Monday, June 30, 2014

When will consoles get something like the Steam Summer Sale?

The Steam Summer Sale concludes today and while I bought about 12 new games in 10 days it still makes me envious more than anything that one day my Xbox One will get sales of similar nature.  The delusional people out there are sure to rebut by saying that we get the Deals with Gold stuff, but lets be honest.  You cannot compare the two.  It is just not a fair fight.  The Steam Summer Sale crushes anything you get on any console.

We can argue about it back and forth, but I will just say that 17% off of Ryse: Son of Rome does not compare with 50-80% off any game that has been released in the last two years.  The Steam Summer Sale just blows this out of the water no matter which way you compare it.  Which is why I am hoping very much that we can see similar sales on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 sometime in the near future.  Is it likely to happen?  Probably not, but that doesn't mean I am not going to keep my fingers crossed.  It is a fantastic pipe dream to have!

Why exactly do we not get to have a sale period comparable to the Steam Summer Sale exactly?  Here are my guesses as to why:

  1. Used games.
  2. Piracy
  3. Console pricing monopoly.
Let me delve in to each one a bit more; starting with used games.  Used games exist because people believe they have the right to do whatever they want with their disk after they buy the game.  I do tend to agree with them.  If you go out and buy a physical game and have the desire to trade it to someone or sell it then I do think you should have that right.  At the same time I believe the developer should have the right to restrict that copy of the game to one person if they choose because there are other costs involved, such as servers, that the second owner does not have to pay for.  It is a tough place for both sides to be in and I empathize with both, but at the end of the day used games are going to go away on consoles.  Physical media is going away and the people who feel they are entitled to trade in their physical copies of games are going to be quite disappointed in the future.

The second one that I think keeps us from getting steam like sales is piracy.  It is much less common on consoles.  Piracy is more than likely one of the driving reasons behind why developers are willing to sell their games for such a fraction of the original cost.  I can go onto a site like The Pirate Bay and find 99% of games that are released within the first 24 hours of their launch.  Often times there are 3,000-4,000 seeders on each which means that they are already being pirated to oblivion.  So when a developer is faced with the option to sell the game for a fraction of the cost of let the game be torrented and see zilch I think the choice is obvious for them.  On consoles you just do not have that.  You do have piracy, but those people are few and far between.  The risk of getting a $500 console banned from Xbox Live outweighs most peoples desire to mod their console.

The last thing is that on consoles there is only one place controlling digital game prices.  Sony controls the prices for Playstation and Microsoft for Xbox.  They really do not have any incentive to sell their games at a lower price because there is only one place to get digital games on the consoles and that is from their own personal networks.  Recently it has been popping up where you can buy digital game codes from places like Amazon, but even those prices are nowhere near what you get on Steam.  Ryse: Son of Rome is still selling for $49.99 there as well.  Hardly able to be compared which is a bummer for console owners.

I do hope that one day in the future we will get a big blowout sale on console games similar to what we get on Steam.  I wouldn't say that I am holding my breath, but I do hope for it.  It is hard to know what the real reasons behind it are and even what I am doing now is little more than speculation at best.  It is easy to make a few assumptions as to why just based on some of the common differences between PC gaming and console gaming though.  So my question in the beginning was when will consoles get something like the Steam Summer Sale?

Who knows!  Sorry to disappoint!

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