When rumors about the Xbox 360 containing a feature that could potentially block out 2nd hand games from the market was spread, it caused a wave of disappointment in many gamers. When the rumor grew to the PS4 having a similar feature as well, not only were a gamer’s current gaming habits at risk, but also some of the biggest console retailers and console manufacturer partners available, such as GameStop were at risk too.
When considering the lack of profit for publishers and developers when a second hand game is sold and resold, it’s understandable why Sony or Microsoft may consider integrating such a feature into their new systems, and because of this the spreading rumors were easily believable. However, the truth is a little less bleak than we may have expected, at least for the PlayStation 4 that is.
Sony’s Worldwide Studios President, Shuhei Yoshida has started to give a few more tidbits of information about some of the features of the upcoming console, including some information based on gaming and downloadable games. Similarly to the PS Vita, all boxed physical games will have a downloadable alternative on the PSN store, allowing players to pick between both a digital or physical copy of the game.
From a consumer’s standpoint, it makes a fair amount of sense to offer both digital and physical downloads, as it saves retail store space, and even cuts down on manufacturing costs. Let’s just hope that unlike the Xbox 360, the Sony PS4 has digital games with prices as good as their physical counterparts.
From a developer’s point of view, allowing digital downloads opens up more opportunities to reach their game to a bigger potential audience whilst spending less on production costs, and it even opens up bigger possibilities for indie developers that have little budgets and no publisher support.
Of course sitting from a desk at GameStop may be a little worrying, and as digital downloads increase, physical purchases will decline, and cut majorly into GameStop’s wallets. The good news at least is that Sony has confirmed its retail-sold disc games can be sold and bought used without any type of blocking technology in place.[Source]