Overwatch digital version priced out of all reason

The beta for Blizzard’s latest shooter Overwatch has finished. It’s a great game, plenty of fun and looks great; but that’s a tale for another time.

The open beta will have prompted plenty of gamers to go out and place their pre-orders for Overwatch, if they hadn’t already, and they’re going to hit some disappointment. Plenty of them, such as myself, are going to want to purchase the title digitally. It’s more convenient: the files will pre-load so the game simply unlocks on launch day and I can switch games at any time in a gaming session as I don’t need to pop the disc in. I’m also not going to damage the title and, given I never trade anything in, those are all benefits with no drawbacks.

So I duly went to make my purchase. I have one option for purchasing the digital version and that is to visit Microsoft’s own Xbox store. Here the game is an eye-watering £54.99 for the ‘Origins’ edition, which gives me an additional skin for one hero (er, great).

Heading over to Amazon, the physical version of the game retails for just £42. I can even still get the ‘Origins’ edition with that all important skin (plus a coin, for some reason) for £44.99. As a direct comparison, Overwatch is £10 cheaper if you buy an actual, printed disc copy.

I get that publishers/Microsoft/whoever has to host the game files on servers for people to purchase and want to cover those costs, but they also don’t have the messy business of, you know, actually manufacturing anything to worry about. I’m sure this is Microsoft selling for Overwatch’s RRP, but the fact is that most people just don’t pay that anymore, they go to places like Amazon.

This is by no means unique to Overwatch, it’s commonplace. It has simply been highlighted again by another highly anticipated release. Until this ridiculous model changes, digital downloads are going to struggle to overcome their physical counterparts.

James Oliver

I have a keen interest in anything from the original Star Wars trilogy through to the Star Wars Expanded Universe – as well as everything that encompasses. Mostly interested in things which fly or make noise (ideally both), I like playing with new gadgets and buying phones on a whim.

  • Tristan Staff

    I thought this would have been the case years back when digital copies gained popularity, but unless you’re buying from somewhere like steam, game prices are still RRP or higher unless on a special. Even console launch titles such as Ryse and Forza are still the best part of £50 (or last time I checked). To make matters worse, MS has a habit of only selling a game within a bundle. Forza Horizon 2,which my boy is after, is only purchasble digitally as part of a bundle including various DLC items. Digital only should mean more choice not less!

    • Udimion

      It is ridiculous!

      I enjoyed the open beta and was all set to pre-order the game foolishly thinking that as it is only a MOBA and has no single player element whatsoever, it wouldn’t be too expensive.

      I was rather annoyed when I saw the price, and astounded that there wasn’t a regular game available for preorder, but instead a stupid origins pack with some pointless extras that I really don’t care about. Who bothers to spend money on special skins for characters?!!?

      I don’t know if the blame lies with Microsoft or Blizzard or perhaps both, but they have just priced Overwatch out of my price range for this type of game. And even if the price is reduced during the next sale, it may well be too late, as I suspect many of the players at launch will have moved on to other games by that point, leaving a game full of bots.

      • It’s not really a MOBA though.

        Game on release day for £42 I can get by with, but I want that to be digital. This bundle shit is rubbish, you’re right.

        • Udimion

          If they really want to sell a bundle they should have them both available, so that normal people can just the game, and no one can bother with the silly bundle nonsense.

          • Oh for sure. The T-shirt/coin/statue bollocks that you can get with it holds no interest for me at all.

        • Th3darkknight

          You can always buy it from some other region’s Xbox live market.

          Have done that a few times to get a deep discount:)

  • Udimion

    I really enjoyed the beta – really honed my Pharah skills, but suspect I’ll have to diversify a bit if I actually get the game (providing the offer a digital version at a sensible price).