The Digital Future?

PSN LogoA new development over the last few years for the gaming industry has been the advent of digital distribution on a large scale basis, beyond just downloadable bonuses. Through platforms such as Steam, XBox Live and PSN, games are being delivered to us entirely differently than they were even just a short decade ago. So what is the next decade going to bring?

Back in 2006, former Sony exec Phil Harrison was quoted as saying that he would be surprised if the PS4, the next iteration of the Sony black box, would have a physical disc drive at all. That comment caused some interesting conversations in its wake, but current Sony exec Kaz Hirai has recently weighed in on the matter as well. In an interview with MCV, Hirai had this to say:

“We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope… There’s always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium. To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even ten years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme.”

I know that there are differing opinions on this issue out there. On the one hand, the idea of an all digital future at some nebulous point down the technology timeline is an exciting prospect, with instant access to all forms of entertainment. On the other hand, there is a part of me that likes physical copies of everything I own. To prove that I, you know, do in fact own it. There’s also the risk of things like the recent debacle with the PSP Go, where adopters of hardware without physical disc drives run the possibility of getting screwed.

So what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to an all digital future? Or do you prefer to keep a physical copy of what you own? I think this question is already answered in many ways for PC users who download via Steam, but go ahead and jump in anyway. Would you do this for all of your entertainment, based on your experience with Steam? Go!

Source- MCV

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

9 thoughts on “The Digital Future?”

  1. no, no, no. I don’t want to lose stuff due to harddrive glitches or what have you. I like physical items. I don’t even like buying CDs from iTunes.

    I’m so old fashioned,lol

  2. I would hate an all digital future, I have to have my physical copies. I just got an e reader for my birthday and fully plan on buying both the ebook and normal copies of each book I read, just so I can have something to throw on the shelf.

  3. I dislike digital version more than physical copies for a single reason: it depends on the connection. With a CD, you don’ worry about bandwith; everything is already on the disc.
    I bring this point up because, I have access to a slow server. Sucks. XP

  4. To be honest, I really don’t see that happening. Many gamers don’t even have a high-speed connection, so the idea of downloading Killzone 5 to the PS4 would really kill bandwith, especially if your internet is capped. I can imagine this for some games, such as old gems or shovelware, but there will always be a physical object on which the game is stored.

    If internet companies would offer better download speeds for better prices, I can see more games going to a disc-less format, but for now games are too large to be downloaded.

    Of course, Eddy, you said a similar thing about Netflix on the 360 three years ago on (to show my nerdiness) episode 2 of The Leet World Podcast, and if it’s gotten now to where we can stream HD movies to a system, maybe we’re not so far off from streaming or downloading games. to a system.

  5. I don’t think that losing digital media is as big a concern as most make it out to be. If steam deletes everyone’s account and or games then they would have deleted billions of $$ in games and there would be 25 million+ people really pissed off at them. So it is definitely in there best interest to avoid anything like that ever happening, the law suits would be horrendous (their PR would most likely commit suicide rather than deal with that). so If Sony goes completely digital I won’t worry too much because it is in their best interest, even more so than mine, to make sure I don’t lose any media I get digitally.

    However, having said that I am a sucker for having a hard copy – weather it is a game, movie, music, or a book – even if its just because I likes me a good cover art. That or its the Smaug inside of me who enjoys sitting on a giant pile of loot.

  6. I’m split on this. I love having my stuff on Steam so that I always know on any machine I have access to my things and i can’t lose them….

    But at the same time, God FORBID Steam ever goes under… what are they going to do, mail me 50 DVDs of all my games? What then???

    I’m with Anthony when it comes to music… But I haven’t bought a PC game from a store in more than 4 years.

  7. Physical stuff is safer since you can get your nebulous stuff wiped or hacked or corrupted, and yet digital transactions are faster and futureisnow-ier.

    So…if we can make a robust digital system (everything has back-ups and stuff), then I’d like to see more digital games and content.

  8. As long as they make it possible to redownload your purchases in the event that you lose them somehow, I wouldn’t really have a problem with it.

    I think memory might be an issue for console downloads, though, and I don’t like the idea of streaming games via broadband. There’s just too much that can go wrong. Of course, if something like the Gamefly rental service went streaming in the same way that Netflix did (and they maintained their price structure), that would be cool.

  9. Physical. My shelves are there for a reason. That and my hard drive on my PS3 has wiped too many times for comfort.
    Also for those of us who weren’t blessed with a decent broadband connection digital-only services can be a cruel mistress.

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