When Sony first unveiled the NGP and revealed that it would be utilizing a much more standardized storage medium than the PSP (R.I.P. UMD), many began to wonder if this was a sign of the company leaning towards potential digital distribution.
In an interview with MCV, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe chief Andrew House revealed that the company’s forthcoming handheld would not only accommodate day-and-date digital distribution, but that there could very well be titles that are solely downloadable.
In creating the NGP, Sony knew that the UMD just wasn’t going to cut it this time around. Size and power consumption, two items that have become very important in this age of handheld gaming devices and smart phones, ruled that out, and Sony began looking towards the next phase.
What that next phase turns out to be is a distribution method that will certainly see large blockbuster titles hitting retail store shelves, eliminating prolonged download times, but it will also give developers the freedom of cutting shipping costs in favor of digital distribution for smaller titles.
Much like Sony has been able to do with the PlayStation Network — offering more bite-sized content at affordable prices — the company will also be able to do with the NGP’s network. With decreased costs developers are also free to experiment with concepts that might have gone unnoticed because they were too large for a mobile app yet too small for a console/handheld.
“Having the option of a digital-only method affords more creative risk-taking, and that’s because you don’t-have that in-built risk of physical inventory. What I’d like to see is a hierarchy of different games of different sizes. So at the high-end you’ve got these big, premium games, which by and large will be available physically because that is the most convenient way to access them. And then there’s an opportunity for digital-only, where we might see more experimentation.”
Obviously this is a business strategy rather than something put into practice as many aspects of the NGP, namely it and its content’s pricing, have yet to be revealed. Gamers are going to want Uncharted and Resistance on the NGP but conversely, they might also be open to something a little bit off kilter that they can pick up for a few bucks and have sent right to their console.
What do you think of digital distribution on the NGP? Would you ever consider picking up a blockbuster release digitally through your NGP?