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Limbo Developer: New Consoles Need To Embrace Digital

The shift to digital entertainment seems to be inevitable, although analysts say it'll be a while before physical media disappears entirely.

Playdead (Limbo) boss Dino Patti believes the retail model for games "has always been and still is broken." In speaking at the GameCity6 festival, he says it's time that consoles "embrace the download space even more."

"From a developer's point of view... driving discs in a big van all over the world is really inefficient. I don't understand how anyone can make money out of this. Driving a truck to Japan just to get it delivered to people when they can download it from the net? Hopefully new consoles will embrace the download space even more."

Clearly, it's more efficient from a financial standpoint to distribute a game digitally. We know that. But there are benefits to the physical media option, which should be given their just due in our opinion. Patti admits that discs will still be around for quite some time, and he agreed with Sony boss Kaz Hirai that digital media won't take over the world in two or three years. But in the end, the direction may be clear...

Lastly, Patti had one final comment concerning current installation requirements for console games:

"All the new games today also need to be installed. Why did I get a console if the games need to be installed? That sucks. That's a PC. When it takes an hour to install Gran Turismo 5? I don't know. Obviously it improves performance, but they should be able to build consoles with better performance from the disc drive."

That much, I agree with. One of the many reasons I've preferred consoles in the past is because I could hit the power button and play. A lot of that immediate accessibility has started to slip this generation, what with installations and patches; previous hallmarks of the annoying PC gaming world.

Yes, our consoles are basically computers now, but I understand his point.

Tags: playdead, limbo, downloadable games, digital games, game consoles

11/1/2011 9:47:21 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (44 posts)

main_event05
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:07:40 AM
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My main question is would this eliminate piracy or make it worse? If everything is digital it'll only be a matter of time before something gets hacked.

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Warrior Poet
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 5:24:44 PM

It's always just a matter of time until something gets hacked ;)

I use homebrew on my PSP. I've never pirated a game and probably never will, but homebrew is useful. Wouldn't you love it if your PSP was also a Game Boy Advance? And a Sega Genesis? And a graphing calculator?

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main_event05
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 8:36:05 PM

Meh, It'd be cool. But in order to do that, I'd have to at some point pirate some games.

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___________
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 6:46:37 AM

if anything going DL will only make piracy WORSE!
its easy to get rid of the DRMs in place, and with no release date governors in place that will make things even worse.
yea most games have release date checkers but its quite easy to trick them into thinking its a date its not.
i remember 16 days before BF3 released people in korea released a hacked version which fooled origin into thinking the game was already out so they could play it.
a guy in a shop cant be fooled, a computer, well, as the saying goes programs are only as good as the people who coded them.
and, well, seeing $onys security theres allot of idiot programmers out there!

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TheOldOne
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:18:57 AM
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Digital is good for cheap games with small installations. Or old and re-released games. If the game's game data is above 2Gigs, I prefer a disc to install (since my broadband connection is only 3Mb).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:25:49 AM
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He's right about the installs, it's shameful they can't make games that just run. When it comes to the other stuff, you cut out a big market by saying "no internet, no game for you".

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Dreno
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:52:38 AM

As for the installation process, I don't really mind it for the most part. I view it as a necesary evil. Also I get more pumped if its a game I've been dying to play and I start thinking about how I want to play through during the install so its eh for me.
But I can understand how people wouldn't like it. I've read here on psxe that the gt5 install was horrible.

But with the internet statement you made world, I agree with that. For those gamers that don't have access to the net, devs would be cutting out a lot of sales just by people not being able to dl a game.

I know as of right now, if everything were digital, I wouldn't have a game to play. Unless it were on an older console. When I had net, yeah I dl'ed some ps1 classics. And when the psn came back up I took advantage of the welcome back program, but aside form those games, id have nothing else.

I think that new consoles should embrace digital, but I think its needs to remain the same, if not just a little more. Keep the old hard copies of games around that way the devs can still pprofit and not be cutting out any potential buyers.

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NiteKrawler
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:44:57 PM

I can tell you what will happen if things go digital. The ones without Internet would be forced to drive to Gamestop and the like because they will have "download stations" or something of the sort where you plug your console in to install the game. Therefore, you would pay for the game and then also for the download of the game itself from these stations. But at least if you don't have Internet, you aren't paying for LIVE, right? ;)

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:27:36 AM
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ofcourse these guys would say this. digital works okay for the smaller games but until broadband speeds are greatly improved it is just a pipe dream.

even when speeds are improved digital should always sit alongside retail. it should not be mandatory.

yeah he's absolutely right about gt5's install. at least it was optional but the load times were brutal without it. i still think the load aren't so great even with the game installed.

mass effect 2 had a half hour mandatory hd install, then you had to create an ea account and redeem your code and download the cerebus pack if you wanted to play the comic or bonus content. it was a pain in the ass to get that game up and running. very pc like.
what's even more sad is the load times when traveling between decks are still over 2 minutes. just pathetic.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 11/1/2011 10:39:32 AM

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gumbi
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:34:46 AM
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Sure, digital is great for smaller games like Limbo. But can you imagine trying to download GT5? I could drive to the store, buy the game, pick up dinner, come home, unwrap the game, start installing it, cook and eat dinner, and start playing before my download would have been at 25%

And you think those installation files are taking up a lot of HDD space? imagine if you had full games on there. You can't just take the game out and put it on the shelf in it's case. If you're out of space and you feel like playing a different game you have to delete it, and then what if you wanna throw that game back on some night? You have to download it... AGAIN! no thanks.

Until we have screaming fast internet readily available to everyone who plays games, and MASSIVE hard drives in our consoles then no, I personally don't think that digital distribution is more efficient... not yet.

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ZenChichiri
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:35:58 AM
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I do agree with what he says about the installs too, but I disagree about eliminating physical media. I like to proudly display my gaming software on shelves in my home. When people walk into my home I want them to immediately notice the games and if they are into that sort of thing, then check them out. It's great to hear when someone says to me "omg you have THAT game. How awesome, me too!" or "it's so rare, nice!"

Back in my home in Canada people would always comment on my console SNES games I had displayed. "FF3? Wait that's FF6 right? Holy shit!" I hope later in my life people will be surprised when they see the likes of MGS4 and Uncharted 3 as well. I understand the points about distribution, but damn it feels nice to have physical media, and I sure hope it doesn't die.

Sorry to inconvenience you developers, but I like it the way it is! Give a slight discount to the people that go digital, I don't mind (but it had better be slight!). It would be like the difference between people that buy hardcover novels and people that buy softcover. If you want the supreme product you'll have to pay a premium (of course not the extent of the price gap between hardcovers and softcovers).

Last edited by ZenChichiri on 11/1/2011 10:38:00 AM

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mk ultra
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:23:53 PM

I completely agree with this statement.

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ColTater
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 1:30:45 PM

Finding that price gap is difficult though. Physical copies as they are now (in the US)are $59.99 for all new releases. So how much should the digital version cost? Would you say $49.99? So, basically the extra $10 is for the plastic case, the printed manual, the disc itself, and shipping and production costs? Or should it be lower than that? I don't have an answer, just random thoughts.

Also taking into account, how would the different pricing points affect sites like amazon, or gamefly where they sell new releases with lower prices or you have the ability to use coupons from previous purchases? How would they price their stuff because I know most if not all of their new release games are cheaper than the $59.99 that the big box stores (Target, Walmart, Gamestop, Toys R Us, Best Buy, etc) charge?

Last edited by ColTater on 11/1/2011 1:32:24 PM

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:40:49 AM
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There's certainly a lot to consider here. And I definitely don't think one side or the other is correct beyond personal preference.

Some great issues to consider made for both sides for me include:

1) Why get a disk if you have to install a bunch of info anyways?

2) How is my internet service going to make it easy for me to download games at 10+ GB per game? (Likely more with the next gen!)

3) What about people with limited or slow connectivity?

4) How about collectors?

5) Can a developer justify the cost of shipping and handling if their game is unlikely to be a blockbuster hit?

6) Does physical media make it more difficult for developers to take chances with creativity?

7) Why would I choose a console over a PC if I have to install everything anyways?

8) Will this allow games to be sold at a lower price point, or will consumers suffer due to a much longer amount of time before prices drop? Afterall, there would be no need to move shipped copies off shelves to help drive cost down.

9) Do I have to let my system run for a full day to download some massive game and find something else to do? Or will it work in the background of the next system? And will it cause any online gaming to lag?

10) If my system breaks down, is there any back up system that will allow me to plug n' play my HDD so I don't have to re-download EVERYTHING? Or will we play directly off a cloud server? Or what if the HDD itself craps out? What about movies and backwards compatibility?


And then of course, it comes down to my preference. I -love- my shelves that hang off my wall on either side of my entertainment system where I can see my games in front of me. Yeah, I know, it's not really a big deal, but it gives me a nostalgic feeling. It's equally fun to go through storage and stumble across some old SNES games, or something.

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:54:54 AM

those are all great questions. i greatly suspect if we went to an all digital format publisher's would absolutely rape us in terms of pricing. i think there will always be a place for the physical medium. it will never be totally abandoned.

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 11:42:10 AM

There's also the big one about, how some consumers don't have Internet. Either by choice or because of availability.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 1:04:34 PM

Yeah, I agree, Bigrailer. It's also my #3!

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 2:01:38 PM

Ha, sure is. Overlooked it for some reason.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 3:18:12 PM

no worries! ^.^

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main_event05
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 8:39:16 PM

Seeing that collection that I have accumulated really is a big deal.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 11:56:55 AM

Underdog15,

1 thumbs up & 2 hands clapping!

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 10:58:21 AM
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The install part does truly hinder the experience a little bit.

Readingthe rest though, I almost threw up... "C'mon man!"

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:06:45 PM
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So says the purveyor of smaller downloadable titles...

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Beamboom
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:09:20 PM
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So, on one hand he's saying "hey, embrace digital downloads!" and on the other hand he says "hey, it sucks to install stuff!". Make up your friggin' mind.

Digital download == 100% install.



Last edited by Beamboom on 11/1/2011 12:10:45 PM

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dmiitrie
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 1:07:50 PM

His point is that people should install OR play off disk, not both.

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Beamboom
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 7:00:59 AM

Hehe - and the point of that being...? A full install is ok, but not a partial? The disk distributed games should be held back by not taking advantage of the hard drive, while the digital distributed titles can enjoy full hd speed?
It's nonsense.

Last edited by Beamboom on 11/3/2011 7:02:46 AM

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enjoi
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:20:21 PM
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So I can spend 30min installing Gran Turismo 5 or spend a week downloading all 50gigs of it. Wonder which I'd choose.

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mk ultra
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:35:32 PM
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Yeah driving disks in a giant TRUCK to JAPAN does sound really inefficient. I would use a plane.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:54:28 PM

Or press the disks locally in each region...

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 1:06:08 PM

Yeah brilliant idea! Publish games in each regi... oh wait...

lol

XD

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johnld
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 12:52:22 PM
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as much as i respect his guy's opinion, even though i dont really know who he is, he's a little out of touch with the people actually playing his games. talk to me after he makes a bigger game(gt5 or mgs4 big) and download it himself with a slow connection speed(not everyone has the highest connection speed, i got 3mbps connection). lets see if he's still believes that digital is the way to go after all that.

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dmiitrie
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 1:16:30 PM
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Hopefully, these statements will mean that there will be greater variety and access to downloaded titles rather than the end of physical ones.

I have zero desire to see physical copies ever disappear, people should always have that option. But it annoys me to know end how little support digital download gets from consoles. There's absolutely no reason I can think of why new, AAA games can't be available digitally from day 1. Again, more options and more choice should be the goal.

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FullmetalX10
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 1:57:10 PM
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Uncharted doesn't need installs and we all know that runs more than fine :D

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DemonNeno
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 2:57:11 PM
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Digital media has too many downfalls, IMO. I would much rather stick to physical media. My biggest gripe with downloading data is the bandwidth cap we already face. The wifi on the PS3 is natively slow(er) than my wired connection. Trouble is, not everything in my house can get wired.

I think technology needs to slow down. Very much like the heated debate about the next-gen consoles, we need to realize that what we already possess is far form optimized. Instead, new tech comes into the picture and introduces more stability issues, more procedures to learn/understand and more money.

If we only took the time to stabilize what we do possess... This includes digital media in a very big way! Look at the download speeds you require to get games in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, they may argue that production is at a loss by distributing physical media, but I'm at a much bigger loss accepting $80/mo+ for download speeds that are worth a damn. Every month. How often will we truly utilize such speeds? I'm currently using Comcast (chicagoland) broadband, rated at 16MB yet never touch these speeds on actual downloads 99% of the time. Bandwidth caps. Everywhere.

The thought of downloading a 30GB game makes me shart myself. Nooo thanks, sir!

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 3:23:16 PM

I'm ok with people pushing technology to the next level constantly. I agree it causes stability issues, but learning from mistakes has -always- been the most effective way of learning in life in general.

However, I think you and I would both agree, that such advancement should not come at the cost of supporting relatively new tech that is still yet to be optimized. It's not fair to force people to constantly upgrade. Especially if there is more potential from a particular piece of technology!

It's actually the main reason I don't spend a lot of money on PC gaming. Some of my PC games are my favorite, but I assure you I don't have the newest anything, including games, on my PC.

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burnedknight
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 3:17:49 PM
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I never want to see all digital, it would be nice to offer both digital and retail so the consumer could choose.

I personally would rather buy games at the store and install rather than waiting hours for the game to download at my connection speeds

Last edited by burnedknight on 11/1/2011 3:20:53 PM

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Warrior Poet
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 5:25:51 PM
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Games are really, really big pieces of software, especially when there's HD videos and lossless audio involved. Uncharted 3 is supposed to have 10 hours of play time, but it takes up 50 gigabytes. I can't see a game like that being distributed digitally for quite a while.

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tes37
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 5:27:37 PM
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Everything he asks for is accessible now except for the no install. Faster read speed for bluray will eliminate that.

What we need is what we have already. That my friends, is a professional console maker named Sony. If everything goes to some weird cloud based server for games, my machine of choice will be a Sony.

I'm loyal when it comes to quality.

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Wissam
Tuesday, November 01, 2011 @ 7:09:00 PM
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Never heard of the guy. Limbo who ? he does not make sense btw.

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shiroxkatsuya
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 12:19:16 AM
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until 10+mb connections are the world standard we can not move completely to the digital era. that would leave out many people from enjoying the world of next gen gaming. push towards making highspeed the standard before we start talking about digital consoles.

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___________
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 6:48:13 AM
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embrace of course allot of people prefer to download their titles so not giving them to option to do so would be turning a sale away.
but theres also heaps of people that prefer retail, or people who simply are forced to retail.
thats why choice is always so important that way you cater to everyone instead of restricting your sales to certain people.

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firesoul453
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 10:19:49 AM
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Digital WILL NOT become more popular than disks until the average customer can download a massive game (and next generation games are almost certanly going to be larger) as fast as getting release day shipping.

And (unless hard drives become much cheaper to just include) games will probably just stream on the cloud..... (Streaming only games will be a very sad day for the industry :( )


Either way, I hate digital products and rarely download them. (Often if I think DLC will be something I very much want, I will wait for some special edition that includes it on the disk, and I havn't ever regredtted waiting yet)

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Nerull
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 @ 12:54:10 PM
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I'll embrace digital when ISP's embrace not gouging me for bandwidth.
Seriously it's disgusting having a month's limit fill up after downloading A game or 2, and that's with being a douche by limiting my uploading on movies and music.

If hard copies disappear bandwidth policies MUST change with it.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, November 03, 2011 @ 4:37:40 PM
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It's nice to see how greedy the guy is. He would rather push all the costs to the customers end. 20 years from now this might be a viable option but as of now it CAN'T happen. Just read some of the above posts for the reasoning why.

He seems like the type of person that doesn't realize albums are still sold even in the digital age some people still prefer vinyl, or like another person stated hard copies of books. Even after a couple thousand years people will still buy hard copies of books. What about collecters editions? I'm sure Activision would love to go digital only and not be able to sell their overpriced collecters edition of their next big piece of shovelware.

Let alone going digital only would give the industry to much power over pricing. Look at Elder Scrolls: Oblivion for the PS3 the Shivering Isles DLC is still priced at $30 dollars after being on the store for almost 4 years now. When you can get it for $10 at just about any physical store. We the consumers already have to deal with the monopoly that is Gamestop, we don't need to fight with the publishers as well.

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