Why games publishers want you to want digital distribution
Digital distribution is coming. Like a sex-offender on the edge of a playground it’s biding its time and waiting for the right time to pounce. And like a sex-offender at first glance it seems harmless, maybe even helpful.
1) You can get old games you’ve not played in ages without paying exorbitant prices on eBay.
2) You can save space.
3) You can get games instantly (if you have a magical internet connection, or fairly quickly if you’re a normal person).
4) The games are cheaper.
However, it’s not all roses. Publishers really want you to embrace digital distribution for these reasons:
1) It costs nothing to distribute or package the games, so they can gouge you further by charging almost half the retail price.
2) You can’t loan it to a friend.
3) You can’t trade it in when you’ve beaten it. See point 2.
4) You never get to own the game, you only rent it and if they really want to they can delete it from your hard drive (not in every case, but this is a possibility).
5) They control your access to their back catalogue. If an old game is too successful and is eclipsing a newer iteration – they can just delete it from the servers.
6) Because the games don’t exist and are cheaper it encourages a ‘throw away’ culture. Games that don’t physically exist you can’t grow attached to.
7) It makes bloody stupid DLC and patches even more easy to foist on the consumer.
8) Yes, you can buy old games you haven’t played in ages, but they’ll be overpriced and probably shitty 50hz versions.
This article came about after reading from NotUKR that OutRun Arcade had been removed from the Xbox Live Arcade shop. I’m too lazy to investigate but I’m guessing it’s a licensing issue with Ferrari, again. So that’s a great game that’s now unavailable because an unrelated Italian supercar manufacturer says so. This is the bright new dawn of digital distribution – don’t let it happen.