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Will music, software and movie stores become extinct?

Ross O. Storey | Dec. 2, 2009
Plastic disks are on their way out as a storage medium

The SMH reports that: Prices start from about A$15 (US$13.7) for an arcade-style game, while anti-virus software ranges from A$50 (US$46.33) to A$80 (US$74.13).

The managing director of Digital Lifeware, Rhett Sampson, reportedly told the paper that the discs are fully covered by warranty and supported by the manufacturer as its original product.

Sampson said that, apart from reducing costs associated with shipping and stocking physical products, the on-demand kiosks have the added benefit of broadening the retailers' catalogue of software titles. At the moment, there is no overlap between the discs sold on shelves and the software available through the kiosks.

"There are all of these software applications out there and because retailers really couldn't afford to give them shelf space, nobody really knows about them," Sampson says. "Customers end up with an original, quality product as though the manufacturer had made it."

The SMH quotes Big W's Charles Davey as saying that, with the system in place, the retailer doesn't have to manage inventory or worry about stock levels.

Many software titles already can be bought and downloaded online but Sampson says buying software from a kiosk-style system means you don't have to spend time and your own bandwidth quota obtaining it. He says the response from customers so far has been positive.

These are ominous indications for plastic disk retailers that their business model is dying.

Within the next few years (or sooner) I expect that the download digital approach will become a retail standard.


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