Ways digital distribution can change in next-gen consoles

By Ural Garrett , Updated Jun 02, 2013 07:55 PM EDT

As people become more connected and next-gen consoles like Microsoft's Xbox One essentially require the internet to run, digital distribution is becoming just as important to getting games in player's hands. Gamers have the option of skipping the store for physical copies and downloading games straight to their consoles. If digital distribution can change from novelty to destructive force against retail giants like GameStop, there are some things that have to change. Here are some ways digital distribution can get better as the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft get closer because convenience isn't enough at this point.  

Prices that trump physical copies 

Why is the digital copy of Bioshock Infinite the same price as going to GameStop or Walmart? Even older titles that are two or three years old cost significantly more digitally than going to a store. Don't believe it? Try looking up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on PSN.  A digital copy isn't hindered by shelf space, a physical box, disc or instruction manual so what keeps the cost the same? There use to be a time in which PC versions of multi-platform console releases would be cheaper by at least ten bucks. What if a game gets pulled from the store after being bought and a user wants to re-download it? Tough luck. It makes more sense to have the digital copy available for those who buy the physical copy. 

Bonuses for pre-ordering online similar to what retail stores offer

If the price isn't going to be the same, how bout pre-order bonuses that are just as exclusive as the ones that GameSpot offers. It's unfair that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 players get cool stuff like new weapons and XP bonuses while digital users pretty much get a bare bones deal that's unfairly standard. iTunes offer separate music album bonuses than a retail giant like Target and the same should apply here. 

Gifting of games no longer wanted 

If one is tired of a game, there should be the ability to gift it to someone else. The ability is there with a physical copy, so why not with a digital? 

The ability to save on Hard Drive

Gamers should be able to save games on external hard drives. Nintendo already allows this on the Wii U if the hard drive is formatted. Sure, Microsoft and Sony can use the "piracy" excuse but both companies are smart enough to figure a way around that issue. Hard drive space that'll come standard on both consoles isn't going to be enough if each game comes in at 10 - 15 GB a piece. It's just not going to work well. 

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