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So, What Do You Think About Digital Distribution Now?

There's no crying in baseball. There should be no crying in gaming, albeit for entirely different reasons.

Analysts have predicted that the video game industry - as well as movies, music, etc. - will eventually go all digital at some point in the future; i.e., no more physical media like discs. Of course, this is probably a ways off but we've already seen the massive strides taken in this direction; we've seen full (and very large) titles hit the digital world (inFamous, Mass Effect 2, Burnout Paradise, etc.) and it's not entirely inconceivable that digital will rule our hobby within the next decade or so. The benefits are clear but with the recent PSN crisis, what do you think now, all-digital supporters?

If our industry was entirely digital right now and all games had to be bought through the Network, nobody would be allowed to buy anything. And imagine what that would mean for Sony. Yeah, total disaster. Those of us who actually have game collections and multiple systems and haven't yet succumbed to the all multiplayer, all the time temptation...well, we're surviving somehow. Thing is, something "physical" exists in the physical plane; it's right here in front of us. Pulling a plug or the pathetic I-have-to-compensate-for-something hacking criminal just doesn't matter. So if the direction really is all-digital, isn't anyone the slightest bit concerned?

I guess the bottom line is this: I can't see the logic in placing all our eggs in one basket; in having our entire hobby hinge on an Internet connection. Far too much is out of our control, damnit.

Tags: psn, psn outage, playstation network, digital distribution

4/24/2011 9:25:04 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (54 posts)

Temjin001
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 9:54:20 PM
Reply

Yeah, the digital distribution thing has me conflicted. On one hand, I love the idea of having instant accessibility to any of my games just by using my controller. But on the other hand, all of the HDD storage space, online tethering, total publisher control of the media, and the virtual elimination of the user re-sell market, makes it a tough sale for me at this point. There needs to be a happy medium. Ideally, I'd like the idea of buying a physical copy, then ripping it to the HDD, and keeping the the game disc stored away for back-up. Unfortunately, that method would just open the flood gates for the pirates.. so fat chance there.
Anyway, it's an interesting concern.

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BTNwarrior
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:00:09 PM
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some hackers would be getting lynched right about now if it was all digital

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JMO_INDY
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:01:46 PM
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It wouldn't matter actually, the game would still be installed on your HDD and the SP could still be played just like if we had the Disc version, so I really don't see what your driving at here Ben. The only thing missing would be MP, or buying new games, but I'm sure you could wait to buy a new game for a couple of days. You can't be THAT impatient.

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BTNwarrior
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:04:24 PM

I think he is referring to streaming games through the internet, like onlive does

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swapnilgyani
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:05:48 PM

WE could wait to buy games, sure. But imagine the amount of loss poor game developers / distributors would incur during the down time.

That's what Ben is driving at, I think.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:07:49 PM

It would matter though because we wouldn't be able to purchase games and they wouldn't be able to make any sales for however many days they were down. For example if Gamestop had to close the doors to every single one of their stores for an entire week. Think of all the lost revenue. It would be a dramatic set back.

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JMO_INDY
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:10:23 PM

Streaming through the internet such as OnLive would be an asinine idea as it is right now. People just don't have those kinds of speeds. I think a simple PS Store onl option would be OK, such as the PSP Go! Where you download it, it's there, I would be ok with that. But with a streaming service you need a constant connection that's a completely different story. I believe he would of pointed out had it been that radical of a change from disc to streaming. I believe he simply means Buy, download, play. If not it's no more that whining about an event that will never be realized until the internet speeds jump significantly. (sorry ben no hard feelings, Just seems like this PSN outage has you a little on edge.)

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JMO_INDY
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:11:37 PM

And you could always buy on PC ( assuming they make a service), download it to a Stick and then transfer. NO harm done.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:31:55 PM

I think you are misunderstanding his main issue. Streaming and playing already downloaded games aside, if Sony or MS delivered all of their games to us via online downloads and their servers were to fail or be brought down for a week or a month, their ability to make news sales would be cut off. They would essentially go out of business for that time frame. The lost revenues during that time would have a huge impact on their ability to recover such a loss. By going all digital they are handicapping themselves by leaving their business to the mercy of the Internet and servers. Say Steam was hacked and Valve had to turn the service off for a month. Since that's their largest source of income it would hurt them greatly not being able to make new sales during that time period.

Last edited by Jawknee on 4/24/2011 10:33:56 PM

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TheAgingHipster
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:41:54 PM

Then imagine if something like the PSN outage occurred when the entire world was waiting to download Call of Duty 48: Modern Black Op World at Warfare. Huge revenue losses, public outrage, etc. Yeah, it would be disasterous.

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Underdog15
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 10:15:12 AM

Suppose Cloud servers, like the one PS+ members get, were where all save files were kept, or worse, were where we play all our digital games from!

As for me, right now, I don't really want to play any MLB 11 The Show, because my save file for that is on PS+'s Cloud, which I can't get to without logging in, which I can't do right now.

Not that it's so bad, since I have lots of other games, but I'd be ticked if I relied on it to save HDD space if, say, I had an old 40GB system.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:10:22 PM
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Yea, same as always. No thanks. This is the very reason I hope we never go to an all digital delivery system. If PSN were to never return. All the only people spent on DLC and downloadable games would be gone in a flash. I think Sony understands this as well. From Kaz's past statements, Sony will continue to provide us with a physical means of entertainment to keep us confident in our buying ability and to cover their own rears. It would be a disaster for any company if they are all digital and these God forsaken hackers did to them what they are doing to Sony now. Like Onlive. If anything were to happen to their network and they went down for a week, that's a week a 100% lost revenue.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:34:58 PM

All the *money people spent.

I swear edited that.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:37:13 PM
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By the way Ben. I love that pic. One best scenes of all time. One of my favorite Tom Hanks movies.

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JMO_INDY
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:28:32 AM

I can't remember the name of the movie, but I do remember a couple years back when I had PE a kid bitched and moaned about not wanting to play baseball, and the coach made us watch this movie to make fun of him haha

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Jawknee
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:37:49 AM

Ha, that's great.

The movie is called A League of their Own.

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BikerSaint
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 10:48:07 PM
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As a gaming collector I have no choice but to fear that "DAY OF INFAMY" because that will be the fatality that abruptly stops "ALL" future physical additions to our collections.

And of course we'll still buy games reluctantly, but only those you really want to play, and not those you'd just need to help fill in your collection.

Plus, if you're like myself where you're trying to get every game you can just to fill out those empty spots in your collection list, then you certainly won't want to see 100's and hundreds of different flash drives, memory cards, & memory sticks sitting up on shelves, looking like a bunch of ugly f*cklings!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:04:53 PM
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Aren't there some games that won't let you play unless you are connected to online, even though they aren't online games? I dunno, its a big new scary world and if it ever goes to all digital you can find World living in a fortified bunker filled with all available physical media just preparing for the digital apocalypse.

When the EMP bombs hit, all my games in my bunker will still be playable forever.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:15:19 PM

Yup. Two by Crapcom on PSN. Final Fight and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2. I don't like DRM but I don't begrudge PC devs too much for using it as PC games are easy to pirate. But Crapcom using it on PSN is just stupid.

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TheAgingHipster
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:21:26 AM

I play all the Mass Effect games on PC, which, unfortunately, requires an internet connection to EA's servers to play with any kind of installed DLC. Worst part is, I live in the country on an unreliable DSL line. :/

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Alienange
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:37:47 PM
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Good point Ben. LOL. In your FACE digital downloads!

Oh, and OnLive, you think you're immune? Welcome to the internet fools.

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Jawknee
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:45:59 PM

"Welcome to the internet fools."

LOL!

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Ignitus
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:39:52 PM
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Good thinking. That's something to consider. Also there are some PSN games, (lately from CAPCOM)that require you to be logged in to PSN in order to play, even though they are local single player games. How's that?

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ffyfe7
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:40:39 PM
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Have always prefered physical media, the feeling of walking into the shop and picking up a anticipated game, you're happy and it's in your hands. I'd much rather walk down to my local EB Games (the people are actually nice and know what they're talking about) and pick up a game then wait for a downloading/installing progress bar to tell me when I can play.

Always prefered physical media and always will.

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TheAgingHipster
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:25:16 AM

....and, if your internet connection is total crap (e.g., my rural DSL), that download bar monopolizes your screen for a solid week.

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JMO_INDY
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:31:22 AM

Out here in rural Indiana we actually have a single service available to us for internet outside of cell service, which is Endeavor Communications and they provide us in a town of 148 people with 10 MBPS download and 6 MBPS Upload speeds on a fiber optic system. Not the best but pretty damn good for all the way out here.

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TheAgingHipster
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:40:37 AM

@JMO, I would kill for that. I'm on spotty DSL that cuts out if it's cloudy. The best I get is 100 kb/s down, 40kb/s up.

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JMO_INDY
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 6:25:11 AM

I've been there man, I have :/

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Geobaldi
Sunday, April 24, 2011 @ 11:58:15 PM
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I'm quite happy with digital distribution, and have been for a few years now. Last year I only bought seven physical copies of games, but over a hundred digital games, and I've slowly been selling my physical games and replacing them with digital as they become available. Except for all my old favorites and collector's editions and such. Currently I have three physical games pre-ordered but they are collector's sets so I have no choice but to go non-digital for those.

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mehrab2603
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:04:14 AM
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'The day the gaming industry goes all-digital is the day I give up gaming' - somebody said that here and I too feel the same.

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TheAgingHipster
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:33:55 AM

I remember hearing people say that about the switch from cartridges to discs. Personally, I love gaming too much to let it go just because of a format change. I do think all digital distribution will cause a bigger headache in terms of drive management, but regardless of if it's in a cartridge, a disc, a flash drive, or even an old 5 1/2" floppy disc (ZORK!), I will always be a gamer and will go out with a controller in my hands.

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BIGRED15
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:40:16 AM
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I cant say im opposed to solely internet based gaming, but sony better make damn sure that psX is fortified like alcatraz or i just wont be able to buy into its legitimacy. just imagine if MK or portal 2 were digital. if that was the case, initial sales would just be awful for two games that deserve to rake in the money. I honestly wont invest in any sort of digital gaming if something like this was bound to happen. If people are continually going to hack im going to continue to demand disc base. These buttholes had to ruin a potentially great weekend for gaming. They are total cowards. Its one thing for someone to terrorize people but doing that completely incognito with no punishment is the utmost in cowardice. 70 people have been incapacitated for 4 DAYS. unacceptable. I feel even worse for those who only depend on oline for their fix. Me on the other hand i reverted back to uncharted 2 and enjoying every minute.

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Kiryu
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 3:39:55 AM
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Good Point Ben.

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Wissam
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 3:47:02 AM
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The pic is funny. and you are right ben. this PSN thing is starting to annoy me. the sooner it
gets back the better.

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 3:57:44 AM
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That’s a pretty valid point, games distribution would be at a heavy crisis. I think that people are still far too interested in physical form media for games to have that happen yet. A good example is the PSP-GO. It's not sold particularly well has it. I know with my PSP i'd much rather buy a UMD than download of the PSN Store. It's also a lot cheaper to get UMD'S from online stores like amazon. I got The 3rd Birthday - Twisted Edition (Special Box, Art Book, 2 Art Prints, Dissidia costume and 50% of Voucher for Final Fantasy II.), But if you look at the music industry, I'd say it's the other way around, I think Apple have made downloads appeal to the audience.

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StevieRV
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 4:12:00 AM
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my ps3 is getting fixed from YLOD so i havent been affected by the PSN network being down, good timing i reckon

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___________
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 4:12:48 AM
Reply

absolutely we will go DD only, the key word there being EVENTUALLY!
not anytime soon though!
once standard plans are unlimited usage, and ADSL2 speed then yea,but my great gran kids will have great gran kids by the time that happens!
coverage is another thing that REALLY needs to be worked on!
if i go to the city, i get full signal.
move 10 minutes away from the city and i get 2 bars if im lucky!
i only live 30 minutes away from the city where all the celular towers are, and im lucky if i get a single bar!
my nets constantly dropping out on me.
so you think people are going to sit there waiting 6 hours for their game to download, then the stupid unreliable net drops out, they loose their progress and have to start from scratch again?
f*ck that!
when downloading my games becomes easier and most importantly cheaper then buying from retail, then and only then will i even consider it.
but thats a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way of!

thats another problem with it, why are DL games more expensive then retail?
your getting less for more?
WTF?
soon Ferraris will be cheaper then Fords!
SWEET!
get a disk, manual, case, cover art for 100 bucks.
or get no disk, no manual, no case, no cover art for 10 or so bucks more?
O, and nothing to trade in?
O, and nothing to return if you dont like it?
yea, ill pass!
ive never understood why people buy games online, your paying more and getting less!

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Beamboom
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 6:28:38 AM
Reply

I have now read a lot of posts from you all, arguing back and forth. I have given this article about digital distribution a good thought too. But sorry:
This is nonsense.

Look at the music industry. Surely some of you still buy CDs, but the trade is almost entirely digital now and will be just around the corner - myself I *only* buy music digitally (and I *do* still buy music, yup).
It works. It's good, and it's the obvious way to go. The distributors are able to handle the challenge, and so should Sony!

Sony just have to get their security together. Also, it'd be a good thing to not force monopoly over our heads, ie open up for the possibility to access other game servers directly and not via psn, to not make us 100% dependent on one single network.

** So this problem is due to two main reasons: Security and monopoly. It's *not* the digital distribution in itself that is to blame. **

Many of you say that Sony is not to blame for this, and that it's all those bloody hackers fault. Again, just for the sake of being categorical: Nonsense.

Let me use another "monopoly network" as example: The mmorpgs. That's one exclusive network all clients connect to, just like psn.
And being one that has spend *years* playing mmo's I tell you this: For the hosts of mmo's this is an ongoing, constant battle. No rest any minute of the day.
There is an entire business going on selling ingame money for real life money. And those companies (!) hunt and use mmo exploits to get a lot of cash fast.
Add to this mixture the many *thousand* "hackers" who get their accounts banned for these kind of reasons, and you got a scenery that can only be described as a war.
The hosts of the mmo's are able to cope with this.
And now you are telling me that it's not Sony to blame that one single hacker, although skillful, were able to knock down the entire giant for a *week*?
Sorry guys, I don't buy that. This must have been one giant wakeup call for Sony, and rightfully so.

This do not mean that I defend the hackers. I do not. I am also annoyed by psn being down, and I share your view that it's a bad thing, what the hacker(s) have done.
But this is reality! Just like we use locks on our real life doors to make life harder for the thieves, we have to face the reality on the net. It's no different, really.
We may talk all we like about how we all should have a morale to not break any laws or use our knowledge only for the good of man, but that will be all theoretical mumbo jumbo.

Fact is: Sony host millions of users who pay GOOD MONEY for their services through buying psn games, licenced games etc. We put our trust in them. Part of what we pay for is this "free" network service. They *are* to blame that we do not have this now.

It's not like I can't survive this. I can, easily. But is Sony partially to blame for this? I'd say "YES, definitively"!
With Sony (and game publishers) *huge* focus on online gaming, I'd say they can only thank themselves for having a bunch of angry multiplayer gamers out there now. They created this.

** If you want to be a part of the online world, you have to be able to cope with it. Simple as that. **


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/25/2011 6:39:42 AM

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Beamboom
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 6:29:26 AM

Oh christ that became one hell of a long comment. Didn't realize that :D Sorry

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Excelsior1
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 6:38:20 AM
Reply

i think we are a ways off from digital distribution. at least here in the us. broadband service penetration is not that high here for some reason. an article titled what do think of online gaming now would've been interesting. i'm pretty sure that we already know most gamers aren't big fans of digital distribution, this psn outage won't stop companies from pushing digital distribution or even slow it. they dream of having 100% control of their product.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 4/25/2011 6:41:22 AM

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kraygen
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 10:01:20 AM
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I hate the idea of all digital. There will always be hackers. Plus how many times have you had your internet go down due to power outages, bad weather, lines going down, or whatever.

We had some bad weather last year that tore down some phone lines and I didn't have internet for almost a week. No internet also means no psn.

Granted not everyone has dsl, but it's not like the cable doesn't go out from time to time too.

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CrusaderForever
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 10:03:10 AM
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I still don't see the problem? If I buy a digital game, play it and PSN goes down I can play it even though the network is down. So I would be back in the same boat of playing my SP games while the network is down. Are there digital games that don't work if PSN is down? If so, that would be really bad and I can see how the digital distribution system would ultimately be a fail.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 10:24:02 AM

You wouldn't be able to buy a single game during the time the Network was down.

How do people not get this?

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/25/2011 10:24:07 AM

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CrusaderForever
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 11:24:32 AM

Ben, honestly, are you kidding? I understand if PSN is down that I cannot buy a PSN game for gods sake! What I was asking is if there are any DD games that wouldn't allow you to play them if PSN is down. If there aren't then you can just play your games in SP. If we were completely DD then I can see new PS3 owners being affected by a DD system. Buying that nice new shiny PS5 but not being able to buy a game because you cannot get to PSN to download a new game would suck. Cannot go to Target or Walmart and buy a game would suck. You just bought a nice new shiny box :(. Even then a new PS5 will most likely come with a nice launch title already on the HDD.

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kraygen
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:23:58 PM

There could also be a problem in that if we went all digital, companies might take an approach like onlive. Where instead of downloading you just play the games on their servers. This could be a huge issue if networks went down.

Not only could you not play, but you couldn't do anything.

I could see it going this way because you wouldn't need to download so no hard drive. You wouldn't have to sit around for hours on end waiting for a single game. It would however have it's own issues.

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Ignitus
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 6:07:52 PM

Yes there are some PSN games that are single player and require you to be logged-in in order to play. CAPCOM likes to include this requirement into their latest games.

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Dreno
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 10:38:05 AM
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haha, truly epiic pic for this topic.

Effin tom hanks lol.

TAKE THAT MADONNA !

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Jawknee
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:20:53 PM

Ha, that's not Madonna. It's Bitty Schram.

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BIGRED15
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:04:33 PM
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i think that maybe what ben is getting at is that if it becomes digital the videogames would likely have to be streamed to an extent in order to work. Plus if games were online only and digital, then you would really be screwed. I dont mind the idea of digital so long as come PS5 or whatever, i can still play ps3 games as a backup im cool with it. Depending solely on digital just wouldnt work, and if we did go completely digital how could sony assure that their entire infrastructure was protected and would not be hacked again? Because in an all digital world there is no garuntee with hackers. While music industry has been able to thrive off of digital media, there is still people that find ways to bypass paying for content so music is as effected as gaming would be with digital

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BIGRED15
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:04:35 PM
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i think that maybe what ben is getting at is that if it becomes digital the videogames would likely have to be streamed to an extent in order to work. Plus if games were online only and digital, then you would really be screwed. I dont mind the idea of digital so long as come PS5 or whatever, i can still play ps3 games as a backup im cool with it. Depending solely on digital just wouldnt work, and if we did go completely digital how could sony assure that their entire infrastructure was protected and would not be hacked again? Because in an all digital world there is no garuntee with hackers. While music industry has been able to thrive off of digital media, there is still people that find ways to bypass paying for content so music is as effected as gaming would be with digital

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maxpontiac
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 12:36:37 PM
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It's ok for small 10-15 dollar type games, but after that, no thanks!

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Lairfan
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 7:03:58 PM
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IMO, the minor problem with digital distribution would be if devs required you to be logged online to play the game (like Capcom does with a couple of its games).

Also IMO, the major problem would be the complete eradication of the game store and used games markets and the gigantic amount of jobs lost. How can you justify wiping out such big companies like Gamestop so readily?

The only other inconvenience I would have is not having cool box art to look at, but its fairly easy to get over that (although is full-on digital distribution for all games becomes a reality, the nostalgia of physical media will certainly never go away).

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AnonWTF
Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 11:41:26 PM
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I hope their predictions are wrong and we keep both. Both have their advantages disadvantages and I like having the option of both. Same way with books and music.

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Bandit King
Friday, April 29, 2011 @ 7:05:34 PM
Reply

Worried? Ben I have been practically screaming about this very thing for years now. This is the very reason I don not support a digital future, going all digital is pure stupidity. I have a philosophy that if I can't tough it I don't own it, and if I don't own it I must just be renting it. Thats the reality here you have no right to the content you buy if the company switches its programs or moves on to a new system, or goes bankrupt. Has any one thought about what happens to all our DLC when sony moves to PS4, and shuts down the PS3 side of the network, your HDD better not crash thats all I know. Same goes for just about any media, people seem content with iTunes/amazon often low grade MP3 downloads rather then owning a lossless CD that you can burn to your hearts content at whatever quality you want to boot. This whole digital movement just seems poorly thought out. You also have to think about who orchestrated this from the start, giant computer tech corporations who 1. don't give a rats *** if you can get to your content and 2. want to be able to hold all of us to a steady/necessary upgrade pattern to ensure sales. Remember everyone would have been on Vista when it came out if MS was able to just remove XP from a download server and make sure no one could activate it anymore. Its all about control people and you should always want to be in control of what you pay for and given this unfortunate event ask your self, are you in control?

Last edited by Bandit King on 4/29/2011 7:14:27 PM

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