Back in October, at the ICv2 digital summit, there was a lot of talk about whether digital comics would kill brick-and-mortar stores — one way to stave off that dire future vision was the idea of digital store exclusives — things that you can only download from a store. The video game industry has been doing this for a while. When Dark Horse announced their own digital initiative, retailer exclusives were part of the mix. (DC has also announced their intentions to offer retailer incentives, but they have yet to be made official.)
Anyway, Dark Horse has just announced they will be making exclusive 8-page stories from their hottest titles available only through comics shops — via the print-out-a-code-and-hand-it-over method. Wow. So simple. First titles involved include B.P.R.D., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Mass Effect. PR below and a sample page from B.P.R.D. Casualties above.