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EA and Sony Are Looking to Change the Game

A friend of mine who likes to tell me how much of a genius I am also likes to knock me by saying I don’t know the difference between “Irony” and “Coincidence”. Call it what you will, but I can’t help but chuckle at the fact that shortly after making this post about the transition of the video game industry, both Sony and Electronic Arts made huge announcements this past week about some of their long term plans.

Looking at Sony first, the announcement of their recent purchase of Gaikai was surprising. (Personally, I thought EA was going to do it.) For those not familiar with Gaikai, this is a service that allows for PC gaming in the cloud with content streamed directly to your browser.

It’s a fantastic idea because it eliminates certain system requirements that can often be a barrier for entry. This network also allows for “anytime/anywhere” play so as long as you have an Internet connection, you’ll be able to play your game and keep the party going.

There are theories abound on what Sony plans to do with this technology, but there shouldn’t be any surprises to have some type of integration with the presumed-to-be-under-development PlayStation 4.  This also ties into my other recent post about the consumer appetite for cloud storage. Could this be a game changer for Sony? It’s too soon to tell but they definitely need one.

As for EA, the writing has been on the wall for some time, but they’ve been in the news this week about their intentions to go to a 100% digital distribution. The market has already been tested for this via Valve’s Steam client as well as older, downloadable games for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network.

While there are those who still want to pick up games the old fashioned way, being able to buy products directly from the publisher is so efficient, especially for those who love buying their games on launch day. For the publishers, the profit margins will be higher because they aren’t dealing with retail distribution.  When over 40% of your revenue is through digital games and services, why wouldn’t you want to shift your focus?

A good storage story that isn’t necessarily a storage story is fascinating to me. The increase of digital distribution or cloud storage usually equates to more data centers, which in turn means more servers. So yes, this feels like a win/win.

For my fellow gamers, do you buy your games digitally or are you loyal to your local retailer? Drop a line down in comments, on Facebook or our Twitter.

4 Comments

  • I’m what you might call a cheap gamer.

    Consider the fact that cheaper, older used games are what give consoles staying power for years. There are still new people buying the XBOX 360, which came out just over 6.5 years ago, and the PS3, which came out over 5.5 years ago. If I want to play 007 Golden Eye for the Nintendo and re-live 2/3rds of my entire gaming childhood, I can do that– because physical copies of older used games are still roaming around. That opportunity disappears with used games… does anyone expect a companies to make server room for people to play Fallout 3, 15 years from now?

    http://consumerist.com/2012/04/congratulations-ea-you-are-the-worst-company-in-america-for-2012.html

    There is a reason EA was recently voted as being the worst company in America. They, and the rest of the video gaming industry, has become greedy with earning as much of MSRP as possible, as quickly as possible. They have taken to releasing games that are full of bugs, then pounding their fists like angry toddlers when people buy their games used a year later– once they’ve finally gotten around to patching everything up.

    In my opinion, instead of cutting the hard drive, going to the cloud, and blocking the use of used games– as they have announced they will attempt– the video game industry should move to offer cheaper digital copies (that amount to a long-term rental) and normally priced physical copies. Best of both worlds.

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