New Super Mario Bros. 2 is set to be Nintendo's first title that will be both available for purchase at a retailer in physical form or on their eShop as a digital download. While Xbox Live and PSN have already been offering full retail games as downloadable titles on their services, a game has never been simultaneously released both on store shelves and on a system's digital online store.
Obviously, this has spurred quite the debate amongst fans and publishers alike on the topic of whether digital goods should be priced on the same level as widely distributed and manufactured physical products. Nintendo's CEO and President Satoru Iwata believes there's no difference in their value:
"We do not hold such a premise that digitally distributed software has less value. Different people value different things. If we said, this is the only proposal we will make so you have to take it, it would be a problem as there would be no options for the consumers to choose from. On the contrary, what I explained today is that we are proposing the two formats of sales mechanisms from which our consumers can make their own choices.”
In talking with investors about what truly makes digital versus retail goods different, Iwata noted that their value is really in the hands of the consumer's preference. He made an example of the pro's of digital goods as being able to carry around a number of games on a single piece of hardware without lugging them around like retail games.
He also didn't want to alienate retailers, who have been the middlemen of gaming for ages, shelving and delivering games from their developers and publishers since their inception. On that note, Nintendo's CEO made it clear that they too could even sell digital goods, as many stores nowadays do in the form of reedamble download codes, and even price them lower should they choose so since there would be no need for the costs in distributing as with physical media.
But what od you think? Should digital games be priced lower than their retail counterparts?