Report: Retailers Want to Sell You Physical Copies Weeks in Advance

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HughJankles

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#1 HughJankles
Member since 2017 • 21 Posts

Report: Retailers Want to Sell You Physical Copies Weeks in Advance

Retailers want consumers to be able to buy physical copies of games up to three weeks early, according to a report.

According to unconfirmed sources on GamesIndustry.biz, retailers are talking with publishers about letting customers take home physical copies of games before the release date and having it "remain 'locked' until launch day."

The report mentions the Electronics Retail Association (ERA) "struggled to find much interest from the publishing community."

Many positives are cited in the report, with hypothetical benefits to both consumers and retailers. For one, it says the ability to immediately take home a physical disc "could even boost impulse sales."

Allowing retailers to sell physical copies of games before the official launch is similar to digital pre-orders, which unlock at midnight on a game's release date. In fact, the report cites digital pre-orders as the impetus for the retailer request.

The potential downsides pointed out in the report include logistics, bandwidth, uneven benefits to retailers, and the potential for piracy.

Preorders currently require retailers to "make a longer 'event'" of a game's impending release in order to "avoid the situation of consumers cancelling preorders."

Preorders are good for game makers, and more often than not include bonus content in order to tempt consumers. The Halo Wars 2 preorder bonuses include early access, a season pass, and more, for example.

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For people that are against Digital & want to go Physical most of the time, I think this is a decent route. Especially with things like Best Buy GCU with 20% off physical games. IMO, there's nothing too special anymore about standing in line at midnight to pick up a game only to get home & immediately have long install times & more than likely will just go to bed before it's even done. There isn't the excitement of getting home & playing it right when you pop it in. Digital has kinda taken that place.

I can also see GameStop now trying to accept trade ins on physical games that haven't even released yet.

"Yeah, we can only give you $29.99 for it, bud."

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HughJankles

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#2 HughJankles
Member since 2017 • 21 Posts

Also, I'm still trying to find my footing in this forum so hopefully posting this wasn't in violation of anything like being posted in the wrong sub-forum. Just thought this would make for interesting conversation.

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kvally

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#3  Edited By kvally
Member since 2014 • 8445 Posts

This would allow them to spend their money on a game before they see reviews.

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iandizion713

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#4  Edited By iandizion713
Member since 2005 • 16025 Posts

Sounds silly. Actually, i guess its not a bad ideal considering shipping takes awhile sometimes.

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HughJankles

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#5  Edited By HughJankles
Member since 2017 • 21 Posts

@kvally: That was another thing. With their "x amount of days for full refund return" I'm wondering if this is a way to refuse returns on games that do review poorly. But you could trade it in at their trade-in price.

Another thing I think the publishers could do is allow you to download the file of the game weeks before it's released. But you can't play it unless you a) buy the digital version or b) use a physical disc (one that you pick up at the midnight launch).

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iandizion713

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#6  Edited By iandizion713
Member since 2005 • 16025 Posts

@hughjankles: I think most stores you can return unopened merchandise for like 30-90 days. But yeah, if you open it, your kinda stuck.

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HughJankles

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#7 HughJankles
Member since 2017 • 21 Posts

@iandizion713: But you would have to open it to install the game on your system. So games that have review embargos you are kinda out of luck playing it on release night.

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iandizion713

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#8 iandizion713
Member since 2005 • 16025 Posts

@hughjankles: O yeah, i forgot some people install games. Im use to Nintendo games, we just pop in and play.

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Phazevariance

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#9 Phazevariance
Member since 2003 • 12356 Posts

So will they sell physical copies weeks early, or just delay the digital copy for weeks. Cause that seems like a crap idea to me.

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deactivated-63d2876fd4204

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#10 deactivated-63d2876fd4204
Member since 2016 • 9129 Posts

This makes no damn sense. If the physical version of a game was finished, printed and shipped 3 weeks early, why wouldn't they just move the release date up? Why would they keep the content locked for weeks for some imaginary launch date? This sounds like some people saying things that don't know how distribution actually works. Retailers get games a week or so early on occasion. But not all stores in all territories get their shipments at the same time. I know because I used to work for a retailer that sells games among other things.

We always see threads when games go "gold." This is usually 30-45 days before launch. Maybe less. Sometimes they post pics of the development team and one of them is holding a disc in their hand. It's always a generic looking disc. The game has to be printed with all of the artwork millions of times, packaged and shipped etc. Retailers have to determine how many they are buying, then there is marketing... The list goes on. This doesn't make any sense to me. This would make release dates mean nothing. The only way it would work is by making an artificial release date that is later than it should be. And for what? There is no benefit. I understand preloading digital games. There are positives for the devs/publishers as well as the consumers. But for physical? No, just stop.

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HughJankles

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#11 HughJankles
Member since 2017 • 21 Posts

@Phazevariance: To me it sounds like they will be selling the physical copies weeks in advance but keep them locked until the official release day. Much like preloading a digital game that you preorder. You have the game installed & ready to go but it's locked until its midnight release.

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freedomfreak

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#12 freedomfreak
Member since 2004 • 52452 Posts

My retailer is honest enough with me. I get games early, they keep away rare or interesting games for me. For me, they're not into the whole gamestop **** you used trippy trappy bullshit.

It's why I like them.

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aigis

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#13 aigis
Member since 2015 • 7355 Posts

I could see this for an amazon type so they can ship it to you. Anything else I dont see the point

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#14 DaVillain  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 56639 Posts

Well if I can't play the game early, then I find this to be useless having the physical copy early in my hands. This what needs to happen, let the early buyers just play the single player, locked the MP until release date.

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Zensword

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#15 Zensword
Member since 2007 • 4510 Posts

@davillain- said:

Well if I can't play the game early, then I find this to be useless having the physical copy early in my hands. This what needs to happen, let the early buyers just play the single player, locked the MP until release date.

Yeah, why do I want to have a game 2-3 weeks early without being able to play it until release date ? Makes absolutely no sense at all.

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Telekill

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#16 Telekill
Member since 2003 • 12061 Posts

Pretty poor idea IMO. What's the point of having a game sit on your shelf that you can't play?

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#17 Zensword
Member since 2007 • 4510 Posts

@Telekill said:

Pretty poor idea IMO. What's the point of having a game sit on your shelf that you can't play?

You can look and kiss it everyday until you can eventually play it on release date.

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#18 DaVillain  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 56639 Posts

@Zensword said:
@davillain- said:

Well if I can't play the game early, then I find this to be useless having the physical copy early in my hands. This what needs to happen, let the early buyers just play the single player, locked the MP until release date.

Yeah, why do I want to have a game 2-3 weeks early without being able to play it until release date ? Makes absolutely no sense at all.

It's just a waste of my time trying to go pick up my early copy of a game if I can't play it right away.

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#19  Edited By Masenkoe
Member since 2007 • 4897 Posts

Terrible idea, if it doesn't even work what is the point?

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#20  Edited By ShadowDeathX
Member since 2006 • 11699 Posts

I actually think this would work very well.

  • Retailers will be able to stay in equal footing with digital in regards to unlock times. People can buy digital and physical and still be able to play at the same time. Which in return...

  • Allows physical retailers to compete better and stay alive longer in a "soon to be digital gaming" world.

  • People won't be able to play the game early, thus eliminating the potential spoilers spreading through the internet.

  • Having a disc and disc case with you but being unable to play it might increase the amount of hype one gets.

  • Allows more people to buy and get a game before Day 1, which possibly might increase sales. In the console market, day 1 sales are everything.

  • Allows publishers and retailers to measure real demand for a product. They can allocate shipments dependent on pre-launch sales instead of assuming what it might be on Day 1. Possibly saving a smaller publisher money instead of overprinting. In addition, it might give publishers the green light to increase disc production of would have been low supplied game. (Think niche Japanese games)

  • Might give developers more development wiggle room between going Gold and actual Launch Date.
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#21  Edited By GhoX
Member since 2006 • 6267 Posts

@Telekill said:

Pretty poor idea IMO. What's the point of having a game sit on your shelf that you can't play?

So you can't cancel it like a pre-order before release, even if some review comes out after your purchase that completely reveals the game for what it really is. The publishers will love it.