The whole concept of staggered regional releases of digital products makes less and less sense in an internet age, but it does create some bizarre situations. Reader SteveD alerts us to the launch last week of a puzzle game called World of Goo
that was apparently selling quite well (despite the developers' decision to offer it without DRM
-- showing, once again, that you don't need DRM to sell a video game). However, two days after being released, the game disappeared from Steam, the popular video game distribution system, for European users. Apparently, the European publishers of the game wanted to delay the digital release of the game until the physical version was ready
sometime next year. This seems backwards and bound to fail. Now any European player who wants the game is more likely
to pirate it rather than buy it. It appears the game's developers aren't too happy about it either:
"As part of our European agreement, we are restricted from selling the game on Steam in Europe. I'm thinking this was a clause that was accidentally left in, since I can't imagine this kind of restriction is good for anyone. We're going to try to reverse it. We live in the future. We shouldn't even have countries and regions. Just one big Internet where everyone is equal."
It will be interesting to see what happens, as it's nice to think that this was an "accident," but we've seen too many company execs somehow think that artificial scarcity is a reasonable business model, and thus limiting the digital release for a while might make sense in their minds.