Zattikka’s head of production development Matt Spall has opined to GamesIndustry.biz about the challenges and opportunities inherent in the future of digital distribution for games. One challenge Spall noted was the availability of inexpensive technology required for digital transmission of content — namely, broadband internet connectivity and high-capacity storage. Quoth Spall, “Harddrive technology is getting cheap, but how long it’s going to take a 1 terabyte drive to turn up in a console I don’t know, because that’s still a substantially expensive part of that piece of electronics.”
However, while the technological infrastructure for widespread digital distribution does not currently exist, Spall believes it will be in place by the time the next generation of consoles is released. “I seriously don’t believe that the next generation of consoles will have standard media delivery any more,” Spall said. “They’ll probably have DVD slots in them but I don’t necessarily believe that that’s the way that games will be delivered.”
The key challenge facing game companies, he believes, will be developing a method of successfully monetizing games delivered within a digital framework. It’s likely that gaming firms will in some way use as a model the major television networks, which are currently driving their viewers to the internet, where free programming is buttressed by online ads. The details of how such a system would function will likely not emerge until the end of the current console generation and the burgeoning of the next.