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Sony: Digital To Replace Disc Format

The future of gaming may hold drastic changes compared to what we've grown accustomed to, if Sony is to be believed about the eventual format change.

SCEE president David Reeves has said that the future of gaming will center on digital downloads; ala the PlayStation Network and Store. In speaking at a developer conference in London, Reeves cited recent statistics that showed about 40% of PlayStation 3 users have downloaded games already. And here's what he told MCV UK:

"The key to the future is the PlayStation Network, Games put straight onto PSN are the big opportunity. We do believe that the disc-based delivery system will fall as the power of the network base rises. At the same time, the overall industry growth will continue to go upwards as we push out into emerging markets. What we dont see is an overall decline in the market. This is a golden era of video games."

Some may wonder at this, finding it nigh-on impossible to deliver a game like Grand Theft Auto IV or Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots digitally. Sure, it might take a zillion years to download such a game now, but look how far we've already come. Can you imagine doing anything on a 24k modem connection anymore? What about when early, so-called advanced computers held less RAM than a standard TI calculator today? Perhaps delivery speeds will increase as well (in fact, they almost definitely will), but will the disc format really disappear? We find that hard to believe, but we can't predict the future...

6/20/2008 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (25 posts)

John Shoemaker
Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 10:14:22 PM

You'd have to give us a huge HD to fit all of that on if they do go that route. And it better be free with the console.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 10:35:31 PM

Another way of looking at it would be for the PSN infrastructure to be very efficient and quick at delivery of data... to the point where your PSN account is in effect your "storage" for everything (which it is now to some degree), and when one wants to play something they download it in an instant. But for that to happen something drastic to the infrastructure would have to occur. Maybe PSN should be structured similarly to STEAM...


"aLL RoAdS LeAd ToO HoMe"

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Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 10:19:30 PM

I dont see that happening in the near future.

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Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 10:57:40 PM

sure, maybe once we all have an internet connection like this one woman i read about in Sweden who has a 40 GB/s download speed

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Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 11:54:48 PM

i predict that consoles in the next generations will have 500GB hard drives.
It's becoming more common an cheaper in PCs, so consoles are sure to follow suit

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Advent Child
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 12:02:59 AM

I can see this maybe with playstation 4, but they arent going to make that blu ray player go to waste

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 12:24:23 AM

1.) With ISPs going frantic about bandwidth use, and now limiting the speeds and total bandwidth a user has, charging 'per gigabyte', etc, Sony better take into account these things.

2.) Digital downloads will not go over with me. Fact is, and call me old fashioned... I like being able to hold and see the things I buy. I don't have a DVD shelf for DVDs and games so I can have it empty.

I like having my games in a case, not on a harddrive. I trust the reliability of harddrives about as much as I trust Dick Cheney with important documents. What happens when a drive fails? Well, we all know the answer to that. YOU LOSE EVERYTHING!

"Dosvidanija, Ciao Adieu, Hasta la vista, I'm on my way, Goodbye, Sayonara, Auf nimmerwiedersehen, Over and out, And down the drain."

Then when you finally get a replacement, which if we're talking factory replacements here, we have to wait for that too... Otherwise you're shelling out money for a new drive. The best part though... Redownloading gigs and gigs, and gigs of data again... Oh, and your ISP getting angry because you're downloading.

Plus harddrives get fragmented, they slow down, they produce an awful lot of heat, and in the end... Your limited to the size of the drive. Sure, 500gb is alot... But for a serious gamer who buys alot of games... I'm just trying to picture Ben and Arnold here limited strictly to the size of a harddrive... Not only do they enjoy playing games, they review them... ALOT! Farewell harddrive space!

Do you get an instruction manual you can read in the livingroom, car, bathroom, or whatever? No... Course, does anyone really read those? Does it have Christmas/Birthday open your gifts value and excitement? Absolutely not. Can you loan it to your friend for a weekend so he can see if he likes it? Can you you go to Blockbuster video and rent it? No.

And while I'm at it... Wouldn't the concept of going purely digital downloads eliminate places like GameStop, EBGames, huge sections of Walmart, Target, BestBuy, and stores around the world that sell games? Yeah... It would. Say, doesn't that also have an economic impact... Say... Hundreds of thousands of layoffs, because people would be out of a job? Yeah.


Digital downloading has advantages for some, but to 'replace disc format' ... Foolish.

Added side note to all this... I would have probably bought Fatal Inertia EX this weekend, had it been something I could pick up at the store. Instead I'm much more likely to pick up MGS4 or Ninja Gaiden II.

Last edited by Zapix on 6/21/2008 12:34:57 AM

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 2:50:10 PM

I'm the same way with music.
I refuse to use itunes or similar services because i like to receive physical property when i buy things

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 3:34:05 AM

FFS, This is ridiculous, i remember back on the Psone, It was as simple as popping a disc in & playing, now look what bullsh*t we get, we have to keep installing games like a PC, but having games downloaded thats just dumb. What if it crashes & you lose the data & your games. its just a bad idea. i hope they just leave it at disc format.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 5:40:25 AM

As long as the tech supports it, it'll be work. There are far too many things against it for it to work right now of course. But, as HDDs get larger and more reliable, network speeds increase to allow a 50gb game to be downloaded in less time than it takes to go to a shop and ISPs change their definition of "Heavy User" to more than checking emails once a day, it will be viable.
But of course, all of that may take a while.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 6:13:56 AM

Sorry but this is a bad idea..

1. The majority of the world can not even obtain high-speed broadband internet. Let alone, broadband fast enough to download 50gb games within minutes

2. Number 1 brings up another predicament. It would take days to weeks to download games, and would cause their profits to slowly decline from lack of use. People would buy a game, and then wait for days to weeks for it to download! XD

3. In all honesty, the only way I see this working is if they set up their own broadband connection for free that has at least 40-50gb of downloading speed.

4. The PS4 would need to come with a HDD with at LEAST 1tb of free space for downloading. Mind you, they're going to want to add other features.

5. What's going to happen to HD? lol.. Does that mean there wont be a disc drive within the console? This would cause a money loss as well, solely for the fact that the PS3 is also being sold as a blu-ray player, and not just a gaming console.

6. What happens when your HDD burns out? Would you have to pay AGAIN for the same game? Would it be saved to the broadband network that you bought the game so you can download it for free? Another money loss. Hard drives can burn out pretty easily. They can get bricked and cause it to be incompatible.

Last edited by Arnon on 6/21/2008 6:18:40 AM

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 @ 9:14:01 PM

The world as we know it is drifting into a new direction, a direction never seen before by man... It's called Futuristic Change, everything goes through this phaze :)

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 9:38:18 AM

My harddrive messed up so I had to get a new ps3. I lost all my games, add-ons, demos, music, videos, pictures and other crap. Man was i pissed!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 @ 9:14:52 PM

You don't have to buy a new PS3 just because your HDD was fucked up... lol

And everything you download in terms of demos, add-ons, and games are saved on a list in the PS Store... If you bought a new PS3 because of those lame excuses, then you idiotically handed your money away. Congradulations.

Last edited by Tatsujin on 6/22/2008 9:16:50 PM

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Deleted User
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 9:43:57 AM

Listen. I LOVE video games in their hardcopy and I despise digitally downloading games that have no cases, manuals or disks. I like having the real think. But we have to face reality. Gas is rising. It's $4.00 everywhere and going up in a hurry. Gas prices means increase in EVERYTHING you buy at a store. We could see video games go up by $10 within the next year. Imagine paying $70 for a new video game plus tax. Digital dowloads would prevent high prices.

You all do have a point that the amout of hard drive these games would take up would be immense. We'll just have to see what happens.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 11:08:39 AM

You have to remember that the world is constantly changing. In a decade or two, most things will be connected to some sort of network or another. This in combination with Moore's Law will show exponential advances in computing and download speeds (as have already been shown in the past several decades). The references we have to such things today are out of context to how things will be in the future with respect to computing and gaming. An oft used quote says that people vastly overestimate the short-term and vastly underestimate the long-term. Who knows what the future can hold, but I'll err on the side of vast changes.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 11:52:44 AM

The only upside to digital downloads is cost, which is a big thing, but there are simply too many negatives.

One of the big ones for me is not being able to take your copy of a game to a friend's house.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 2:37:58 PM

It is nice to have your music and movies on your PC in digital form. We all like just clicking between tracks and albums, and we like being able to click on a film or tv episode without getting the discs and swapping them into our machines. I like the way I can turn on my PS3 and play a number of games without messing around with discs.
However I do worry about losing my games that I pay for. I am not keen on huge download times with big games like MGS IV and blu-ray movies (I hate Virgin broadband too) I'm not keen of the idea of filling up my HDD with a few games, that when I want a new game, I need to delete a game I own in order to make room for a new one.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 3:36:30 PM

I think what they should do is keep the disk format but let you register it when you buy it..then if the disk gets scratched you should be allowed to download it for free..even if it does take forever and a half!!but i guess then you have piracy issues yet again....

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Deleted User
Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 6:26:42 PM

Good idea shaydey77 but that still doesn't cut out the hardcopy...which takes time and resources to make.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 7:32:49 PM

resources in terms of man power, is actually more beneficial. Face facts here, if they take a route that involves less need for people working, that's less people employed and making money to buy the games to begin with.

I look at it like when I was working for Waldenbooks/Borders. The money they paid me was made right back in sheer profits. The majority of my paychecks would go to buying anime DVDs and manga. It's a full circle process, and I'm sure within the gaming industry, it works the same way. You go digital only, and all those people working in game stores and gaming departments are suddenly out of a job. Top it off, they might even build resentment torwards the companies for it. These people are also most likely to put their money back into buying games, a new system, etc. However... Now with less flow of money going here and there, they actually lose sales.

and honestly speaking, with the economy falling apart all around, the only way to get it stable is if people are putting money into it. People can't put money into it if they don't have the money to begin with. EBGames, GameStop, department store sections, etc, shutting down would be catastrophic in many ways.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008 @ 11:32:02 PM

Honestly- I don't see this happening with the PS4... there are TOO factors to consider (processor, graphic cards, space etc.. I'm no expert but it's a package) and can you imagine the price for that! Many people out t here still consider the PS3 to be expensive...

But... wouldn't it take like XXX days to download an item that big? And a "PS4" will have to come with a huge hard drive of space and if let's say there's a hard drive failure then what <....<

Last edited by Mystearica on 6/21/2008 11:32:18 PM

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Gregory Freeman
Sunday, June 22, 2008 @ 10:38:30 AM

i believe it would be pointless and just not practical to go through with just purely digital downloads... because not everyone has internet, or wants to use it. so that means they would have a console, but no games.. and blueray(being the biggest disk storage format) is getting bigger to means of 100gb per cd! and they are just going to throw all this technology away? technology that they paid to research and produce? and don't get me wrong, i like the playstation store, but i also like the satisfaction of having the case of a really good game in my hands...

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Sunday, June 22, 2008 @ 9:19:22 PM

I love how people here think that "Oh, my HDD will never be that big" or "No internet is fast enough to download 50gigs in a matter of minutes" Well, news-flash... Change my friends occures on a daily basis... Get use to it.

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Monday, June 23, 2008 @ 1:32:28 AM

Without a complete overhaul of the infrastructure in the UK it is very unlikely we will see speeds sufficient for downloading full games. Add to that the constant threat of download limits and throttling and I find it hard to see a total switch to digital downloads in the near future. (2-15 years).

I seem to remember reading that currently only 54% of the UK have broadband. Not sure what the percentage is in Europe or the US.

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