Let me get my crystal ball

Sorry for the late posting.

What’s the future dear gamers? Whenever I talk to people, all I hear is digital. That seems to be where the publishers want to go. I’m just not sure the world is ready. Well, maybe ready is the wrong word. I think a lot of people are comfortable with the digital model already. But really – I just don’t think it’s as good of an idea as some people think.

Thanks to the good people at Sony (and the 50$ I shell out every year), I have ended up with a ton of free games. What I can say is this: I can’t for the life of me think about which ones are just rotting in my consoles at the moment. It’s not that I don’t want to play them. I wouldn’t have downloaded them if I hadn’t gotten the spark of interest. But there are so many. Like I said in my last post, finding the time, it’s a problem.

I think the real problem, at least for me, is the price. I get that with the value of our dollar plummeting, that prices will go up accordingly. So when it comes to picking up games, I do wait for sales. The digital model costs less – to some extent. I realise that it still cost a lot to produce a game. But if I’m going to pay the same price as something manufactured – I need to have something tangible, something I can take home with me. The least the publishers could do is pass the savings on to the end user. Seriously.

I guess the other option is the Netflix model. Sony’s already gone there with the purchasing of Gaikai, and turning it around and calling it Playstation Now. I still think it’s a bit early to proclaim this a success or a failure. But I just don’t know that it’s a model that’s quite ready to be a success. Don’t get me wrong – I love Netflix. I predominantly use it as my source of entertainment. But at the same time, I prefer the ease of picking something off of my shelf, putting it in, and not worrying if the net is too slow for the quality I want, or if the connection is going to drop.

There are other problems. Mainly that this (see below) isn’t quite true.

With Microsoft proclaiming backwards-compatibility will be forthcoming, Sony needs to step it up. Though, to be fair, there are some serious problems with both models. With Sony, you need to be a pretty steep monthly fee. That’s one. Well, a pretty big one actually. But you also need to make sure that you are kicking out some serious bandwidth to keep those games streaming without interruption.

With Microsoft, yeah, popping in the old disc will give you the game. Eventually, they’re probably going to be able to get you a copy of every game in the past gen. Probably. But, the downside is: You’re going to need one hell of a hard drive. I mean, the games were probably smaller than a lot of the installs and day-one patches for the next (when are we going to start calling it current) gen games, but if your collection looks anything like my collection, you’re going to need a few of those bad boys. I guess that’s something a lot of PC gamers are already dealing with. I have a friend who is a Steam gamer, and buys into the model of picking up everything when it goes on Steam-sales and he’s got a few terabytes dedicated to his game collection. He’s probably never going to get through all of them.

So digital or physical? I want to say at some point I’ll make the switch. But I’m a gamer – and a collector. Sometimes I’m not sure which side is making my buying decisions, but I do like having something in hand, something with nice art and something I can pick up whenever.

– The Ego


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