Digital Distribution: Is It The Future?

One sunny afternoon in May I cycled across town to a meeting of some of the keenest minds in the east of the UK talk at a presentation called 'Life Beyond the CD.' The spring back chairs greeted a half full lecture hall of local and not so local representatives of games developers, tech companies and mobile phone network businesses. And me. On the agenda was a number of topics, from the success stories from the world of digital distribution to the pitfalls of self publishing. This has all been whirling around in my head since then and I've waited for buzz from E3 to simmer down so I can share some of my thoughts with you.

Read Full Story >>
The story is too old to be commented.
SpoonyRedMage3347d ago

I think we'll always need a balance like the modern home consoles and the DSi. Retailers can also continue to make profit from people like me by selling the points cards in shops and the physical games obviously.

Kakkoii3346d ago

There's tons of online points card services already, so that could be, and is being phased out pretty fast actually.

And for physical games, with every new generation of children, they care less about having a physical copy. So your business will only last as long as you live ;), or unless your preference changes over time :P. I know Steam has stolen my heart, I used to love having a hard copy, but I've since stopped caring about it for the most part. Because while it's nice to have a hard copy, over time that can start to take up a lot of space, plus it's not very portable.

With Steam, all your games are with you, wherever you go, so long as you have an internet connection! You can scroll through all your games, and re-download them when you want to. It's like your own digital library of games, it's awesome.

Salvadore3347d ago

It's not a matter of if, but rather when. Currently we are seeing a medium of physical and digital distribution available. This trend will continue because of the limitation faced with digital distribution; people without access to ethernet or inadequate ethernet speeds.

snaz273347d ago

however i dont think it should be a matter of if its the future or when its the future, but rather if WE the consumers WANT it to be the future, my thoughts are that digital distribution is NOT to make life easier for us, but to make developers and companies such as sony/ms/nitendo MORE MONEY! personally if digital distribution became the ONLY way to get my games i would quit buying them, and if it did it would really be the worst thing ever for us as gamers! as a consumer i like CHOICE, i wanna choose where i purchase a product! so i can get the best deal, if there was only one shop to buy food why would they do deals or discount anything? there would be no point! its the same with games! if you could only buy a sony exclusive from sony then where is the competition that drives the sales and discounts that we see today? also the preowned market would just dissapear! i know thats good for devs but its not good for US! in my mind we need to send SONY a huge message right now! by boycotting the pspgo!.....

Kakkoii3346d ago

@snaz27: You must never have downloaded Steam then. Because even though they have been the only real successful digital distribution platform, they aren't greedy like you say. The prices are quite good, much better than in stores. And they often do awesome sales and weekend sales, bring games down to $10, sometimes even $5 for a while.

Now, mind explaining what about digital distribution doesn't make life easier for us, and only for the developers? Because, having your own library of all the games you own, being able to download them at any time, from anywhere so long as you have an ok internet connection, seems like a much better option for consumers then lugging around boxes of plastic cases with disc's inside them, that get scratched and degrade over time. And not having to deal with game store workers, many of whom will try devious things to scam people of their money without them knowing.

Plus Steam offers better protection from keeping kids from playing the games their not legally supposed to be playing. Since it requires a credit card to buy the game.

Digital distribution is the inevitable future. The only thing in it's way is broadband speeds and access in many countries. But those get better over time also, so it's just a matter of time ;).

And hey, maybe in the future someone can create SD card's that have these special screens built into the front of them that were recently invented. The screens can change image, and then stay that way without any electricity afterward's. So you could have a game downloaded into that SD card, and then a box art would be displayed on the screen and kept that way until you decide to change it :P.

It's hard to let go of having physical products, because that's what we all grew up with, it's embedded in out hearts and minds. But you'll slowly warn to the digital distribution way over time.

Ninver3347d ago (Edited 3347d ago )

Haaa the thought alone is laughable. Certainly not in Australia where we pay near to $100 for even the most average of download speeds. Lets just hope the AUS governments $30 billion new internet restructure will help increase the speeds plus lowers the cost of the ridiculous plans.

M$ must have been living in the American Bubble when they pulled that nonsense out their corporate a$$. Makes you wonder if the typical American is that ignorant.


With Cable companies bringing bandwidth caps to the US and other countries having caps as low as 30 gb a month, we will never see it be huge with those caps. I wouldn't be suprised if Gamestop funded and lobbied for that to prevent Digital distribution from being too big.

OGharryjoysticks3347d ago (Edited 3347d ago )

Who would even want to try to download a game the size of a bluray? I'm sure publishers will love everybody buying the download version, but once they start doing that there's another reason why developers won't make games bigger and better. Downloads will be a step back in progress because with discs you could potentially see a 2 disc bluray release someday, and odds are a game that size would be epic.

EDIT 4 the reply below- At home console based games are different than portable games

SpoonyRedMage3347d ago

Exactly, that's why we need a balance but Sony seems to be endorsing the "backwards" step with the PSP Go! as they said they want to push smaller games.

wibble3347d ago (Edited 3347d ago )

A game that needs large capacity disks is usually full of FMV movie sequences. I can happily do without those types of games.

We need to stop thinking that large storage capacity equates to bigger and better games. For example - the universe could probably be coded in just 2 kilobytes. :)

Kakkoii3346d ago

Blue-ray games hardly ever take up the whole disc. And for the very few that do, it's because of cinematics, not the actual game files.

Plus, of course you can say that right now, because internet speeds are crap for the majority of the world. But even if you have only a 3mbps connection, it would only take you roughly 22 hours. That's not the bad. And remember were talking about the future here, internet speeds get faster over time, so it's really not the big deal your think it is.

I live in BC Canada, and have a 15mbps cable connection for $43 a month. I can download 30GB in 4 hours & 48 minutes. So it's perfectly fine for me. In some European countries and Japan, it's cheap to get a 100mbps connection, which would allow you to download 30GB in under 40 minutes lol.

So as internet connectivity becomes good for more people, digital distribution becomes more prominent.

Show all comments (23)
The story is too old to be commented.