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 Digital Downloads: The Wave of the Future
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Digital Downloads: The Wave of the Future - Nov 18, 2007 13:47

In the current 1Up Yours Podcast (, special guest Newsweek blogger N' Gai Croal reveals that Gamestop punished Sony and sent a message to other game publishers considering offering digital downloads of current selling games. Sony allowed PS3 owners to download Warhawk. Gamestop retaliated by having Sony pick up ALL extra " off the shelf" copies and take them back. Gamestop refused to sell Warhawk, sending the message that it would fight future digital downloads of current games. This does not affect older games like Xbox Originals (Halo, Crimson Skies, etc.) because of the way Microsoft killed the demand for those games when it stopped supporting the original Xbox console in favor of the 360.

What worries me is that people are cheering for a future of only digital downloads (not in the podcast, just message boards across the net). Why are people so excited about a future with only digital downloads? There are so many negatives to it. Think of all the things to consider,

- Retailers make way more off software than hardware. If retailers aren' t making money (or literally can' t make money) off software they' re not going to stock the hardware. If retailers aren' t stocking gaming equipment then retailers don' t have to worry about competition. So unless digital publishers will offer launch day sales then expect to pay more for new games. Futhermore, if hardware isn' t being stocked that would include controllers and other equipment. That means I' d have to wait for the mail for all my hardware purchases and pay shipping charges.... no thanks.

- Time consuming. I can drive up the street and physically grab a game a lot faster than I can download it. With the move to high capacity formats, games next gen could easily be reaching fifteen gigs. I am NOT going to wait for a fifteen gig download. Really we' re already there. MGS4 is what? 15-20 gigs? That' s going to eat up a lot of time.

- Bandwidth. Game X is coming out. EVERYONE wants game X. When game X gets released hundreds of thousands of people will try to download it at once. Game X is fifteen gigs... and you' re averaging about 500kb a sec download speeds because of the traffic. Awesome... Also, high speed in America still isn' t too " speedy." You' d have to upgrade your service and see your monthly internet fees rise. Why should I have to pay more monthly just to play a videogame?

- Space. I' d run out of hard drive space WAY before I run out of shelf space. I can either physically buy a game and have it available to play whenever... or download it, delete it when I' m out of space, then wait an extremely long time to download it again if a friend wants to come over and play. But wait, there' s option three, buy another hard drive. That' s just more unnecessary money I shouldn' t have to spend.

- Durability. With both Apple/Microsoft pushing for DRM free music it' s a lot more practical to download a CD then make a physical copy of it. That won' t be so easy next gen with both Microsoft and Sony switching to high capacity formats. DRM free or not, once a game is on your hard drive it' s not going anywhere. Someone may find a hack to get the game on your PC and then burn it, but that also means purchasing a high capacity burner for your PC... yeah that doesn' t sound economical at all. Also, you must consider hard drive failure. Sure you can download all those games again for free since you' ve already purchased them, but if you have 100 gigs to download that' s a lot of time wasted when you can just as easily plop in a disc.

- Used game market. I, like a lot of people, enjoy being able to pick up older games at a discounted price. Easier on the wallet, bonuses for trading in older games, and it feels good getting a good deal on an awesome game. Not anymore. Don' t bother looking because you' re not going to find a used copy of Oblivion for 40 bucks. You' re paying the full 60 so you can have the honor of downloading it.

A mixture of digital downloads and discs doesn' t sound to bad. Essentially you' d have to best of both worlds where those who want to download their games can and those who would rather have a disc can stop at Walmart and buy it on disc.

But I don' t see how anyone could wish for a future of only digital downloads. It makes me wonder if they really thought that idea out...
< Message edited by lotusson -- 18 Nov 07 5:51:54 >

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