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Sony on it’s PS3 E-Distribution Initiative

Gamasutra has a very interesting article about Sony’s PS3 E-Distribution initiative where they chat to John Hight, Director of External Production at SCEA Santa Monica.

Sony seems to believe some of the benefits of digital downloads include: the ability to reach consumers on a global scale, lowering costs, reducing pre-owned game sales, and a reduction in the amount of pirated software.

If games didn’t cost so much in the first place people wouldn’t be drawn to buy pre-owned games or to pirate software. I’ll be very surprised if full games are available to download on a wide scale within 3-4 years and one of the key factors will be cost. They wouldn’t get away with charging $50+ on every game as a lot of people trade in games to pay for newer titles. Downloadable games is a long way off in my opinion so I’ll refrain from going too deeply into the subject until it’s presence is near.

One of the many criticisms levelled at Sony has been the high cost of development on the PS3 by 3rd party developers but John Hight believes that:

“This new form of distribution will lower the barriers of entry for new developers. We can try out new ideas in a low risk, quick feedback environment.”

Hmm… but Sony will be funding in-house development so the only difference 3rd party developers will find is reduced costs from not using BD.

Another interesting point was whether Xbox Live Arcade titles could be ported onto the PS3’s E-Distribution set up and vice versa. Hight said:

“Our 1st party projects are all unique to PS3. Some of our games, by virtue of their design and hardware demands, simply couldn’t work on Xbox 360.”

Not really a surprise but what about 3rd party content? Will we see the same type of downloadable games on the PS3 as the 360 has from 3rd party developers? I suppose it will depend on just how similar Sony’s online service is to Xbox Live.

It seems that Sony already has a number of games under development in-house and I’ll be interested to see just what their plans are. Will we see PSone games available to download?

Gamasutra – Sony Talks PS3 E-Distribution