Sony: 'vast majority' of gamers don't want to buy games online

Games will eventually shift to a primarily digital distribution model. However, that day is not coming any time soon, Sony says.

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Games will eventually shift to a primarily digital distribution model. However, that day is not coming any time soon, Sony says. The PS4 manufacturer won the hearts of many gamers at E3 when they announced that pretty much nothing was changing when it came to game distribution and ownership in the next-generation. Innovation, who needs it?

Sony SVP Guy Longworth explained that PS4 is all about giving consumer choice by continuing to support the retail model while still offering day-one downloads. "What we try to do is offer a relatively level playing field and let the gamers decide. We're not trying to advantage them, we believe in consumer choice. It's clear that the vast majority of the people want to go down to GameStop or Best Buy, they don't want to buy it online right now," he said."

Perhaps one of the big hurdles of digital gaming is the size of games being released today. The Last of Us, for example, launched on PlayStation Store the same day as its Blu-ray release. The downloadable version is 24GB.

Longworth tells GI.biz that Sony's digital business is "growing fast," but that the future is "kind of hard to predict." While he seems to suggest digital is the future, he does say "people might be quite surprised, I think physical games will be around a lot longer than some people think."

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 24, 2013 4:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Sony: 'vast majority' of gamers don't want to buy games online.

    Games will eventually shift to a primarily digital distribution model. However, that day is not coming any time soon, Sony says.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 4:02 PM

      including PC and mobile device gamers?

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        June 24, 2013 4:04 PM

        That's just silly

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          June 24, 2013 4:06 PM

          what is? pretty much all PC gamers and everyone gaming on a phone or tablet does digital.

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            June 24, 2013 4:08 PM

            I think what Sony means is that no one wants to download a 40gb game through their slow speeds.

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              June 24, 2013 4:11 PM

              but in their home region this should be a pretty minimal problem. What's the average download speed in Japan? And if they offered preloading for new releases like Steam then it's even less of an issue assuming they actually download the installed game instead of a game you then need to slowly install.

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              June 25, 2013 8:00 AM

              They would want to preorder and download 39.9gb a few weeks before release though. We were doing that back in 2004 when hl2 was released so it's not exactly some new crazy method.

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            June 24, 2013 4:37 PM

            This generation, a large amount of PC games (i.e. console ports) were built around 360s DVD capacity so the DL sizes on PC weren't that big. Next gen, with Bluray drives in both consoles, the size of those games could balloon and be super awkward to download on PC by comparison.

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              June 25, 2013 1:14 AM

              I'm not sure that will be a problem considering how much work has apparently been done on letting you play the game while content is still downloading

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            June 24, 2013 8:59 PM

            we just had weeks and weeks of controversy because microsoft was releasing a console where even the physical discs tied into digital licensing and enough people whined to change it. what are you getting at?

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        June 24, 2013 6:40 PM

        I would love to have all my games in a box with a manual. I would actually pay more if they did this. I understand it's making less and less sense these days but I'd even love a Dwarf Fortress box.

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        June 24, 2013 9:20 PM

        If I could go to EB and buy a box full of goodies + game disc like back in the day, there wouldn't be nearly so many icons in my Steam library.

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      June 24, 2013 4:06 PM

      even ignoring the PC/mobile space this seems to potentially confuse "don't want" with "don't see the value" at the moment since the digital copy is not quick to download (no preloading), confers worse rights than the disc based version, potential hard drive space concerns (all the early adopters this gen have hard drives that barely hold 1 game), along with some poor UX specific to PSN (download huge file then install it).

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        June 24, 2013 4:14 PM

        Yes, the fact that consoles have failed to do downloadable games as well as PC / mobile shouldn't be an indication that people don't want it. That's such a silly self-fulfilling prophecy. Like Nintendo's "we keep making shitty multiplayer that nobody uses, so I guess nobody wants to play multiplayer games!"

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      June 24, 2013 4:08 PM

      I think for consoles going totally digital isn't going to happen for awhile yet. I know that it's ignored alot of places, but alot of people don't actually even connect their console to their internet. Others just want to pop in a game and play without having to wait for the downloads.

      Personally I don't really care much one way or the other, I buy my disc for console, download my pc. But I can see why they don't do it right now.

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        June 24, 2013 4:12 PM

        at last count gamasutra said ~80% of PS3's were online despite no strict need to do so. That number is only going to go up.

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          June 24, 2013 4:16 PM

          It will go up, but 20% of your market is not something you can just say "ok plug in we aren't doing discs anymore."

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            June 24, 2013 4:19 PM

            Especially when it's just physically impossible or not worth it over having a disk (with resale value no less) for many right now. The infrastructure just isn't there. It's not a matter of shunning digital as we can see it working on PCs and mobiles. It's a matter of increasing game size and the lack of bandwidth.

            Offering both is the answer for now. The next gen, heavier emphasis on digital until the real world we live in and not wish we lived in catches up.

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              June 24, 2013 4:37 PM

              Yeah, the average connection in the US is like 7Mb/s. That will have to go up significantly.

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            June 24, 2013 4:20 PM

            I don't think anyone was suggesting getting rid of discs in the near term. It's simply not the case that there's a large percentage of offline users going forward.

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            June 25, 2013 6:40 AM

            I'm thinking that number will go up before it goes down. Kids move out and have nothing but a cell phone. Suddenly they'll "wait a month" before they download that AAA title. Being "always on" and "always connected" doesn't necessarily mean "always ready to make a high bandwidth purchase".

            We have guys at work who'll sneak their laptops in to download Steam games just to avoid this. We've made a lot of steps forward, but we also made a couple that went the other direction.

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        June 24, 2013 5:38 PM

        Depends what you mean by a while. This generation will almost certainly last a decade. I totally think by the end of it digital will dominate.

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        June 24, 2013 9:02 PM

        there's likely a lot of people still keeping Gamestop and Gamefly in business by buying new games and trading them in or just renting. likely we'll see sony pushing their PS+ sales harder enticing people to buy their games digitally on PSN but still having the option to get physical copies. they have been doing this with Vita and PS3 for a while now.

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      June 24, 2013 4:09 PM

      I dont even want Fable 5 free which is almost 5 Gig long.

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        June 24, 2013 4:15 PM

        I haven't grabbed Uncharted 3 from PSN Plus as it's so huge. I have bandwidth limits and shitty internet on top of that. The infrastructure just isn't there to put heavy emphasis on digitally downloading these huge games. One day, of course, but I'd say at least 5-10 years too early unless major changes happen to broadband. And that's only discussing the US.

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          June 24, 2013 4:29 PM

          I'm on Spain. Said infrastructure here is laughable...

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          June 24, 2013 9:19 PM

          Psn is weird about the size of game downloads because it counts and includes everything as a bundle. The uncharted 3 download says 40gb, but if you do that download and cancel trick, then go to your past downloads list, you can see that the actual game is 11gb and the rest are multiplayer packs, language packs and 3d movie addons.

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      June 24, 2013 4:13 PM

      For consoles maybe not quite yet, but maybe by next generation.

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      June 24, 2013 4:15 PM

      yeah, this PR is purely for the stockholders

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      June 24, 2013 4:21 PM

      How is digital distribution in Japan? Maybe this is more of a Japanese view?

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        June 24, 2013 6:01 PM

        Damn near every major digital-only game on PSN comes out on disc in Japan. They're still very much in love with having physical copies of everything. Their Blockbuster rental store equivalant is still huge and thriving.

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      June 24, 2013 4:25 PM

      I want the option for digital as long as they allow us to pre-load the game similar to steam before it's released. It's surprising that Sony doesn't let you fully install the game to the hard drive too I can only imagine it has to do with drm.

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      June 24, 2013 4:31 PM

      "Perhaps one of the big hurdles of digital gaming is the size of games being released today. The Last of Us, for example, launched on PlayStation Store the same day as its Blu-ray release. The downloadable version is 24GB."

      I thought I read you could start playing it after downloading half of the game. And it would be been nearly instant if they had a game preload. Didn't Bioshock Infinite have a preload on PS3? I don't know why they didn't have one for Last of Us.

      The other problem with using that game is they are designing to the disk and general hardware limitations. There are probably better ways to get less lossy sound without forcing people to download a bunch of uncompressed PCM

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        June 24, 2013 4:34 PM

        s/nearly instant/nearly instant on release/

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      June 24, 2013 4:40 PM

      doesn't matter about the size of the file anymore, since they could just make it download while playing it like what they're adding to some games right now, heck most mmos now allow you to do that. I believe halo 2 for the pc did that.

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      June 24, 2013 4:53 PM

      So THAT'S why the Vita isn't selling well!

      In all seriousness. Maybe folks on console aren't into digital purchases. I think it has more to do with the lack of incentives for buying a game digitally on a PS3/Xbox360. Cause there aren't any.

      Maybe gaming without the disc.

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        June 24, 2013 9:04 PM

        i think sony is getting better with sales and enticing people with free games. i think we'll see how the new UI pushes people to get to the PSN store.

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        June 24, 2013 9:17 PM

        I think it'll be the cool digital-only indie stuff that gets more and more people to try going disc-less. Journey, and the Okami HD remake got me to break the ice last year. I'm a Steam-sale fiend, though, so it wasn't too much of a stretch.

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          June 25, 2013 4:26 PM

          As a PC gamer I also buy a ton of stuff digitally. Oddly I've always been much more hesitant to buy digital content on the 360. The 2 big points for me where:

          1. No guarantee that I'd be able to access my content after the 360's life span

          2. There's absolutely no flexible pricing in the console space. ALL games are at this 50/60 dollar tier, and the digital variants never seem to see more acceptable 30/40 dollar or that fire sale 5-20 dollar number.

          I hope Sony can turn the Vita around. It's easily one of the slickest hand helds ever made. I don't think it's quite the revolution the DS was, but it's certainly special.

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      June 24, 2013 4:56 PM

      I just downloaded Game & Wario this afternoon. It's nice because i'm sure that's going to be good to have instant access to.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 4:56 PM

      That's absurd. They can easily make them available on the same day physically / digitally, and let the consumers decide.

      • reply
        June 24, 2013 4:57 PM

        "Sony SVP Guy Longworth explained that PS4 is all about giving consumer choice by continuing to support the retail model while still offering day-one downloads. "

      • reply
        June 24, 2013 5:02 PM

        That's what they've already been doing for many titles, so they probably have the data to back that up on the PS3.

        Both the PS4 and Xbox One plan on offering everything digitally I believe.

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          June 24, 2013 6:22 PM

          Not to mention this is the company that released a PSP that relied solely on digital downloads.

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      June 24, 2013 5:24 PM

      99% of my game purchases in the last 5 years have been digital download.

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      June 24, 2013 6:00 PM

      Hope so. Some games I would hesitate to buy online, (looking at you Max Payne 3).

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      June 24, 2013 7:51 PM

      Yeah I am one of those who prefers the Physical disc when buying games. I am a PS+ member and currently attempting to dl uncharted and it's taking forever and I have 40mb download speeds. It took over a week the first time and then somehow failed, so I am having to re-download it. It's a 40gb file. And this is for a game that I never really had any intentions of getting until it showed up for free. If this was GTA V or Final Fantasy XV and I could only get it digitally I would be pretty pissed if it took 2 weeks for me to get the game after it released. Much faster for me to drive to my local Gamestop/walmart or hell even order it online from Amazon and have it ship to me then it is to download a full AAA game.

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      June 24, 2013 8:07 PM

      I don't mind digital purchases, but I wish physical games came with actual manuals.
      Recently some have one sheet printed on both sides as a manual.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 8:32 PM

      [deleted]

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        June 24, 2013 8:34 PM

        dishonored is 6.1GB. bioshock infinite is 17. metro 2033 is 7.5. 32GB installs aren't going to be standard for years.

        also i would much rather buy a game and have to wait two hours than spend half that time going to the store and dealing with all that crap. or better yet, preloading.

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          June 25, 2013 6:32 AM

          I bet with the next-gen consoles we'll see games getting quite a bit bigger with higher resolution textures. Sure it won't be 32GB but I wouldn't be surprised to see 15-20GB game installs for some of these next-gen games.

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            June 25, 2013 6:56 AM

            so that means they are settling on blu ray as the physical media?

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          June 25, 2013 8:06 AM

          Last of us and uncharted 3 are like 20-30 gigs tho. Some games are already there.

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          June 25, 2013 4:39 PM

          As a gamer you'll WANT installs to be standard. Reading from discs is not only loud it's slow. Load times are one of the worst things that have been integrated into consoles. If you game on PC. HDDs, tons of RAM and especially SSDs go a long way to making those awful things go away.

          It sucks having to wait for a game to install, but maybe there could be some sort of streaming install, or you could even set your console up to preinstall the game before release date, and then when you put the disc in *boom* it unlocks, and you can start playing right away.

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      June 24, 2013 8:35 PM

      With console games, I might think of it more if digital games came at a discount. But if I'm paying the same for both I may as well get a pretty box. :/

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        June 24, 2013 8:37 PM

        see to me i'd rather not have some piece of plastic be my access key to the game i bought. it could get scratched, lost, stolen, or otherwise damaged. whereas with pure digital as long as i have access to my account, i have all my games, and can redownload them as necessary.

        ripping the disc is nice and all but it still requires the piece of plastic as a physical dongle. i want to be past that.

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          June 24, 2013 9:22 PM

          I agree it's nice to have all your games and can download them as necessary, but if the switch from PowerPc to Intel means rendering all the PPC games useless, what happens when moore's law slows down and collapses in the next decade? (An event that's happening and will continue before the X1 and PS4 are obsolete) The next step will be the switch from silicon to.... molecular architecture, dna computing...quantum computing... those jumps in architecture are much greater than PPC to Intel.

          I guess my point is they need to find a way to make your digital purchases guaranteed as long as your account is active (be it Live or PSN+) or if they decide to never support older games, reduce the prices of digital purchases to less than $20 a game because at that point the consumer is only renting the game, not buying and owning it.

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          June 24, 2013 10:18 PM

          Maybe they could do a best of both worlds and include a key for your physical disk? That would get people building up their library and start getting them attached to it. Now that the drm is in place it seems feasible.

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          June 24, 2013 10:23 PM

          Maybe they could do a best of both worlds and include a key with the physical disk? That way people would get more attached to their library in the future. The drm seems to be in place so maybe its feasible.

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            June 24, 2013 10:34 PM

            Oops :( Damn shack browse thought it ate my post

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      June 24, 2013 8:36 PM

      My biggest issue with console digital games is how Microsoft burnt me. A decent chunk of my library was Live marketplace purchases. I was stupidly under the assumption that like Steam, the games traveled with my account no matter what hardware was. So when they announced no BC (fine for hard copies) but that digital purchases were basically isolated to my 360 and not future proof, it was the signal for me to walk away from MS, who knows what Sony will do in the future but, for me, they're easily the lesser of two evils and are now privileged with my console gaming money for this generation.

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        June 24, 2013 8:39 PM

        they didn't really burn you because they never promised BC for hard copies or downloads. and also, the PS4 will not have BC for hard copies or PSN downloads.

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          June 24, 2013 8:42 PM

          Fair enough, that's why I said I stupidly believed I was buying a game to my account, not to my 360 (and any other 360s I accumulate.) I know the PS4 is in the same boat, but thats why for me each company is now at the starting line for gaining my future purchases. As such, its easy to say I'll save $100 and switch to Sony. Had MS just spent some time getting emulation software up (like Apple with rosetta) then the $100 difference wouldn't matter because I'd have a huge library to start with.

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            June 24, 2013 9:11 PM

            you cannot simply emulate last gen consoles with current gen ones. The power levels are not there. You can verify this yourself by trying to run an emulator on your PC for a recent console. It's completely different from a new computer emulating shitty old programs with low processing power requirements (like Rosetta, which Apple dropped a couple versions later anyway).

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              June 24, 2013 9:28 PM

              (I understand where you're coming from, but to play devil's advocate...) Are you suggesting that the most advanced gaming technology in the world not yet released (ps4 and x1) aren't powerful? I would've been much more impressed in this next generation if they said, "we put in such an awesome processor that we can also run the same software from 8 years ago with ease"

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                June 24, 2013 10:24 PM

                the powerful is hardware, but adding official emulation for a completely different console architecture would have added vast complexity. not only to actually make it work (whether it's a system on a chip or software emulation), but also to iteratively test ALL available titles, to ensure they play properly and aren't buggy. the only thing worse than no BC is buggy BC that crashes constantly.

                considering the lifecycle and scope of these new consoles i'm not surprised that neither ms nor sony even considered BC.

                i'd guess we'll see some of the best titles available as either remakes or gaikai / streaming titles down the road...for $19.99, of course.

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                June 25, 2013 8:41 AM

                YES thats exactly what we are saying.
                Software solution: to emulate a code from different architecture you first need to converte it into usable code. thats 2x work. ergo for a 3.2 ghz cpu you will need a 6.4ghz running emulator (that is if you want to do it in realtime) .. except that this is a very optimistic calculation - pcsx2 and other psx emulatros show that you need ~10x more cycles to do it right ... don't see no 30ghz+ cpu's on the horizon

                Hardware?
                Sure you can go hardware optimized way ... but then you might as well just put in the original parts in some way - easy'er and cheaper
                ps2 used ps1 cpu as a glorified southbridge chipset, early ps3 SKUs well they just simply slaped ps2 into it and thats done , ofcourse and that was cut first to save costs. if you want BC get your bc gear now while its still in production - not enough people use it to justify the costs.

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                  June 25, 2013 2:09 PM

                  And they absolutely know this because they see every time someone connects what games they are playing and what games they have been playing while offline. You can yell "but I LOVE all this old games" all you want, you are in a minority which makes you a non-paying customer. They want to please current customers, not folks digging old games out of the closet. There just aren't enough of us satisfied with that.

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        June 25, 2013 2:40 AM

        You're just as burned with physical games.. Backwards compatible is a different issue from digital or physical.

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          June 25, 2013 3:24 AM

          It's always been this way with physical games, but I think the intervening years after this generation started, where we've been buying into digital purchasing on a level people didn't before, and we've seen things like the Apple app store, where all our digital purchases work on iOS devices no matter how new, has skewed how people see this stuff.

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            June 25, 2013 4:08 AM

            I don't know can iPod Nano app run on a iPhone or iPad?

            I agree it's frustrating that neither MS or Sony seem to care about old content working on the newer consoles but I don't see why it'd make you anti digital? It's not like digital content has made the backwards compatible issue any worse than it already has been with mostly physical content.

            If anything as we go all digital maybe Sony and MS will be forced to think more about backwards compatible as people won't want to leave a library that is worth 1000s of dollars.

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              June 25, 2013 4:15 AM

              I'm pretty sure the vast majority of apps sold on the app store can run on newer iOS devices, though newer apps might not run on old devices.

              As for your question, I think it makes it worse in at least one obvious way. I had a friend growing up whose mom was pretty adamant about the number of consoles they could have in the house: 2. His dad really liked games though, so they always wanted to get new stuff when it came out. So if they had both the Genesis and SNES, when the N64 came out and they wanted it, one console had to go.

              However, they could take all their old games and sell them in addition to selling the console and practically pay for a new one.

              This isn't the case with digital content. Let's say I decide that the PS4 is good enough for me, and that I don't need my PS3 any more. I can take most of my PS3 games that're on a disc and sell them in addition to the console. But everything I've purchased on the PSN is forever tied to me, I cannot recoup those costs in any way, so my options are either to just call it a loss, or keep the system forever. Depending on if you're the type to keep consoles generally, this will eventually get ridiculous. It also kinda breaks lengthy trend.

              When the PS2 came out, it was easy to keep all my PSX games and play them on the PS2. When the PS3 came out, I had the 60gb BC version, and thus could keep playing all my old PS2 (and PSX!) titles (hell, I bought the damn thing to play Persona 3). Now, here we are with the PS4, and suddenly I can't do that anymore, so it's a little disappointing.

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                June 25, 2013 5:12 AM

                It's a fair point, but then you could always sell your digital account with the physical console?

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                  June 25, 2013 8:45 AM

                  thats against ToS :)
                  ... and an absurd idea - whatabout your gamerscore/trophies/whatever?

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            June 25, 2013 5:07 AM

            Not entirely true. I have apps that don't work on my iphone5 that work on an older iPod touch. The apps were never upgraded and they instant crash. It's far better on mobile hardware, but its not 100%

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              June 25, 2013 5:11 AM

              Plus those are the same systems with the same OS it is a bit different with consoles.

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                June 25, 2013 7:05 AM

                yup and MS & Sony had no choice really but to ditch the old system architectures. The Xenon & Cell CPUs had no real successors. Well the Xbox could of maybe gone with a newer Power7 PowerPC CPU. That might of been similar enough to retain some backward compatibility. Still it would've been a lot of work like it was for the Xbox BC on the Xbox 360. But Sony basically screwed themselves with the Cell as it was soo specialized. All research stopped on that CPU design after it was finished for the PS3.

                As far as the new consoles... It made a lot more sense to use a APU this generation and AMD was the only company that had one that was decent. Intel's IGP sucks horribly!! And Nvidia doesn't have anything decent in that market that could power a next-gen console.

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      June 24, 2013 9:02 PM

      Reasonable assumption on Sony's part, if physical media continues to not be DRM'd, and they keep putting small HDD on consoles.,

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      June 24, 2013 10:21 PM

      MS is just mad every blu-ray means cash for Sony.

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      June 25, 2013 2:07 AM

      They're right that the world isn't ready to go all-digital yet. Personally I can't remember the last time I bought a game disc, but I think a lot of tech firms exist in a bit of a bubble about how close the world's internet infrastructure actually is is to supporting their always-online visions.

      Ideas that I'm sure seem fine like Sim City 5 and the Xbox DRM crash hard into the real world of slow connections, bandwidth caps, traffic shaping and shitty bundled routers.

      My home connection is faster than most in the UK, and it would still take me about 5 hours to download The Last of Us.

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      June 25, 2013 2:11 AM

      Oh here we go. Sony was doing so well with their communication, matter of time before they said something dumb.

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        June 25, 2013 2:15 AM

        Why do you think it's dumb? Sony have been very good at supporting download options for those that do want them.

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        June 25, 2013 7:05 AM

        What? It's just a trollish article title to some benign statements (read the whole thing.)

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        June 25, 2013 7:24 AM

        guys, a massive corporation with tons of data gathering from several generations of platforms said something that they likely have data to back up, but that I disagree with fundamentally. LOOK HOW DUMB

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      June 25, 2013 2:52 AM

      Don't know about the "vast majority", but I kinda like my Blu-ray boxes

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      June 25, 2013 3:55 AM

      I would like to but my shitty ISP makes it a paimln in the ass at this point.

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      June 25, 2013 6:58 AM

      Glad to see old Sony back in the saddle. Also Nobody plays games online , remember that one ? They have a good thing going but I'm not sure how long the can fake humble.

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      June 25, 2013 7:06 AM

      Gotta love the STRONG arm of Gamestop. Nice to know a pawn shop can put a stranglehold on the gaming industry and pretty much stop all kinds of innovation. Congratulations Gamestoppers!

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        June 25, 2013 7:23 AM

        If you truly believe what Microsoft was trying to do was innovative, then you should believe that once the public sees those innovations, they'll throw their money at it to have them. So if thats the case, what's stopping you from creating a business plan, getting investors and changing the world with a new innovative console? Go for it and make a buttload of money doing it! However I wouldn't be a consumer of that console, its just not for me.

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      June 25, 2013 7:07 AM

      I could agree with that, it's swinging the other way but right now, I'd agree with it. I like my discs and I like having access to them in the distant future.

      If you said to me a disc game is $60 and a download game is $40 I'd still need to consider it, because mentally and realistically, to me - that $40 game may never be available to play ever again
      Imagine seeing a movie, listening to some music or seeing a painting and knowing that one day you'll never be able to enjoy it again. To me that would cheapen everything, they just become throwaway experiences.

      I spent an hour the other night on youtube watching people play emulated C64 games, doing 'longplays' through them. What would the kids of today say if you told them there will be no way to ever fire up Halo 1 just to blast through in 15 years? because with 100% locked down digital downloads, losing data is a real possibility.

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        June 25, 2013 7:15 AM

        Let me ask you something then, seriously. Why then is Netflix so popular? I'm a collector of movies, I love them, but I fear my hard copy collection will dissapear. Why are people so in love with all this digital media? Music, movies and so on.

        In your opinion of course.

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          June 25, 2013 7:20 AM

          Oh if for $15 a month I have access to all of the games to just fire up and play, yes that would be innovative and fantastic. No matter the Dev.

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            June 25, 2013 7:22 AM

            Netflix is one of many options, which is fine, it's not the only option. Is the original Thomas Crown Affair (68) on Netflix?

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          June 25, 2013 7:21 AM

          Netflix is fine because if you want to buy a blu ray copy to keep forever, you still can, it's an option. We're talking about taking that option away forever.

          You'll never find an attack with a console and some old games, worse still - even if you're not the type to squirrel it away, what if you're like me and don't keep your old shit. I like to know out there, someone else has

          II like knowing Jeff Gurstmann can make a silly giantbomb video of some old as fuck game and I can see it, I like knowing some nutcase can finish Last Ninja 2 and record it for youtube. I like knowing that with money and time, I too could hunt down a C64 and a copy of Creatures 2. This download only concept means one day you will not be able to get some things. Ever. They are lost forever without breaking the law / copy protection. That isnt' good for me.

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            June 25, 2013 7:38 AM

            Good argument you make. My fear is that studios will want only digital 1) because it s all profit for them and 2) manufacturing cost are virtually zero.
            There goes my movie and games collection. I'm all for progress, but this issue is a bit hazy and not lots of firm stands by any publisher or manufacturer.

            Thanks for answer.

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            June 25, 2013 7:40 AM

            attack = attic

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          June 25, 2013 7:29 AM

          Netflix is a rental service, and a very cheap one, at that. When renting, it's entirely understood that you are paying a fraction of the price of the item to use it for awhile, with no permission to keep it once you've stopped paying. We're talking about BUYING games here. You pay retail price to download the game, which is the same price as buying a disc that does not require support from any servers to operate (except for online games, of course). Some people will not like that.

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            June 25, 2013 7:40 AM

            Yeah, this. When I watch a movie over Netflix Instant, I acknowledge that I don't OWN the movie; I'm viewing it on Netflix's terms.

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              June 25, 2013 7:48 AM

              The other thing is David and what I was alluding to in my original reply, if the game is cheaper digitally ok, cool great! Say it's $40 or hell $30 or who knows. Like games become much much cheaper digitally.
              You still need to factor in that one day this piece of content could be lost forever, you may never experience those memories again, you could play it, enjoy it, remember it 9 years later, love to check it out and it's gone forever.
              No archivist nutcase can make a walkthrough video, no one can fire it up again, no showing off the weird 1.0 bug on youtube where you'd explode if you went through the wrong door. No weird fiascos involving quaran music, because it was 100% digital, they patched away the stuff they didn't want and not only is the 1.0 version not available, the entire content simply can't be found anywhere.

              That's got to impact your hobby in general. I still have a copy of Jade Empire for the Xbox 1 at home, I could track down an Xbox 1, put it in and play it. I could arguably torrent it and not feel guilty. It's out there. Not everything will be and Ithink that's a big fear for some people. Gaming was my childhood.

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                June 25, 2013 8:02 AM

                I'm with you. I'm becoming somewhat of a game historian with the books I'm writing, so preserving games is of critical importance to me--both as a writer and a gamer.

                • reply
                  June 25, 2013 8:09 AM

                  Syndicate American Revolt can not find bullfrog.electronicarts.com to authenticate, dropping you to DOS

                  Fuck this earth.

        • reply
          June 25, 2013 7:58 AM

          Why does it have to be 'either or'? Why not both?

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          June 25, 2013 5:05 PM

          Because Netflix gives you a disproportionately high amount of content for very little money. Something that digital purchases of console titles has yet to offer. You're still paying anywhere from the same amount of money, to a price premium over the boxed edition.

          Netflix continues to give even beyond it's price content, and that is access. You can get it on so MANY devices, and it's likely a person may own 2 or 3 devices on which they can access Netflix. How many devices can you play your PS3 games on? What devices that aren't a 360 can you play your live titles on? I know Microsoft is at least trying to bridge the game with their Windows 8 platform, but it hasn't been very successful, and the content is no where close to being there.

          The point I'm trying to make is that there are obvious incentives (big ones) that you get for access to Netflix and it's digital only catalog. There aren't any for digital console game purchases.

      • reply
        June 25, 2013 7:22 AM

        in 15 years you'll just pirate halo 1 just like you did with the c64 games. don't even try to tell me you used your original copy of the c64 games

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          June 25, 2013 7:25 AM

          Halo 1 is a bad hypothetical, you're not understanding my point. Halo 1 is 'saved' it's in the era where it can be rescued.
          Try to imagine a game as big as Halo 1 for the next young generation and it comes out in about 5 years as a digital ONLY game on a closed platform. The next big Uncharted / Halo level game, a real big fucking amazing game which millions of people love. ONLY on PSN or XBL download ONLY for the PS5.
          Try to imagine it, great! Cool! people love it.

          20 years time, the kids of today want to look back at that awesome game, except the activation servers are gone, the system was never cracked, no one ever torrented or squirreled away a copy, there's literally no copies of the original code anyhwere except a couple of defunct consoles which no longer connect to an auth server. That game is lost to time, forever.

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            June 25, 2013 7:29 AM

            your last paragraph is complete fiction and that's my point exactly:

            the system was never cracked, no one ever torrented or squirreled away a copy, there's literally no copies of the original code anyhwere

            do you honestly believe this will happen? be honest with me abrasion. do you honestly believe nobody will crack the next gen systems? i thought you were joking when i first read it

            i totally see your point but people are enterprising; they will find a way. they always have and they always will.

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              June 25, 2013 7:38 AM

              Your knowledge of the current gen consoles is kind of bad I take it then?
              Do you know how fucking difficult it was to crack those 2? Do you know how long it took? Do you know most of the cracks for the first 2 or 3 years was just to play pirated games, just to trick it into running the dodgy copy of the games. It was cracking an optical drive really.

              Not actually running their own code, pulling files off, archiving them and so on.
              Piracy was so difficult on the current 2 consoles it's arguable that it's been not worth it. I'm a fucking fine example of that, previous pirate and now, it's just too difficult (and I feel guilty) but it was just too long a wait, too difficult.

              I don't belive people wll find a way and I don't think it's always going to be as "easy" as it was. We're going to reach a point when there's no disc, a locked down as fuck box which REQUIRES an internet connection and shit's going to be encoded up the fucking wazoo and you're not going to pull those games off the system and you're not going to emulate the system.

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                June 25, 2013 7:44 AM

                No way to "like," star, 1-up a comment on the shack huh? Guess this will have to do.

                Hey do you guys remember those little handheld games from the 80s? They had no cartridge, they only played the one game that was written into the code. They had some football stuff, poker obviously some space type games.. racing... etc... It'd be fun to kill some time playing those again, but alas they're stuck on 80s hardware that may or may not work anymore.

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                June 25, 2013 7:48 AM

                Has anyone cracked Xbox Live or PSN titles to say click on a game on PSN and threw some DNS and other tools and cracking somehow fool the server authentication and send me the data? I don't know if anything like that is around right now for the digital copies as much as I know we're cracking physical media. The current games available in Yarr places, weren't those ripped from disks? I don't follow it much at all anymore.

                I was thinking with DNS work rerouting and phony servers that can authenticate and send you data now you might be able to crack a system but has that happened with PSN or xbox live yet?

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                  June 25, 2013 7:51 AM

                  I know someone who gets a lot of dodgy 360 stuff and I think somehow they have the DLC for 360 games, I think - personally I've got no idea, it might be PS3.

                  This is why I fucking REFUSED to pay 35$ AUD for Okami HD, I got it on the US store, against my mostly unused US PSN account for 19$ because I know that game is now a throwaway. Such an incredible game for me too and I own no disc, no memorabilia and the only way to re-play it in 15 years is on a PS2 or Wii emulator.

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                  June 25, 2013 8:05 AM

                  No, no one has hacked that side of the authentication. They have hacked unlocking XBLA 'demo' modes into full games though that continually gets patched out.

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                June 25, 2013 7:54 AM

                Your knowledge of the current gen consoles is kind of bad I take it then?

                it is not, but nice dig i guess

                Do you know how fucking difficult it was to crack those 2? Do you know how long it took?

                i do. several years. just now you were talking about 15 years and were comparing it to playing c64 games. i have no doubt whatsoever that the next gen systems will be cracked long, long before that timeframe

                previous pirate and now, it's just too difficult

                that's just because you're out of the piracy scene (which is not a dig, that's a good thing). it's really not as difficult as you think. there are kids (actual children) pirating xbox 360 games every day. 360 games show up on pirate bay before they even release officially.

                as a good example of the lengths to which people will go to pirate a game, i will point to the existence of private WoW servers -- do you have any idea how much reverse engineering work it takes to do that? it's insane the amount of work that required, and yet here we are.

                no doubt it's going to be annoying, but we're not going to permanently lose these games. you're worrying and that's normal, but it's going to be okay. i won't say it will be great because it won't be, but we'll make it work.

                as a final remark i want to point a few things out. disc or no disc is not really the issue here; the game activation (which has nothing to do with the medium) is what needs to be cracked. getting the game data is easy, even on digital download. spoofing activation servers is also very doable; steam and WoW cracks required this. it's just a matter of time, and on the timeframe we're talking about, it's no problem.

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                  June 25, 2013 7:59 AM

                  i will agree that there's likely to be unpopular games that nobody bothered to crack though. i'm sure that will happen (and has happened). that's a little different than the Halo 1 example but i know that was just an example. this is the real danger. we're not going to lose any super popular games but we may lose some lesser known titles

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                    June 25, 2013 8:07 AM

                    Yeah and the thing is, much like movies, I kind of like some lesser known titles. I don't like thinking they are gone forever.

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                      June 25, 2013 8:13 AM

                      i feel you, for sure. that is the problem with relying upon piracy for game longevity. i have no doubt that most popular games will be preserved but, depending on how the crack ultimately ends up happening (whether it's a per-game crack, or whether the activation system itself is cracked. for Steam it was the latter; a cracked client can allegedly* access ANY game) we may suffer some losses on lesser known games. i agree it's unfortunate.

                      * no firsthand experience obviously

                      • reply
                        June 25, 2013 8:19 AM

                        To further harp on this point you agree on, with the "COD-ification" of games, I'm slowly becoming more and more of an obscure gamer. This means "my people" will be the ones most impacted by this.

                        COD will always be replayable and Halo and Gears and hell probably Uncharted (phew) but will flower and journey and noby noby boy or pixel junk monsters? (or the equivalent franchises to all these games, when it's digital only)
                        It's gonna suck man.

                        • reply
                          June 25, 2013 8:28 AM

                          I agree with abs. And if it isn't the xbone or the PS4 that completely locks us out it will be the next. They are designing these platforms specifically to preclude what we want to do - play the games on our own terms.

                          I can't wrap my head around how a digital only closed system game that requires 3rd party auth will work in the future.

                          First, the third party auth. I'm assuming there is a signed certificate involved and that will eventually expire so you gotta get around that first. Then you gotta spoof that system which will be very difficult (even with former developer help in this hypothetical future). And all of this is before you figure out how to get the game off of the closed system and then running that on some other system.

                • reply
                  June 25, 2013 9:01 AM

                  2 words: Asymetric encryption.
                  You are relying on console maker to screwup like Sony did with PS3 encryption - thats the only reason ps3 got cracked. They have learned their lessons and PS4 will be even harder to crack.

                  and little kids dont crack games they just simply copy disks (and those not always properly). If xbox got the proper encryption treatment it would not be this easy on xbox360 .. a mistake MS i guarranty will fix.
                  Even Nintendo are greatly improving - 3ds last time I checked has not been cracked (except for previous ds carts but thats BC's fault, not in the core of 3ds ).

          • reply
            June 25, 2013 7:52 AM

            People are able to scare up physical copies of the most obscure stuff from 20 years ago. If you think there'd be no way to emulate Halo1 in 10 years' time, you're delusional. Access to things like that, even illicitly, are just going to be easier in the future.

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              June 25, 2013 7:56 AM

              You're misunderstanding the post, the use of Halo as an example was as an example of a 'high level revered game' not that particular game. I'm talking about something as big as Doom as big as Quake as big as Halo in X years time, the next really big amazing thing is my point - except digital, encrypted, activation required, internet required, closed proprietary system (console) only game.

            • reply
              June 25, 2013 7:58 AM

              P.S - go and find me the DLC for Project Gotham Racing 2 for Xbox 1, because this loss of data has already begun. It's only a small example but it's the first thing which has already started for me and others.

              It's just lucky it's a car game so it's evolutionary and disposable.

              • reply
                June 25, 2013 8:00 AM

                Arent there games that have been pulled from the Xbox Live and PSN marketplace that you just can't get any more on those consoles? Isn't that what the issue is that when its all digital they have the ability to pull a game for any reason you'll never see it again on the console?

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                  June 25, 2013 8:06 AM

                  Wouldn't surprise me TBH. I know most of the PS3 themes I have installed have been pulled and can't be found. I'm talking about a last gen game, I'm sure some of this gen has disapeared too?

                  However it's not like they deliberately pulled the PGR2 DLC, it's simply a case of it was a 'victim' of killing an Xbox Live environment and DRM restrictions.

      • reply
        June 25, 2013 7:50 AM

        If I read that companies would plan on shutting down their online authentications with the end of a console's lifecycle, I'd be more comfortable with it. For me, I'm just an old fashioned braggart I guess; I like showing off my huge shelf full of games. There's also just something I like about going to a retail store to pick up a game.

        At the same time, a move to digital removes false scarcity. Take a look at something like Ni No Kuni, which is already pretty tricky to find. Now anyone who wants one of these off-the-wall games can go on PSN and just download it.

        • reply
          June 25, 2013 7:54 AM

          Ni No Kuni tricky to find? I saw 3 copies the other day on a discount table for like $30 and was pissed I got it day one and never played it.

          Also, to go back to my awful piracy comparison. In 15 years, if you REALLY want Ni No Kuni, someone will have ripped it. You might download 20-50gb, you might be breaking the law - people may not care then - but it's out, now - in this time where it's 'safe' and things can be archived away.

          Just wait until I start this conversation about streaming if On Live style stuff takes off. Okami 2, Darksiders 3, God of War 5, Halo the remake, Quake the remake - when shit is only compiled on a remote server and you just get sent a low latency video of it,....... the archiving is finished then. Just better pray those servers are never switched off.

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            June 25, 2013 8:36 AM

            My first gaming console was a hand me down from my dad, an Atari 5200. I got to experience dig dug, pong and pac-man while the world was currently amazed with the NES. Imagine if Atari had the ability to put in authentication for games. Now does everyone remember how many times Atari failed as a company? Would those hypothetical auth servers have lasted their multiple stumbles? Im guessing no.

            Those games shaped a lot of my young feeble mind. With the path of the next gens, there won't be a hand me down console I can give my kids one day... So I'm still keeping that 5200 in working order.

        • reply
          June 25, 2013 2:25 PM

          FWIW I found it interesting that Ni No Kuni is one of today's Amazon Gold Box deal at $25 starting at 6pm EST - http://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox/?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957

      • reply
        June 25, 2013 8:50 AM

        Don't worry, gog2020 will have your back (and money)

    • reply
      June 25, 2013 7:25 AM

      If you could preorder/preload, I think I'd be more likely to do more digital stuff, but as it is, waiting 20 hours to download something new isn't the best.

      • reply
        June 25, 2013 7:28 AM

        This right here. Day 1 digital will not work unless you can preload.

    • reply
      June 25, 2013 7:47 AM

      i do hope both companies try to improve the state of digital distributation.

      preloading would be nice to handle the ability to play games right on launch.

      the use of a physical disk to only install the game would've been nice though. downloading a 50GB game is going to be a pain

    • reply
      June 25, 2013 7:53 AM

      If Microsoft had just made all games available on live day of release and then did periodic sales like steam I think they would have been okay. Don't mention it much during the console reveal. Just let the sales ease/pull people into digital games tied to their account. It may have taken some wrangling with publishers and retailers but a new console is the only opportunity to change the model. Instead of easing into it like that microsoft tried to jump in with both feet and handed a big PR victory to sony and made themselves look real bad in the process. Now their reputation is suspect and ps4 has the lead in preorders.

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      June 25, 2013 8:05 AM

      They are kind of right. At the moment 25 Gigs sounds staggering for some (not everyone has a 50 Mbit VDSL or fibre and can DL that in about one hour) but in 5-10 years it will be nothing at all for a large percentage of gamers.

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        June 25, 2013 8:12 AM

        People that live in cities have it really good for the most part but if you go look at a map of Texas for example you see Dallas Fort Worth Austin San Antonio Houston maybe even El Paso nice big city areas. look at the rest of Texas. it looks like a wasteland but there are millions and millions of people living in those areas that don't have s*** for broadband. that's just the real world. look at the rest of the United States. now look at the rest of the world.

        you can't live in a city with all the nice amenities and think that that's the end all be all when it comes to marketing a product.

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          June 27, 2013 10:49 AM

          This is the same reason I chuckle when a politician suggests people ride their bikes to work. There is a whole world outside of large, compact cities.

    • reply
      June 25, 2013 8:30 AM

      I wonder if we'll see consoles open up the possibility of pre-loading games. If this happens, the size of the downloads begin to matter a lot less.

      • reply
        June 25, 2013 9:02 AM

        How do you figure that? It still counts against your download cap all the same.

        • reply
          June 25, 2013 9:05 AM

          Oh... I was thinking about time. I haven't had to deal with download caps, so I forget they exist. I'd like to think that they'll go away, but it's probably more likely that they'll become more widespread.

          Huh...

          Now I'm depressed.

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