I guess I still don’t understand “the market”

A year or so, I was talking about how ebooks were frequently more expensive than the equivalent paperback. It was annoying, but I could kind of understand it, due to eBooks being VATable and real books not. Things have since got better, due to Amazon’s creative use of European VAT regulations.

However, I do not understand this other anomaly. Since buying my new laptop, and realising that it is the first computer I have owned in a long time capable of playing decent games, I have been dabbling with various game demos on Steam, which is a gaming distribution platform. In particular one of the demos I have enjoyed is Hard Reset, and I have been considering buying the whole game.

Meanwhile, several people have mentioned Skyrim to me as being an excellent game, so I added it to my list to consider.

Today I saw Skyrim in GAMES, and nearly bought it. It was at a good price, at 22 quid. I then noticed that it uses the Steam platform, so I decided not to buy it, but download it instead. I did this with no great expectation of any saving, but simply because I didn’t need another disc and case cluttering the place up.

However, when I got home, and logged onto Steam, I found that buying it that way would cost me 35 pounds. The virtual copy costs 13 pounds more than the one with media. Since probably the first thing the media copy will probably do is download an updated version, this made no sense to me.

Then I went on Amazon, and found I could buy it for 19 pounds, including postage.

So the virtual version, with no physical distribution costs is almost double the cost of a physical disk that has had to be warehoused, picked and then posted through the Royal Mail. The shop-bought copy is somewhere in between.

Guess what I ordered?

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