What’s the point of wrapping Christmas presents?
The paper looks pwetty for a moment then you rip it off to get to the surprise goodies inside – it would be much more efficient to simply give presents as they are, or better, just send money.
A logical argument, sure - but it doesn’t make emotional sense.
With software things should be different – after all it’s all just digital bits. What’s more, as regular readers of TerraNova know, MMORPG players get awfully emotional about putative items of property that are never likely to have physical instantiation (though the thought of a level 50 Mage turning up on one’s door step asking where they are going to sleep might stop eBay’ing real quick).
When it comes to software, emotion rather than logic seems to rule the hearts of gamers – they love their packaging. Now this is not only bad for the environment, it might also be stunting the diversification of the industry (or is that art). While a bunch of niche games such as ATITD are download only, all the big shots come in boxes.
Recently Daniel James of Puzzle Pirates - an MMOArrrPG (thanks to Daniel for that one) that has been download only since launch, has stated that he is looking into a retail deal.
So, will there ever be a big selling download only MMORPG? Is there a digital distribution trick that we are missing?