#1 Edited by jerseyscum (862 posts) -

With the explosion of streaming media directly from your home console and the encouraging trend of AAA titles on Steam, Playstation Store and Xbox live....will it eventually make disc based gaming completely obsolete? The release of Mass Effect 3 direct via the Playstation might be the one killer release that really starts this trend, I personally think. Will hardware manufactures design future systems to match the sheer hardware space we're going to need? Would this finally kill off Gamestop and other game retailers as we know it? Or am I just talking out of my ass?

#2 Posted by Hailinel (23891 posts) -

Nope.

#3 Posted by Lavapotamus (199 posts) -

I used to really anticipate the industry's switch to a majority of digital distributed games, but I'm pretty hesitant today. I just don't trust the licensing aspect; if a service goes down, can I still play my games? If they go under, do I lose the ability to play everything I've purchased? Will purchasing glitches end up charging me without granting me access? I never have to worry about those things when I've got the physical item in my hand.

Steam's the only service convincing me that my fears are unfounded, but I'm still pretty hesitant.

#4 Posted by Hockeymask27 (3683 posts) -

nope.

#5 Posted by MB (11977 posts) -

Does someone have the link to one of the discussions we just had about this over the last couple of weeks? It had hundreds of responses.

Moderator
#6 Edited by pw2566ch (480 posts) -

I mentioned this a lot before. If you honestly want to see a boom in the online distribution market, then there needs to be sales on top of more sales followed by more sales. I know people can't see this happening right now and neither can I. The problem being, Sony and Microsoft does not have a big enough library for that to happen. However, Sony does have almost 400 PSP titles on the PSN Store, so I can see them doing a weekly sale if they want to push digital distribution. Especially with the PS Vita out right now. Unfortunately, if you want to take advantage of any sales on PSN you have to sign up for the $50 a year membership.

#7 Posted by ReyGitano (2467 posts) -

Publishers want to reach as many people as they can; they can't do that by getting rid of a major form of accessibility for most consumers.

#8 Posted by Moonshadow101 (555 posts) -

This comes up again and again, but the answer is always the same: This will probably eventually happen, but not in the immediate future. Infrastructure needs to develop, and people's attitudes need to change. Both of these things are happening, but the critical point it still a ways off.

#9 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@ReyGitano said:

Publishers want to reach as many people as they can; they can't do that by getting rid of a major form of accessibility for most consumers.

While also the fact that publishers jobs are in peril in this digital age that is coming up. What with Ubisoft basically trying to hostage it's customers and several publisher attempts at DLC crap that never works.

If it is a console, it NEEDS to be a physical media with an option of digital, while a computer has to be digital mainly, with physical being optional. that is the best way things can work out.

#10 Posted by yoshisaur (2641 posts) -

Not yet. Just like the Kindle & iPad won't kill physical books. There are too many people out there, like me, who like the feel and texture of a novel in my hand. I use a Kindle, don't get me wrong, but it is mainly to test out new series (I hate having one book of a trilogy because I didn't want to continue to read) and add old books that are hard/expensive to find these days.

#11 Edited by Blind_Evil (306 posts) -

Eventually yes, but not for way longer than any of the people in games writing would have you believe.

There will be at least 3-4 or more generations that allow users the choice between physical and digital media. I am confounded by the number of people that think they are mutually exclusive options.

@ReyGitano: This man is correct.

#12 Posted by Video_Game_King (36005 posts) -

On PC, maybe, but not on consoles. Hasn't the digital market there been geared more toward smaller scale games and/or ports of older games?

#13 Posted by Zor (653 posts) -

To answer your title questions, no, and yes... (the question of are we moving towards something is rather vague and open, so while i say yes, i don't think it will happen in the next 20 years, but overall we are 'moving' that direction).

#14 Posted by Shun_Akiyama (490 posts) -

no

#15 Edited by Ocean_H (290 posts) -

@jerseyscum said:

With the explosion of streaming media directly from your home console and the encouraging trend of AAA titles on Steam, Playstation Store and Xbox live....will it eventually make disc based gaming completely obsolete? The release of Mass Effect 3 direct via the Playstation might be the one killer release that really starts this trend, I personally think. Will hardware manufactures design future systems to match the sheer hardware space we're going to need? Would this finally kill off Gamestop and other game retailers as we know it? Or am I just talking out of my ass?

Nope. Your trend following is really bad. With bandwidth data cap on internet usage: never gonna happen. Especially in Canada.

#16 Posted by Contrarian (1143 posts) -

I will bet anyone a large amount of money that if PS4/Xbox Next is digital only and Wii U has discs at stores, the Wii U will win so easily it won't matter.

Here is something I never see anyone talking about - We know many people have crap broadband. I get a 3Gb limit a month and downloading games iss out of the question. Why don't they have an internet connected unit at major department stores that downloads games to disc on the spot and the store just has a display of the games available. You get the disc printed on the spot with a printed surface and a printed sleeve to go with the case that comes with it. The cost of the sleeve, case and printed disc is part of the game cost. The store gets a handling fee. I would use that service. All they need is to ensure is security is embedded in the code against piracy (that will eventually be bypassed - as usual). I would use that and there would be no waste as games are made and sold on demand. It can't be that hard right?

#17 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

No, there are still a ton of people out there that don't have an internet connection.

#18 Posted by believer258 (11634 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

Nope.

because

@ReyGitano said:

Publishers want to reach as many people as they can; they can't do that by getting rid of a major form of accessibility for most consumers.

My personal feelings on it are pretty much apathetic. While I would prefer to have the option, having to use one or the other would not really bother me.

#19 Posted by Deusoma (3001 posts) -

I sure fucking hope not. :(

#20 Posted by Demoskinos (14562 posts) -

Yes, but not for another 15 years or so. The infrastructure for North America is garbage with plenty of areas being denied access to broadband at all. Until we reach a point where 90% or greater of people have access to internet that won't happen. In the PC space however it IS happening. Honestly, I don't see a need to buy PC games any other way except digitally now.

Why travel to gamestop in the morning when you can have the same game preloaded and be playing the second it releases?

#21 Posted by twigger89 (277 posts) -

I give it 12 years and/or 3 console cycles from the current crop of Hardware. We are already seeing publishers lock of parts of their game through an online pass wall, so they are already comfortable with downplaying the non internet audience. It is only going to grow from here, and it will only take 1 major release to have really impressive downloadable says to push publishers over the edge. That being said, ISP's are going to need to be a lot more accommodating than they are now when it comes to bandwidth caps, but I Think that is going to get taken care of regardless of what happens with digitally distributed games.

#22 Posted by Dany (7887 posts) -

I doubt now if it will happen on the generation after this one.

#23 Edited by NaCl (108 posts) -

Maybe. There are a lot of advantages to online distribution, it really saves on the logistics of distributing games.

@Contrarian said:

I will bet anyone a large amount of money that if PS4/Xbox Next is digital only and Wii U has discs at stores, the Wii U will win so easily it won't matter.

Here is something I never see anyone talking about - We know many people have crap broadband. I get a 3Gb limit a month and downloading games iss out of the question. Why don't they have an internet connected unit at major department stores that downloads games to disc on the spot and the store just has a display of the games available. You get the disc printed on the spot with a printed surface and a printed sleeve to go with the case that comes with it. The cost of the sleeve, case and printed disc is part of the game cost. The store gets a handling fee. I would use that service. All they need is to ensure is security is embedded in the code against piracy (that will eventually be bypassed - as usual). I would use that and there would be no waste as games are made and sold on demand. It can't be that hard right?

The B&M retailers won't be a problem if you play it right. e.g. the PSV.

While B&M retailers will lose revenue due to online distribution, Sony is making it up to them by letting them sell high marked up memory cards which the download games will reside on, keeping Sony on their good side.

I can see the shift to flash memory if they get cheap enough - we are already using flash for portable gaming at 1-2GB per game after all. Optical disc are capping out in the transfer rate department, non-solid state hard discs are not improving much either. Flash on the other hand you can read several hundred of MB per second.

#24 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

I haven't purchased a physical game in 2 years.

But it'll still take a decade or two to switch over to primarily digital.

#25 Posted by N7 (3573 posts) -

I spent seven hours downloading and installing Mass Effect 2. That should not be the only way to access that game. And it won't be. For any game.

#26 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

@N7 said:

I spent seven hours downloading and installing Mass Effect 2. That should not be the only way to access that game. And it won't be. For any game.

Services like Steam let you preload games so they unlock at release. If publishers let Steam/Sony/MS/etc unlock games at midnight in each time zone you'd be playing earlier than you could get home from a midnight release. As big releases increasingly get matching release dates as the retail disc that aspect will work itself out.

#27 Posted by onimonkii (2429 posts) -

i haven't put a disc in my pc to install a game since 2008 at least

the future is here.

#28 Posted by BigChickenDinner (766 posts) -

If they get rid of disks consoles will follow.

#29 Posted by Sammo21 (3211 posts) -

Sure, we will eventually move to download only but it won't be anytime soon. Not enough people have access to high speed internet with the bandwidth allowances for going digital only, especially for the types of sizes that you'd get with a retail release. Example, Mass Effect 3 is all in all 2 dual layer DVD discs so you are looking at around 16GB+ of data. Not a big deal for me as I have 30mpbs internet and I have a plethora of attached devices. You also have to remember that some people's internet gets capped when they download lots of data so if a person is a heavy gamer and downloads a lot that could have a negative effect on even their billing.

I am just lucky that in Chattanooga, TN we have EPB with the ability to run fiber to almost ANY house in the area and I literally have fiber going to the back of my house.

#30 Posted by Elyk247 (366 posts) -

II'm so damn tired of this question.........

I want hard copies of all purchases, and will start my own Project Mayhem to keep it this way.

#31 Posted by RobertOrri (1120 posts) -

Not gonna happen for a while yet.

#32 Posted by Jaytow (693 posts) -

We just aren't ready yet. Download only makes so much sense but we need faster internet speeds and a more organised price structure for these things. Steam is great but there are some games I just have to own a physical copy of.

#33 Edited by Chris2KLee (2328 posts) -

I see at least another generation of consoles with solid state media. The ubiquity of the internet is just not there yet, and therefore would possibly limit sales to potential customers. I think we'll see a lot more day and date digital release on consoles along with physical copies, but all digital is awhile away.

#34 Posted by RsistncE (4496 posts) -

Anyone who thinks that physical media for the consumer base isn't going to disappear within the next decade has no clue what they're talking about. The technology is already there; at this point it's only regulatory bodies and a few large firms standing in the way.

#35 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

Nope. We just put in Disc 2 and continue playing.

#36 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I'd love it if discs disappeared altogether but I can't imagine it actually happening in the next 10 years.

#37 Posted by Fozimuth (170 posts) -

Yes, as a superior PC gamer, I absolutely love having to wait 7 hours to play games after buying them.  And the file sizes are only going to get bigger.  I cannot wait.
 
By which I mean no, no, and hell no.  I don't understand why people are so infatuated with digital media.  It works for movies, which can be streamed, and music, which have small file sizes, but games?  Games are 10+GB.  That's not easily portable, transferable, or streamed.  Not to mention the constant DRM, server downtimes, maintenance, crashes, your internet being slow as hell.  You already need 3 different services to play most PC games, thanks to EA and Ubisoft trying to jump into the digital bullshit.

#38 Posted by BigChickenDinner (766 posts) -

@Fozimuth said:

Yes, as a superior PC gamer, I absolutely love having to wait 7 hours to play games after buying them. And the file sizes are only going to get bigger. I cannot wait. By which I mean no, no, and hell no. I don't understand why people are so infatuated with digital media. It works for movies, which can be streamed, and music, which have small file sizes, but games? Games are 10+GB. That's not easily portable, transferable, or streamed. Not to mention the constant DRM, server downtimes, maintenance, crashes, your internet being slow as hell. You already need 3 different services to play most PC games, thanks to EA and Ubisoft trying to jump into the digital bullshit.

This and

@Elyk247 said:

I'm so damn tired of this question.........

I want hard copies of all purchases, and will start my own Project Mayhem to keep it this way.

That.

#39 Posted by benspyda (2030 posts) -

@Fozimuth: A few 10GB games this month killed my download cap this month for the first time. Now I have had to live on dial up speed for a few days, teach me to start playing pc games. So painful.

Steam's great but the console market is a lot broader and encompasses people who don't have a regular internet connection. So Discs aren't going anywhere. I just hope the next set of consoles come with SSDs so I can install the discs onto them. The only issue with discs are load times.

#40 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

Yes, but not for another 15 years or so. The infrastructure for North America is garbage with plenty of areas being denied access to broadband at all. Until we reach a point where 90% or greater of people have access to internet that won't happen. In the PC space however it IS happening. Honestly, I don't see a need to buy PC games any other way except digitally now.

Why travel to gamestop in the morning when you can have the same game preloaded and be playing the second it releases?

Exactly. It will happen and we're seeing it happen, just as TV will eventually become a redundant media.. just probably not for quite a while.

#41 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

Lol downloading software over the internet will never replace physical boxes with art covers and discs carrying the software and ready to go in a couple of clicks.

#42 Posted by CornBREDX (4806 posts) -

Due to publishers not wanting to allow consumers to completely own the games they buy there will not be a switch to download only (digital) distribution for a very long time. Also, while digital is becoming more popular in general it is still heavily a niche market.  
Once all consoles are online at all times, and consumers and publishers come to an agreement on stuff then maybe it will be digital only. Maybe.

#43 Posted by cky4890 (99 posts) -

No in the common home. But I agree that it is happening on steam already. One is the prices have you seen prices on games on xbla it's rediculous I am personally yeallous of pc owners yo have steam. I have a shitty ip so I wish it doesn't go that route. Two are retailers I don't think publishers would like to fight with retailers

#44 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

I contend that if the Nextbox 420 "no used games" rumor is true, it will be because they are going to be an all-digital marketplace.

#45 Posted by TheGorilla (228 posts) -

NO. Digital only is at a minimum 20 years away.

#46 Edited by Blind_Evil (306 posts) -

@Little_Socrates: A third of Xbox 360s have never been connected to the internet. 80m households (of 270m) have the broadband connection required to download full games. That is too many potential customers for Xbox to lose.

Broadband saturation isn't near strong enough to support digital-only right now, and likely won't be for 10-15 years. Even then, some people will just want physical media. Furthermore, if ISPs get their way and bandwith caps become prevalent, that jeopardizes the whole idea.

Plenty of vinyl records are still produced.

#47 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

All digital would be great if they passed on the savings to the customers. Oh wait, Steam already does!

#48 Posted by Commisar123 (1790 posts) -

Slowly, but not right away

#49 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

@Blind_Evil: That third of customers not connected to the internet will still be able to play used games, though. If that's their line of defense, it will not likely work super-awesome. :P