On one hand I love what Steam has done with gaming. It’s more or less my one stop shop now days for a video game. I’ve bought my last 4 games through Steam directly; the last game I had a hard copy of was a gift. Xbox Live, Playstation 3, and even the Wii all have content which can be purchased only over the internet. The PSP Go is the direction I think most gaming is going to be going in the next 5 years, download only content.
My personal problem with this is that when I go back overseas, and I know I will, I will not be able to buy or play new video games. Game developers and gaming hardware developers seem to believe the entire world currently runs on the internet and while a good portion of it does, not everyone does. Even some consumers who have internet connections are faced with Bandwidth caps limiting the amount of traffic permitted over their connection. The world is not yet completely connected.
So while many bloggers, developers, and gamers may be praising the future of this form of media commerce I personally fear it. It may not mean the end of gaming while deployed for me but it certainly is a setback. I couldn’t imagine only being able to play games 4 or 5 years old because they are the only ones sold in hardcopy form.
Some of you may think I’m blowing this out of proportion but consider this, when we were deployed in 2006 we primarily played Counter Strike. We HAD to burn a copy of an older version of Counter Strike because all of the ones being sold on Gamestop REQUIRED Steam, which requires an internet connection. Counter Strike supported single player and LAN connection play but Steam was required to install the game. (It didn’t say that anywhere on the packaging or on Gamestop’s website when we bought 5 copies)
I truly feel that if the gaming industry switches to a download only form of distribution they will greatly hurt a small portion of their loyalist fans… and in some ways most deserving customers. The gaming soldier is a minority in any country and I feel often over looked.