Excluding retail distributors, packaging would indeed be very profitable for publishers and developers alike, including Mr Darling above, it is simply not what gamers customers want. For instance: the broadband required to download 8+gig 8th gen games is just not as widespread in America let alone Europe, emerging Asian markers, South america, and south africa. In 5 years there will be almost 1/3 more gamers across the world then there is now and much of those do not have access to broadband, let alone broadband where a large game wouldn't take a couple days to down load. 1/3 of all those on broadband here in the USA have data limits: satellites, 4g, comcast, slow dsl.   

Also whenever you buy digital content or make a digital game purchase - it has ZERO value from the instant of its purchase. You cannot trade it, barter it, resell it, or even give it away. With physical media that RE6 game that was so lame can at least be sold on EBAY or traded in on something that is fun to play. The future of digital only content is bright for the pockets of the game industry but not to the everyday gamer. I personally give my used games to my nephews in another state who just do not have alot. 

Next example: digital music online. Music publishers made their highest profits with CDs - cost pennies to make and charged 16-20 dollar a piece. Here is where companies through lawsuits, legislation, and add campaigns did everything they could to keep customers from moving away from digital online and to stick with physical cd's. Also Toothpaste caps. They invented toothpaste flip top caps that by all testing cost little to make, stopped toothpast crude, lost tooth paste caps from falling in the tolilet.  But customers so very used to tradition always tried to unscrew the cap.  The thing is industry cannot 'make' its customers change their shopping habits or keep them from changing to something new.

Much like gaming physical media, you cannot control your customers only cater to them. Horse to water but can't make them .... you get the point. No matter how profitable the future mr Darling sees he will just have to wait until his customers want it. 

So, sorry for long post - but this is a comment thread not youtube 40 character soundbite - and something this important and complicated needs more discussion.    

SiLenTWarrior29
SiLenTWarrior29

Until they solve the "memory" problem.. disc aint going anywhere for maybe another 10 years. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN SWEET DARLING! STFU!!

jeremyc99999
jeremyc99999

I keep hearing developers incessantly talk about "mobile gaming is the future", yet I can count on one hand the number of people I know who play mobile games.

Vodoo
Vodoo

This guy's an ass. We wanted physical media because Microsoft wasn't allowing a very consumer-friendly atmosphere. If there were digital downloads only, but you could let people borrow those digital games without the chains that Microsoft had in place, or let players give back a game license to get a discount towards a new game, like the second-hand games do now. And the biggest thing would be to drastically lower digital prices, which they're still the same as discs on consoles. 

We also needed a Blu-Ray drive. Go back to making your Farming game, loser. Saying a disk drive is akin to being handcuffed to a dead body is the dumbest analogy I ever heard.

pound-u
pound-u

I love how developers like this idiot can't think outside of their own little box. Do they not realize the infrastructure for digital-only is not adequate enough for many people around the world? Console makers would lose significant sales if they suddenly went digital only.

sam_roshan
sam_roshan

I have a Dead Body cuffed to my PC...
Its called a Floppy Drive! :D

Same thing is gonna happen with the Disc Drives one day.... Well we already have 64GB Pen Drives!!

Bloodlustt
Bloodlustt

Um i dont want to play games on a 5 inch screen thanks anyway

NTenseify
NTenseify

He's got a point, if physical copies were to cease production tomorrow the price of digital games would drop drastically. The problem is we're seeing the same resistance when ATMs were introduced from the older generation still clinging to what they can hold in their hands. But like it or not this is the direction all industries want to take (less costs, more control) and it will happen eventually, just look at money, 100 years ago it was a precious resource now it's entered itno a computer and still serves the same purpose

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

please.. in the foreseeable future tablet and phone games will be the console's biggest threat since nvidia already will have ps3 graphics running on tablets next year, then they'll have ps4 graphics sometime later. i mean it's not like consoles are unique they never are.

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

The mistake MS had with Xbox One is not a disc drive, but the fundamental question of ownership and consumer rights that wasn't addressed in turns of digital contents. This current generation merely pushed this issue back, but whenever one decide to go full digital, this question will rise again. Ultimately, at current price consumer feel that the content they purchased should be theirs to do with, whether to sell it again, or keep forever, if price of the content drop dramatically then less resistance with have from the consumers, but clearly this is too profitable of a tri-monopoly to let it go.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

Jesus Christ, I hate fucking developers like this.  Why are people still thinking like Adam Orth?  The Xbox One isn't a mobile device.  It's a GAME CONSOLE!  They aren't meant to be played solely online, and the beauty of a CONSOLE is to take it anywhere, even in places without internet (they DO exist) and play the damn thing.  Idiotic this line of thinking, and anyone who adopts it is justly an idiot. 

GunnyHath
GunnyHath moderator

@SavoyPrime Agreed, physical media certainly has its place.  Especially with smaller companies who are much more likely to go out of business, and leave you hanging unable to play games you paid for.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@tony93666 And not everything has to be "on the cloud" you could just put in "on the hdd" instead, and then you own it in just as much of a physical form as an optical disc.

blackbeltjones
blackbeltjones

@YoreLore Agreed. I never understood how they can even compare mobile gaming to console or even PC gaming. Its like trying to compare a football to a baseball. They are both balls but are used in entirely different ways. Personally I hate the microtransaction model used by mobile gaming. I want to purchase the full game and not have to purchase more to actually be able to "win" or "compete" in it....

fluffykiller
fluffykiller

@jenovaschilld Excellent analysis. You have far more understanding of markets than this Darling yahoo. This guy is probably a very smart developer but not very bright when it comes to basic economics. 

Addict187
Addict187

@jeremyc99999  I  know people that only play i pad ad phone games. kindoms of kamalot have stolen a few lives i know

NTenseify
NTenseify

@jeremyc99999 If you look at it from a business point of view you want to appeal to customers of all ages from 3 to 99. These days toddlers are playing games on their parents iPhones and iPads and if you can get them familiar with your brand at an early age then it's a win for them. And when they become teenagers they will be more addaptive to digital entertainment because they are not use to dealing with CDs or cartridges

Vodoo
Vodoo

@jeremyc99999 Millions upon millions of people, who are not gamers, are starting to become familiar with quick, casual games. These people are the majority of game downloads. 

When I have nothing good to play on my consoles, I have no problem playing mobile games on my tablet or phone. They're almost console quality, aside of the touch controls.

blackbeltjones
blackbeltjones

@Vodoo I like your points about what MS could have done with the digital media that you purchased but in all honesty were they ever even given a chance to maybe implement such a policy. Their mishandling of the policy and lack of answers for the millions of questions about the policy led to their reversal and quite possibly ended a way to trade or lend the digital games that we would have purchased. So in the end the internet "won" the battle of the physical media but it remains to be seen if that was the winning of the "war"...

LandauTST
LandauTST

@NTenseify It has nothing to do with still having physical copies or not. There are still many, many games that get a physical version for PC, yet even the biggest titles get super discounted during sales and such. It's all about how your digital sales model works, with or without physical copies still existing. The only reason these companies want to push digital is DRM. It has nothing to do with convenience or sales. They like to promise better models for digital if -we- compromise for this or that, when it's them who should be showing us improvement and earning our trust before we agree to make the move to all digital. A lot of companies don't like to let their game depreciate in value. Especially things on the Xbox Live store, and it gets to the point where the physical copies are much less than the digital ones. How is that supposed to persuade anyone that all-digital is a good move right now for home consoles?

pound-u
pound-u

@NTenseify No, actually the price wouldn't automatically decrease. Just because publishers can cut costs by going digital only doesn't mean they would pass the savings on to us.

Hodax
Hodax

@NTenseify I fully agree that the price to distribute games would decrease, but you can't immediately make the assumption that developers will drop the price consumers pay. 

Plus, by destroying the used-game market in an instant, there would be no more waiting for that cheaper used game to show up in the store. Any price drops would be totally dictated by the publisher.

monson21502
monson21502

@lonesamurai1 have fun playing on a 10 inch screen tablet that costs more then xbox one and ps4 combined :)

Nobodeyx
Nobodeyx

@JustPlainLucas He is not saying that you should always have internet on, that is a different argument completely. He is saying that you can get digital content quickly, easily and hopefully soon, cheaply. For acquisition of the game, you would need the internet, but not to play it.

tony93666
tony93666

@JimmeyBurrows did you even read the article above?!  He's bitching about hard drives saying they are 'like being handcuffed to a dead body"...  *rolls eyes*

NTenseify
NTenseify

@LandauTST @NTenseify Yes they want more control and more DRM. So who do we blame for this? The companies or the pirates? Or ourselves for not speaking out? Yes right now digital is more expensive than physical for consoles and that's what Darling was pointing at but I feel like this may be part of the console transition - let PC and Steam test the waters then come in and drop the price of console digital to persuade customers. It won't be a sudden transition

fluffykiller
fluffykiller

@pound-u @NTenseify You nailed it. They would not drop the price. Why would they? It's not like you would have a choice. You want to play the game? Fork over the 60 bucks.

To the consumer this seems logical no disks to stamp no printing of manuals no distribution costs. To the CEO's this is an opportunity to rake in more cash. Charge the same amount for the download and watch profits grow.

NTenseify
NTenseify

@pound-u @NTenseify So you have a voice, use it. We've seen the power of our voice against undesireable policies. Imagine if that energy was focused on bringing down the price of games in line with production costs? And the first step is to educate people who don't see this change coming

NTenseify
NTenseify

@Hodax @NTenseify Yes you've got a point too, developers would always find a way to take advantage of the situation. I'm not saying it's an ideal situation for the consumer but it is inevitable so instead of clinging to physical waste we need to push for a fairer price point like Darling is

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

@monson21502 @lonesamurai1 If Google and Apple make a standardized physical control scheme where all games are required to adhere to, then Nintendo and Sony can eventually kiss their market share goodbye.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

@monson21502@i hook my Razer Edge Pro Gaming Tablet to my HDTV all the time it works great so...

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

@Nobodeyx @JustPlainLucas I know he isn't saying that, but if the machine can only distribute digitally, it might as well be an always-online console.  That's what Xbox One was trying to do with its DRM.  If anyone has to connect to the Internet just to download their games, they should just stay online, just like how mobile platforms work. 

The point is, these aren't mobile platforms. You don't need a carrier or an ISP to buy games and play them.  You can simply go out to a store, buy the physical game, put it in the console and play. I'm totally fine with DD as an option, but to make it a standard is to cut out millions of other gamers who don't have ready access to high speed internet.  It's not worth it at this point.

blackbeltjones
blackbeltjones

@tony93666  Oddly I read it as disc drive... Did you read the article? He is stating the physical media drive (ie blu ray drive) is like having a dead body handcuffed to you. There is obviously a NEED for the hard drive for local storage.

LandauTST
LandauTST

@NTenseify @LandauTST I blame them more than the pirates. Piracy is an issue, but it's not as big as a problem as they let lead on. Plus some people only pirate to test out a game before they make the decision if they want to buy it or not if there's no demo. It's what I used to do. But more to the point, a money hungry corporation would punish an entire consumer base even if only 1 person was caught doing. This is all about their extra dollar and nothing else. 

A bigger issue with them losing money is them chucking gigantic budgets at titles and expecting people to eat it up just because so much money was put into it. When your problem is that a few million copies sold isn't enough, maybe it's time to re-think your business strategy before pointing the finger at everything else but yourselves. A huge budget doesn't immediately make a great game. Indies have been surging and proves you can make smaller games on smaller budgets and still make huge profits if you do it right.

But no, when they threw too much money at something just for it to not meet expectations and please shareholders, it's pirates' faults. It's used games' fault. It's never their fault and they make moves to punish the consumer until they've run out of things to point their fingers at. Gaming is a business just as much as anything else, and part of that is finding cost-efficient ways of going about things. Bloated AAA games is not always the way to go about things, but they don't get that. They think bigger budgets immediately make bigger profits and that's not the case, and when it doesn't work, it's all our faults for some reason or another.