The Great Conjunction
The web has been aflutter with talk about next-gen consoles and what exactly their presence will afford us. A large portion of the gossip pie is focused on the idea that both heavy hitters, Sony and Microsoft, appear to be looking to nip this whole used game nuisance in the bud by only allowing new games to be played on their respective machines. All of this in effort to skirt pirating and to gain back that lost money that developers got short-changed on just because some heathen decided to buy used rather than new. This, for obvious reasons, has some nerds up in arms about the prospect of losing their collector’s edition packages and their rights(?) to sell their game back to Gamestop for much less than they would sell it to their best friend for.
Make no mistake folks, the writing is on the wall and we will soon be ushered into a new stage of Access and leave behind the old school realm of Ownership. Netflix has excelled at this concept and the music industry has appeared to have reluctantly adopted this model as well in favor of still being relevant, so it makes sense that the video game industry get on board with the digital age. The only problem I have with this arose when I booted up my copy (have fun saying that while you can) of Battlefield 3 and was greeted to an update screen, so I naturally accepted and let the update begin. After checking my phone and sipping on my château concord grape juice (vintage 2012), I was ready to kick some polygon butt! Instead of that, it began to pique my curiosity as to how much space this game was now taking up on my hard drive. With a few clicks on the Xbox menu, I made this discovery:
Holy Snapple! That is a lot of bytes for a game I did not even save to my HD. Now, you may be thinking “Big deal. I’ve got huge storage and the ladies love me“. You may be okay, but I found myself having to delete items and purge my system of saves that I do not plan to go back to visit and content that I deemed expendable just because I was reaching my limit for saves.
So I went in and started to clean a few things out because I was also wanting to download a few demos to play over the weekend and it got me thinking. If we are going to move to disc-less consoles, we are certainly going to need a terabyte or two just to make it through a winter’s avalanche of games. With everything still on the Battlefield disc, I still have an extra 3+ gigs added onto it. What if I started with a digital copy of BF3? How much elbow room would that beast need to find a home on my console? Carcassonne wouldn’t stand a chance.
Yes. My wife and I enjoy playing Carcassonne.
We are at this huge shift in how we play our video games (mostly those who are not PC gamers) that I can only look to cloud storage for answers to help bridge the impending new world order. Content in the cloud would at least spare me the large bug fix downloads that didn’t seem to make the physical games’ release date and I could possibly even have access to my content when I visit a friend’s house, which never happens in my real life but it sounds good to say. The issue with that pipe dream of mine is that some insiders do not feel that the jump to the cloud will occur during the next console release, but rather further down the road when we may not even have to make room on our entertainment shelves for a console box at all.
If that is the case, we are stuck in this transition phase and doomed to be the middle children of technology for at least the next few years. Cutting our way through the wilderness of less material property in hopes that the promise land of accessibility will open the flood gates to a world that suits both sides of the game. In the meantime, we may as well enjoy what we have now and muster up the strength to keep this industry profitable by relinquishing the one thing this industry gave us: a stack of plastic cases and the ability to introduce someone else to a new experience simply by placing it in their hands. The surrender sounds imminent and though you may want that as much as a cat wants a bath, our new digital drug overlords may allow us to experience their inventory in new and exciting ways.
What say you?