Digital distribution will be a big thing for the PlayStation 4, as every game that's released will be available for download, Sony Worldwide Studio head Suhei Yoshida recently told The Guardian. “The PS4 will be similar to PS Vita in that every game will be available as a digital download, and some will also be available as a disc,” he said.
He also revealed more information about how games would be priced and the availability of free-to-play titles. “The Witness will be a digital release and because of the flexibility of the digital distribution scheme, we can have more small games that might be free or available for a couple of dollars, or different services like free-to-play or subscription models,” Yoshida said.
While this is no big deal for gaming in general, it's still a pretty important next step for console gaming. Until recently, digital distribution wasn't even an option for consoles. Even with the current-gen systems, digital distribution isn't that much of an option, especially with the Xbox 360. The major reason for that is, some models of the 360 bundle a very low capacity HDD, which doesn't leave much room for downloaded games, especially with most gamers using the console for smaller indie titles or installing games from discs to cut down on loading times.
Digital distribution will be a big thing for the PS4
Yoshida also revealed that Sony may be considering multiple tiers for its PlayStation Plus service, especially with regard to its monthly free games. “As more and more services and content become available digitally, we'll have more of an option to create attractive packages. So hypothetically we can look at different models – like a cable TV company,” Yoshida explained. “We could have gold, silver or platinum levels of membership… We can do subscription services when we have more content – especially now that we have the Gaikai technology available. With one subscription you have access to thousands of games – that's our dream.”
SCEA CEO and President Jack Tretton recently revealed that PS4 games may cost anything between free to being full-priced at $60. When asked if gamers would be interested in buying full-priced games after the prevalence of free or cheap mobile games, Tretton said, “People are willing to pay if they see the value there and I think there's more choice than ever before for consumers. We're going to welcome free-to-play models, games from $0.99 up to those $60 games.”
“If you really see where the heat is for the true gamer, it's on the console and it's still that big-form experience that typically runs upwards of $50 million to develop, and we'll justify that $60 price point and we'll give people hours and hours of gameplay on a daily basis for months and years to come,” he added.
He also mentioned at the PS4 launch event that Sony would allow developers greater freedom with its new console and would let developers explore new business models. This could mean an emergence of free-to-play titles on consoles.
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