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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Digital Distribution Only

*Sigh*.... I've been feeling it in the wind for a long time. And gaming "news" sites are gleefully rubbing their hands together, DROOLING in anticipation of the day that *all* PSP games are "Digital Distribution Only".

Why? Why are they tripping over their tongues at the the thought of banishing the "evil" UMD format? I'm ok with the idea of both UMD and digital distribution for PSP games.

But if/when Sony goes download-only for all its content... I'm pretty sure that's when I say good-bye to any new PSP games or content.

I don't trust that Sony's software, whether it's Media Go or a future replacement (probably will come out in a couple months, knowing Sony) is competent enough to not COMPLETELY FUCK UP my purchased games, rendering them unplayable on my PSPs. Like it hasn't happened before. Eventually, it WILL happen again.

When I hear about CapCom releasing 20-40 titles for the PSN, and read about the upcoming new Resident Evil game for PSP, how it probably will be download-only.... it's obvious that Sony is working to phase out UMD support entirely.

Of course the PSP Go is the biggest proof of this direction. We all think of the PSP Go as a "hardware refresh", because it doesn't add much, just Bluetooth & 16GB built-in memory... but overall it has the same buttons as previous PSPs. Consider this: when a system, be it home console or handheld-- changes game media-- that's an ENTIRELY new system, isn't it? When Nintendo went from catridges to discs, it's an obvious system change. Sony's a bit harder to quantify, since they've always been disc-based media: PS1 games are playable on PS2, right? Both Nintendo & Sony has a history of backwards compatibility. But Sony broke that history when PS3s stopped supporting it.

I believe all the digital content playable on a PSP Go is also playable on a PSP. Still, they take entirely different game formats natively: I bought my PSPs understanding that they play UMD games, and they were just starting to offer digital content when I bought my first PSP. Now, if you buy a PSP Go you have to accept they take an entirely different source of media-- digital content only. THAT'S A NEW SYSTEM. In that case, Sony should've just made a PSP 2, changed the controls, offered up a major hardware revision--whatever. If you change the game format it takes, YOU'VE MADE A NEW GENERATION OF HARDWARE. *Not* a minor refresh.

If digital-only is the future for Sony PSP games.. or even DS(i) games..... I can't see myself following, unless they make MAJOR efforts to streamline & perfect their stores. Out of all of them... I'm loathe to say I might trust Apple the most--or rather, I distrust them the least. So my future handheld may be an iPod Touch.


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