Sony's recent purchase of Gaikai was one more sign of a major shift in the console market. As digital distribution and streaming games become more prominent options for consumers, brick-and-mortar stores are running the risk of obsolescence. But that change is coming slowly, and Sony has assured retailers they're important for the next generation of consoles.
"Coming down off that 2008 peak has been a steep ride for many and has involved fallout on many levels, not least of all retail," Sony UK boss Fergal Gara told MCV. He suggests that this is forcing some retailers to rethink their involvement in the space, but Sony hopes they stay the course. "We'd love to see as many of those retailers as possible maintain their interest in servicing the space because clearly down the road many of us are going to be doing our best to give another injection into the market whenever the next cycle starts."
Rumors have circulated that Sony considered cutting out physical media completely from the PlayStation 4, but those seem to have dissipated. The company's plans for its Gaikai acquisition are unknown, but it could be to offer an easy method of accessing older games without needing to emulate on the system itself.