As I look around my desk, I am surrounded by tech gadgets galore; a smartphone, at tablet, an Xbox 360 and PS3 and the notebook I’m typing this on. It is without a doubt that we are far past the Stone Age, surpassed the technological age and have entered the all-new and almighty Digital Era. An era where we all have multiple digital identities, we can send a tweet to the president like we’re best buds and all our information exists in this powerful God-like entity known as ‘The Cloud’. This cloud, however will not be the focus of this article, instead I will be shifting my focus on how this digital world affects gamers, specifically those living outside the bubble of the USA.
The online store has become an integral part in pretty much all major console releases and what it offers has become one of the major factors when choosing which console to buy. This online store no longer simply offers arcade-like mini games. No, what we’re talking about here is full-fledged sometimes AAA titles from major publishers. On top of that, some of these are digital exclusives, meaning you can’t just trot over to your local store, pick up a copy, feed it to your console and click play… you can simply visit the online store, find the game you want, click buy, wait for the download and play.
Now this all seems perfect and dandy and it is… unless, like me, you live in a developing country in the Middle East (or any other developing country in the world). What we suffer from here is frequent power cuts, relatively unstable Internet and data packages more expensive than human blood. This is why I have found myself behind on a lot of recent PSN and XBLA games and why my Steam library is filled with games not yet downloaded and installed. I know that this is not the duty nor the problem of the gaming companies since they’re just taking advantage of the latest the technology has to offer. Such technology includes OnLive’s cloud-based gaming where a gamer simply streams the game to his/her computer from the company’s server regardless of the computer’s specs. But it would not hurt to try and make an effort in facilitating the process for gamers outside of the US. Maybe let us to download the file in batches (to accomodate for power cuts), allow the sharing of game files between different consoles that can only be activated once payment is complete and try their best to minimize file size (I tend to pay more for extra quota than the actual price of the game) and not fully pull the plug on physical distribution just yet.
Any other problems you face in your country when it comes to the digital distribution of games? Feel free to discuss them and any solutions you may have in the comments section below.