The end of physical media. Could it happen?

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David Barbour
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Joined: 04/05/2012

Could you ever see this happen in the industry soon? Then end of going to a store or mail order to buy a game? Is the future Digital Download only. Or will there always be a place for a physical disk/cartridge.

I for one enjoy going to buy a game and taking it home, it's something im used to. I'm proud of my collection of games and it would feel strange to only have an HDD full of games I've downloaded (of course installed games are exactly this but I hope you see my point) Many would argue that the cost of Digital Downloads would be cheaper (no manual/game case) but that isn't the case as games are still as expensive as there store counterparts and in some cases even more expensive.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
That is one of the reasons

That is one of the reasons there has been such an Uproar over some "alwasy on " games in the last year. STEAM has an offline mode.. some features are disabled, but most games can be played. Having some sytem that varifies once a download is finished is the best way (again Steam and others do use this in some fashion, escpecially on preloads). Where the real problem lies, is most games now are taking advantage of always on as most of us are (game play stats, play habits etc.. ).. so why not check if we are screwing the sytem every now and then too? Most game companies understand if the net is down, you are out a game, not some crucial thing.. and quite honestly my net is down maybe .1% of the time.. (but it does seem to happen when i really want to play i must admit). its big picture, almost all the time it will work just fine.. sure, not all of us have great conections, etc.. but it is what it is.. The legit pay for living in the world with the non legit. i doubt this is going away. and as its now getting more and more.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
OnLive
David Barbour wrote:

Im no expert with Onlive but what if down the line most "services" would require you to be always online to access your media. I know that in this day in age (it's ironic im using an online forum to write about it) most people that have access are. But if you connection goes down, where does that leave you if you're wanting to spend time with a video game or two?

Well, OnLive does work great most of the time, but it is dependent upon having a quality connection. No connection, no games, since you're streaming in almost real-time. I would think most connections will improve over time and lost connections will be as frequent as say, losing cable is now (ahem)... Perhaps a more ideal system is something like a Spotify (music service), where you can stream all the music you want and also choose what you want - if anything - to store locally for when you don't have a connection (or a reliable connection). There are always answers for this type of stuff, it just takes the corporate will to pull it off, which obviously is not always there...

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David Barbour
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Joined: 04/05/2012
Im no expert with Onlive but

Im no expert with Onlive but what if down the line most "services" would require you to be always online to access your media. I know that in this day in age (it's ironic im using an online forum to write about it) most people that have access are. But if you connection goes down, where does that leave you if you're wanting to spend time with a video game or two?

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I don't blame MS for backing

I don't blame MS for backing HD. Blu-Ray was Sony's baby, after all. If 360's did have Blu-Ray, it would indirectly help Sony--their competition!

It wouldn't surprise me (though I'd hate to see it) if the 720 also lacked support for it...

My prediction is that it will very soon be a moot point as streaming and bandwidth increase.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
HD is your friend
David Barbour wrote:

Just had a funny thing happen (well thought). I have mass effect 3 on PS3 and Xbox 360. But I dont play the 360 version as it has three disks and requires swapping. So maybe it's not all bad?

that was one of the Rally cries of the PS3 people as the 360 outsold it. In all honesty if MS hadnt backed the wrong pony in the HD wars.. I'm not sure it wouldnt have owned this generation even more (well 2nd place is not owned i guess) , Bluray was about the only thing SONY could show off, i can imagein how it would have went if MS had one too.. Of course then .. we get inot all the, not possible as the 360 would ahve had to be released way later and all that. I'm a firm believer in better tech and I still think the PS3 is the better console... but I cant argue with the fact most games play better on the 360 becuase its far closer ot the PC and easier to program on and the online player base is more robust (if far to annoying.. i joked the other day we could fire up any online shooter join a match and not make it 10 seconds without a "fun" word... we tried 3 games, and I was right .. in fact most didnt make 2-3 seconds, of coruse one could argue it better to hear a few "fun" words then to have no words at all).

but isnt this fairly moot now that both systems let you isntall games to the HD (dont they?) which in turn makes them even faster then disc?

David Barbour
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Joined: 04/05/2012
Just had a funny thing happen

Just had a funny thing happen (well thought). I have mass effect 3 on PS3 and Xbox 360. But I dont play the 360 version as it has three disks and requires swapping. So maybe it's not all bad?

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davyK
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Joined: 05/21/2006
Yep - case in point (and a

Yep - case in point (and a hope for the future) is the wooden NeoGeo - OK its a pricy item and a bit of a one-off but it sets the scene for the future.....
http://www.joystiq.com/2011/11/26/the-analogue-cmvs-a-649-wooden-neo-geo...

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
No matter what, it's

No matter what, it's interesting times we're living in.

You gotta keep in mind that a lot of what we take for "natural" and "it's always been like that" regarding creative stuff is actually very, very recent as far as history goes. Stuff like copyright is just a tiny cub compared to how long people have been putting out music, creating games, art, etc.

Now we've gotten used to the idea of music, games, books, movies, and so on, as widgets. Artistic type designs the prototype, it goes into mass production, and everybody buys widgets. No other factory is allowed to copy the design of that widget. If they try, they get sued and shut down. However, if you buy one of those widgets, you can do whatever you like with it. It's YOURS.

Now we're in a situation that's totally different. Instead of making widgets, you're dealing with licensing. You make a game, you don't sell it--you license out the right to use it. The latest click-through license on WOW made that very, very clear. The first words: "YOU DO NOT OWN THIS GAME." You merely license it, and if you don't play by whatever rules THEY come up with, you're breaking the law.

That's wrong on many levels, but let's just go with that for a minute.

What do you do when a server goes up in Hong Kong, or some independent island somewhere? Or, worse, what's gonna happen when people work out ways to distribute this stuff, so there's not just one isolated server somewhere streaming illegal Wow, but thousands of little bits all over the place?

It's like whackamole. As long as you need a big factory to print the bootlegs, it's relatively easy to whack'em. But what if there's a million of them? You can "make an example" of a few of them, but if you really try to sue that many people, and a lot of them overseas, at that (international law is by all accounts about ten times as complicated as national law)--well, you get the picture.

If I were a big dinosaur at a software company, I'd be fighting this digital download stuff with everything I had. Keep the media physical, so you can put a divet on the disc or a chip in the cartridge, whatever. Contain the flood. Once you let that genie out of the bottle and go digital, you have about as much control over it as you do air.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I was just going to mention

I was just going to mention Vinyl but I dont 'get it" so im Biased..I would do alot to have my old records ( that are not on CD) on cd or Digital format. I consider myslef lucky I am old enouhg to only have collected maybe 1000 Records before i plunged into CD's... I know the whole "warmer" sound thing... but then again I dont get "live" either.. most bands sound like crap live compared to the produced slick releases.. which I like.. I consider it like this.. A record thats been preoduced, the flaws taken out to make it what they want it to sound like is the "best" version.. Going to the opra and having sombody fart in the middle might be REAL.. with all its flaws.. but its sure not the "best"...

There will always be collectors who pay.. so there will alwasy be hard copies.

davyK
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Joined: 05/21/2006
Yeah = the whole digital

Yeah = the whole digital thing is inevitable which is sad as it kind of limits the collecting scene in the future when there will be a finite number of items. It is sad really only for the collector though - for the "normal" person there is the convenience - provided of course that the licencing model is sensible.

Never say never though - vinyl is making a low key but steady comeback here in the UK - with new releases getting limited vinyl runs in some cases - and it isn't just the oldies and audiophiles who are availing - despite the inconvenience (2 sides!) - the pleasure of possessing a physical representation of something you really like is extremely compulsive and it may never truly go away.

But maybe music is different enough from video games to mean it won't happen in this industry - you never know - but at most it will be for collectors paying a premium as vinyl buyers are doing here now...

I got the Bitches Brew anniversary box set at Christmas - a sumptuous package containing DVD, CD and vinyl along with lots of high quality printed material - maybe reissues of our classics will receive the same treatment 20 years from now?....the physical consoles at that time may hinder that though - if there is no drive or slot how can a collector's edition be viable - who knows?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bitches-Brew-Deluxe-2Vinyl-VINYL/dp/B003U9V66U

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