Whether we like it or not, a future ruled by digital distribution is coming and the act of driving down the street to go buy a game is over.
"Rumors upon rumors have circled the web lately of a PlayStation 4 that ditches the optical bay and forces consumers to buy games through the PlayStation Store." But that's simply not true. The PS4 supports physical games, on Blu-Ray, as well as digital downloads.
Yeah, once everyone has broadband internet we'll have digital only. By limiting your audience to just people who have broadband AND are willing to ditch the idea of used games AND are willing to buy massive hard drives to fit them all on AND are willing to pay the outrages prices on PSN and XBLA, you've got a much smaller audience and your games can't florish as much as they would be able to otherwise. The whole point of releasing games on multiple consoles is to increase your audience, that's the goal. Going backwards and throwing out a massive portion of your audience is retarded.
DD could be a great thing for many people. No trips to stores, no worrying about stock or inflated secondhand prices, no clutter, etc. But it also means that we're essentially paying for a service, not a product. Devs and pubs SHOULD have to adjust their retail model accordingly, but instead they just treat it as a means of sleazy income and consumer control. I mean good god, why are we paying the same amount of money for games that have a HUGE amount of their overhead cut out of their production?
man, just imagine all that fat we are going to build up. seriously, people do want to get out more often.
I don't have an Xbox so I don't know about XBL, but how are the prices on PSN outrageous? They sell them at the same or lower price than you would find them at a store (brand new). I haven't seen the practive with PS3 games, but Vita games are $5 cheaper on PSN than their physical counter parts. The only real argument you can make is that the PSN doesn't have the variety you can find by shopping various stores. You can typically find stores that are having sales or buy games used for cheaper than the full price, but PSN has it's sales as well. If you're looking to buy a game day 1 and your options are PSN or a normal store, you probably aren't going to find it cheaper at a store than PSN.
cjflora, The PS3 almost always has the game at the same price as the physical disc or even higher than a store would sell it for. I like physical distribution for two reasons. First, I just like having a physical item in my had. I like being able to look over at my collection on the shelf. I hate not having something tangible when I buy it. I'm the same way with CD's. I'm the kid that will still go to the store to buy a CD instead of buying it on itunes. Second, by letting multiple stores sell games, that makes them compete for the best price. If there is only one way of buying a game, they aren't going to compete with themself. They can just keep it the same price for the longest time. Best Buy is always having some good deals as well as Amazon. I mean, I was able to buy The Sly Collection for $15 a while back because of sales. I highly doubt the PlayStation store would do sales like that very often because they have no reason to. They have no competitors on pricing of the game.
I would prefer to have a game on a disc which would entitle me to download it as well. I like having a physical disc for two reasons: as Ilovetheps4 mentioned below, to look at them on a shelf and also if in the future I am not able to re-download it. Thing I like about having games on a hard drive is that I can play them at will without having to load the disc. Best of both worlds. To be fair, developers would probably have to ensure that if I sell the disc my local copy would be invalid.
@ Cjflora Unless you apply absolutely no effort on finding deals, retail copies are almost always cheaper. Like Dead Space 3 had buy and get 20 dollar vouchers at Bestbuy / Amazon. Kmart recently had it for $45 dollars. Gamestop recently had it for $40 dollars. Do you recall Dead Space 3 being $40 on the PSN, because I sure don't. Even when Sony does a sale, it just about matches previous deals. This week we got All-Stars for like $25 digitally, where as retail was $20 a while back at Gamestop. I can literally list hundreds of examples, which is quite depressing...
I'm not understanding why embracing digital distribution means rejecting physical copies. I think most people already embrace going digital, they just don't want to lose the option of buying a physical copy.
I use psn, steam, and origin for digital downloads,but I am not a satisfied customer. When my bandwidth will alowe me to download in a reasonable time frame (not hours) then I will accept this as the norm, until then ...no.
I would buy digital if it was reasonable. $60 is not reasonable. $20 would be reasonable.
That is correct but expect more and more titles to be available only through digital. Sony already announced all games will be available online. We already seen last generation the adoption of smaller scaled games only available through the store, I expect that to grow. With online codes already becoming common practice it is just another step educating the gamer of staying online and connected.
there's a downside to that though. This means not every buyer needs to buy it on the day the game is released. They can wait a year or so before they "feel" like downloading it. When you give people the impression that the game is not going to go anywhere, then they think they have all the time in the world. They will simply wait for a price drop. Just imagine how this would affect some smaller companies that usually take long ways to sell millions. You need both and I don't think physical is going to stop at all. If it was really all digital, man, people will simply stop gaming because they no longer have that luxury to buy.
@jc48573 I have never went and picked up a phsyical game because I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find it in the future...
In reply to jc48573 Why? Now you won't have to pre-order or worry about the game being in stock. People that want to play it right away will still buy the game. Of course there are many downsides with just being digital. Being able to trade, lend, sell and all of that freedom that comes with physical discs. Also game collectors. But I don't think people will wait longer because it's digital. The other fear is of course price fixing. Without the used market they can control prices more. People love Steam because of the deals they offer so gamers are more lenient to it being digital. We haven't seen prices as competitive on consoles and there are royalties and other things in place. The AAA games will be the last to go to digital only. They will want as many customers as they can get and not everyone has access to broadband just yet. They will all want to do away with physical formats one day but that day isn't here yet.
When i can lend, trade in, sell and borrow digital copies, when the quality is high enough (with movies and music), when it doesn't take 3 days to download something, when ISP's ditch download caps and when there's a way to admire my collection on my shelf- only then will I maybe think about it. I'm so not into digital that I've started to buy my music in CD format again.
@arron That's all the reasons why digital wont be the main way to get games for a long time, games are really big ppl cant compare them to music it takes me about 15 to 20 mins to get a 700mb movie if i had to wait 4 to 5 hours for a game minimum i wouldnt bother it would be easier to just go to the shop and buy it and it is usually cheaper.
One thing I give Sony credit for; they still remember the people with limited or no internet access, and the idea to have "options" towards either digital or physical is a bonus. To the author: Digital distribution is "part" of the reason why stores like Circuit City went out of business. You also have to factor in customer service, online vs visiting the store (I bought Skyrim on PS3 with tax/shipping under $50 new online where stores here was $60 before tax), and budgets. Lately I've found deals, and certain gaming products online that I can't find at Best Buy or even Wal Mart; and outside 1 hiccup back in 2009 I've had nothing but good experience with online purchasing and will continue to buy online since I can save $ and have a much better experience. With Sony giving the option that "every" game can be demo'd before purchase makes it easier to know what I'm getting into instead of just blind buying and "hoping" I get a good purchase.
too bad it doesnt actually support the blu ray disk games you already own.
Sony is smart enough to realize that some of their users that have bought the PS3 have no high speed internet service to log on to PSN to download games. Hell my cousin just got high speed internet like a month ago after trying for about 3 years(we live in the mountains of west virginia). Until they get high speed to damn near everyone(and remember this wouldn't just mean USA but other countries as well) I think it's a horrible idea to go digital only. In fact, the day consoles go digital only that will be the day I find a new hobby. I'd much rather own something tangible, something I can hold in my hands and share with others. And no I'm not talking about my penus.
I think a lot of gamers have already embraced DD, what with PS+ filling our HHDs with free (pretty much) games and Steam on PC.
Also, it has been confirmed that PS4 will have a Bluray drive, I'll look for a link...
embraced? yea right, let me go to the store and they are giving away games that are pretty much free and see if I dont leave with 2 carts full. the death of physical media = the death of your rights. Steam is on an open system you may buy from their competition at any time. meanwhile PSN, Live and Eshop are all closed networks, with no competition, so they can do what they like because ? what is the user going to do Not buy the game if its the only option to get it? you loose your rights to own a back up of a game the second its digital only because of some well written 50 page agreement that swindles you out of your rights, and actions you can take against them. its despicable but suckers keep falling for it until its too late. your harddrive only lasts so long , you think they are gonna give you a replacement of the 400$ you spent on DLC and Digital downloads in 2020 when your console breaks?
"your harddrive only lasts so long , you think they are gonna give you a replacement of the 400$ you spent on DLC and Digital downloads in 2020 when your console breaks?"
As far as PSN goes you can re-download any content you have paid for at any time, just like steam.
@galactic But most are limited to a few times to download plus if you have the disc you dont need to wait a few hours to download again you just put it in and play. The funny thing is about this digital crap ppl complained about the mandatory installs on the ps3 taking 5 mins or even less but waiting 5 hours is fine ? I dont get it and it doesnt matter anyway because not enough ppl world wide have the net for it yet so the companies that tried doing it would go broke fast.
I buy digital whenever possible. All or most of the games I'll buy for PS4 will be digital. But ditching physical copies would upset a lot of people.
I agree, it will be a little while before it would be smart to consider not offering physical copies, but I think Sony will be really pushing DD this generation to get prepared for it. They've always been the ones pushing media formats with the PS1 having the first CD drive, the PS2 with the first DVD drive and the PS3 with the first Bluray drive. I always wondered if they would push another media format with the PS4 and that is what DD will be for them, with Bluray as the alternative.
Please slap your self thank you.
Hey vegeta, what does your scouter say about the articles power level?
Sorry about the whole PS4 ditching the blue ray drive everyone! I wrote the article before the conference and had it stuck in drafts until I posted it today! Will change the error ASAP :)
Decency and humility are refreshing to see. Bubble.
Thanks buddy. What a respectable person, you don't see that very often in this industry's journalists.
To have a 60 Meg connection, but these gaming companies need to realise not everyone can get these speeds. Even in my area there are still streets that have not got fibre yet, digital maybe the future but in my opinion distant future.
I have 100 Mbps internet, and there's times where I'll get a game patch and it takes forever (especially anything EA related); I just hope this next gen they adjust their speeds accordingly so it doesn't take an hour to download a 5 MB patch.
If you still are waiting a long time for a patch to download I'm thinking you are not getting the speed you think you are. I have 30mbps and the longest any patch takes is a couple of minutes. With 100 mbs it should take you like 30 seconds.
@lashes2ashes Not really you can have a 500mb connection, that if the content provider (EA, Steam, etc) can only send it to you at 1MB per second, then thats the download speed you are going to get
First publishers need to respect gamers and price digital games properly. They save a lot of money with digital copies (publishing costs), not to mention second-hand copies are not possible with DD. Only then I can talk about embracing digital distribution
Internet providers need to embrace digital distribution in most parts of the world.
The potential of PS3 games bought through the PSN not carrying over to the PS4 would be a big blow to console DD. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, that's not true.
This is my big issue with the PS4. They had better make PS3 PSN purchases available via Gaikai soon after the PS4 launches or it will greatly decrease my interest in DD.
Physical isnt going anywhere. Not until there is a woldwide standard on bandwidth and speed availability. Console makers will be alienating a large portion of their userbase if they were to do so now
I love digital downloads. Hell, about half of my games are digital. But with games getting more and more complex, the file sizes just keep getting bigger. Uncharted 3 is 43.5 gigs! That's nuts. So, unless my ISP gets higher speeds and allows larger downloads, I'll stick with physical for those huge games. Plus, an advantage of physical is box art. I love me some box art! :D
I don't "need" to do anything except sleep and poop, thank you.
What about eat?
If one needs to poop, one needs to eat as well, so it's implicitly covered.
What about peeing?
This just makes me laugh because I think about a life of only necessities. It would be really boring and smelly.
How can we all do that when a big portion simply can't even if they'd want to? I'm very lucky to have a 100Mb/s connection with no data caps for 40€, but there are too many gamers who don't have access to such luxury.
PLUS is amazing a lot of games free and PSN has a great discounts AC 2 for 9.99, Ridge Racer 7 for 9.99, Uncharted 1 y 2 for 19.99, the original crysis for 19.99, Wipeout HD for 7.50, Mass Effect 2 for 19.99. Half of my games are digital and are amazing because you can download twice, but the problem is the HDD space and the download times, Uncharted 3 43.5 GB , Ni No Kuni 25.6 GB ¡¡¡¡ , in this cases I prefeer buy the disc.
The issue really isn't that people don't want to embrace it, it's that a massive portion of gamers do not have the means to have this as a primary way to get games. it just isn't viable to make digital distribution only consoles at this time
Perhaps players would embrace it more if prices were reasonable. PSN charges £60 for the likes of Far Cry 3 and Crysis 3. Why buy digital when you can save at least £20 buying from Amazon? Sure, sometimes a sale will bring prices down to Amazon's level but nothing even close to steam. FC3 is on sale for £40 right now!
PS+ has had awesome deals over the last few months. FC3 was 35€ on PSN at the Christmas deals. Some other deals since December: PSASBR 23€, BL2 & Season Pass 40€, Journey & The Unfinished Swan 12€, NFS:MW 27€, Dishonored 23€. I bought them all immediately for those prices. And those are just the fresh games.
Hmmm i dont mind digital downloads but Sony has to make sure that digital titles are cheaper than physical copies.
If publishers want us to embrace digital then they need to take a good, hard look at their pricing. Paying £55-60 for a digital copy is ridiculous especially when it's £35-40 in retail stores. Digital only just isn't a reasonable possibility atm. ISPs would have something to say about digital only consoles as they won't allow millions of people downloading 60-80GB games without it affecting their service. I think we are a long way off from a digital only world.
ISP's need to embrace DD
price is the biggest problem in what world does it make sense for any digital game to be 20% more expensive than the physical copy? The costs of putting the game up for people to play instead of putting them on discs and sending them out must have shrunk the distribution costs by an insane amount, so its either greed or console creators are p**** whipped by retailers. They really need to take a great many cues from steam.
Well you seem to have put very little thought into any of this. Prices for the most part are tiered on PSN. Minis, PS1, PS2, PS2 HD, PSN games, classics, PS3 etc... Pricing can seem off compared to retail but it's to keep games in price tiers. You can always wait for a sale or for it to drop to a reasonable level. They aren't going to lowball retail and ruin that relationship (yet) especially since you can buy anything on PSN from most retailers and they just print/send you a code. They don't have to put the game on a cheap disc but they do still pay a lot keeping their own network up and running though. Also keep in mind as of now you are buying 2 copies at a time on PSN, used to be 5 but people abused it. Any game (usually co-op or multiplayer game) I get on PSN goes on both of my systems so I can play them with friends on 2nd tv in the same room. I can't lend them out like I do with my disc games but I also can't play my one disc on 2 Ps3 at the same time.
brand new just released games on steam are usually around 30 quid usually a little less and i get resolution settings, so i don't need to buy a hd re release later etc. Sony need to say f*** off and start selling games digital games at reasonable prices to retailers who would still sell the consoles. I'm not going to wait years for games i like to fall to reasonable prices. If sony gave people a limit of 5 how are they abusing it? The price structure needs to change otherwise its sony telling people they're not serious about digital games(50 pounds for a new game just think about it)
Digital distribution will be pushed more and more with the next gen, but we will not see a digital only console at least for the next gen. Sony shot themselves in the foot with PSP Go.
I for one like to have a physical copy of my games because i feel like I actually own the game. There are too many problems with digital distribution for me to jump on the boat at the moment. I'm also not very fond of waiting forever for my games to download. Personally I think we should should go from discs to flash storage for games once flash gets a little cheaper. It'll be like the good old cartridge days without loading screens.
Cox Cable Cox TV Starter $24.99 Cox TV Economy $34.99 Cox TV Essential $63.99 Cox Advanced TV $63.99 Cox Advanced TV Preferred $73.99 Cox Advanced TV Premier $83.99 DVR Service $10.00 HD Service Free Digital Receiver $8.50 High-Definition Receiver $8.50 High-Definition DVR Receiver $8.50 Whole Home HD DVR (Receiver & Plus Package) $13.50 CableCARD™ $2.00 Premium Channels HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz Monthly Price HBO $15.00 Any 1 Premium Channel $15.00 Any 2 Premium Channels $25.00 Any 3 Premium Channels $34.00 All 4 Premium Channels $42.00 Self-Installation (mailed to your home) $19.99 Professional Installation $49.99 Cox Internet Cox Internet Essential $41.99 Cox Internet Preferred $55.99 Cox Internet Premier $67.99 Cox Internet Ultimate $99.99 Professional Installation$49.99 Self-Installation (mailed to your home) $19.99 Home Network Professional Installation $40.00 Home Network Support (optional) $9.99 Wireless Broadband Gateway - Purchase $129.99 Wireless Broadband Gateway - Rental $6.99/mo. Wireless N USB Network Adapter (optional) $59.00 Cox Phone Cox Digital Telephone Starter $13.18 Cox Digital Telephone Essential $21.99 Cox Digital Telephone Premier $34.99 Cox Unlimited Nationwide Long Distance $15.00 Simply Worldwide $2.99 Mi México 200 $7.99 Professional Installation (up to 2 lines) $19.99 $9.99 Cox Service Protection Plan $6.99 These are examples of how pricing models have evolved over the years in other areas of "service based" industries. No time to do cell phones, home monitoring, or PC software licenses/subscriptions but I think the above should suffice in generating patterns for observation.
Cable and internet are bad examples of pricing models since the prices are fixed in most areas. The cable companies have divided the US into sections that don't allow any real competition. The prices are higher in the US than they should be and the service isn't as good as it should be. Until we get a real open system it will be a failure. And I say that being in an area that recently got real competition and has much better prices already than a lot of areas.
The digital format is considered an ageless format. It will always be considered in new condition. While it saves money in manufacturing and shipping costs for the developer it requires maintenance and upkeep costs to store it on a server. This upkeep is funded through services paid by the consumer. The savings passed on to the consumer will be minimal if any. In return the consumer is getting convienance and that will be one of their excuses when you don't see a price drop. The developers are indeed pushing this well beyond consumer demand. The benefits to the developer well exceed the benefits to the consumer. For starters the digital format is a format well controlled. It is also a format that will never compete with used games. It is a format that will always be tied to a governing service. This service will never let you own or freely control your game. That means the game will never be played by anyone beyond you, and never beyond your service term, whenever that may be. So, this means that digital has no more competition outside of other services. Under this condition it does indeed make the pricing model examples comparable as games are being offered the same way...through service and only through service. If no competing service exists expect games and their service prices to rise. If competition exists then expect prices to be a bit lower. Just don't be fooled into thinking that paying for services to maintain the digital format is cheaper than manufacturing and shipping to the store with a mark up. At least the latter is a one time cost. Service and maintainance is ongoing.
You are completely wrong. Digital games can work in the same way digital music works. There are changes that need to be made to the license model, but there is no reason you can't transfer a game from console to console. BTW, Sony and MS games only work on their consoles. So yes it might be tied to a brand of console, but not to the console. The saving over disc are also far more than you say. No shipping, replication, master to press, royalties for disc format, retail mark-up, storing product, buying cases, designing artwork for cases, the game is always available(no missed sales), less storage needed on servers once popularity goes down, a handful of servers can service the world, places like Australia can be charged realistic prices(also increases sales) and I'm sure there are other things. Companies say it not much difference because they want to charge you the same price. It's just not true. Fifteen to twenty percent of the cost of a game comes from it being on a disc. You seem to think games reduce in price now because of competition. What game has ever gone down in price because it was old. It only goes down when the demand dies. Black Ops II will be $60 until the next CoD comes out. You may find it on sale, but there are games on sale online every day too. There is zero competition now. Online or off. They charge whatever we will pay.
In the game industry this business model is still in its' infancy. The above information tells us what to expect in the near future. Here's how a gaming pricing structure would eventually look like. Bronze Online Gaming Package 39.99/Year Silver Online Gaming Package 49.99/Year Gold Online Gaming Package 59.99/Year Platinum Online Gaming Package 69.99/Year DLC Season Pass 29.99 50 MB Cloud Game Saves 5.00/Month 100MB Cloud Game Saves 8.00/Month 100GB Cloud System Backup 9.00/Month 480P Resolution Streaming 5.00/ Month 720P Resolution Streaming 8.00/Month 1080pResolution Streaming 10.00/Month 2160p Resolution Streaming 15.00/Month 1st Hour Access to Catalog Games 4.99/Month 1st Hour Access to New Games 8.99/Month 25 Friend Capacity 3.00/Year 50 Friend Capacity 6.00/Year 2nd User Access 20.00/Month 3rd User Access 40.00/Month Family Access 50.00/Month (Same Household. Same System) It's already happening with Online Pass, DLC, Season Passes, Console access limits, Backup limits, Preorders, Episodic gaming, Online Subscriptions and their access tiers, Exclusive contents, and Facial Recognition logins. They have begun to establish some features like touch screens, cameras, and mics to serve dual purposes (Entertainment and for Id authentication in order to enforce the one user per game license agreement). Each game will be tied to an account like it's being done now. Each account is tied to one person. Each person will be tied to a face, fingerprint, voice, and credit card (which requires an address to authenticate a transaction approval). This ID data will be tied to the autherization server that governs and enforces the terms and conditions for any given game access or service.
It certinly is a high price to pay for gaming. I think I'll still play. I won't give up my hobby because I'm still willing to live with Bigh Brother.
I agree with DarkKnightDave. Digital will be pushed. Since it is cheaper it will allow for cheaper prices than disc. It will eliminate the re-sellers and create more income for developers. It can be attached to your gamertag so that you can delete it and get it again later. The cost of the download could be added to the price. Pay a $12 royalty instead of $10 to the console maker so that they can pay bulk rates on the bandwidth. The ability to play before you finish and the ability to download early eliminate the slow service reason. Digital will takeover. And since the cases are no longer the metal ones with the nice paint jobs like some of the early 360 ones I don't care about the cases as much anymore.
Digital is cheaper, but why do you think we'll see the benefits of that? Why do you think re-sellers being eliminated is good for the industry? What would create more income for the developers isn't getting rid of used games, but publishers getting less of the cut. And what about the issue of ownership? Longevity? I've already heard worries about Sony supporting the PS3 digitally after the PS4 comes out: they could shut own servers whenever, and all that digital stuff becomes useless, particularly if the need to re-download ever arises. The only beneficial thing- for us gamers- is the ability to play virtually any game before buying and before it's even done downloading. In the meantime, there are too many things preventing digital-only from being both viable AND consumer-friendly. Not only do we still need ISPs to get onboard with allowing higher (preferably NO) limits on downloading, but we are still MANY years from the majority of the world being able to take advantage of internet fast enough to download gigs of games at a time. And, as always, the issue of ownership of digital content has yet to be resolved. Digital-only is coming, but not nearly as soon as people think. And it may not be all everyone dreams of when it DOES come.
I agree that we may never see the benefits of the difference in price. Re-sellers are bad because they stop good games from maximizing their profits. People will buy used instead of paying $5 more for a new copy. There are a lot of things that will cut the cost to the developer. Lower taxes and fee to publishers. But payments to publishers can be gotten around. In fact with digital, it could be eliminated. Once you go to a digital only system you can still keep servers online to take care of that. Once demand decreases there won't be a need for a floor full of servers, maybe just two or three to service the world on less popular games. IPs can be gotten around by having publishers use some of their fees to pay ISPs for the DL bandwidth. As it is ISPs sell bulk bandwidth all of the time, this would be a new customer. But that also goes to my belief that MS needs to buy their own telecom anyway. Include internet with a Live subscription(MS related only of course). Sony could do the same. It's a matter of time before the ISPs start to charge them anyway. Slow internet is easy. See Steam. Seattle rights by law like they did in the UK. DL is coming because everyone that can potentially make money from it wants it badly. The studios pushed for Blu-ray because they thought it would be a cash cow and would quickly wipe out DVD. That didn't happen so digital will happen sooner rather than later. People don't understand that it should be so much cheaper so it will be high in the beginning.