Sony Boss Downplays Digital Future

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i have to say i love physical media. i like my bookshelves full of books instead of on a kindle. the same goes for my video game collection. its nice to have everything there for you to see and touch. not saying im totally against download content i love that the PSN is making psone classics i thought id never get to play again available.

Denamic:
The entire market for physical copies might not be dead for some time yet, but I believe the option to buy most if not all games digitally will come much sooner than 2020.

Draksila:
Call me a fogey, but I still take some comfort in owning physical copies of things. Games, movies, books... yes they can all be downloaded, but we're not yet in an era where computers are so infallible that you can't lose or corrupt one of the files you download.

Huh?
So what if your download gets corrupted?
Just download it again.
What if your physical copy breaks then?
Your argument is entirely reversed.

Your definition of 'reversed' is both odd and naive.

To take the medium of books as an example, there are books that are hundreds of years old. As in, the physical copy thereof. Those of us who take comfort in a physical copy of an item take pains to maintain it, as shown by mint collector's copies of comics, my father's old Betamax collection, and my collection of PC games that dates back to the days of DOS and Commodore 64/128.

On the other hand, while I use Sony's Playstation Network and download items frequently, I've had a few cases where the download binds to a single system as opposed to an account. When that system's motherboard gave out (it was one of the original PS3s), the company that provided the downloaded content refused to transfer it's ownership to the replacement system I purchased even after I provided faxed documentation showing that I had indeed bought a new system and wasn't trying to cheat to give my copy of their game to a friend.

I also have downloaded software that's become obsolete. After a year or two, the service that sold it to me either went under or just quit supporting that bit of software. If I had a physical copy, that wouldn't matter a bit. In addition, I've seen plenty of downloads (especially where PCs are involved) that give you a limited license; download the program/game/whatever two or three times and that's it, you have to buy a new one. If you're having hardware issues or are accident prone, that can potentially be a deal-breaker.

These are the problems I have with the idea of download only at this time. I like the idea that if my hardware breaks, be it because of an act of God or the carelessness of one of my children, I still have a copy of the software stashed somewhere and haven't lost it (and yes, I keep my movies/games/books out of the hands of my children and seperate from their own collections until I've taught them proper handling). Granted, there are anti-piracy measures out there that can cause similar issues with binding a program to a one-system use, so it's not a problem unique to downloaded software. Still, I take comfort in the physical copy being in my possession and not vaporware somewhere in the aether.

Blah, double post. Sorry ladies and gents.

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, interesting point by Nova5 above. I think I touched on something similar in my response to Denamic, but your more recent and direct example is good to see.

Fensfield:

Kapol:
Maybe they're just making up an excuse for that failure.

Or maybe they're just stating what they learned from trying. Which is, y'know, the more obvious possibility.

One failure, even more so one like the PSPgo, is no real reason to say that there will be no consoles like that for 10 years (which in terms of technology development is a LONG time). The PSPgo was a failure because the PSP had been out for years and there was no way for the people who had PSPs to get their games onto the Go, meaning they'd have to buy them all again. It would be different if it had exclusive games, or didn't have to deal with the majority of the people who would have interest in it already owning a PSP.

Plus, what about the Ipod Touch? It's download only and is fairly successful as being a portable console of sorts. Yes, it had other features, but so did the PSP and pretty much every other system out now.

My point is that having one of their consoles fail doesn't mean that it won't be until 2020 that consoles will only be digital, especially since it's becoming more and more common to download games anyways. The fact he said that there may never be a digital-only console when they already have one seems like he's trying to skirt around that system.

Draksila:
To take the medium of books as an example, there are books that are hundreds of years old. As in, the physical copy thereof. Those of us who take comfort in a physical copy of an item take pains to maintain it, as shown by mint collector's copies of comics, my father's old Betamax collection, and my collection of PC games that dates back to the days of DOS and Commodore 64/128.

DVDs and Blu-rays will not last nearly as long as a CD.
Kinda like how a modern consoles will not work nearly as long as an 8-bit nintendo.
The tech is many times more complex and thus much more fragile in DVDs and especially blu-rays.
Either way, this doesn't really matter, because a HDD can last decades too.

On the other hand, while I use Sony's Playstation Network and download items frequently, I've had a few cases where the download binds to a single system as opposed to an account. When that system's motherboard gave out (it was one of the original PS3s), the company that provided the downloaded content refused to transfer it's ownership to the replacement system I purchased even after I provided faxed documentation showing that I had indeed bought a new system and wasn't trying to cheat to give my copy of their game to a friend.

Yeah, that sucks.
I don't see why you use this as an argument though.
It's just a shitty decision made by whatever people made it.

I also have downloaded software that's become obsolete. After a year or two, the service that sold it to me either went under or just quit supporting that bit of software. If I had a physical copy, that wouldn't matter a bit. In addition, I've seen plenty of downloads (especially where PCs are involved) that give you a limited license; download the program/game/whatever two or three times and that's it, you have to buy a new one. If you're having hardware issues or are accident prone, that can potentially be a deal-breaker.

And I've seen physical copies with DRM that limits the amount of times you can install it.
Isn't that exactly the same thing?
It's just retarded decisions made by retarded people.

I'm not saying that digital downloads are some kind of saviours of the industry.
It has its flaws, definitely.
Most of your arguments seem to be about shitty distributors rather than actual flaws of the concept.
Steam is a good example of how to do it right.

Also, God probably doesn't even exist, so don't blame 'him' when shit happens.

commasplice:
When movies slowly transfer over to a purely digital format - regardless of whether a portion of Americans/Europeans can affort to buy the appropriate machines to watch pure digital movies - then console/computer games are not far behind. The saved cost of digitalization will win out against the costly physical copy.

Regardless of what you say about saved cost for production, there are still people who want to buy physical copies. There is still demand. You're assuming that, if game distribution switched to a strictly digital format, all of the people who buy physical copies will switch along with it. This is not necessarily the case. I, for one, would stop buying games altogether. I'd play them at friends' houses, if at all. Ceasing production of physical copies may cut cost, but it would also cut profit.

There's a couple of factors that vector in, though (since I work in this market, I've been to these meetings):

It's largely dependent on the group that corporations concentrate on. Most gaming companies are not targeting the guys who have barely enough money to buy one of their big titles, but people who have a disposable income. I know that - despite Hirai's latest rant - Sony is focused on the players who are online buying online games, DLC and/or movies. The Blu ray is hardly talked about in these meetings.

The other issue is that even while there's a market to be had, corporations don't always cater to them or care about them. Demand of physical copies is considered a small customer group. I'm not happy about it, myself, but they are driven by C-level decisions. And C-level decisions aren't always intelligent or even logical decisions. Right now, there's a corporate focus on how to get things from a physical, pricey format to an easily-hosted, digital download format. They also don't care about sustainability of multiplayer games. Companies like Activision/Blizzard and EA (big distributors) and their buddies THQ, Square and Valve don't want to produce physical copies anymore. They are only focused on eliminating the middle man right now.

I'm with you - I like physical copies. But I'm also not going to lie to myself when I'm sitting in the midst of corporations looking to go entirely digital. Especially in the movie/music business. It's all upper management/stockholder pressure right now, so the people in the lower echelons are being ignored in our attempt to keep the entire market in view.

Denamic:

I'm not saying that digital downloads are some kind of saviours of the industry.
It has its flaws, definitely.
Most of your arguments seem to be about shitty distributors rather than actual flaws of the concept.
Steam is a good example of how to do it right.

Also, God probably doesn't even exist, so don't blame 'him' when shit happens.

But, see, therein lies the rub. If you can't trust the distributors, then you can't trust the digital downloads. And while I agree that Steam has made great strides in download support, they're one distributor. Aaaaand... those games I mentioned that are no longer supported through the original downloads? Three of them were from Steam in it's infancy (the three expansions to the original Half-life, to be specific). So even the best in the field can't gaurantee what having a physical copy vaulted away somewhere can.

I secede your point that there are crappy DRMs out there that limit the amount of times you can install from a single purchased disc, and yes it's just as bad as limited downloads. But I don't buy those games either. And I've found that it's much more common to have a game bound to a single account (ala Blizzard, Steam, or even PSN) in such a way that it doesn't stop me having a copy on multiple computers over the years, so long as I'm not logged into all of them at once. I'm more than comfortable with that anti-piracy measure.

And please don't drag religion into this. I used to work in the insurance business; 'Act of God' is a catch-all for unforeseeable accidents, not a religious reference. Even if the terminology is a throwback to such things.

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