Computer video game companies try online distribution

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 11:55 am

Video game maker S2 Games plans sell its new title “Savage 2: A Tortured Soul” exclusively through Web downloads this October testing a new delivery system that both independent computer game makers and industry behemoths are trying.

By declining to box up thousands of CDs and distribute them in stores, S2 aims to cut the price of the game and hold on to a bigger percentage of proceeds, Marc DeForest, the company’s co-founder and lead designer, told Reuters this week.

The increasing proliferation of high-speed Internet connections is helping to drive interest in digital video game publishing, particularly among small game development houses looking for a direct route to fans.

According to research from Parks Associates, 42 percent of U.S. households have broadband Internet access, which is making it easier for users to quickly download video games, photos, music and other content. Broadband penetration in some other countries, such as South Korea, is significantly higher.

In the case of S2, players will be able to download the entire game to their computers. Online game play will happen on S2-run servers that allow the company to identify those players who have paid for the game.

The Northern California-based company’s first title “Savage: The Battle for Newerth” was introduced at $49.99 in 2003 and was primarily sold through retailers. DeForest said the company makes about $20 on the sale of each game.

He said the follow-on title, slated for release in October, will sell for $29.99. S2 will keep about $28 of each digital game sale, and unlike retail, payment will be immediate because customers pay the company directly.

Source: Reuters


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