It's out with disks and in with downloads for the HD re-releases of the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time games. Unless you live in Europe, in which case you can have disks, too.
Last month, Ubisoft confirmed the rumor that it was releasing a Prince of Persia: Sands of Time collection for the PS3 with new high-def graphics. Unfortunately, Ubisoft only confirmed the collection for Europe, crushing the dreams of PoP fans in other parts of the world. But not all hope is lost, because while the physical release is limited to Europe, the games will be also be available digitally.
Ubisoft's latest financial report includes a revised release schedule for its releases between October and December, which includes separate listings for Sands of Time, Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, with the platform listed simply as "PSN." Any region-specific releases are noted down as such - the physical version of the collection, for example, is listed as "EMEA," or "Europe, Middle East and Africa" - so it would appear that the digital releases , which just list the games' names, are intended for everyone.
This also raises the question of whether the games will stay exclusive to the PS3. Keeping the physical release on the PS3 makes a certain amount of sense, as you can fit all three games on one disk, but when it comes to digital distribution, the cost of stamping disks, printing case inserts and shipping games to stores isn't a factor. The Sands of Time trilogy was never a Sony exclusive, so unless there's some kind of exclusivity deal worked out between Sony and Ubisoft, there's no reason the re-masters couldn't wind up on Steam or Xbox Live Arcade as well. We've asked Ubisoft about the chances of a multiplatform release for the games, and will update the story if we get any new information.
The Prince of Persia HD Collection comes out on November 19th, and presumably the digital versions will be available around the same time. If Ubisoft handles it anything like Sony has for the God of War PSN releases, then the games will be available separately for a certain price, or as a bundle for a slight saving.