A Digital Future May End Up Costing You


Downloading games straight to your platform of choice may be convenient and tempting, but it may also end up costing you more than you’d like.

The benefits of digital downloads for both consumers and game companies are pretty obvious. The consumer gets instant delivery of their entertainment of choice, while the game companies save a bundle on packaging, shipping, and the like. It seems like a digital distribution future would be a pretty rosy one, but as Michael Comeau argues in this week’s issue of The Escapist, we may not be thinking this all the way through:

Prohibitive console prices may be the least of consumers’ problems, however. The biggest one is the elimination of price competition in the software market…In highly proprietary, closed systems like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, there will be no competing sources for game downloads – in other words, no shopping around for the best price. And no physical game disc means I have nothing to trade in or sell when I’m finished with a game to make a few bucks back.

Comeau’s words are particularly timely, given Microsoft’s Games on Demand service, due to launch in August, which will offer older 360 games via direct download from Xbox Live.

Are we giving up our power as consumers by taking advantage of digital distribution? Read the rest of The Downside of Direct Downloads and tell us what you think.

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