Originally Posted by blklightning
it needs to happen this next gen. i just read that sleeping dogs will offer different missions as exclusive preorder content to different retailers. so no matter where you get the game, you will get screwed out of a mission or two. this is exactly why they must go digital right now.
You're adding 2 and 2 and getting something else besides 4. Why is this a reason they must go to digital now? And it's something most people could care less about. Retailer specific preorder exclusives are almost as a rule just pointless fluff. I think people can do without things like getting an exclusive outfit by preordering Street Fighter V at retailer A instead of retailer B. That's exactly what most people are doing right now.
The world's broadband infrastructure is no where close to being able to support everyone suddenly downloading all their software. Not to mention many of their customers don't even have broadband options right now.
And the mindset of the consumer is also far from ready. And their retail partners also are a consideration and not a group they want to anger by suddenly going from retail being your dominant form of distribution one generation to nonexistent the next. All adds up to games still shipping out on optical disc that you purchase at retail.
They're weening us off physical media. That seems clear as does their eventual goal a few generations down the line. But it's going to be a slow and gradual process. They're not going to suddenly turn a switch and say no more physical releases when their previous console's distribution format was primarily physical.
Expect digital distribution to be on a more even footing with physical with the Xbox 720 and Playstation 4 (And maybe the following generation, physical and digital will flip the positions they currently hold in importance this current generation). Expect more competitive pricing (An area that things like MS's Games on Demand service is severely lacking in), same day releases of all content, further pushing of digital, an increase of digital exclusives, etc. That's the logical next step and basically their only option. Contrary to what has been said, the United States is pretty far down the list where broadband integration and speeds are concerned making it not even a option in the United States for mainstream game consoles.
Networks would slow to a crawl when things like the latest Call of Duty are released even here I suspect. Many people's ISP's wouldn't even stand for it with restrictive caps that someone can approach just by being a heavy user of streaming video. Can't imagine what downloading several 1080p native next generation releases with lossless audio a month would do. Discounting every other factor, console makers are simply going to have to wait for the internet to offer the infrastructure necessary to support an all digital future.
To borrow an analogy with the traditional amphibious military landing, early steps into digital distribution were testing the waters with the original Xbox being the final and ultimate test prior to an all out assault (Which thankfully in their eyes showed positive results). With the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, they launched full scale invasions and established their beachheads in the digital distribution conflict. With the Xbox 720 and Playstation 4, expect them to solidfy their positions and start to move inland for a long and slow war.
But don't expect them to win the war just yet or to skip it completely.