The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Dammit

Posted by Matt on December 8, 2009

Oh, talking about the next game console generation already? My word, you early-adopter nerds.

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t hear any plans for another year. If the economy doesn’t make a rainbows-and-unicorns rebound, manufacturers will probably play it safe. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo’s attempt to go Apple with their game consoles caught on with everyone else, which I could take or leave (I still have my first generation DS, which is not ugly, as you may have been led to believe).

If there was any one idea I’d say should be pursued by the console manufacturers, it is an increased focus on digital distribution. Yes, if you haven’t figured it out, I am one of those people. But I’m not calling for an abandonment of physical media, I merely suggest that there be some encouragement to provide even major releases as downloadable releases. Maybe simultaneously, maybe offered some time after the physical release. You know, the way Steam does it. Hey, if they want, publishers could each have their own service, rather than having to go through the console manufacturers (this could lead to problems with how consoles will differ, but for the most part the ones that do offer this kind of stuff are so similar it really won’t be much of a problem).

Downloadable services have been a real boon for smaller developers, allowing them to make the games they want without some of the obstacles (there are still some, many of which could be eliminated simply by having the owners of the services lighten up). And they can be really convenient, and they make things like patches and extra content easier to install. And when we figure that part of the future out, then things can be much easier to innovate on the game side.

Of course, for this to work, consoles would need bigger harddrives. And bigger harddrives would likely cost more money. So it isn’t perfect. But I’m sure some techheads could eventually figure out a cost-effective way to produce harddrives that could hold a certain number of larger games.

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