Gameindustry.biz is reporting that Jamie MacDonald, VP of SCE Worldwide Studios Europe, believes electronic software distribution will overtake discs in the next five years.
"In five years' time, my belief is that the majority of content won't be delivered on disc. That has many implications for developers and the way we organise our industry," MacDonald said during his keynote at GDC London.
Good bye brick and mortar retail. Hello Sony Playstation Live or whatever it is called. PC games unwittingly have lead the charge with Valve's Steam and the monthly subscription of MMOs being two financially successful models that come to mind. Consoles it seems are not far behind. Or are they?
Gamers love to touch, look, browse whatever when shopping. As much as I hate my local Gamestop I still buy a lot of games there. I hit the local store probably once a week during lunch. Am I an arcane throw back? Or are there real barriers that must be overcome for ESD to be the dominant distribution model?
5 years? Doubtful. Maybe sometime in the future, though. However, if they go that route, they have to start working on cutting game sizes down, rather than letting the sizes continue to increase. Even on a fast cable connection, downloading a DVD-sized game (or larger) would take awhile to do and although speeds are increasing quickly in the US and a few other countries, I don't think they are in most parts of the world. Also, it is really nice to have a physical manual and just including an electronic version wouldn't be nice.
Btw, MMOs don't fit with what you're talking about. They still have a box and manual and disks. They just have an online world to play in.
This will lead to some rather serious problems. How do I know I can play a game in ten years time? With electronic distribution I might not be able to do that.
Having a physical connection with your object of devotion is much more important to consumers than you would imagine, this whole electronic distribution thing is interesting but if you look at the online music arena you can already see people returning to the CDs and even LPs and starting to shy away from itunes and their aseptic approach to music-on-demand. I think anyone will agree with me that when you really love some music/artist/whatever, having their production on your hands is infinitely better than a bunch of 99cent mp3s... same holds true for games. Anyone know how Direct2Drive is doing lately?? :S
ISPs would love that. They're already complaining about the bandwidth being used by current file sharing services.
I like physical media. It might take up more space, but at least I know there won't be some sort of lame dispute over my ownership if I need to reinstall in the years to come.
This from the company telling us current games absolutely need to be on media of 25+ gigabytes. Presumably then PS4 games would need even more space... so unless there's a magically amazing increase in both bandwidth and storage space by 2011, I can't imagine online distribution becoming the norm rather than the exception.
100Mb right to the door baby. Fibre in every house. Uh ... yeah.
for one thing I think it would depend on the state of the internet... it would probably need to be available to almost 80-90% in the homes just in the US to be viable.... and that 80-90 would have to be high speed... there are still a lot of people on dial up
as for the rest of the world where you have limits on down... that would have to change
I don't see this happening in 5 years
No more boxes? What am I going to contribute?!
LOL! Good to have your priorities straight! :D
I think we're now accepting "Electronic Cover Art", that is image files issued "officially" for a game, when no actual packaging exists. Having said that, this is a relatively new feature (as of July '06), so the guidelines may not be set in stone... or whatever we usually set them in... actually I think it's a hard form of rubber.