The idea of the hardcopy software and download products are doomed. The web, networked storage and processing is coming for you and will destroy you. For companies still in download business, change NOW! (You may already be too late) Don’t wait, don’t say “you don’t understand, our business is different”, call your people together get a road map set up for being completely web/cloud based and fast.
Look around? Everything that is content in a physical form is either destroyed or in the process of being destroyed. (Books, music, movies, TV) Oh sure, they will stick around for some, but fundamentally its over. If you think people will wait for a download game when on an iPad games play in 30 seconds? Or pay monthly for cable channels they never watched, needed or asked for? Your customers will find alternatives if you don’t give them a reason to stay.
Working in the (I’ll say it, sleepy) casual game business I’ve seen countless opportunities go by the wayside for fear and the ever present “That’s not our demographic”. The casual game business audience is perceived to made up of technology laggards. If some one uses the AOL client, they are a casual game player. This has hurt the industry and slowed it down. Download games didn’t have to get swamped in the Facebook/Zynga wake, they chose to. By holding themselves back on “not our demo” they mostly got squashed. Software needs to be a service. Constantly evolving and growing as folks interact with it. A standalone download product with release candidate, gold disks and patches simply isn’t going to fly.
Destroy your business before it gets destroyed.