SEGA UK: PC Strong, Like Ox

By Jim Rossignol on March 31st, 2010 at 8:25 pm.


I seem to be missing where and when this was said, but UK industry site MCV has Sega boss John Clark claiming that the PC market is better than most people seem inclined to report. And Sega should know, because they’re the UK’s second biggest PC publisher thanks to their ownership of Total Warists, The Creative Assembly. “The PC market is third in terms of its year-on-year performance with a decline of 26 per cent, but this doesn’t really reflect the full picture,” said Clark. “The PC digital download business is now a viable sector but somewhat invisible as it’s not yet covered by Chart-Track. The PC market overall is actually performing much better than is currently reported and remains a vital and strong sector to be involved in.”

Interesting.

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77 Comments »

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  1. Smurfy says:

    FUCK YEAH BITCHES

  2. Bob says:

    Sega still has the best intro of all time TBH

  3. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Nice to see the PC market getting some props for a change :)

  4. Cinnamon says:

    PC market is very strong and vital but sometimes a little too hard and intimidating for some publishers to square up to and make sure that the releases come out to everyones satisfaction. For instance, SEGA should do a PC version of After Burner Climax. I have a big old joystick that rarely comes out these days that could use some action.

    • Supertonic says:

      Could you have possibly got more double-entendres in there?

    • rei says:

      I got a bit turned on.

    • WingNutZA says:

      Well done sir! ‘Tis a thing of beauty…

    • RedFred says:

      Fantasticles.

    • Wulf says:

      I was wondering whether I just had a dirty mind, there, or whether it was purposefully attempted.

      @RedFred

      I don’t even want to know what that’s the Greek God of, I dare not even consider.

    • Blackberries says:

      If this was unintentional I think I might cry with delight.

      Why, yes, I am a little emotional at the moment.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I skipped this the first time as it read like a spam post for Viagra.

  5. RobF says:

    I knew buying 500 copies of Outrun 2 would pay off eventually.

  6. Teachable Moment says:

    *stuck record*

    Then get Bayonetta on PC please Sey-Gahhh.

  7. Chris says:

    The PC digital download business is now a viable sector

    What, you mean some people still buy PC games retail?

    • Supertonic says:

      More importantly, where’s my analog download?

    • mbp says:

      Don’t let Steams weekend deals fool you. You can still buy most titles cheaper in a bricks and mortar shop than from digital download. Dunno why but that’s the way it is.

    • shalrath says:

      B+M shops wont carry your product if you don’t make it cheaper in stores than online.

      Most places, you’d tell ‘em to fuck off. Gamestop or whatever, and you have to listen.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Chris

      There are still lots of good deals at retail, and sometimes retail packages actually have less constraining DRM than their digital equivalents (Anno 1404 and Risen spring to mind). It’s always good to consider all your options, sometimes it’s best to get something via DD and sometimes it’s best to get a box.

    • frymaster says:

      “B+M shops wont carry your product if you don’t make it cheaper in stores than online.

      Most places, you’d tell ‘em to fuck off. Gamestop or whatever, and you have to listen.”

      More precisely, I’d assume retailers get very stroppy if you don’t sell your own game for your own RRP. On the other hand, retailers reserve the right to sell under RRP (and pretty much always do… play.com counts as a “bricks & mortar” store)

      non-uk-ians: RRP is Reccomended Retail Price, the price the publisher thinks people should charge for the game… it’s main purpose is so places can say “£5 off” or similar when they take your preorder.

    • Rich says:

      Haven’t bought a game from an actual high-street shop for ages. Online retail is my preferred method. Usually has the best prices if you shop around.

    • Blackberries says:

      Yeah, Amazon, Play and the like remain the cheapest places to buy games – for me at least. I very rarely buy ‘mainstream’ titles via DD, much as I adore its socks off, because the prices are simply not competitive. They usually start at about £5 more than many retailers, then take a very, very long time to sink in price; if at all. There are exceptions, granted, but my point remains.

    • TeeJay says:

      A quick price comparison confirm that typically:
      downloads > in-store > on-line retailer boxed
      example >> RRP // Steam download // GAME in-store // cheapest online (DVD boxed)
      FM 2010 >> 39.99 // 29.99 // 19.99 // 14.99 (play)
      Settlers 7 >> 34.99 // 34.99 (ubi)// 29.99 // 21.98 (coolshop)
      DA:O Awakenings >> 19.99 // 19.99 // 19.99 // 14.99 (play)
      CoD:MW2 >> 39.99 // 39.99 // 32.99 // 26.99 (gamecollection)
      L4D2 >> 34.99 // 19.99 // 34.99 // 14.99 (gameplay)

  8. Choca says:

    I once punched an Ox in the face, true story.

  9. LGM1979 says:

    I just started using Steam, and it’s a great service. Any games I’m buying will be from there from now on. I won’t buy games at EB or wherever unless they’re like oddball older games that are hard to get/not available on Steam.

    • SmallGods says:

      But thats what Good Old Games is good for, not to mention keeping an eye on some of Lewie P’s stuff (often some old gems pop up) and stuff like Gamestation.com, gameplay.com and thehut.com.

      Failing that, Ebay all the way! I don’t think I’ve actually bought anything off the highstreet that wasn’t with vouchers from xmas etc. for a good 2-3 years now I reckon..

  10. shalrath says:

    Coffee, Tea, SEGA!

    I’ll always remember, and cherish, those old advertisements.

    And honestly, who didn’t know that downloaded games were shoring up PC gamings ‘decline’? It’s just as popular a platform as it’s ever been.

  11. Hmm says:

    If they really consider the digital download business viable, they should drop Steamworks immediately and choose Impulse Reactor as soon as it comes out.

    Why limit yourselves to Steam when there are other dd channels that would otherwise sell your games, expanding your market, SEGA?

    • RedFred says:

      Hmm hate Steam! Hmm SMASH!!

    • battles_atlas says:

      So much anger Hmm. Valve eat your girlfriend?

    • Wulf says:

      I think one of the most important features of Steamworks is also one of the most important reasons for a publisher to embrace Steam, at least if they’re doing retail. The great thing is is that a part of Steamworks is the ability to plug one’s key into Steam and download the game from Steam at any point, so regardless of what happens to physical media one always has Steam as a backup. That’s a great thing.

      Will Impulse Reactor have a similar feature?

    • Vinraith says:

      DD account linkage as an option is a truly great thing. DD account linkage as a requirement (for third party games, anyway) is anti-competitive bullshit, no matter who does it.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      “If they really consider the digital download business viable, they should drop Steamworks immediately and choose Impulse Reactor as soon as it comes out.

      Why limit yourselves to Steam when there are other dd channels that would otherwise sell your games, expanding your market, SEGA?”

      I can totally see Steam, D2D, Gamersgate et al pushing games which require Impulse installed. I mean it’s not like Impulse, D2D, Gamersgate et al refused to sell games which require Steam installed to play did they?

      Oh wait……

    • snv says:

      Thats the huge difference. Impulse Reactor does not tie the game to impulse as a distributor (at least it’s claimed to, when it comes out).

    • Teachable Moment says:

      “I think one of the most important features of Steamworks is also one of the most important reasons for a publisher to embrace Steam, at least if they’re doing retail. The great thing is is that a part of Steamworks is the ability to plug one’s key into Steam and download the game from Steam at any point, so regardless of what happens to physical media one always has Steam as a backup. That’s a great thing.”

      Well, that’s good for the consumer (thee and me), but why would a publisher give a fsck about that? They got the money for the shiny disc thingy, their job is done, you’re on your own now, mate.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Teachable Moment

      Maybe the logic is that happy customers are repeat customers and also tell everyone else about how great your games / shops / etc are. Conversely there is only so long you can get money out of people you keep annoying unless you have something really unique or you can find a way of replacing old customers with new ones (churn via marketing?).

  12. Ginger Yellow says:

    “The PC digital download business is now a viable sector but somewhat invisible as it’s not yet covered by Chart-Track. The PC market overall is actually performing much better than is currently reported and remains a vital and strong sector to be involved in.” ”

    It might bolster your point if you quantified “viable”, Sega. Snark aside, the continuing lack of transparency over the volume of download sales worries me a lot. If the numbers really were great, the publishers would be shouting it from the rooftops, right? The only time we ever get hard numbers are for indie titles and Stardock, which has fairly modest sales ambitions for its titles. Does Valve lock big publishers into an NDA on its numbers, or is there something else going on?

    • PleasingFungus says:

      From what I understand, the publishers lock Valve into an NDA. Ditto Stardock and Impulse.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Which makes more sense as Steam would be blasting out the numbers as “global sales as digital downloads” every chance possible.

      The numbers have got to be decent.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Why wouldn’t a publisher want the sales known, when its happy for the retail numbers to be known? Valve on the other hand might well rather not advertise the absolute fucking mountains of cash they must be raking in, lest it hurt their indie image, and/or encourage competition from big boys like amazon.

      Publishers wouldn’t want the numbers known so they can continue to bitch relentlessly about piracy destroying civilization and spreading herpies. There, answered my own question. Thread closed.

  13. leeder_krenon says:

    fuck consoles. in the gamepad port.

  14. Ginger Yellow says:

    Oh yeah, another point. Most of these big publishers are listed companies. Don’t shareholders have a right to know this sort of information? Maybe not download platform by download platform, but certainly overall downloads. Seems pretty damn material to me, especially given the difference in profit margin.

  15. Stikls says:

    Pretty pointless to say this if theres no sales numbers to back it up.

  16. Ravenger says:

    It’d be great if Valve would work with NPD, ChartTrack and all the other sales tracking systems and provide sales data. I’m pretty sure that PC games would feature much higher in the charts if they did. We could finally put paid to the ‘PC games are dying’ comments that console owners keep shouting.

    It always strikes me as ironic too that high street retailers, having done their best to kill off PC gaming by relegating them to the back of the shop and only stocking a few titles (because they can’t sell them second hand, where the console profit is made), still have the power to dictate to the digital distribution services about price and availablility.

    For example MW2 was delayed on Steam so that retail could get some sales, and Metro 2033 isn’t available directly from Steam in the UK, only retail, even though it’s a Steamworks game!

  17. jsutcliffe says:

    Heliosicle said:
    But controllers are good for pc gaming sometimes!

    Only because the days of a good joystick and steering wheel being standard gamer equipment are long gone. :(

    • iainl says:

      Sorry, but PC joypads have _always_ been terrible. I don’t have the dongle to use my 360 pads with my PC yet, but that’s only because I’ve already got converters for my DualShocks and Hori Arcade Sticks.

      It’s obvious, really – the likes of Logitech just aren’t catering for as big a market as a console vendor, so can’t provide the same kind of design and manufacturing nous for anything like the same price.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I was talking sticks and wheels, not pads. It stands to reason that console pads are better because they have a much larger market — if you can simply adapt a massively-researched pad for PC use, why bother with anything else?

      Mostly, I was lamenting the time when a game like Dirt 2 would be screaming for you to use a wheel, instead of being so clearly designed with a pad in mind.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      “I don’t have the dongle to use my 360 pads with my PC yet”

      You bought a PC without USB ports? Are you stuck in 1999 or something?

      I too have a USB dongle for using a DualShock 2 with my PC & it truly is a great thing for playing things like Geometry Wars, Spelunky, Gridrunner Revolution etc.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Malibu Stacy

      Having bought a couple of USB converters for my PS2 dual shocks and having never found one that actually works, can I ask what kind you have?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      @Vinraith: I may not be whom you’re asking, but I’m going to answer anyway. I got myself a Mayflash Super Dual Box Pro from Play-Asia, it has served me well over the years. The only issues I had with it is the rumble going insane in ePSXe seemingly randomly, but everything else works perfectly fine.

    • Vinraith says:

      @pkt-zer0

      Thanks! I’ll check that one out.

  18. Novotny says:

    It will decline for this publisher, given that I’lll never be taken in by another Total War title – unless it’s reviews should prove sterling say, six months after release.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      One wonders if the new Total War DLC instead of mods policy is related to this Sega digital downloads thing.

  19. 532sa says:

    PC gaming is dead.

  20. Navagon says:

    Digital distribution is huge. Easily dwarfs retail. The fact that it’s not being taken into account with sales statistics only proves how erroneous those statistics really are.

    Good to see at least one publisher has its head screwed on. But then Sega was slapped down for poor business practises many moons ago. For companies like Ubisoft that has yet to happen.

  21. Ricotta says:

    I still order my games retail, i don’t like the thought of someone else having my game. Plus, you have to have steam to play your games, how annoying is that? Now i just burn my games to my external and don’t have to hunt for the CD anymore

  22. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    The Creative Assembly- boo hiss. We need a new total war clone. One that has AI. Thats the main thing.

    • RedFred says:

      Indeed this would be a grand idea.

    • Stromko says:

      Well there was that King Arthur thing, of course, but I have no idea how well it held up on the AI front. Certainly that whole victory point thing didn’t go over well.

  23. Hmm says:

    @battles_atlas , Red Fred
    Go ahead and tell me that I’m wrong. I DARE YOU. Steam exclusivity is unnecessary, dangerous, not to mention downright STUPID from both customers’ and publishers’ perspective.
    You know this, I know this, everyone knows this.
    That’s why as soon as an alternative like Impulse Reactor shows up, Steamworks should finally be dropped.
    I don’t hate Steam, I really don’t – I often buy some digital-only games there. But I’ve said before that if I get a game from a store or Direct2Drive, I shouldn’t have to install a third-party client to be able to play it.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “I shouldn’t have to install a third-party client to be able to play it.”

      Impulse::Reactor is a third-party client as well (just packaged in a bunch of DLLs), so I’m not seeing how that’d make much of a difference.

  24. Dustin Diamond's Sex-Tape says:

    I prefer this flavour of Sega quote. It gently captures how I feel about them like a modest bra.

    (Sumo Digital’s Steve Lycett RE: Sonic Racing having no PC multiplayer.)

    “Truth is we did look at online support, be it GFW or some other method,” Lycett said. “When we looked into the cost vs the projected sales, the two didn’t add up. So as a result the feature wasn’t added to the game. One of the main reasons is that on PC people will steal it rather than buy it.”

  25. Hmm says:

    @battles_atlas, Red Fred
    Go ahead and tell me that I’m wrong. I DARE YOU. Steam exclusivity is unnecessary, dangerous, not to mention downright STUPID from both customers’ and publishers’ perspective.
    You know this, I know this, everyone knows this.
    That’s why as soon as an alternative like Impulse Reactor shows up, Steamworks should finally be dropped.
    I don’t hate Steam, I really don’t – I often buy some digital-only games there. But I’ve said before that if I get a game from a store or Direct2Drive, I shouldn’t have to install a third-party client to be able to play it.

  26. SmokingKipper says:

    I am going for either intentional or some kind of subconscious freudian slip.

    “Why dear, this steak is lovely and tender, please can you pass the wild bisexual sado-masochistic sex orgy”

    • SmokingKipper says:

      GGGrrarrrr!!! I hit reply!!! This means I would actually like to have my post underneath the post I was referencing.

      Ye Gods!

      For reference, I was replying to Cinnamon’s soon to be classic post.

  27. Ravenger says:

    TeeJay said:
    @ Teachable Moment
    Maybe the logic is that happy customers are repeat customers and also tell everyone else about how great your games / shops / etc are. Conversely there is only so long you can get money out of people you keep annoying unless you have something really unique or you can find a way of replacing old customers with new ones (churn via marketing?).

    I made exactly this point today regarding the Assassin’s Creed DRM. One lost customer due to overbearing DRM is a greater loss than preventing a thousand pirated copies, because it’s unlikely that any of those pirates would have bought your game, but the customer WAS going to buy your game.
    If your game experience is good, then customers will evangalise about it to their friends and buy more of your stuff. If you annoy them with stupid restrictions, bad customer service, or a poor product they’re going to complain about it instead and never buy from you again.