It's what Netflix did to Blockbuster. It's why GameStop is currently conducting an internal study to determine how to adapt to the new market condition when digital delivery begins to take over. Analysts have said it's a good ten years off but even if that's an accurate estimate, it's not very long…and look at what has already happened.

You know, when they first started dabbling in delivering full video games digitally on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live services, we started with the likes of Flow . That was about four years ago and now, full digital titles such as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Blacklight: Tango Down prove just how far digital delivery has come; the latter isn't even very good, but the technical aspects are almost good enough to confuse it with a full $60 production. Of course, when I say "almost," it's still true that the remaining gap is noticeable. However, what they've managed to give us in a digital file over the Internet has increased drastically in terms of completeness and quality.

And that's not all. Has anyone noticed how much faster things are going? When I first got the PS3, it took about 50 minutes to download a 745MB demo for Resistance: Fall of Man . Now, I can download double that size in about 45 minutes. It's just getting faster and faster. It's why 2GB or more files don't bother me much; I remember the 1GB Heavenly Sword demo in 2007, which took 1 hour, 10 minutes; now, I can grab a gig in probably 30-35 minutes. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed this because they might not have been downloading anything off the PSN in 2006 or 2007 but trust me, I notice. I notice all the time. I know how we always say, "oh well, what about a 40GB game like MGS4." Yes, we're too far away from doing that realistically but not anywhere near as far as we once were…

I do have one question, though: as gaming gets better, won't the size of games also get bigger? Will it be a race to see how much faster we can ramp up Internet speeds before games have to take another step in size? Personally, and I've said this before, I'm very much against the digital shift because I like my physical, tangible game collection, and having a bunch of files on a screen is hardly the same thing. I also like the whole process of getting a shiny new game, box and manual and everything. Perhaps I'm a dinosaur, but whatever. The point is, I think a lot of people haven't really noticed how quickly things have advanced.

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Snaaaake
Snaaaake
9 years ago

Downloading speed is getting faster indeed but that's only in the US.
I hope publishers remember that there are gamers everywhere else aside from the US, Japan and Europe.
Even the Hot Pursuit demo took a couple of hours for me.


Last edited by Snaaaake on 10/29/2010 9:42:43 PM

Akuma_
Akuma_
9 years ago

Yes, exactly. Australia is one of the worst.

@Ben
Still, having to sit around and wait 30 minutes to download your game, isnt very convenient, when you could drive 10 minutes down the road and pick it up and be back home before that 30 minutes.

And yes, as games get better, they get bigger, and the bigger they get, the harder it would be to download them.

The internet isnt ready. The world isnt ready.

JackC8
JackC8
9 years ago

I just started downloading the Undead Nightmare DLC for Red Dead Redemption. Says it's going to take 90 minutes, and that's on a 25 Mbps connection. Oh, I'd just LOVE to download the entire game.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

How fast you download a file is really a local question, and not directly related to psn but rather your net connection, network distance and capacity of the file server.

Here in Oslo, Norway a 1gb download on the psn is usually a matter of a few minutes (with one exception – borderlands expansions are always *incredibly* slow). I guess the psn fileserver for our region is close. Not more dramatic than that.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/1/2010 12:07:51 PM

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
9 years ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Keep your DRM off my games!

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Less 'O's please. We don't want anyone breaking the page again.

frylock25
frylock25
9 years ago

well its seems he only broke his comment and not the page… call it borderline.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Dude, the PS3 is bathed in DRM, it's nearly the most secure platform on record. The only way you can have a workable digital marketplace is to have DRM in place to protect publishers against piracy.

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
9 years ago

Obvious much?
Of course an online store has to have DRM, thats why i dont want every game to move to the store. I want to own my games, not some vaguely worded ability to play them as long as Sony feels like letting me. We are going to move into an era where the customer owns nothing and the corporations can dictate how everything can be used or they'll just take it back.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Sorry, I didn't mean to be Captain Obvious…

There are ways to make it (Digital delivery) work for the customer, but the technology isn't there yet. When you and I can carry around a credit card sized device that contains several TB of storage that can be read and written and very high speed and is coded specifically to us to prevent someone else from using it. When that kind of technology is available at a reasonable cost, then I will be content with an all digital market place. I'd be content with it because I will be able to download my content to a physical thing I own that can be backed up. I suspect that content providers would be happy too since the storage devices would be encrypted and coded in such a way that only the owner can access them, so the games, movies, music and whatever else is protected against being copied.

I think that like truly high speed Internet, that is a long way off. I like the idea of a digital market place once the technology is there to support it properly.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Well, they've started rolling out the fibre-optic cable here in Australia, and that should offer a rather ridiculous boost in download speeds and hel pto push us that little bit further into a digital world. It could be a good thing, or it could be a bad thing.

But honestly, I want my games to stay in stores, like you Ben. I don't like the idea of just typing something into the internet and having it, but at the same not. It's the same for anything really. I don't like it not being there, if you know what I mean. Oh well, I suppose we must bow before inevitability or be snapped like twigs.
Peace.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

Feber Optic.
Verizon?

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

The government's NBN… I don't know if there is a provider attached to it or if it's open to all.
Peace.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Bend with the wind or snap like branches?

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Precisely World.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

@Lawless
In canada they've started with Fiber Optics in new sub-divisions. There have not been any replacements of cable though.

frylock25
frylock25
9 years ago

i like downloading things from the store but i still want my full games on an actual disc physical media. i like to have something physical i can know that i will have years down the road. play it where i want when i want. not locked by some copy-write crap.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
9 years ago

Download speeds have gotten faster. I remember the good old days of trying to download stuff on a 56k modem. Now that was painful lol. Seeing as how the last two years or so, I've bought more digital games than actual physical copies, I have embraced the technological shift to a more digital medium. Thanks primarily to Steam and Netflix.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

Same here, I like my shinny new Blu-Ray disks. I would never like to download.

CH1N00K
CH1N00K
9 years ago

We're dangerously close to becoming the old guys in the gaming world….

Pretty soon we'll be sitting in the corner staring at our old flat screen 2d TV's saying things like,

" Kids these days, they don't know how easy they've got it! Back in my day we had to walk a entire block to get to a Gamestop and buy my games! In snow up to my knees, uphill both ways!"

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
9 years ago

I still remember how cool it was to actually have a game delivered to my door in the mail for the first time lol.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

"Kids these days, they don't know how easy they've got it!

Back in my day…..we had to walk 5 miles, in giant shoe-shoes, through a land mine field, in a raging blizzard…..

…..just to get a shiny plastic cartridge.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 10/29/2010 10:47:31 PM

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I think Sony will have to come up with a different solution for the mass distribution of digitally delivered content. They don't want the storage for their bigger games compromised just to accommodate bandwidth friendly customers.

Believe it, or not, I remember reading about a year ago, or so, when Sony was still on the drawing board about the PS3-slim, they had some plans cooking to release a PS3 without a HDD. Instead, it would use a network based storage device that would stream from servers.

Ultimately, this idea got scrapped. But I think this concept isn't too far away. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see the next round of video-game consoles with something like this as a foundation. The benefit to this is being able to ditch the HDD. The HDD, itself, is one of the most expensive components in a video-game console and a manufacturer would love to ditch that component in order to significantly drop it's price (see Arcade 360).

Google, recently, announced their up and coming Chrome OS. A network based operating system that is entirely HDD free. This whole Cloud networking idea is the buzz within the development community and I think this is where things are headed for all things digital.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
9 years ago

That's basically what On-Live is. Now that it's up and running you can stream and play games on most PC's without installing them and not having to worry about hardware requirements. Though the selection is very limited currently. I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before consoles start doing the same in some capacity or another.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

There's OnLive, but it doesn't work for crap.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

No, OnLIVE is actually different than what SOny had in mind and what I'm talking about.

There's a difference between running a game off of servers and accessing game data off a network drive. The processing in my example would still be happening from a piece of hardware in your living room.

OnLive streams EVERYTHING from the network to your display. This creates all kinds of latency concerns and I don't think something like this will be a reality for the majority of the public. It's just too unreliable.

But to have packets of data stream into the RAM while you play the game from a network is much more feasible and reliable. You may not know this, but many PS3 games tend to stream data from the BD-ROM while you play your game. This cuts down on loading screens. Some games do it so well there's virtually no loading.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 10/29/2010 10:39:06 PM

Akuma_
Akuma_
9 years ago

I won't, wouldn't and never will, store ANY of my data on ANY format, on ANYTHING other than my very own HDD sitting in my bedroom computer.

The End.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Akuma, the concept here is more about ROM data. Basically, what would normally be accessed off of a disk in realtime would instead be accessed from a network drive. It doesn't mean there wouldn't be some kind of on-board flash-memory for storing your save files and personal settings.

Maybe this sort of thing may be years, even decades away, but it does look like the direction things are headed.
I also don't think there'll be a hard division in this anytime soon. THat is, I would assume we'd see something similar to the PSP-3000/PSPgo setup. Imagine if there was an option for a disk based/network console, and just a disc-less network solution, but the latter is at half the console price. The consumer could choose if they'd like to pay less on the hardware just to have network streaming.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

@Akuma07

In that case, you better make sure that your HDDs are mirrored and backed up regularly because when that HDD in your room fails, you are totally screwed otherwise.

Having lost a big drive before, I can tell you from experience that it is not a good feeling to realize that your HDD is toast, and your backups are non existent at best.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

To say that the hdd is one of the most expensive components in a console is pure bs, sorry. Just look at the hd-prices and you can calculate the price drop without a hdd…

Pandacastro
Pandacastro
9 years ago

I dont want this to happen.No physical copy means no collectors edition.

SvenMD
SvenMD
9 years ago

Which loses alot of money for publishers, another reason they shouldn't go all digital.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

I don't know well enough to talk about the change in speed from the PSN, just because I've downloaded anything from there 2 times, and both times it was for a "1-day only" timed event where they game Flow away free & Rag Doll Kung-Fu was free too

But
once the game's industry goes totally digital the serious gaming collectoers like myself, are screwd. And for me that's the end of any new gaming collections for me.

I'll just concentrate all my collection efforts on older used games from the SNEs, up to what the consoles are at the just before disc format go's totally extinct.

And all the games in my collection will forever stay as physical discs and carts.

"Just say No" to fugly flash drive collections.

"Retro gaming forever FTW"

sirbob6
sirbob6
9 years ago

I wouldn't really mind the download for most things. I find it easy and intuitive. However I would like a solid copy on some large single player games and such. Also I can't download anything really due to a slower connection and a 5GB cap.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

It could be coming up fast but I'm glad we have blu ray in the mean time. The dummies over at MS still think Blu Ray is pointless because it will all be digital like tomorrow.

My three biggest problems are, first obviously I also need a physical collection. I like to own it for real, have a big ol bunch of boxes on my shelf, and I enjoy the art and manuals and stuff as part of my purchase. The trip to a store, cracking open a new case. Good times.

Second, the used game market dies. Sure Gamestop will die too, but it will allow the console makers to charge full price for every game FOREVER like they do with PSP downloads. I won't be able to hit up ebay to get a game cheap (And many of those aren't used but new, just cheap)

Third, this opens the door for console-specific hard drives (like the 360 already has) where you HAVE to buy a bunch of hard drives to play your game collection and they can charge whatever they want for them cuz you need em.

Ugh, the whole idea makes me sick.

Gordo
Gordo
9 years ago

I remember fondly the days when you got a game home from the shops and it came in a massive box, with a fold out map and a 200 page user manual and novella…

I miss those days… I don't want to be looking up a manual electronic in the game. I want it sitting there next to me and reading it on the train thinking about the game…

Anticipation!

That's why the Demon's Souls BP edition with guide is such a good buy!

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Haha… Demon's Souls Black Phantom Edition… as soon as I walked out of WOW with that sucker I ripped it open and put the soundtrack on in the car. Bloody brilliant.
Peace.

StangMan80
StangMan80
9 years ago

to respond on your last paragraph I really don't want to see all digital full games. I also like my game collection and enjoy going to pick up a case and opening it up when I get home. I like seeing my collection on the self and being able to keep them for years to come.
Games will take up more and more space and internet speeds will get faster but I do not want to see my physical games come to an end!

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Screw On-Live!
I'm one of it's first founding members day 1, and to this very day I still haven't been able to get in.

Seems my HP doesn't has a graphics card that supports "Pixel Shader 2.0" so the O-L exe set-up package keeps popping up with that as a error message & won't finish completing the set-up package D/L.
It seems that if they were so gung-ho to have everyone use it, they could certainly come up with some kind of work-around from all the millions of us who have our prehistoric Windows XP machine.

And when I contacted them by email(plus again another one of their surveys), I've got no response back from them.

So f*ck em, I'm not buying a new graphics card for a computer that seems to go obsolete as soon as you get it home from the store.
And I'm certainly in no mood to buy a new one just for On-Live.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
9 years ago

You don't have buy an actual new video card. Just about any video card made in 2002 and after is shader 2.0 compliant. A Radeon 9500 for example. You can grab those cards for under $10 now. But On-Live still has some work to do to be more user friendly.


Last edited by Geobaldi on 10/29/2010 11:17:16 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

On-live is nearly as bad as the appropriately named Phantom console.

Milonakis
Milonakis
9 years ago

I'm with you Ben, I'd rather own my games on disk. To me it's still impractical with download speeds what they are, plus hard drives are being outmoded by solid state drives which cost more and have less storage space. I say give me a disk so I can play it at other people's houses or on multiple systems.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

The all digital future is still a ways off. Until it takes mere minutes to download a 50GB BluRay disc, people will find it more convenient to have discs. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of HDD required to store more than a trivial amount of HD video, plus games, plus music, plus digital pictures, etc…Don't even get me started on the consequences of losing a multi-TB HDD system that's full of downloaded content.

Nope, I'm happy to keep discs a while longer yet.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

It is always a good feeling to look at your collection isn't it?

I hope disks remain for the foreseeable future.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

One thing to note though Highlander… by mid next year… buying a 1T internal 2.5inch drive for your PS3 will be quite cheap.

Therefore, considering that multi-plats top 12 GB if you are lucky, with a handful of exclusives topping 35GB, I think one can get away with it if one can managing their data loads effectively on a 1T drive. You can also have more storage connected externally to the PS3.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Qubex, sounds good I may have to upgrade.

The thing that stops me though is the ability (or not) to backup that amount of HDD space. I've had to reformat my PS3 once without being able to perform a backup and it took weeks to get everything to download and re-install. I think that there are still some things I haven't put back, and that doesn't include the locked save files I couldn't copy off to a USB drive.

I'd be much happier if the backup solutions available were as easy to use as the HDDs themselves.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Ugh, I don't want everything to go all digital. But I fear it might be inevitable.

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

Digital downloads are certainly here to stay, but "all digital?" Nah. Not likely. This is not music where a song is 0.99 or something. If you're forking out $30-$40 for a game, there had better be some physical proof that it's yours.

SvenMD
SvenMD
9 years ago

Another great point.

And the fact is, people buy digital music because we take our music on the go alot, or we only buy one or two songs – not the whole album. So it makes more sense.

It doesn't make sense with games. I want the WHOLE game and I want it sitting on my shelf.

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

Me too. And I'm sure we're not the only ones.