In 2004 (yes we’ve been around a long-ass time), I wrote Bah, Humbug & Digital Distribution, talking about the tensions between getting physical and virtual gifts. I’m yet to see a break down of the stats from Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR) but I’m guessing the physical : virtual is going to break new ground.
Back on ’04 I was musing about the impact of virtual gifts on xmas – I still do, how many of you bought someone a dead-tree-book rather than a kindle edition so you could give someone an object (do they sell some kind of token you can give, like a card with a code on it, if not why not?)?
The ritual I’d either forgotten about or something that was not such an ‘event’ in ’04 was the midnight launch. As the guys (and they all seem to be guys) on pod casts such as Mos Eisley Radio were lamenting many game stores did not have a midnight release event for SWTOR, which as the people are starting to note is a gamer ritual that some of the hard-core are starting to miss.
There are multiple reason for why midnight release was not a big thing in the case of SWTOR: Digital Download / Amazon et al pre-ordering; but possible most of all the phased early entry process that was used. There are god management reasons for having phased entry, though for those of us that sat in popcap queue for a long time last week load balancing did not go perfectly (though possibly as well as it could). But, there did seem to be a lack of an event, a communal moment for many players – though as podcasters have noted some people shifted from standing in line to waiting in server queues on vent with their buddies – we always find a way to be together I guess.
May the force be with youTM….