Sony: gamers want to buy retail

3 min read

If we were to believe Microsoft (before their 180), everyone has an internet connection and is living with their data in the cloud.  While this may be true for some, Sony acknowledges that most gamers still prefer to go to their local store and buy their games on disc.

Guy Longworth, Sony’s senior VP in charge of the PlayStation brand marketing in America, explained that digital distribution is going to be an important part of next-gen gaming.  However, he says it’s not the only means of distribution:

“What we try to do is offer a relatively level playing field and let the gamers decide. We’re not trying to advantage them, we believe in consumer choice. It’s clear that the vast majority of the people want to go down to GameStop or Best Buy, they don’t want to buy it online right now. How that might change in the future is kind of hard to predict. People might be quite surprised, I think physical games will be around a lot longer than some people think.”

I hope that physical games will carry on indefinitely.  Sure, I can download my games instead, but it’s nice to have all my games lined up to show off to visitors and lend to friends.  Also, my collector’s editions have a very special place in my heart.  Like a little kid, I can’t help but show off all my fancy, expensive toys.

However, then it comes to movies, tv and music.  When a favorite series is complete, I’ll generally buy a fancy box-set, but until that point, I’m more than happy with digital distribution.  Here, Sony is also looking to make use of it’s inherent advantage:

“It’s Kaz Hirai’s strategy. He’s been CEO now for a year, he comes from a a gaming background and he’s an incredibly smart guy. His strategy is One Sony, and you can’t get any more compelling proposition than Andy House [group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment] reporting straight in to Kaz and Michael Lynton, the two of them on stage together saying we are going to do this.”

“We are wildly excited about this because we think that’s a big differentiator for us.  We don’t have to go out and buy studios and content. We have them already; we have the biggest movie business in the world. We have a huge TV business and a big music business.”

I suppose Microsoft will have an advantage when it comes to operating systems and software, whereas Sony will have it with content (in this regard).  I’m curious to see how this plays out.

I still primarily buy my console games retail, yet PC games I download.  I think it might also be a case of “size matters”.  Digital downloads of PS3 games are generally at least 25GB.  This means that with slow connection speeds, capped internet and other issues that persist for most people, digital distribution just isn’t viable at this point.  Who knows what the future will bring, but I think I will be buying plenty more TV cabinets for storage space.  Is your collection primarily physical or digital?

Last Updated: June 25, 2013

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