I've got the Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray in my hand. But it's more than just a Blu-ray. It's a BD for my PS3, a DVD for my bedroom and a digital copy for my laptop.
Disney, who is probably the most IP-protective company in the entertainment industry, realizes that I'm a lot more likely to buy their Monsters, Inc. Blu-ray for a small price premium if it includes every other format I could possibly want.
So why isn't the video games industry offering me the same choice with multi-platform titles like Call of Duty? Or, put differently, why is it that buying Call of Duty on the 360 doesn't give me a portable version for the DS or my iPhone?
I know, how ignorant of me to ask such a question! Porting a Call of Duty title from the Xbox 360 to PS3 is an expensive endeavor—we're talking huge development teams costing millions of dollars. For the DS or Wii, it's likely that game is designed again from the ground up to accommodate the unique hardware and lower processor specs. If I own an Xbox and a DS, they can't just give me the DS version for cheap or free!
Or could they?
Let's use Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's numbers as an example. According to data from VGChartz, 4,890,348 discs sold of Xbox 360 version alone in the first week. Imagine, for a moment, that $5 extra would buy you Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox 360 alongside a bonus version for the DS. If only 10% of buyers were tempted into this upsell, that's 489,000 additional DS version sold, or an extra $2,445,170 in DS-related revenue for Activision.
And for all of you think this would just cannibalize DS sales, I respond, what sales? Only 12,000 units of the DS's Modern Warfare 2 sold over the same period of time. (More figures on Kotaku.) Plus, by using digital downloads tied to existing PSN, Xbox Live and Nintendo accounts, software companies could greatly limit sharing/resale of these extra versions.