Monday, July 7, 2008
With the move into our current gen of consoles a new feature was standardized on consoles, which is downloadable content. This is in the form of games, add ons, wallpapers and the such. This has brought us tons of original content we would have never been able to experience before. Right now this is mostly used for "diversion games". Games that have a simple concept, or don't have enough content to warrant a full retail release. The next logical step is full retail games going straight to the online store for download. The death of disks.
The VP of SCE Worldwide Studios Europe has predicted that in 5 years the majority of content will be distributed digitally. I can't help but wonder, what does this mean for video game chains? For stores in general? How will they deal with the loss in sales? What will kids do while waiting for their parents to finish shopping for gods sake!?
While I realize its not like in 5 years all disks will vanish from stores, these are still valid questions for the future, because I believe that a lot of sales will be taken from stores by digital distribution. Quite frankly, that makes me sad. I like to hold the disks, to look at the box's, to walk back and forth between Final Fantasy VI and Oblivion, looking at the box of each concentrating on the details, deciding which would be a better buy. I like the physical feeling, and I think that's something we as people need to keep. The physicality of things is very important and we are slowly losing it.
The less we need to leave to buy things, the less we'll get out at all. We can call each other, text, im, email, voice chat, video chat, or just play a nice game of Halo to keep in touch with our friends. A lot of people have lost the human contact that they used to have due to these things. The more advancements we have the less we interact.
As proof of this, look at the state of split screen gaming, its in decline. There are barely any split screen games coming out anymore, which truly makes me sad, because some of the best memories I have are sitting around a TV with some friends playing the hell outta countless games like Smash bros, Earth Defense Force 2017, Gauntlet Legends, and Bomberman... Oh the Bomberman we played! Even a few newer games like Call of Duty and Halo, thankfully, have amazing split screen. But slowly games are losing it, adopting online only modes of play. This is a problem.
Why get together with friends if you can only play together online? Why leave the house if you can just buy your games online? Couple the gas prices with these problems and you have a one way all day ticket to sitting on your couch. The memories and experiences of friendship are not made by sitting on your couch alone, they are made with friends. The first time I beat Freebird in Co-op mode, playing all the way through Halo 3 on launch night, getting to level 99 in Gauntlet Legends alongside my brother, and one of my fondest, Jet Force Gemini in general... oh man, brings a smile to my face.
I really hope developers stop this trend and bring back the split screen goodness, because a big part of what I've loved the most as a gamer is dying and I'm not willing to say goodbye.