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Why Digital Download Games aren’t Mainstream yet

What do the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have in common? Yes you can play videogames, but it’s the ways in which you purchase your games which the question is implying. What options does a consumer have when buying their games? Can consumers only purchase in-store, or can they purchase online? One thing that was introduced in this round of consoles is the ability to download a game straight to your console without having to go outside your house, or wait for a shipment to arrive.

So what are the advantages to downloading a game?

Just like with new downloadable movies and music, consumers don’t want to wait to receive the game they preordered a year before the actual release. Gamers like to have the game they preordered right in front of them, ready to play at release without having to slip out of their house and into the store.

Also, if you forgot to preorder the hot new game release that landed in stores today and call up your local game store, you might find that they were sold out five minutes after they opened at midnight. Fortunately, instead of frantically searching your phone book or driving into numerous stores to find a copy, Microsoft and Sony has your game waiting in their online store, which never runs out of copies.

Have limited storage room at your house? Digital Download games take up no space, except for the bytes on your hard drive.

What are the disadvantages to downloading a game?

Just like with movies and music, something special goes along with the box such as extra features in a movie, or the cover art for your favorite groups CD. Some games have special items included in the purchase if preordered at a certain retailer such as a limited edition gun, shirt, or even bobble-head. Some games also have special features such as interviews with the creators, or artwork.

Consumers today are confused with the different bundles of consoles on the market. Whenever I take my weekly stroll down to my local Best Buy or GameStop, there is always someone asking about the differences in bundles for each console. One question always arises when in the games section “Is a bigger Hard Drive necessary?” Hard drives these days are too small to download all your games to. One triple AAA title can take up the whole 50 Gigabyte Blu-Ray disk on the PS3, while Xbox 360 games can take up to 9 Gigabytes of space. Even today consoles are sold without hard drives, such as the Xbox 360 Arcade. The 60 GB or 120 GB included in today’s bundles of the Xbox 360 aren’t enough to hold all your games, movies, music, and demos. Even Playstation 3 owners who either have 40 GB, 60 GB, 80 GB, or 160 GB don’t even have enough for games, movies, music, or demos.

Another disadvantage to Digital Download games sweeping the market is download speeds. Modern day internet connections in the United States aren’t fast enough to download your favorite new triple AAA release in a few minutes. It takes most Americans an hour with high-speed internet to download a demo that is one gigabyte. Why would I want to wait so long, when I can run out to my local game store and back in 15 minutes with my new game in-hand?

What about in the future?

So can we expect games to be download-only in the near future? It seems highly impossible with the disadvantages above, unless some major improvements are made. Could we see digital download-only further in the future? Sure we could.

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March 11, 2009 - Posted by | PlayStation 3, PSN, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

    Comment by watcat | March 15, 2009

  2. @watcat: Thanks, this blog is becoming bigger and bigger. I hope to get some other writers soon.

    Comment by shadowgunner9 | March 15, 2009


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