1C. Why doesn't that surprise me? Darryl Still has been pushing this misinformation for years in an effort to boost digital.
When you've been dealing with retail, you realise that the margins on games in retail are very, very low indeed. The store I work with (an independent one, not a major chain, which I quote by way of example) makes around €10 off every sold €50-60 game.
That €10 needs to cover the costs of staff, utilities and rent. Although this store in question sells far more games than it does hardware in terms of units, it actually makes more money on hardware and used out-of-print games than it does on new games, which is not a viable source of income in its own right.
I'm yet to find a retailer that only pays 40 per cent. I find it interesting that every time he mentions figures, he feels the need to qualify it with phrases such as "as a generalisation", "let's say". This article means absolutely nothing.
How this works at major online physical retailers such as Amazon and if it is any different to brick-and-mortar I cannot say, but I say with certainty that brick-and-mortar retailers are not oozing in money from games sales and have never been as publishers like 1C would have us believe. There is a reason that many of them are dying out despite being console-centric.
What Darryl said was confirmed by Fred Wester from Paradox - he said that they made almost no money from last retail release (while digital release was success).
These are reasons why retail offer much worse deals to devs:
1. Manufacturing and distribution is dependant on economy of scale - and if you go to retail worldwide withrelatively small number of copies, prices paid for this will be much higher(per copy of game).
2. Whole manufacturing/distribution/retail process require many companies to be involved and each of them need to add some % to cover their expenses and some profit
3. Retail most of the time demad publisher/dev to pay for in-store promotion, stocking fees, returns etc.
4. It takes 90 or 120 days before publisher/dav get their money after game is sold.
So, while shop itself might take only around 10€ from 50€, others involved in whole process will take even more than that.