Tag Archives: sales

Sales: fun, and not difficult to understand. Unless you’re Impulse.

It is the time of year that has become quite exciting over the last few years. The chilly weather sets in, the long nights take over and the feeling just hits you. That’s right kids – it’s digital distribution outlet sales time!

I’ve found myself getting increasingly excited* about the approach of this time of year, as it’s when the big online outlets for video games start to slash their prices. Now, in real shops, for real things, this might mean 25% off here, a half price there. When it comes to invisible products, like video games you don’t physically get to own, the sales are a smidge better. Like regular 75% off better, or 80%, or 90% – that kind of thing. To the point  where it’s rude not to buy these things you don’t actually get to own and will probably never even download, never mind play.

Anyway, this leads onto the vague point I had. See, the sales are great – Steam has set the precedent and all others are trying to follow suit. What this means is a fuckload of cheapities. But there are some out there that just don’t get it. I’m not going to attack Games For Windows Live, as that’s like clubbing a seal cub with learning difficulties.

No, this revolves around my need to pick up a new copy of Galactic Civilizations 2**. Keeping an eye on Impulse – the digital distribution service run by the people who make the game – I was drawn today to their one-day sale which is of the game. “Great!” I think, “I can get it for a reasonable price and the money will go straight to the developer!”

Well that didn’t last long. Off I went to a more standard retailer, offering old-fashioned things you get sent through the post and can hold/throw/burn as you see fit.


*When I say “excited” I don’t mean bouncing-off-the-walls giddy, I just mean “looking forward to”. I may be a sad nerd weirdo, but I’m not that bad.


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Common knowledge and the ‘death’ of PC gaming

I dislike common knowledge. The perception that something is correct merely because so many other people say it. It’s like the Wikipedia curse, whereby something isn’t true until it has a citation on the site – then it just so happens a news story pops up mentioning the (as-yet uncited) ‘fact’, which can then be used as a citation on the Wiki page. A self-fulfilling prophecy – as well as being something we were taught about at journalism school. Yeah for learning.

Anyway, I think common knowledge tends to travel similar paths – if something is repeated often enough, people don’t think they have to check it for it to be true. If so many different people are corroborating the story, how could it not be true?

What prompted me to think of all this may surprise you (or may make you not want to read on, as it’s about video games) – the ‘death’ of PC gaming. Apparently PC retail sales have been on a downward spiral for years, games just don’t sell anymore and the system as a platform for games is on its last legs.

This is something most often repeated by those who pay no attention to the PC market, or those who feel like being excessively lazy with their coverage – they might not usually talk about games, for whatever unbelievable reason that might be. But the result is the same: the casual observer comes to think the market is small, pointless and dying.

This might actually be true when it comes to retail – I’m sure PC sales have fallen through in that last few years. But rather than chanting of the doom of the market, a simple bit of paying attention or looking around reaps knowledge rewards. Steam – my mortal enemy – has millions of registered users across the world. You download it to your PC or Mac and immediately have a world of hundreds of games open to you – buy them, download them, play them. Simple.

Let’s look at right now – there are 1.6 million people online with Steam at the time of writing. This changes throughout the day and this number is actually quite low. Let’s pluck a figure out of the air and say 0.5 per cent of people online right now will buy a game. So that’s what – 80,000? Not bad for a day of sales, really. Except that won’t be the day – that’s my imaginary, conservative figure for the number of people online right now. Add into this the Americans waking up and logging on later today and you have a lot more potential.

The problem is digital distribution sales like these aren’t released in a handy batch of figures to show the world, so it remains ‘common knowledge’ that PC gaming is dying. It just seems strange to me that it’s considered to be dying when I’ve bought more games for PC in the last couple of years than I ever, ever did before.

But yeah, anyway, I lost my point somewhere. Common knowledge: always question it.

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