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The Future of Digital Distribution

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Moved here because it was getting buried in the original thread.



What needs to happen is that the distribution and launching of games needs to be made separate from the publishers. The distribution platform should be publisher and store agnostic, and games bought on one platform should be able to be transferred between platforms. Otherwise you have a conflict of interest where the person selling you your game and letting you play your game also makes the games and competes with other people who make games, and thus has an interest in making sure you buy their game and ONLY their game rather than their competitor's.


We need a unified API, account, and authentication system that allows any game to be bought from any distribution system, that allows any game purchased to be launched from any distribution system, and that separates the distribution system from the publisher so as to remove conflict of interest.

The real problem with Steam vs. Origin is the locking of specific titles to specific platforms. This means either you have to use both platforms (which many people find inconvenient or even anathema) or else you forgo playing specific titles. This is a situation I find myself in, not wanting to deal with multiple applications eating up resources, bugging me about updates, shoving ads in my face, etc.

We need third party distribution platforms that are industry endorsed, ad supported, publisher agnostic, and share an API and account system so that users can transfer games between these platforms and choose whichever one has the best UI, community, or service. It would be more like the web browser market, where the content can be viewed on any application, but each application has different features that appeal to different users, and there are two or three or four major players but also many smaller solutions for niche users.



That is the model that I think is best for gamers.

However, publishers like Valve and EA and Microsoft don't want that model. Why? Because distribution platforms represent massive cash cows for publishers. We don't have official figures, but I would say it's not beyond imagination that >90% of Valve's revenue comes from Steam, not from their own games. Valve has an invested interest in maintaining control over Steam because the vertical integration of being content creator, publisher, and distributor allows them to cut out almost all of the middle-men. EA and Microsoft recognize this and that's why we have Origin and GFWL.


We need to stand together as gamers and let the publishers know what model we prefer. But the publishers aren't going to start this on their own. That unified API, account, and authentication system I mentioned earlier? That needs to be created by programmers and visionaries in the gaming community first. It needs to be made open source with built-in privacy and security. And when the publishers finally accept it (which they must, after the platform splintering that will occur after every publisher tries to have their own distribution system) they MUST at all costs be prevented from adding back doors and vendor-specific DRM to it or the integrity of the entire system might be destroyed.





It has to happen. It's the best thing for the industry. The question is, will anyone do it?
post #2 of 2
I equate the current situation of digital distribution to be that of the following scenario.....

"A person has his SNES and multiple games for that system, he enjoys spending his time playing the vast selection at his disposal. Unfortunately for him whenever he switches game cartridges he has to go to a different cabinet, unlock it, and pull the game depending on who developed it. In one corner of the home he has a Square cabinet, another a Rare cabinet, another a Nintendo cabinet, etc. then upon getting back to his console, the SNES, he has to ask for permission (validate the ownership) before actually playing it. Only once all these steps have been taken, he is now able to enjoy the game he purchased."


As stated by Phaed, it is a PITA to switch between the various games these days to play them. A good example is Gotham City Impostors (when it works), it is insane how many hoops you have to go through on PC to start the game. First you have to launch steam and log-in, then you have to log-in to Warner Brothers ID, once that is done you have to log-in to Games for Windows Live. Then finally you can actually attempt to play the game. Really? Is all of this truly required? 3 platforms I have to authenticate with to enjoy a game I purchased.

I am all for a universal and neutral platform that grants access to the purchased library of games without having to jump through layers upon layers DRM, and multiple platform log-ins.
    
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 5820K AsRock Extreme6 X99 Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti Windforce OC 16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB - HDD Speed Edtition Samsung SM951 512 GB - I still hate Samsung!  Noctua NHD14 Windows 10 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Achieva Shimian QH270-Lite Overlord Computer Tempest X27OC  Acer Predator XB270HU Filco Majestouch 2 Ninja 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Seasonic X-1250 Fractal Design R5 Razer Naga Razer Goliathus Alpha 
AudioAudio
AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Creative Sound Blaster Zx 
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