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Networking Entertainment Games

Console Makers Pushing For More Network Reliance 198

There's a story on Joystiq about the convergence of games consoles and network play, suggesting that the industry is slowly moving away from physical media, preferring the control and simplicity of online distribution. The article points out that Microsoft's Games for Windows Live, despite being relatively unpopular, has seen continued development with an eye toward interacting with Xbox Live. Quoting: "While it's unlikely that the next generation of consoles will completely forgo disc-based media, downloads are quickly becoming a much bigger part of the experience. Some games, such as Rock Band 2 and Gears of War 2, are now shipping with codes for free downloads. This isn't because the publishers like you and want to give you free stuff. It's part of a larger strategy to increase the importance of the online presence, where content can be tightly controlled and decrease the importance of physical media, and thus, used-game sales and rentals."
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Console Makers Pushing For More Network Reliance

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  • Arrrr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:29AM (#26158171)
    Plus, any online connection forces you to have a legal purchased copy. But that's not part of it at all :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 )
      Only if you're Sony or Microsoft at this point. Nintendo seems unable to detect or unwilling to ban people loading copied games.
    • Re:Arrrr (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:12AM (#26158411)

      > Plus, any online connection forces you to have a legal purchased copy.

      Or a pirated server on the near-by PC.

      Let's go on with the arms race. We'll see if the result pleases them.

      • Re:Arrrr (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FourthAge ( 1377519 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:59AM (#26158685) Journal

        But then, the value of a network is related to the number of people on it.

        You could pirate, say, Left4dead and then play it by yourself or with other pirates. But you can't take your pirated copy and play with everybody else; the legitimate network is closed to you. Your experience of the game is not as good, because there are fewer players. So there is a good reason to pay up: the game is better if you do!

        • Re:Arrrr (Score:5, Insightful)

          by zehaeva ( 1136559 ) <> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:39AM (#26158987)
          isn't it the position off the game companies that their games are pirated so much that they are loosing most of their sales to pirates? wouldn't that mean the pirate community is larger than the legitimate community? wouldn't that mean you could conceivably have a larger network of people on the pirated version? this applies more to the pc versions of games atm i suppose.
          • No. It would be the position of game companies that their games are pirated too much if 2 people downloaded them.

            Pirated games that have pirated networks have nowhere near the same number of people playing them.

          • isn't it the position off the game companies that their games are pirated so much that they are loosing most of their sales to pirates?

            Right. And that position is bullshit, as we all know.

            • I agree that the idea that each pirated copy is a lost sale is not true. the vast majority of pirated copies would not result in a sale other wise. I'm not sure if there are any real concrete numbers out there that shows # of pirated games A vs # of retail sold game A. I personally believe that there is a fair deal of piracy going on for games. I do wonder at the comparative sizes of the two communities.
          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            isn't it the position off the game companies that their games are pirated so much that they are loosing most of their sales to pirates?

            That's the rhetoric. I doubt even they really believe it. But its a much better call to action than "We're losing 15% to pirates."

            wouldn't that mean the pirate community is larger than the legitimate community?

            Even if it were, the "pirate community" isn't much of a "community". Instead you'd have dozens of almost empty servers all over the place. If the pirate community ran

        • Re:Arrrr (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:57AM (#26159155)

          You can join a pirated server with thousands of players. How many more do you need to play a four players game?

          Your reasoning only really applies to MMORPGs and yet some people play in WOW pirated servers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

          IIRC, most console makers can detect consoles modified to play pirated games and ban them from their online networks anyways (I know MS did this with the original X-Box). In that case pirated games currently are only good for single player or at best pirate server play anyways. This wouldn't change that.

          My only concern in the whole matter would be: all my game now rest on a single hard drive. A single, fragile hard drive. The things that fail with an alarming frequency compared to optical discs. How do

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MooseMuffin ( 799896 )

            This isn't exactly accurate. Buying something like rockband songs or using the gears 2 download code ties the content to your xbox live login. If your xbox dies (not exactly unlikely) and you get a new one, logging in enables you to re-download all that stuff.

            Your point still stands however, since 20 years from now xbox live probably won't exist in its current form and you wouldn't be able to re-download anything that you lost.

          • by frieko ( 855745 )
            I should point out that NES cartridges had DRM. As did most game floppies of the era. Just because the tech is possibly more fragile doesn't mean we're looking at anything new here.

            Anyway, in 20 years I suspect that any current DRM will be thoroughly cracked.
            • NES cartridges had no DRM. It was tough to duplicate them because they were literally circuit boards with ROM chips, and that's basically what Nintendo relied on. Floppies of the time, at worst, including a few manual codeword prompts or a keywheel scheme, none of which qualify as DRM. Many floppies didn't even include any checks or prompts.

              While I never copied NES games, I can assure you that "back in the day" when PC games still came on floppies me and my friends at school passed copies around like cand

          • My only concern in the whole matter would be: all my game now rest on a single hard drive. A single, fragile hard drive. The things that fail with an alarming frequency compared to optical discs. How do I go about getting all that replaced if the hard drive fails?

            You send your Wii console to Nintendo for a repair. Nintendo recovers your console's unique ID from a special area of internal memory (it's OTP, not flash) and loads your Wii Shop Channel purchase history onto a new console, so that you can redownload the channels for 0 Wii Points.

        • IMHO, L4D isn't that good in the first place. I got suckered into buying it with one of my friends and we went through the entire story in one night on the difficulty level just below "death on one hit." Now the only goal is to try to get all the achievements. That's akin to playing a repetitive MMO quest of "return 10,000 bear pelts to me for a stupid hat."

          Also, my friend called me up to try to get some of his achievements two nights ago and the servers were down so we couldn't play at all. One of the

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Fallingcow ( 213461 )

            I've found that Versus play gives the game way, way more longevity. It's just about the only thing I play now.

            But yeah, they probably needed at least 2 more regular campaigns and 2 more versus campaigns at launch. Sure, it's already got 20 actual maps, which is quite a few for a multiplayer-only game (how many does TF2 ship with?) but this particular game needs more.

            Judging from what Valve's said and what they've done with past games, I expect significant free content releases for the game over the next c

        • Its exactly the opposite.The closed groups of people playing on a private server are better community then the masses playing the legit version.

      • It will. Because every step they take down that path incrementally loses people who decide that their cost savings is no longer worth the time, effort and headache.

        Even in your example it's not clear what "server" means. Is there one huge server that runs everything? Or, and I consider it more likely, is there individual servers for games that come out, or at least some sort of "module" that plugs into an uber-server for that purpose? Even assuming that you get such a thing and the releases for games

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Thanshin ( 1188877 )

          1 - I make a cracked server app and release it in public domain.
          2 - Someone unrelated to you or me runs the app in a public server and releases the IP to a semi-public list of cracked servers.
          3 - You pay 20$ to have your console cracked, or directly buy it cracked for +15$.
          4 - You download the list and connect to the servers.

          The point is:

          IF 5 - They push harder and make intrusive systems.
          6 - More people make the effort of joining the pirate network.
          7 - More people get involved and add their effort. For exam

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Exactly. The most stringent DRM and basically, the least complained about form, too. It's a very smart setup and I don't think if I were a game maker, I'd be making anything less than a network emphasised game.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @10:18AM (#26159365)

      It has long been the dream of the media studios to kill the secondary (used) market for media (music, movies, software, etc.). Now they've finally stumbled upon the perfect solution (ironic that they actually *fought* the idea tooth-and-nail back in the Napster days).

      A sad thing for me, too. I buy most of my console games used at a huge discount online. All you have to do is wait a few months after release and you can get most used games for a fraction of their retail price.

    • No, it's so you can't sell it used later. They want a piece of every sale.

  • Preferring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:29AM (#26158175)

    the control and simplicity of online distribution.
    control and simplicity of online distribution.
    control and simplicity

  • Makes Sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnsie ( 1158363 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:33AM (#26158197)
    Why waste money producing cd's, dvds or whatever when you can sell it online and make a bigger profit. I hardly ever buy physical games or software for my PC, why should it be any different on a console?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I hardly ever buy physical games or software for my PC

      Most people don't either, but because they work standalone, they can get away with it. The whole "online services" thing software companies are trying to ram down people's throats these days (online OSes, word processing, spreadsheets, games...) is just so they can wrestle control of the software from people's hands and charge whatever the hell they want for anything.

      So in short, you'd better not hope software on CDs and DVDs disappears, because you'll b

      • Re:Makes Sense (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:01AM (#26158361) Homepage

        So if you had access to all of today's technology, and you were designing a software distribution mechanism....

        You would put the software on little plastic disks that can't be updated after they are written...
        Put those disks in expensive packaging.
        Put those disks on consignment with a company that will truck/fly those disks around the country.
        To other companies that will put the disks on shelves in stores where consumers can buy them (during business hours).

        That doesn't seem very efficient.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You know, you're right. Downloads are more efficient.

          While we're at it, markets aren't efficient either. Some people might be willing to pay MORE for a product, but due to everyone buying a game for the retail price, our company Looses all that extra money that the person would have been willing to pay (Consumer Surplus []). Lets Find some strategy(Price Discrimination []) by which we can get all this money! Then we can drive everyone in the primary AND secondary markets out of business, or buy them.(Monopoly [])

    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:25AM (#26158479)

      It's not the physical waste, it's power.

      When you sell directly to the customer, you don't have to deal with Walmart/Target/etc who will take a cut of the action, and bend you over when they feel like it. Of course, in this case "you" being Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft who set up the central gateways - it's they who won't have to deal with Walmart/Target as much. The developer still will have to deal with those three. Reminds me of the high cost of cartridges, especially with Nintendo being the only one making them for their console.

      ATM, only PCs and Flash games put the power in the developer's hands.

      • Re:Makes Sense (Score:5, Informative)

        by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @10:05AM (#26159247) Journal

        I agree with everything you've said, but I have a slight pedantic nitpick.

        Nintendo of America was the only one to produce cartridges for the North American market (not counting unlicensed games). In Japan, several development houses made their own cartridges, and the Famicom Disk System required only a special floppy drive to publish games. NoA adopted this business strategy because they wanted control over what cartridges were published while still encouraging third-party development houses. They felt that uncontrolled development and publication of sub-par third-party games was a major cause of the Video Game Crash of 1983 [], and wanted to avoid having a second video game crash.

        This hit Konami hard - Nintendo of America's guidelines were to only allow five releases per developer in a calendar year, so in order to publish all of the games that they wanted to market in America, they had to start up an American subsidiary called Ultra Games [].

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Garrett Fox ( 970174 )
          Nintendo did even more to control what games were released than that. As told in the book "Game Over," a history of Nintendo, Nintendo developed a hardware/software system called 10NES [] so that only cartridges with a patented key chip would run in a NES console. Since only Nintendo could make the key, no one could make a working Nintendo game without permission. This system let them both take a cut of every third-party game's profits, and exercise some quality control to prevent another 1983-style crash.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Duradin ( 1261418 )
        Tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a Game Stop if you don't have physical media to sell them?
    • Or at least a backup. If the download price is the same as the CD/DVD price then why not buy the latter because then you don't have to bother making a backup yourself? And thats assuming the console will allow you to make a backup in the first place and if it does whether than backup will run anyway. The way DRM is going I doubt it would.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by theaveng ( 1243528 )

      >>>I hardly ever buy physical games

      And what happens when you decide "Well this game sucks. I think I'll sell it on ebay to recoup some of my waste money"? Ooops. Nothing to sell. I rarely keep the games I buy since, as Isaac Asimov wisely observed, only 1% of anything is truly good. The other 99% I play, don't like, and then sell online.

      I can't do that with virtual media.

      • by e2d2 ( 115622 )

        as Isaac Asimov wisely observed, only 1% of anything is truly good

        Not true. Bacon is 100% good

      • I rarely keep the games I buy since, as Isaac Asimov wisely observed, only 1% of anything is truly good. The other 99% I play, don't like, and then sell online.

        Perhaps you should stop making so many impulse buys, then.

        Ever consider actually doing some research before you buy via reviews & demos & message boards?

        • I usually ask on forums, "What's worthy of buying?" and then if I see a lot of good reviews from gamers both on the forums and on, I will buy that game.

          The problem is that many people are easily amused, whereas I often get bored fast. For example: Resident Evil 4 - many people like it but I grew bored after a few hours so off it went to Ebay. I keep maybe 1 out of 20 games I buy.

          What makes it worthwhile are those few rarities like the Call of Duty series or FF series.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:35AM (#26158213) Homepage

    Let's have a look at the current broadband availability here and everywhere. Now let's compare that to the people who have these consoles. My guess is that there will be plenty of people that will be left out in all of this. This move obviously presumes nearly 100% broadband availability. That can't be smart.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because you thought "pushing for more network reliance" is a user-oriented wish? How quaint.

      Console makers wouldn't mind it if only 1/3rd of the population had access to their online games, if said 1/3rd has to pay and pay to play. They don't care about providing service to the other 2/3rd, they only care about their bottom line.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Meumeu ( 848638 )

        Console makers wouldn't mind it if only 1/3rd of the population had access to their online games, if said 1/3rd has to pay and pay to play. They don't care about providing service to the other 2/3rd, they only care about their bottom line.

        Uh ? Telling two thirds of your customers to screw themselves doesn't look like a reasonable business decision...

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Starayo ( 989319 )
        Might work in the US and other countries with good net, but it would be a stupid decision here in Australia. I mean, the average broadband plan would probably have maybe 4GB of usage. I'm paying a bundle for 40GB a month.

        Unless of course they got the ISPs to host the data unmetered...
    • If they assume that people without broadband are not worth selling to then they have a potential market of 100% of the people they want to sell to ...

      With an online service as the game (or an essential part of the game) then you can ensure people have legal copies, pay for the service, cannot transfer the game/service when they no longer want it

  • No thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:45AM (#26158265) Homepage

    I've bought a couple of games on the PSN recently and now that I'm done with them, what can I do? Here are my choices:

    1. Leave it to fester on the HDD
    2. Delete it

    Great. What's worse is that a couple of the games I bought turned out to be shit so I can't even trade them for something different.

    Make a subscription service instead if you're going to do this. Here's one way it could work:

    You pay a certain amount each year and the amount you pay determines how many games you can have downloaded at a time and each game have a number of points allocated to it, so you could for example have Braid (1 point) and Bionic Commando (1 point) and Geometry Wars (1 point) or just BioShock (3 points).

    When you're done with the games you can delete them to refund the points.

    Good idea? Bad idea?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you cannot really buy a game, then it should be called rental service, and that's it. What can be seen currently is that vendors try to keep the client to think he buys the game, while the cut his rights to effectively change it to rent.

      • Re:No thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

        by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:03AM (#26158703)

        Yep. If you buy a crap game, but can not sell it on ebay to recover your money, then you never truly owned that game. You were just granted a perpetual rental.

        With Cartridge, CD, and DVD games, at least you have something you can physically trade or sell. You OWN it. This past year I've sold off about $4000 worth of my N64, PS1, PS2 game collection. Now imagine if that had been downloaded material instead; I'd be $4000 poorer.

      • by xero314 ( 722674 )
        Read you licensing agreement before downloading any software. What you are purchasing, and therefor own, is a non-transferable license to use the product, not the actual product. So you are still making a purchase, rather than a rental, it's just not a purchase of any software (this may actually even be true of all software, but that has not been definitively decided by the courts yet).
        • Unfortunately I cannot sell Licenses on the used market.

          I can only sell a physical object, which is why I prefer carts, cds, and dvds. I can collect them, play them, and sell them at almost the same price I originally paid.

    • by 0xB00F ( 655017 )
      I like the way Metaboli does it and I wish they would grow internationally. In their model you choose between "Essential" and "Ultimate" collection. Flat monthly fee, download all the games you want (wherever you want) from the collection you are paying for.
    • "Good idea? Bad idea?"

      I think it's a great idea! Mainly because I came up with it first and you stole it.

      But, in all seriousness, I think this is something the *PC* market needs desperately! When you buy a PC game, you're stuck with it. You can't trade it in or exchange it if it's rubbish. There's too much risk!

      However, if you could pay a subscription to, let's say Steam, and download as many games at a time as your subscription allowed, then there will be no more risk. Once you're done with the game, yo

    • You pay a certain amount each year and the amount you pay determines how many games you can have downloaded at a time and each game have a number of points allocated to it, so you could for example have Braid (1 point) and Bionic Commando (1 point) and Geometry Wars (1 point) or just BioShock (3 points).

      This is essentially a slightly more complex version of the Netflix model. You've added a provision to make the more popular games more "expensive", which I don't think is really necessary or warranted. I m

  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:47AM (#26158275) Homepage

    Just like the activation servers for PC games will disappear in the future, and thereby rendering your game useless, DLC will disappear in the future, and thereby render your console game crippled.

    Requiring online activation/DLC actually means you rent the game, rather than buying it. If you want to replay an old game in the future you probably have to rent the remake of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've been saying this all along.

      Combined with the game makers pushing online features so hard with games means that a game is really only playable for a couple of months to a year.

      That's why I have no interest in the current generation of consoles. 60, 70, 80$ games that you don't get to actually play once all the hype around the game dies down? A console that will surely max out my ISP's invisible bandwidth cap? No thank you.

    • Didn't you know? Playing a game that you bought more than a year ago is PIRACY!!! Pulling that Atari 2600 and box of cartridges out of the attic and playing it is no better than robbing the local 7-11.
  • Not everything can go "to the cloud". The time when people will have nothing else but a large screen and a collection of virtual data sets instead of books, movies, games won't come. People like to own things, there's a materialist in every one of us more or less eagerly amassing personal treasures.
  • a) publishers and Co make sure that ther are less middlemen, but however the prices to the consumer are the same --> more margin for the publisher and hardware vendor

    b) you won't be able to rent your games from BB, Netflix etc anymore. Just shut-up and pay full price, no more renting. "Demos should be enough for anybody to make up their mind on a game; if they like it, buy it"

    c) forget about re-selling your games or trading them in for new ones. this is just like those nice little DRM tunes from iTunes.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      I taught my daughter this one recently.

      She wanted a $50.00 itunes card. I drove her to a second hand record store and told her to pick $50.00 worth of music.

      she did not understand until I told her... Anything you buy here, if you take pristine care of it, you can sell back if you dont like it anymore in a couple of months. Same with a regular CD from the store.

      you cant sell or give away any of your itunes songs. All you can do is delete them and that money is gone forever.

      She no longer wants itunes cards

      • Not to mention you can buy alot more music/albums with $50 from a 2nd hand shop.

        The last time I seriously bought music, not counting direct from musician and Magnatune stuff, I picked up this way and ended up getting 2-3x the number of albums then they would have been new.

        Overall, I don't resell music/games/whatever anyway.. I alittle more picky on the front side of the games I buy so I've only had a few lemons I didn't like. Lately, I get demos or wait for things to go on sale on Steam before I usually buy

      • Umm... most iTunes music is now DRM-free as well these days.
  • by shadowimmage ( 1433951 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:12AM (#26158409)
    Just wait, The day will come when a great game will be made that everyone will want to play, and the company will 'have no record' of you ever purchasing the game, and make you pay again. And what if someone goes to their summer house, or loses their network connection for a day/week, what will those people do if their machines can't 'verify' the game?? Games need to stay on physical media that can speak to the console for itself, so that everyone can play without worrying about losing their legitimate access. And, where would distribution companies keep information? Your credit card that you used to purchase the game? What if you changed cards? In your account? What if you forgot your account, or it was lost or deleted? What if your hardware to store game purchase info was destroyed/lost/failed, and the information that verified that you were you was there? What I'm saying, is that with a DVD, someone can lose it, but that's their fault. They don't have to worry about any of the scenarios above because they have the physical media and case to prove that they OWN the game. And I totally support trade/sales of used games. What if you had a friend who wanted to borrow a game? You can't just FTP your game to them and have that work...
  • by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:27AM (#26158489) Homepage

    The only game I bought recently was Fable II on the 360, because I had to. Most of the games I buy for my PC are either via Steam, or other methods (I play LOTRO, the latest expansion was just me paying the upgrade fee and download). I don't see why consoles seem to see the need to lag behind. Sure I copy games for my console, mainly due to the price (AU$100+ for a new release) and also from the lack of ease of buying online.

    I used to copy PC games, now I'm happy with a demo and digital delivery. I think the PC market has wised up to the way things ought to be. I bought Far Cry II days after it came out for 1/2 the price of the shops here in Australia. Even if price wasn't an issue, you have to pre-order, wait in line, all that kind of useless crap to say "I got a first copy". Why not give people the option of post-to with digital stop-gap a-la Warhammer Online (yes, I bought this from Amazon).

    Even that seems smarter than this whole "you need to own the disc to own a license to our product" crap.

    I say good on them, the more digital delivery, the more economical high volume high speed broadband (whatever the flavour) will become. The more music, movies & games delivered this way the better. It will force the hand that controls your packets.

  • by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:54AM (#26158657)


    Blocking me from my two favorite activities: (1) Buying a game, playing it, and then selling to someone else to recoup my money. And (2) Buying a game, loving it, and keeping it for the next 10-20 years (classic gaming).

    If things devolve to the point where I have to pay full price (versus my current average of only paying $2-3 per game), or where I have to keep buying/downloading Super Mario 64 every five years, instead of simply buying it once and keeping it forever... ...then I will simply stop gaming.

    This is what the music industry is trying to do with perpetual renting of music rather than letting us OWN the record, cd, whatever. The game industry should not follow that same path.

    • think what they said on the summary:

      The article points out that Microsoft's Games for Windows Live, despite being relatively unpopular, has seen continued development

      ie, no-one wants it, but MS is going to give it to you anyway. The sooner the latest court case finished and MS gets broken up the better - a standalone gaming division will quickly go under if it had to provide what the users actually wanted instead of being subsidised by the rest of MS.

  • They are LYING. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:56AM (#26158667) Homepage

    They want internet connected and online distribution for two main reasons.

    1 - it instantly KILLS the secondhand game market. you can no longer buy used games, this drives the price of old games back up to retail levels. no more buying Gears of War for $12.99 used at the local EB or on ebay.

    2 - it eliminates 60% of the cost of a game. Packaging and distribution.

    Game prices will stay the same or go up, your Quality of gaming will go down, and you can no longer buy used games or rent games to try them out.

    That is their goal, everything else is pure BS to make the consumer have buy-in to their plans to screw you over.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jedi Alec ( 258881 )

      You're forgetting another very important reason: game companies can keep up the good old "release first, make it actually work later" schedule. I haven't bought a single game this past year where the final conclusion was: "ok, it's fun to play but buggy, let's put it on the shelf till they can be bothered to patch it". Fallout 3, Mass Effect, Civ4Col, all the same thing.

    • I couldn't agree with the parent more.

      With GameStop pulling in something $3 billion in'06 and $7.1 billion in '07, it makes more sense to go after them than chase the potential revenue lost to piracy.

  • The article doesn't mention one of the biggest advantages (to publishers) of on-line game distribution, an advantage that PC game publishers discovered long ago. You can sell unfinished games and then release the actual working game later as hundreds of megabytes of downloadable 'patches'.
  • If what you're buying is essentially an account on a remote server so you can experience interactive online play, that's much harder to pirate. Sure, you can share the client software and your login info with all your friends, but the server admin can address simultaneous logins by either freezing the account or arbitrarily locking out one of the clients.

    The upshot of this sort of system is that publishers can completely do away with DRM on the client software, since it's the account on the remote server t

  • If they want to go download only then they should adjust their pricing strategy for games that don't require big server investment... ie 1 - 4 games. These should all go down in price to say $4.99 - $9.99

    Even MM games should drop in price for the Client app (charge whatever you can for the monthly subscription or whatever makes sense considering the investment in content, admins, etc.) even make it free with a subscription for 3 months or more.

  • ... and I'm still buying the vast majority of my music on CDs. Internet music is nice for instant access, but having to manage by own backups is a pain.

    For movies/games, it may well be faster for me to walk into town and buy it, than wait for it to download. They're not appreciably cheaper, plus I have to fork out for my own media if I want to do backups, assuming I even _can_ do backups. Oh, and they take a chunk out of my bandwidth allowance for the month.

    Remind me why I'd want this?

  • Can't wait for xmas morning.... Instead of opening a box and finding XYZ game which my kids can instantly play, they get to go to a menu and begin the 5hour process of downloading a game.

    While we complain about the price of a PS3 ($500 USD), after a year your broadband costs have exceeded that. That is if you have broadband.

    I agree on the topic of 'on-demand' viewing/rental of movies via the cable/satellite/netflix, as I've got a shelf of DVDs collected over the years that I probably haven't watched enough

  • Tectoy is launching its Zeebo console which downloads games over a 3G network. The hardware looks a lot like a cell phone but you connect it to your TV.

    This article [] includes a video of a demo (in Portuguese).

  • My fear is that in one or two more console generations, they will be as miserable, inconvenient, and error-prone as pc gaming is.
  • I wonder how many scoffed at Bill Gates 10 years ago when he mentioned that Software as a Service was the way of the future. Now we have Games (Software) as a service rather then a product.


    MMOs are the prefect example. It's not a product, it's a service. You license the software to use the service. The irony is that they'll back themselves into a corner sooner then later b

  • That consoles will only play downloaded content, I will officially stop buying consoles.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard