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The Internet Media Entertainment Games

Moore Calls Game Discs Ridiculous 257

Posted by Zonk
from the power-to-pipelines dept.
Gamespot reports on a Churchill Club panel discussion attended by a number of industry heavyweights. They discussed, heavily, the future of gaming online and what it means for the industry as a whole. From the article: "[MS VP Peter] Moore said that the retail landscape is set to undergo a particularly drastic change of face. Even though he made a point that the current retail model was hugely important to Microsoft's plans for the near future, he sees its days as numbered. 'Let's be fair. Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous,' Moore said. 'We'll tell our grandchildren that and they'll laugh at us.'"
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Moore Calls Game Discs Ridiculous

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  • I hope so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by faloi (738831) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:32AM (#14686941)
    I get sick of having my first CD damaged, so I can't play a game without taking extraordinary measures. At the same time, though, I don't want to not be able to play my games locally because my ISP managed to drop the entire block.
    • Re:I hope so (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Orinthe (680210) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:37AM (#14686986) Homepage
      Good luck getting them to reauthorize you to download a new copy in the case of a hard-drive failure. Why do it, when they can just force you to buy a new one? Same story, different method of distribution.

      Also, say good-bye to the days of lending your friend a game, or selling/giving one away second hand.
      • Re:I hope so (Score:2, Insightful)

        by minuszero (922125)

        Good luck getting them to reauthorize you to download a new copy in the case of a hard-drive failure.

        If they go the way steam does, this shouldn't be an issue - you only need remember your username/password to your account.

        However, this begs the question; what happens if their servers crash out? Better hope they keep backups...

        Personally, I like my hard-copies

        • a) if it's good, the manual is dead handy, and looks prettier than anything I could print off (if I even had a printer a.t.m.)
        • b) it's a de
        • Re:I hope so (Score:4, Insightful)

          by faloi (738831) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:27AM (#14687439)
          Personally, I like my hard-copies * a) if it's good, the manual is dead handy, and looks prettier than anything I could print off (if I even had a printer a.t.m.) * b) it's a definite proof of purchase, right there, in my hand. Reassuring.

          Don't get me wrong, I like the hard copies too. But I have to admit that the idea of still being able to play my game after my first disk got damaged, the little red piece of paper that had my CD key got thrown away because it's trash on my desk (thanks hon!), or any of the other things that can happen, do.

          Of course, part of it may be me presuming that if game manufacturers do away with game discs, I'd still be able to burn a copy of the download (although not on an Xbox) to save the download time. Plus I'd think they could choose to cut the price to reflect the money they save in shipping, printing manuals and disks, etc. Of course, sometimes I'm too optimistic.
          • Re:I hope so (Score:3, Insightful)

            by billcopc (196330)

            I'd think they could choose to cut the price to reflect the money they save in shipping, printing manuals and disks, etc

            Son, discs cost pennies, manuals a few dollars, and shipping.. well, you toss a few tens of thousands of boxes on a truck. The real cost comes from the classic distribution pyramid, where each level takes a cut, often bigger than the creator's actual profit. It's hardly any different from the music business, except the numbers are bigger. Theoretically, a game that is sold for 49.99$ at

      • Well, in some parts of the world we have consumer rights. Getting replacemenent disks has never been a problem here, though the processes have been bit cumbersome at times. So I do not see this as problem.
    • Re:I don't (Score:3, Insightful)

      by symbolic (11752)
      Have you been to an arcade recently? The price that you have to pay for a few minutes of "fun" are outrageous. Now, imagine the same model being applied to the gaming industry. The first step has already been taken- monthly subscription fees. These are reasonable, considering the ongoing costs associated with maintaining servers and bandwidth. I'd argue that the next logical step is to start metering use, much like the arcade model. This is what every cash cow wannabe is pining for...pay for play. Right now
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lambticc (563530) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:34AM (#14686960)
    Of course our grandparents think it is ridiculous to drive to the store and buy a plastic disc with data on it too.
    • by mfh (56) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:40AM (#14687012) Homepage Journal
      Of course our grandparents think it is ridiculous to drive to the store and buy a plastic disc with data on it too.

      Nobody understands us!!!! Back in the good old days, I used to run to the store and buy a cassette with all the hottest games. Sometimes it came with 99er, sometimes it was stand-alone.

      > You are facing north.
        > Look up.
        > A piano falls on your head. GAME OVER
      • When I was a kid, my parents use to take me to some department store for TI-99 cartridges. I can't remember which store... it might have been a Sears or JC Penney. Anyway, weird memory. I haven't thought about that in a long time.
  • The alternative? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordVader717 (888547) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:35AM (#14686967)
    Not much better than paying real money to buy a "licence" to download DRMn'd glory where I've got to register to play, can only play it on a registered System, and only that as long as the publisher doesn't go bankrupt.
    • by Thangodin (177516)
      The system will be cracked, just like every copy protection scheme is now. Eventually they'll give up on the DRM and just make it cheap enough that it's easier just to pay for it. The market will eventually foil all their little schemes.

      And I'll be damned if I'm going to give every game I own permission to access the internet, unless I'm actually playing on the internet. This is just too much of a security risk, especially for content downloaded from the net.
    • If this does happen, it sounds like this may scream "government-run service" so that people have security. I'd be all for it if it was like Steam in the future (with a phat pipe for data). Download it, then you can run it offline. And just re-download it if any problems occur and you need to reinstall.
  • Not ridiculous. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:38AM (#14686995)
    Back before plumbing, people had to get buckets of water out of wells and bring them inside before they could use water. Would we consider this practice absurd?

    Before the advent of speedy online delivery, we go buy games at a store before we can use it. Same concept.

    Working within the technological limitations of your day is never "ridiculous." I submit that making baseless predictions about the future is ridiculous!
    • And people got these things called books which are cut down and processed trees with ink on them. I'm sure the day will come when we have access to tons of info at our fingertips (or neuron tips) without the need for books, but damn I think I'll miss them.
       
      • by blueZ3 (744446)
        Books--physical paper & ink--are the best thing... ever.

        I love having my Treo with eBooks from Project Gutenberg on it, because it's one device with multiple uses (and it doesn't look too odd carrying it around while my wife is shopping) but I would be very unhappy if that's all there was. I still spend several hundred dollars a year on "old-fashioned" books, and they're still the number one item on my Christmas and birthday wish lists.

        There's a quote (I forget the exact content and author) that goes so
    • Back before plumbing, people had to get buckets of water out of wells and bring them inside before they could use water. Would we consider this practice absurd?

      Working with technological limitations isn't absurd, but accepting the limiation is.

      Otherwise, we'd still be carrying buckets of water and not taking showers as much as we should be.
  • by Mike deVice (769602) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:40AM (#14687009)
    I have zero problem with downloading software, including games. Like most people, I grab shareware and open source software online all the time. But I do want to be sure that I can retain the data I bought a copy of. I don't want to hop on a website and have to prove I bought the damn thing, and download it again if I need to reinstall my OS, or lose the game when the company I downloaded it from goes out of business for whatever reason. Driving to the store can seem like much less of a hassle than DRM locked data. Especially gigs of locked data.
    • I liked the old mp3.com beamer system. You could insert all of your CDs, beamer would confirm through some algorythm that you had an original CD (or a complete copy I suppose), then you could access the CD through their web interface for free.

      I have dozens of CDs that don't play anymore - some don't even show signs of physical wear. I would like to, one day, regain access to my virtual possessions stored on my defunct or lost physical possessions.
  • There are plenty of people in the United States who live in rural areas that aren't served by any mode of broadband, and it looks unlikely that this is going to change. Current boraodband requires either coaxial cable or a close location to a telephone exchange in order to get DSL. With many phone companies dropping the installation of land lines altogether, and rural TV viewers turning to dish-based television, it's also unlikely that cable companies will bother wiring up any small outlying areas.
    Aside fro
    • Have you seen the cities Verizon is rolling out FTTH? Out in the fuckin boonies here in California.
    • There are plenty of people in the United States who live in rural areas that aren't served by any mode of broadband, and it looks unlikely that this is going to change.

      A few points:

      First, don't downplay the broadband yet. Look at how long POTS took to get to some of these areas, with the relative newness of DSL/Cable internet spreading today it's faster by at least a magnitude. Just because it's not everywhere in a decade deosn't mean it won't be in the next decade (which fits into the time frame quoted
  • by cluke (30394) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:42AM (#14687031)
    I don't think they'll be laughing. They'll be more likely in awe of the fact we actually owned a re-usable, permanent physical copy of the media we purchased rather than having to set up a bank order to transfer a monthly licence fee for the right to continue using it.
    • Hate to break it to you...cds are far from permanent. Actually, they decay a lot faster than people think.

      If some company goes out of business, people will release a crack. So there is really nothing to worry about. Other than you being surprised when your permanent physical copies don't work in 10 years.
      • that's just cd-r, though. the actual stamped cds that you get from retail are a hell of a lot more durable.
        • That's what you think. CDs don't last forever either. The problem is starting to become really serious right now with laserdiscs, and it's called "laser rot" and AFAIK it results from moisture or something being introduced during the manufacturing process. You come back to play a laserdisc you haven't seen in a few years and you pull it out of the CD to find that the metal layer is all corroded and cracked like it receded or something.

          Granted, it doesn't happen to all of them, but I've seen it happen to s

      • I didn't necessarily mean the same CD forever. You have the right to burn your own copies, make ISOs and back them up to tape, whatever.

        And as for the "someone will crack it" argument, don't you think the companies know this? We're talking 20 years in the future here. If network speeds continue to improve, we could all be playing our games on thin clients, racking up the charges as we go.
  • by solidtransient (883338) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:42AM (#14687033) Homepage
    the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous
    Of course we won't drive to the store... we'll transport there, duh!
    • Transportation will never be allowed in the Empire. "They" will just claim that it would be another tool for terrorists.

      //to be fair, though, it would. I think a whole lot of people would like to beam bush about 3 miles straight up into space
  • by iainl (136759) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:42AM (#14687037)
    ...Yes, folks. Back then, I could simply hand over $50 and I had full first-sale rights on the game. It came as an actual physical product that looked nice sitting on the shelf, worked even round at my friend's house for co-op play without us having to buy a license each, and when we were bored of it we could make about half that money back by selling it to someone else.

    I mean, can you imagine it? It's a wonder the global economy didn't crash earlier, really.
  • I don't want my copy of Grand Theft Auto 4 to get remote-deleted because some script kiddy forged his IP and duped a bunch of rocket launchers.

  • And how am I suppose to pay? Probably by credit card. That's nice but for the major part of my game playing life I did not have one. We don't have a credit card tradition like the US has. What other options are there? Paypal? That's about as secure as letting the cat guard the milk. Other than that? Money transfer, now instead of driving to the store, buying the game and driving home, I can transfer the money and in a day or two I get to spend an hour or 2 waiting for the download to complete (which takes a
  • Anybody remember the story about manifestogames.com ?
  • Moore is dreaming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deanasc (201050) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:48AM (#14687094) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes when I feel nostalgic I switch on the old Nintendo and play some Duck Hunt. I never knew there was an easter egg in Atari Adventure until 2 years ago. Pulled that out of the closet and sure enough, there it was. I like the fact that I'm not paying a monthly fee for GTA San Andreas, I'm still trying to finish that one. (OK I'm not playing for more then an hour or two a week.) I like being able to put a game down for a few weeks or revisit some old favorites years later. You can't do that on a subscription model. When games go subscription only I won't be following them into that business plan. I'm already paying enough for HBO and Internet. Oh and heat, water, sewer and electricity. I'm not adding anymore monthly recurring expenses.
    • Hell, I'm still trying to get through GoldenEye for the 2nd time, and that came out when, 1997?

      Then again, I just bought a Vectrex so I'm not one to talk! ;)
    • Re:Moore is dreaming (Score:3, Interesting)

      by marcovje (205102)

      Indeed. The problem with subscription games that

      - if you earn money (read: have a (nearly) fulltime job), you don't have time to spend enough time gaming to make the subscription worthwhile.

      - if you have the time (college, unemployed), you don't have the money.

      So I wonder what public they are actually targeting with this? Bankrobbers? Time and Money :-)
    • Uh, what? Only MMORPG are on subscription models. Games that you download are not. If there is some sort of authentication method like Steam, you will need a crack. But you can still copy that data to more permanent storage and use it in the future. Assuming that your system will still play it...which it probably won't and so your cds will be useless as well. If you are really worried about this, just stick with console gaming.
  • Reduce the price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:48AM (#14687095) Homepage Journal
    The big hang up I have with software I get online is that they usually want me to pay the same retail price as if I bought the boxed item. This forms a big disconnect in my head which essentially drives me to buy the box set instead.

    One area that would certainly benefit is the mmog games. There is little real reason to buy the base software but that model is still used regardless. people with slow connections will be at a loss but even after months of release these people who do require boxed versions would be back in the same boat as many game updates easily overwhelm dialup connections. This is what probably holds back consoles with harddrives - how do you deliver games where storage isn't a given?

    If the industry wants to change direction they will need to realize we will not pay the same price. Yes I know that publishers make up their money with new releases but something has got to give.

    what i fear will happen is that we will be paying the box price for over the line delivery and a new upcharge for the box version. the industry will take a grand idea and exploit it in the worst possible method.
  • by tont0r (868535) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:49AM (#14687105)
    Not to sound trollish, but we can already download many applications, music in mp3 format and movies/shows ALL LEGALLY. Wouldnt it be assumed that major applications and games would follow the same concept? Companies spend a large percentage on packaging and shipping alone. A large amount of money could be saved this way.
    • Yeah, but we aren't seeing the savings.

      Buying online, there's no middle-man to add his own profit. There's no store, so no cost associated with the building or the employees. There's no product, so it wasn't designed, manufactured, packaged, and shipped. Yet I have NEVER seen an online-only sale direct from the publisher/developer sell for significantly less than I would pay in a retail store.

      They want to kill the retail game market? Let me buy the game for the same price they would have sold it to Wal-Mart
      • They want to kill the retail game market? Let me buy the game for the same price they would have sold it to Wal-Mart. If you want to get rid of the middle man, give me a reason to get rid of him.

        While I agree that we're getting ripped off the end reason for not going to the middle man will be because you don't have to. Would you rather download the content or drive to get it? I don't know about you but my closest BestBuy/CompUSA/Circuit City is about 20 miles away and loaded with traffic not to mention th
        • While I agree that we're getting ripped off the end reason for not going to the middle man will be because you don't have to. Would you rather download the content or drive to get it? I don't know about you but my closest BestBuy/CompUSA/Circuit City is about 20 miles away and loaded with traffic not to mention the dolts that man these stores... Even tho I'm not saving money I'd still rather buy online and avoid all this bad noise.

          I don't every make trips to buy games. I have to go 40 miles to get to anyt

          • I figure if I'm going to be paying the same price for a game either there or online, I'll do the local economy a favor and keep some of the money here.

            Perhaps for you this is true but for the majority of people out there? Why do you think Amazon.com is big? These same wares are normally available locally but most people disreguard the local economy over all.

            Valve ties all your CD keys to your Steam login so that once you've installed and registered a game, you have access to reinstall it any time. I'm a
            • Perhaps for you this is true but for the majority of people out there? Why do you think Amazon.com is big? These same wares are normally available locally but most people disreguard the local economy over all.

              I buy from Amazon primarily because it is cheaper than bookstores. Plus it has more selection. And it doesn't require that 40-mile drive.

              Amazon hasn't stopped me from buying at brick-and-mortar stores, though. I buy all my technical (in other words, O'Reilly) books through Amazon because they're ch

  • Size matters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Orinthe (680210) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:52AM (#14687133) Homepage
    If network and gaming trends continue as they are, video games will still be too large to download "on-demand". Notice that the only successful model of online video delivery, Apple's iTMS, only downloads reduced-resolution, iPod-sized videos. This isn't because they don't want you buying an episode of Scrubs or whatever for $2 and burning it to a DVD (and hence not buying the DVD set when it comes out), it's because we don't have the infrastructure to deliver full-resolution TV shows, much less feature films. Video games (many of them, anyway) are just as large, and keeping pace. Just because people don't mind starting up bittorrent and waiting a few hours/days for a movie doesn't mean that it's a valid distribution model. People do that because it's free--if a company tried to distribute their multi-gig program/movie/data over the internet, it would be paying far more in bandwidth costs, with nothing other than DEcreased customer satisfaction to show for it, than if it just paid a printing company and DVD fab to stamp their discs and stick in a shiny insert.
    • I bought a download of AO online when they did their big relaunch a few years back. It was a terrible experience, it ended up costing the same as an instore copy (they charge you for a copy it after the 1 week trial) and I didn't get the maps or manuals (not even as a pdf) that others got with a physical copy. Also if you bought a copy you got a free month rather than a free week even though the prices were the same. Mostly I was stupid, but it was still a pretty annoying experience. Considering they co
    • You are wrong. Example: Steam with HL2.
  • by ShamusYoung (528944) on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:56AM (#14687171) Homepage
    As others have said, digital delivery won't happen until some new uber-DRM scheme comes along to thwart piracy, which doesn't seem likely. But if it did, you'd still need a way to get content to laptops and other machines without universal high-speed access.

    But even these other problems are overcome, the process of buying some sort of physical media is NEVER going to go away. When people pay money for something, they like to be able to hold the thing and say "I own this". The same is true of music. People want the jewel case with the nice artwork and a shiney disc. How often have you been in the store and seen people just browsing the shelf, reading the boxes and looking for something new? There is something going on here that is more than just buying data. Something that won't happen if you don't have boxes in stores.

    Even if discs went away, and all content came over the net, you STILL wouldn't be rid of boxes in stores: Those boxes turn into impulse purchases.

    Our grandkids may laugh at us. They will see predictions like the one in this article and laugh in the same way we laugh at the jetpacks-and-flying-cars future of the past.

    • Our grandkids may laugh at us. They will see predictions like the one in this article and laugh in the same way we laugh at the jetpacks-and-flying-cars future of the past.

      Laugh at?!? You're the bastard that's holding us all back! The rest of us are rightfully upset that we don't live in a technological wonderland of a future where we all have flying cars and sassy household robots. Whenever someone tries to mock the Roomba in some way I'm taken aback... it's a goddamn robot that cleans your house! People h
    • I don't know, after switching to iTunes I laugh at people who go to stores to buy music. My friend did the same. It's fast, convenient, and gratifying. No stop lights to wait at, no lines, just quick fast and efficient.
    • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Friday February 10, 2006 @02:10PM (#14689345)
      As others have said, digital delivery won't happen until some new uber-DRM scheme comes along to thwart piracy

      Yeah, everybody knows that you can't do [totalgaming.net] digital [moonpod.com] delivery [direct2drive.com]. Well, not without strong DRM, anyway.

      From http://totalgaming.stardock.com/about.aspx [stardock.com]:


      No "Digital Rights Management" type scheme. Once you download it, it's yours to put on any computer you own.


      Frankly, I expect the grandkids to look back and laugh at the idea that anybody would ever pay for DRMed crippleware. After all, people like to own things - not be told that they're trying to steal the thing they paid for. The "TV prohibition" years should have come and gone by then. And I find it pretty funny that dongles ever existed.

      There will probably still be stores with boxes in them, but internet delivery of games is already here - I haven't bought a PC game on a physical disk in at least a year. Service that good is here to stay.
  • by zoeblade (600058) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:04AM (#14687217) Homepage

    The concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous

    Isn't that what Larry Ellison, the head of Oracle, said on Triumph of the Nerds [pbs.org]?

    I hate the PC with a passion. Me going down to the store and buying Windows 95, I've got to get into my car, drive down to a store, buy a cardboard box full of bits, you know, encoded on a piece of plastic CD-ROM and you bring it home and read a manual install this thing - you must be kidding, you know, put the stuff on the net - it's bits, don't put bits in cardboard, cardboard in trucks, trucks to stores, me go to the store, you know, pick the stuff out, it's insane. OK, I love the Internet - I want information, you know, it flows across the wire.

    I'm surprised we're not there yet, to be honest. That show's ten years old now.

    • I always got a kick out of that and how it is a shiniing example of how executives are so out of touch with reality.

      Ok larry.. Here is a brand new blank pc and a cable modem. download that OS to install on it.

      You HAVE to HAVE some kind of physical media to buy. unless the bios makers are going to put a tcp/ip stack and a browser in bios so you can connect to microsoft.com and submit your CC number to start the online installer.

      • That's assuming that the next-gen desktops will be PCs and not just thin clients connecting to an ISP's terminal server. Depends what you want to do with your machine really. I wouldn't fancy trying to play full-screen Doom or whatever but on Citrix or X you can (given the bandwidth) do stuff like editing Word documents and browsing the internet at a pretty decent speed.
  • So no one is going to pay for a piece [toysrgus.com] of [paspespuyas.com] plastic [cnn.net].
    Say it to George Lucas.
    I like to keep old 5 1/4 game disks. I love it's boxes.

    May be, better than a "virtual" game it's a box with merchandising in it. Or may be sell games cheaper...
  • If you RTFA he basically says single player gaming is like masturbation, which I suppose could mean that it's practiced and loved by EVERYONE ... but that's not what he meant. He meant to say that multi-player gaming is the "wave of the future" and that single player games are dead. Let's think for a moment some of the biggest selling games of all time - which were all single player (not co-op, or p1 vs. p2) - Pac man, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, just to name a few. Even the GTA series are not co-op. I think he overrating the whole online player vs player gaming theory. Multiplayer online gaming can create competition out of the simplest concept, and sometimes make it fun. That doesn't mean that it's good game programming.
    The real challenge in game programming is making a fun challenge that doesn't involve two humans competing against each other. Have they all just given up on AI? Have they all just given up on inventing new challenging puzzles? It's sounds like the easy way out.
    All a game has to do it give two players a gun and let them try to shoot each other, and unfortunately that's what we see all too often.
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:15AM (#14687303)
    I don't know what's with people and the "inconvenience" of buying a game in a store. I can go to a store ("go" as in "walk"), buy the game, take it home in less than 30 minutes. Compared to the days it takes to download all those gigabytes I wouldn't call that slow. And let's not kid ourselves, the absense of a physical medium won't lower the game prices, the savings will go straight into the publisher's pocket. Even worse, there won't be much of an incentive to have price drops because there is no stock to get rid of. Plus it'll kill importing, if a game isn't officially released in Europe you can just forget about ever getting it here.

    And let's not forget ratings enforcement. How are you going to make sure the person downloading the game is old enough? That may not be an issue in the US but here in Germany it's a felony to let anyone download a game he's not old enough for.
    • A lot of software is already sold by download: I bought Adobe PS Elements 4 last week as a 500mb download, £10 cheaper than in shops and far easier than buying it physically. Almost all PDA and smartphone software is sold by download. It's just a matter of bandwidth - my ADSL connection today is four times faster and 20% cheaper than it was two years ago, and will probably speed up by another multiple of four sometime this year. At that rate of progress, a 5 or 10GB game will be feasible to download b
      • PDA software is *small*. Regardless of someone's internet connection, it is efficient to purchase this software online.

        PS Elements is not small, but it is about the size of a full CD-ROM ISO. If you have the bandwidth and/or patience, downloading is an option. If you don't, PS Elements is prominently displayed at any computer outlet you care to name, and it better remain that way for the foreseeable future.

        The bar will continue to be raised for the size of the file where it is feasible to offer a downloa
    • I bought Swat 4 from direct2drive.com [direct2drive.com] a few days ago. Cost $19.99 which is pretty cheap - and they *regularly* drop prices on their games - provided you are willing to wait a while.
      It took me about an hour to download the 800 megs from fileplanet.

      In my book this is far more convenient.
  • Yes, our grandchildren will be laughing at the idea, just as we're laughing about our grandparents' leaving their home to see a movie... oh, wait ... um, how about how we're laughing at our grandparents for buying a single song instead of an album ...err, wait ... Oh! We're laughing at at our grandparents for going to a grocery store to buy food instead of ... oh damn!

    This strikes me as Version 2.0 of the ideas that were being hyped back in the '90's. Remember when the idea of physical locations to buy a

    • still, you can't deny the myriad things you CAN do from your chair now that just five or ten years ago required a phyical trip to the library, DMV, government center, washington DC, or the mall.
  • Opposing Positions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eyepeepackets (33477) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:34AM (#14687493)
    The guys in this article seem to assume the internet as it currently exists will always be there, ripe and ready for their use. How can they be so sure?

    The reality is the telcos in the U.S. are gearing up for a full-court press to get "their share of the pie" and could really mess things up, access-wise. If they succeed, say goodbye to the open internet as you now know it.

    Businesses are furiously clamping down on any type of net access in a futile effort to keep their Microsoft-based PCs working from one hour to the next. Businesses will increasingly move towards closed intranets with extremely limited access to the general net.

    Ma and Pa consumer are out big bucks for a PC which worked good for the first week, okay for the second week, slow for the third week and barely works at all at the end of the first month. They are less and less enthused with this PC/internet thing which keeps sucking money out of their bank accounts. The cure seems as bad as the injury, what will all the additional programs needed just to keep the base functionality of what they bought in the first place.

    The U.S. federal government insists on retaining control of the internet but continues to show an absurd willingness to sacrifice the public good for the benefit of a few "business buddies" who give money to elected officials.

    Will the internet as it currently exists still be functional five, ten years from now? That's a dicey bet at best and any business which bets the farm on internet-only access to their product is not paying attention.

    Ciao.

  • Here I thought from the headline the article was talking about Roger Moore, and we could expect to see a "Farenheit 360" documentary hit theaters sometime soon.
  • Ah, yes... of course this will get rid of discs in a couple of years, just like the introduction of computers created the paperless office [wikipedia.org] in which nothing is ever printed on dead trees anymore.

    Yes, just like that.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Friday February 10, 2006 @10:40AM (#14687543)
    By offering direct download of a piece of software, the software creator can *cut out middleman* (e.g. distributor) like Fry's, BestBuy, Egghead... etc and now take on more margin/profitability for itself even though the software is the same price to the consumer.

    If you pay $50 for a game, whether $40 goes to MSFT and $10 goes to cheapsoftware.com or all $50 goes to MSFT, it stills costs YOU, the consumer $50. However, now MSFT financially looks so much better and the distributor, who was counting on you buying the game from them (rather than from another distributor) is the one that's left out in the cold.

    You think MSFT (or any software creator) would actually reduce the price of the software from $50 to $40 and "pass on the savings" doubt it. You'd probably get a 'convenience fee' as well.

    • By offering direct download of a piece of software, the software creator can *cut out middleman* (e.g. distributor) like Fry's, BestBuy, Egghead...

      Unless the carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc) get their way with the plans to charge content providers for traffic carried over their networks to the end user. Then they just become the new middle man.

  • by Vapok (953429)
    I've often wondered if there would be a time when all video game purchases would be "online" and going to a store to "buy" a game would be a thing of the past. I think that we are in the beginning stages of seeing that transition.

    Take a look at Valve and their Steam application. There you can buy Half-Life 2 and a host of many other games, online, CD-less, and without having to drive to the store. Yes, you do have to download them, and the inital download takes time, especially if you're on a 56K modem.
  • Back in my day we used to use a cord to hook our brains up to a little socket in the wall and download anything we wanted, right into our heads, and we liked it! None of this fancy telepathy and Borg implants like you spoiled whippersnappers today! I had a nice cord too, and I wore it in a loop around my left shoulder, which was the style at the time...

    "Mom! Grandpa thinks he's time-travelling again!"
  • I do see some (narrow) circumstances where non-physical-media business software and server software is viable and maybe even a good thing. It has long been the dream of major software providers to vend their wares via a mechanism that is ultra-controlled, and can be sold as a service or subscription.

    That said, I have yet to see consumers (business or home users) who have said, "Gee, I wish I didn't have to worry about my software being up-to-the-second!" In the server business world, I do see folks that w
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday February 10, 2006 @12:03PM (#14688363) Homepage Journal
    Naturally. MS would love to charge everyone a monthly fee for each game, and shut it off when you stop paying for it. It's quite sad that in 2030, you might still be able to come across a box in the attic containing an Atari 2600 and some games, and still be able to play them, but if you come across a box with an Xbox 3 (or whatever) it'll be a useless hunk of plastic.
  • Yah, I'm sure that the business model the evil business folks would like us to follow is the one where we don't own anything. Microcrap wants to rent Word and Excel to us and try to find a paper manual in anything you buy anymore. Soon they'll be able to turn our software off or our tv's off. Heck, I forgot to take Doom 3 out of one of my disk drives and couldn't figure out why my computer wouldn't let me burn some files on another drive. I don't even want to buy games anymore with rootkits and other things
  • by SlayerDave (555409) <elddm1@NosPam.gmail.com> on Friday February 10, 2006 @12:11PM (#14688427) Homepage
    From TFA:

    "The entire video game industry's history thus far has been an aberration," Koster told the audience. "It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal."

    I think I prefer single player in a lot of instances. Single player allows you to get immersed in a cohesive story, where everything happens within a world with its own logic, rules, atmosphere, etc. While multiplayer certainly has its place, it makes me shudder to think that I could play through a game like Half-Life 2 while Combine soldiers blurt out things like "im teh 1337!!!111! ur pwned111!!!11" every two seconds. It would totally destroy the experience. I want to be able to play through a game without stupid distractions like that ruining the feel of the story.

  • A few questions for all those who bristle at the idea of downloading software because of their "right" to a physical copy:

    Consider the incredible amount of resources we would save by effectively utilizing online distribution. Does your "god-given entitlement" to DRM-less software outweigh a boon to the environment?

    If - heaven forbid - the publisher goes out of business and you are no longer able to play some of your old games (until you locate a patch), will you be satisfied knowing that your con
  • This from the guy who said game developers aren't required to support the hard drive on the 360. Suddenly we've got a soccer game that needs it for career mode, and an MMO that requires it to run at all. Now what, he's saying we have to download games we want to play? Great and all, welcome to what, 2005 (?) and Steam.

    Oh wait, still need to store that data somewhere... the vast depths of the 360's limitless system ram? Or the non-existent hard drives of the Core systems?
  • Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous
    I saw an interview with Larry Ellison in 1997 where he said exactly the same thing. At the time, it sounded a bit far out, but now I think I download more software than I go to the store for.
  • Yeah, one of the main complaints you hear about Linux is that it isn't a developed gaming platform. Quite true, but in our proprietary software days, our household burned out on games. We'd buy the newest blockbuster, play it to death for a month, and then get bored and have to go buy another one. It cost us $40-$60 every time we got bored, and we were no smarter or more enriched for the experience. And that's the problem with Windows for us: it's a great game box that sucks at everything else.

    We just got

  • Yeah, driving to a store to get a disk is rediculous if:
    1) Games were only a CD
    2) You know exactly what you want

    Having the box lineup in stores is great when I kind of know I want a game, and I am out and about in the mall or something. It's nice being able to look at all the boxes and make a choice. Also, it's great getting a real manual, poster, etc. Sure, less and less games are doing this, but if you download your game, you will get nothing.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday February 10, 2006 @01:05PM (#14688911) Homepage Journal
    "When people actually owned things and didnt have to pay every month for everything?"

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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