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It wouldn't sell as well, but I bet it'd still sell.

And this why I don't believe we'll see the back of physical media. Yeah you're still going to sell games if you go down the download only route, but would you sell as many as if you offered both?

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And this why I don't believe we'll see the back of physical media. Yeah you're still going to sell games if you go down the download only route, but would you sell as many as if you offered both?

You'd sell more. The retail channel is keeping the prices artifically high.

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You'd sell more. The retail channel is keeping the prices artifically high.

Yet I can pick up many releases at a fraction of the cost if I wait a month or two after their release, less still if I pick up secondhand copies. That market would be totally gone. I don't believe for a second that Nintendo would lower their prices if they went download only. If people are prepared to pay £70 for Wii Fit, and they are, in the millions, then why charge less?

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Yet I can pick up many releases at a fraction of the cost if I wait a month or two after their release, less still if I pick up secondhand copies. That market would be totally gone. I don't believe for a second that Nintendo would lower their prices if they went download only. If people are prepared to pay £70 for Wii Fit, and they are, in the millions, then why charge less?

Why are you talking about a peripheral?

They are already dropping the price for the mass market (Brain age is cheaper etc.). Its hobbyists who are prepared to pay more.

Even at the worst extreme where prices stay exactly the same, at least the money is going to the creators and not wasted on petrol, plastic and Game employees.

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I don't know. It'd (just) be alright this-gen to have download-only services -- where 360/PS3 game size is being limited to a DVD for the most part by the 360, you'd assume -- because the size isn't going to exceed, what 5-10GBs?

Even that would be a dreary wait for a lot of people - hell, Uzi took 30-odd mins to download Bionic Commando, apparently, and that's only 300MB.

Looking at next-gen, big titles are likely to be 10s of GBs in size, and the broadband we're likely to have then isn't going to support that.

I suppose if you're looking at it the other way, (having a machine with no disc drive, and making games to match it) you'd be fine - BC:R, SS:HD, Braid etc all show what can be done inside of 500MBs - but it's rather limiting your games.

The one thing I'd really want is multiple shop fronts for my digital download. So I can buy direct from Capcom, Namco, SCE, EA etc. That way at least, prices could find a level via some kind of competition. Of course, then a small indie still needs a publisher, but at least there'd be mechanisms.

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For the next generation, they should make everything easy enough to churn out in a much quicker time. I'd like to see the complete elimination for the need of motion capture and replaced by more advanced technologies like that one from GTA4 (that replaced ragdoll).

Or in the machines, instead of having 3 or 7 processors or whatever, have like 50 all doing their own thing, if it's easier. And each function could be upgraded in the future, so older games could look and perform better well after they've been released. But I imagine that it isn't easier.

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Why are you talking about a peripheral?
Ok, well replace it with any other release. Why sell GTAIV for less when you have 7 million people willing to pay £40?
They are already dropping the price for the mass market (Brain age is cheaper etc.). Its hobbyists who are prepared to pay more.
So is there any reason to believe hobbyists won't be ripped off with downloads, even more?
Even at the worst extreme where prices stay exactly the same, at least the money is going to the creators and not wasted on petrol, plastic and Game employees.
Surely the worst extreme is that they charge more, and with no physical alternative and therefore no competition?
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Surely the worst extreme is that they charge more, and with no physical alternative and therefore no competition?

There is no competition now. Nintendo, Sony and MS get their price already. The competition we have no is just the middlemen cutting up their own margin. It's an illusion.

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I don't know. It'd (just) be alright this-gen to have download-only services -- where 360/PS3 game size is being limited to a DVD for the most part by the 360, you'd assume -- because the size isn't going to exceed, what 5-10GBs?

Even that would be a dreary wait for a lot of people - hell, Uzi took 30-odd mins to download Bionic Commando, apparently, and that's only 300MB.

Looking at next-gen, big titles are likely to be 10s of GBs in size, and the broadband we're likely to have then isn't going to support that.

Right now you can background download whilst playing offline stuff - they could easily set it up in an episodic manner so you could download the initial level, the engine etc to get you playing and have the rest on background download - The marketplace movies already work like that.

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There is no competition now. Nintendo, Sony and MS get their price already. The competition we have no is just the middlemen cutting up their own margin. It's an illusion.

Sure there is. I can walk into Game and ask them what I get if I buy a console bundle deal with them, and then I can walk into somewhere else and ask them to beat that price. With barely any mark up on new hardware, I doubt I'd get any savings with the download model. I'd get the console and then have to buy the games at full price. I'd have no alternative. Many retailers use loss leaders to get you in the store. All that, gone.

And the secondhand market isn't an illusion.

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If this ever happend, across film, music, and games, I would give up. Seriously you can't be wanting this. I know the benefit of digital distribution, i.e. its faster, but thats about it.

First of all, digital distribution would mean no more imports or shopping around. Do you want to pay £24.99 for Gran Turismo Prologue or £17.99 online from a shop? I know what I prefer. Music CD's are cheaper to buy in the shops now than they are from Itunes store, and the same goes for films and DVD's from the Marketplace and PSStore.

Secondly, you download EVERYTHING onto one device. It runs out of space. Now what?, you buy another HDD but then you can't copy anything off the original because its DRM'd to fuck, so you have to DOWNLOAD everything again, which would probably take your whole life again to do, if you are allowed. Even if you could copy loads of stuff off the HDD, it would probably need about 1-2 days to complete the Terrabytes of stuff you've collected. Or worse, the whole HDD crashes and you are screwed!

Physical media works well. Its cheap, great for the consumer for shopping around, and it acts like your backup. I fully encourage these new features that allow you to copy the game/film/music disk to a HDD, just like the Xbox 360 is going to do, thats a good step forward. But to want to eradicate it totally is a, IMO, disasterous move.

Blimey, where to start. Digital distribution is only as restrictive as people are willing to put up with. It is almost inevitably cheaper than retail, and that is passed on to the consumer. It removes the need for imports, unless we are talking about a very locked-down, poorly administered channel, but then such a channel would suffer at the hands of more effective competitors. The idea of there being "no competition" brought up by several people later in the thread is also wrong. Channels are competing. Publishers are competing. Goaty mentions preowned and 4-for-£20 - developers see none of that money, and can't keep their games on retail shelves in any other way. How is that fair?

Neither do you seem to understand the concept of digital purchasing letting you redownload things and make backups. That's how Steam works.

Physical media is still the only sane option for games with filesizes that require multi-disc DVD and BluRay releases, but that's a gap that's going to close in the next few years.

Roadkill is right about the discovery problem, but it's better to have an embarrassment of riches out there and people trying to figure out solutions to make that navigable, than the current situation of (a limited selection of) games sitting on shop shelves for a fortnight before becoming an expensive, resource-hungry liability for everyone except the retailer.

Funny how retail versions with this extra cost can normally be bought cheaper than the digital version which doesn't have the extra cost.

Funny as in total bollocks.

...

If we are going to see another generation of proprietary consoles (by no means inevitable), expect them to follow the Wii blueprint closely. Just as the Xbox 360 dropped nearly everything from the Xbox1 design that didn't match PS2 conventions. You can't argue with ideas that print money.

Traditional controllers.

That's comic book thinking. Should we aim for even better cursor control, or slink back to the wee-stained comfort blanket of clunky decade-old tech which will never be good enough for first person games or precision work? Luckily, the success of the Wii has put paid to this argument. I'm not against having sticks for games that need them, but they're never going to be the default controller for a home console again.

Then you have the Wii, which actually does do something different with a cheap and simple console but once again it's the content that makes the difference.

Content that would be impossible without the hardware. Same goes for the DS. Games platforms aren't video recorders. It's simply not possible to make a system that is ideally suited to everything in the whole broad spectrum of games. Whenever something has gotten close, it's just meant that ideas/genres that don't work on that system get neglected. See the NES, psOne (and the amusing "ZOMG there are still 2D games!" reaction the internet had near the end of it's life) and original Game Boy.

And what about handhelds. Am I just going to have to hope the the beach i'm playing my PSP 2 on has full wifi support, and at what price?

What the christ seriously

Again, if you look at the most easily available downloadable content, music, it hasn't stopped cds.

I do wonder about this. I'm not disputing it but, who are these people? I assume it's mostly old people buying CDs as gifts these days.

...

This is turning into Fairplay all over again isn't it?

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It'll be interesting to see what happens regarding digital downloads, but I'm not sure the market has really turned in that direction just yet. For example take GT5:Prologue which was available on media or download on PSN, which format were most copies purchased on? I don't have the figures, but I'd be suprised in the downloaded copies are anything other than a very small percentage. I think Wipeout HD will bomb too (if it ever comes out) as it's PSN only, and didn't the new Ratchet game switch from PSN only to a disc based version appearing at some point too?

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It's worse.

Well I don't see how. I picked up Bangai-o for 50p from a car boot sale. How is that worse?

Anyway, would you accept that the worse case scenario is actually one where we get charged more than we are currently? We as in us hobbyists?

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Well I don't see how. I picked up Bangai-o for 50p from a car boot sale. How is that worse?

Yeah, it was awesome waiting a decade for that game to be legally available to buy again and then to get a sequel. Nothing wrong with that system.

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I do wonder about this. I'm not disputing it but, who are these people? I assume it's mostly old people buying CDs as gifts these days.

The official industry statistics show that download is still in the minority compared to physical media sales, a lot of people still prefer it:

Digital sales now account for an estimated 15% of the global music market, up from 11% in 2006 and zero in 2003. In the world’s biggest digital music market, the US, online and mobile sales now account for 30% of all revenues

The music industry is more advanced in terms of digital revenues than any other creative or entertainment industry except games. Its digital share is more than twice that of newspapers (7%), films (3%) and books (2%)

The games comment is probably related to MMO revenues and such, rather than electronic copies of physically-distributed games

Even download-centric PC gaming companies still report that physical sales are greater than DD sales for their games (Stardock and Valve).

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Yeah, it was awesome waiting a decade for that game to be legally available to buy again and then to get a sequel. Nothing wrong with that system.

Don't be daft. Have a look on ebay, or rummage around some forums, you can pick up most old games for next to nothing. Or, you can buy stuff from the Virtual Console at whatever price Nintendo like. Your choice, at the moment.

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I'm lending my mate a spare copy of Halo 3 at the minute.

With Digital Downloads, i wouldn't be able to do that.

And i don't believe for a minute that The big 3 would lower prices on DD vs Retail.

What was the price of GT5 prologue in shops and download?

I'd expect half the price of retail but i bet it was something like a pound cheaper download.

I'd gladly go DD, IF the price was a lot cheaper.

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I'm lending my mate a spare copy of Halo 3 at the minute.

With Digital Downloads, i wouldn't be able to do that.

And i don't believe for a minute that The big 3 would lower prices on DD vs Retail.

What was the price of GT5 prologue in shops and download?

I'd expect half the price of retail but i bet it was something like a pound cheaper download.

I'd gladly go DD, IF the price was a lot cheaper.

Exactly, I can pick up GT5 Prologue for £17.99 from Play, or £24.99 from Sony themselves. On launch day too.

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That's comic book thinking. Should we aim for even better cursor control, or slink back to the wee-stained comfort blanket of clunky decade-old tech which will never be good enough for first person games or precision work? Luckily, the success of the Wii has put paid to this argument. I'm not against having sticks for games that need them, but they're never going to be the default controller for a home console again.

You can't have two default controllers and you've said that there's games that need sticks, so it's not the perfect solution.

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It has to be a matter of time for digital distribution to take the lion's share and that is only a good thing from an environmental viewpoint. Whether or not as a consequence we see games being sold at a proportionately lower price is another matter entirely but the market will determine what the price should be. I don't think physical media will disappear but it will be more expensive and aimed at collectors/hobbyists which should mean the second hand market becomes relatively obsolete.

As others have mentioned, retail doesn't necessarily need to be completely cut out of the equation: download stations could charge a slight premium for faster download of games and use of bandwidth etc which could mean the impulse buy remains a possibility on the high street. In fact, in the near future this could be the way in which most consumers get their games.

The main barriers to digital distribution are bandwidth and wireless connections in the home still proving to be non-consumer friendly.

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As others have mentioned, retail doesn't necessarily need to be completely cut out of the equation: download stations could charge a slight premium for faster download of games and use of bandwidth etc which could mean the impulse buy remains a possibility on the high street. In fact, in the near future this could be the way in which most consumers get their games.

I look forward to karting my PS4 into HMV every weekend to get the latest releases.

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