Today i saw this interesting news post on Steam. It really confused me, because i knew those languages were previously available in both Skyrim and its DLCs. Turns out, they were. In locally sold retail copies of the game, which were completely different from the copies you could buy on Steam. In fact, if you'd buy one of those DLC on Steam previously, it seems, they would be incompatible with those specific localized versions of the main game. And this blows my mind.
We're in 2013. We have this wonderful thing called "digital distribution" which came a long way in gaming and other forms of entertainment in the last 4-5 years. From highly untrustworthy deals of early PC EA and console services, where it specifically stated, that you will not be able to redownload the game after a certain period of time, will not be able to get the game if you change your hardware, or couldn't get any service of this kind because you live in a certain part of the world, to super convenient services of today. Most prominently Steam, where you can get your game from any part of the world, you will most likely have regional pricing, since Steam allows developers and publishers to control pricing and restrictions for every single country in the world specifically. Developers and especially publishers with their huge departments dedicated to regional marketing and pricing and all the questions related to choosing best ways to make money in each part of the world, can do this quite easily with huge benefits for both themselves and the end users.
So why the fuck do we have a situation like the one described in the first paragraph? Why the fuck do we have situations like the one, which happened last year with the Russian version of Borderlands 2? Version, which is by the way still a completely separate Russian only game. Game build on Unreal 3 engine, one of the defining characteristics of which is the ability to support for a lot of different localizations at the same time, because of which main Borderlands 2 game supports English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Korean languages. How can you fuck it up?
This baffles my mind. Publishers have access to this huge super easy to use service, with which they can make money while keeping their customers happy. Why is that you are so keen on trying to turn the completely different in the way it works digital distribution into late 90s retail market? It won't work. And why would you? Because that's how it worked previously? Well, guess what, publishers, digital distribution allows you to make money even more easily, why would you cling to the worse way of making money anyway? And it's not a hard thing to understand. I'm saying this because for some weird reason most indie and mid-range developers have no problems whatsoever with making it work the way it should work and making money, while keeping customers happy.
Now, look, i can understand why you would keep the release date separate. It's stupid, very stupid, but fine - you need to keep your retail partners happy and in retail it's usually impossible to make a worldwide release on the same date. Or it least, it seems impossible yet it sometimes happens. But still - that's an important reason and while it still looks stupid in digital distribution age, it still makes sense. But all this "separate versions for different regions" in digital releases bs? Why? Now, i don't know about consoles in this regard, but on Steam it's easily possible to make the game have one id and be considered one and the same game for every region, while making it regionally restricted where needed due to the price difference. It checks IPs. You can circumvent that by using VPN, but it's usually not free slow and painful to use. So most people will not use that and get the proper version for their region for the price you set for them. And if you're afraid that they wont - well, most people aren't dumb to buy cheaper version and waste time with VPN, they will just download the cracked version for free and play the game anyway, while the publisher will get no money from this at all. So why bother with all these stupid hoops for the customer to jump through if he wants a proper version of the game in the first place?
It's really annoying to see huge publishers just completely missing the point of digital distribution and making stupid things, while hoping they will get away with that. I mean, that Resident Evil: Revelations pricing error i was angry about a month ago? Still not fixed. And yes, it was an error - same error, in fact, happened with Remember me at the same time, however that one was fixed few weeks later. RE: Revelations still isn't.
It's weird. We have several amazing services of digital distribution, which are truly the evolution of how you get and pay for your entertainment. Services, which allow publishers and developers make more money out of customers, while keeping them happy. Services which allow to truly cover the global market with ease. And yet all those Rockstars, and 2Ks, and Capcoms, and Zenimaxes are constantly screwing it up for both customers and themselves.