Analysis: More Digital Distribution, SONY

March 18, 2007 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

More Digital Distribution, SONY

Recently, I’ve gotten to thinking a bit more about next-generation consoles and the future of gaming. I think it might be because I’ve gotten into both genres–I now am in the next-generation with a Nintendo Wii and in the current-generation with my PSP. In the future of gaming, what will separate current-generation from next-generation besides just a few graphics-tweaking? Features and Content, I believe.

The majority of gamers, recently, have felt that the “Big Three” is always leaving their best interests behind. Despite all of the great publishing (Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto, Metroid Prime), there’s never enough features and content to make a gamer happy. Addicts will complain that there’s never enough content. Occasional gamers will always complain that there’s never a “simple” game to pick up and put down easily.

Whichever way you imagine it, the future is providing features and content so that both sides of the gaming spectrum will be satisfied. Providing games and content via digital distribution is just a start. SONY, Microsoft, and Nintendo have all been trying. But, it’s my opinion that SONY’s valiant Playstation Store attempt has the most depth. Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, Ridge Racer 7, and flOw are all examples of great games that are digital-only. Some will cost you $20 and others will start at $5. What’s the problem with offering full-length (or near it) games at the same costs for download from your PS3–or any other console for that matter?

Now, we’re hearing that Warhawk will be digital-distribution only. Who cares? It’s less of a wait and less of a trip to your local EBGames or Target where they’re unsure if they’ve even got it in stock. It’s a quick transfer of files to enable happiness in the minds of every gamer. I would not mind a game like Fatal Inertia coming straight to digital distribution for $59.99 at the online store. In full-length with all the same features.

Before I go on, I’ve realized a serious problem. Gigabytes. How much will a full-length game that attempts to achieve everything a Blu-Ray game would take up on your hard drive? With a 20GB or 60GB hard drive, you may find yourself taking up too much space for your own good. Thus, it is the manufacturer’s choice to bring out consoles with more space to begin with. I can just imagine a 100GB or 200GB hard drive ready-to-go inside a PS3 or perhaps a boatload of cheap SD cards at 8GB and 16GB ready-to-go as well. This could all save digital distributed full-length games on it.

In addition to providing full-length games, publishers can also add content to retail games. For example, Rockstar might want to add a new portion of the city to Grand Theft Auto or EA Games might want to add more cars and trucks to unlock in Need for Speed. These could come for bargain prices like $5. By enriching retail games, it assures that the gamer will enjoy the game until no end. It also assures that you’ll get repeat buyers. Publishers and developers would love for this opportunity to arise.

I’m excited to find out the future of digital distribution. I’d love to hear that SONY is planning a Playstation Store by which can be accessed without a PS3. That way, I could digitally distribute loads of PSOne content to my PSP with a simple memory stick upgrade to 8GB. SONY has their hands on a lot of content from the thousands and millions of games that made their way over to PSOne and PS2. Furthermore, with games like flOw trying to push new content into the digital distribution sector, the possibilities are endless.

Digital distribution. It’s clearly the future of gaming.



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