look at it sideways wrote:Why can't we have both?
Looking at the ridiculous prices charged for full-release games on the PS Network, I think it would be an utter disaster for gamers if we faced a download-only future.
It'd be pretty cruddy for game firms too - they'd lose a chunk of the casual market, I reckon. You couldn't pop into a shop and "gift" a game in the way that you did previously, for example. You'd also lose all your games if the server were to shut down and your console were to die/break when things become "retro". And also, it'd be bad for the future retro gamers, if physical copies of the game didn't exist to hunt down and play. Plus many people don't have a fast enough connection to make downloading current-gen games anything but laborious.
I reckon Microsoft might give it a bash, but it won't work so well and their competitors will benefit from that. There can still be a healthy download market whilst you can get physical copies of games. The current-gen mix of both is the way forward.
I think we probably will have both, for the next generation at least. The problem for fans of physical media is that market forces will almost certainly drive most people towards downloads by the time of the generation after.
As for the pricing, it doesn't have to be like PSN. There are bargains aplenty to be had on Steam and it's become the norm for prices of iOS games to be much lower than console versions, so I don't think there's necessarily an association between download services and high pricing. On the whole I'd lay the blame at Sony for needlessly keeping them high, not that Nintendo or Microsoft are any better.
You might still be able to gift games, at least you can on Steam. If nothing else you could always give people vouchers and a suggestion.
You certainly might lose games when the servers get shut down, but Valve are on record as saying that, if Steam were to be shut down for good, they'd be able to make all games playable without it, so I don't see why other services couldn't make a similar promise. Physical media won't necessarily guarantee that games will remain playable either; if they need on-line server access to play or for registration, you'll be just as stuffed so I'd think it's a separate issue really.