Microsoft touts digital downloads as the future of gaming media… again

Ever since the format wars formally ended with Sony’s Blu-ray edging out the Microsoft-preferred HD DVD, the House of Gates has adamantly suggested that they weren’t really putting much effort into disc-based media as they saw digital downloads always being the way to go. In a speech at the recent Gamefest developer event in London, David Gosen, Microsoft’s VP of strategic marketing and Xbox LIVE has once again reiterated this belief, “There’s no question digital will overtake physical. It happened in music and will happen to our industry.”

Gosen cites the success of games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero as a red herring for what to expect in the future. He also inferred that Xbox LIVE would be one of the principal services leading the way in the gaming industry. “We have to think about how the consumer is changing and how the ways they are accessing media is changing,” Gosen said. “We believe Xbox LIVE as the key differentiator in the business.”

There were a couple of surprises that Gosen alluded to during his speech as well — he spoke of Microsoft dolling out a lot of cash to promote Xbox LIVE in Europe and that there would be some ‘key announcements’ for new Xbox LIVE content and services within the next month.

But Gosen isn’t the only one who thinks digital downloads is where the industry is heading, SCEE CEO David Reeves also shared a similar sentiment at Sony’s developer conference months ago.