Sony and Microsoft can now, with their internet enabled consoles, build policies and practices that would enable the next generation of consoles to completely forgo disk based gaming, without having to completely disenfranchise gamers.
I feel that most of these are obvious as there isn’t anything that is really new here, and that’s the trick. Everything that needs to happen to set players at ease is already a part of the culture, it just needs translation for online media. Make a market place that gamers can use in much the same way as they can the current one and they won’t have as much reason to resist the changes being made.
Because it worked last time lets start by listing the most obvious things to avoid / do so that this online market place can become the norm.
- Gifting games – I don’t need to explain why I deserve the ability to buy a video game for another person even if I don’t own the console.
- Degrading price points – While you don’t have to do this at release no game should stay forever above the $20 price mark.
- Simple and Cheap storage upgrades – upgrading your Storage on a 360 was a joke and constantly more expensive (though easier) than on the PS3, for digital content we need the capability to change and expand our storage freely or at least take advantage of the best external storage options we can.
- Backwards Compatibility – If I can’t trade my games or get my money back then my next console should play my digital games also. My games don’t belong to my online console and if in another decade I give console creators another $300 – $500 dollars for a purely online console keeping my games is an expected courtesy.
- Demos and Trials – A way to try games before gamers buy them is a must so companies don’t start loosing pre-orders because of a “no refunds” policy, or poor reputation.
- Unity – This move needs industry wide support so no one has further worry of the evils of online gaming, this doesn’t mean companies divide up the blame for evil actions, it means they share responsibility for curating this new environment for online console based games.
That being said let’s get into the particulars of what we should expect of an online console.