Digital Distribution Is The Way Of The Future
It’s no secret that digital distribution is the future of gaming. For other industries such as the music industry, this is already the norm. Gaming is slowly transitioning into becoming digital-only, but it’s much too early for the industry to completely change, and eliminate physical media. Such was made apparent through Microsoft’s recent failed attempt, and the failure of the digital-only ‘PSP Go’. But will this always be the case? Let’s take a look at how digital distribution can and will affect the gaming industry.
With physical games, publishers have to spend additional time and money on discs and packaging. Digital distribution can eliminate this. For example, when a game releases via digital download, be it through Steam, PSN, or Xbox Live, it eliminates the need for a case, disc, box art, manual, or shipping.
Services like Steam price games at ridiculously low prices, especially during sales. Sadly, not everyone has adopted this strategy. We still have services like Xbox Live and PSN selling games at a higher price than their retail counterparts. Microsoft and Sony need to lower their prices on their marketplaces. If these companies create sales similar to those found on Steam, and maybe even let gamers try out games for a weekend, we could see these stores becoming even more popular amongst core gamers. Hopefully in the future when physical copies are no longer produced, digital prices will go down significantly.
Buying a game digitally means you’ll get the game instantly, depending on the speed of your internet connection. But you’ll be gratified immediately knowing the download has started. This removes the need to physically shop, meaning you won’t have to camp outside a store just to get a copy of a game before stock runs out.
Game collecting is quite a popular hobby throughout the gaming community. Game collectors are usually the guys who get their hands on every new collector’s edition, hoping that in time it will increase in value. When digital distribution takes over and physical copies cease to exist, collector’s editions will die out as well. No longer will you look at your shelf and marvel at the glorious sight of all your video games stacked neatly against each other. It’s a sad truth, but it’s something we will all have to cope with, one way or another.
Stores like Gamestop are dependent on physical game sales, but with the advent of digital distribution on the horizon, it’s highly likely that these stores will be either extinct or severely crippled. This happened to the music industry not too long ago. Stores specializing in music CD’s are all but obsolete nowadays. Cherish these game stores while you still can, they won’t be around for much longer.
Gamers without an internet connection will be screwed. Now I know most gamers have access to the internet, but think about the minority here; think about those countries that don’t have fast, stable internet. Games are usually quite big in file size which means that downloading a game with slow internet will test the patience of some.
With all this said, digital distribution still has time to improve. Until the inevitable happens, we may just see new breakthroughs that will help enhance the user’s experience. Tell me, how do you feel about digital distribution? Please express your opinions in the comment section below.