When I took part in the Extra Life fundraiser this year, I brought out all of my old game systems and games I have managed to hang on to over the years. It always brings a smile to my face when I’m able to see everything out on display, and in one spot. As I balanced various sized Atari 2600 cartridges on top of each other, and tried not to overstack the unstable SNES games, I started looking over the systems I had available to me. Genesis… NES… Xbox 360… OnLive… all had games that I was planning on playing, but when you look at the picture I took of everything together, you’d never know I had 20+ OnLive games at my fingertips:
Many people have an opinion on where game delivery is going; some think it will have to retain some physical form to be displayed in brick and mortar stores, while others feel that a shift to all digital is not only inevitable, but preferred. It got me thinking:
What do you think will be the method of delivery for games 10 years from now (physical copy vs. digital copy)?
(You may have to refresh the page to see the poll)
One caveat here: I’m curious where you think the industry will be in 10 years, NOT what you want or prefer it to be. I did not bother to include an option for “All physical” since we have already moved away from that with the advent of app stores, Steam, and console networks (XBLA, PSN, etc) to name a few. The real question is, how far from physical games are we going to move? Will gamers be OK with their libraries being online, subject to the availability of the servers (or, worse, the viability of a company’s longevity)? I am on both sides of the fence: I love having games at my disposal digitally, with no disc juggling needed, and no space needed to store them. But I also find that having a physical copy reminds me I own the game in the first place; I am constantly amazed at the games I own digitally that I haven’t even played yet. And while I’m not overly concerned with access to my games, it is something I have in the back of my mind every time I buy a game on OnLive. In the end, I think I see the industry shifting to digital delivery (which is lower cost to the game developers, and also can help reduce piracy), so we as gamers won’t have a choice but to move with it. The only thing that might hold back a 100% digital world right now is space and bandwidth, but in 10 years, those issues might be moot.
What do you think? Where do you WANT the industry to be? Want to go back to the old days of all physical copies? Will AAA releases always have a physical copy? Don’t care one way or the other? Vote above, and speak your mind in the comments below.
A Simple Question (ASQ) is a weekly segment for Platform Nation. Give a response and let the world know what you think; there is no right or wrong answer here. If you have a suggestion for a question, hit me up on twitter @vttym.