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PS4: physical releases to have digital option, possibility of game “packages” in the future – Yoshida

Saturday, 23 February 2013 22:08 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Sony is shifting its platform “more and more” to the digital side of things, according to worldwide studios president Shuhei Yoshida. So much so, that every physical game released for PS4 will also be available as a digital download.


Speaking with The Guardian
, Yoshida also explained that as more services are made available on the new console, Sony will have more options available to create “attractive packages”, some of which may involve a subscription at some point in the future.

“We’re shifting our platform more and more to the digital side – PS4 will be similar to PS Vita in that every game will be available as a digital download, and some will also be available as a disc,” he said. “Because of the flexibility of the digital distribution scheme, we can have more small games that might be free or available for a couple of dollars, or different services like free-to-play or subscription models.

“As more and more services and contents become available digitally, we’ll have more of an option to create attractive packages. So hypothetically we can look at different models – like a cable TV company. We could have gold, silver or platinum levels of membership, something like that. We can do subscription services when we have more content – especially now that we have the Gaikai technology available.

“With one subscription you have access to thousands of games – that’s our dream.”

Following the PS4 event, VG247 spoke with UK managing director Fergal Gara who said it was still “too early” to talk about the monetization of Gaikai.

“Of course, there is an economic model, or idea we have in place, or at least something to work with but we still aren’t close to the final stage in that and not able to provide any details. But we will, all in good time.”

PS4 should be sitting on your local store shelf in time for Santa.

Thanks: Dark, SplatterHouse.

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38 Comments

  1. ActionGameKing

    Looks like PSN and online play will remain free!

    “different services like free-to-play or subscription models.”

    PS PLUS will clearly evolve for the PS4.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    “We’re shifting our platform more and more to the digital side – PS4 will be similar to PS Vita in that every game will be available as a digital download, and some will also be available as a disc,”

    “some”!?

    Did he really say “some”!??

    #2 2 years ago
  3. KAP

    Good to hear.
    PS3 is currently doing this now.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. manamana

    @2 could be a translation error. Or he meant like not all games because there will be so many smaller digital download games. You know, App-Store like.

    Interesting interview nonetheless.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ps4fanboy

    Subscription based service where its like you pay a monthly fixed amount and play all the games you want, i’d like that.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. ps3fanboy

    i don’t like that idea at all… i don’t like to rent my games i buy. i like to own them on disc, so i as a customer have control over my own bought stuff. this is sure the last gen of gaming, they can forget that ps5 and that gaikai shit!

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    It’s funny that gamers are so old fashioned considering all the technology involved.

    I’m sure when the boat was invented people were afraid of being over water, and when the car was invented people were afraid of a machine full of tiny explosions.

    I’m pretty sure they’ll get over the idea of their games being delivered from someone elses servers. Isn’t it supposed to be a major draw that consoles are convenient? What’s convenient about a disc?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. ps4fanboy

    @6 thanks to you i got a good user name

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Hunam

    Prepare to see many a £59.99 priced game on PS4 PSN :P

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Cobra951

    @7: It’s a question of control. If the game code source is a disc in my possession which I can install on any compatible system, without online intrusion or limitation, it’s conceptually mine, like a car. (I love car analogies because they are unquestionably products that I own, even though I don’t own the IP, and have no right to copy/manufacture them.) Digital distribution takes away that control. It has nothing to do with fear of change.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. ps3fanboy

    @10

    you sir are 100% correct…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DSB

    @10 Conceptually, not actually.

    The person who owns the IP is still entitled to take it away if there’s any indication that you’re abusing it. Read the EULA.

    That’s what makes it so ridiculous. Digital distribution services are in the business of delivering games, and keeping them available at any time of day, any day of the year is always in the best interest of their business.

    There are legal differences in ownership when it comes to some services, but who actually notices that? Steam may conceptually own most of my games in spite of the fact that I paid for them, but I’m actuallly the one using them.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. ps3fanboy

    @12

    digital is rental and not owning.. if i can download on my hard disk, play without client, backup and sell.. i am ok with digital. but i am not allowed that. so digital is a no go for me…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    @13 I thought you might say that, so I pulled out my old copy of Supreme Commander.

    Quote:

    “Except as provided in Section 2, you shall have no right, title or interest in the Software. The Software is licensed, not sold, to you for use only under the terms of this Agreement. If you agree to be bound by all of the terms of this Agreement, you will only own the media on which the Software has been provided, and not the Software itself”.

    Pretty clear, no? You buy a CD, a plastic case and a manual. You buy the use of the software on the owners terms. THQ [owned] what was on it. Any notion of ownership of anything beyond plastic, paper and glass is purely imaginary.

    In some places within the EU, you’re allowed to transfer that license no matter what the license agreement says, so if that’s a factor, then yeah you might enjoy physical media more, but it never actually gives you ownership.

    Technically, you’re still very much “renting”. You just get to sell your rented copy.

    In the US, you can still sell it on Ebay, because nobody cares to enforce those rules, but the license agreements attached to those products are completely unambiguous.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. LuLshuck

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YJc5Yb-UE5Y
    ^ps4 graphics are hideous

    #15 2 years ago
  16. manamana

    Besides the pricing on consoles and handhelds I’m fine with digital downloads. Sony promissed playing while downloading and downloading while underway, both really nice features.

    The pricing of Steam will probably never happen on consoles, I wish it would. If so I would even consider more digital games but as of now the prices are most of the time rediculous. No matter Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, they are all the same.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. JB

    When it comes to digital products like games, software, music etc… We`re still in a transition phase between physical and digital, The Wild West days are coming to an end. You can`t have an industry which on one hand wants all the benefits from physical media but none of “the drawbacks”.

    The industry have made every effort to make illegal dowloading or copying of intellectual property the same as physical theft. The industry expects the consumer to pay the same for a digital copy as a physical. If you are effectively renting a piece of software, you should pay a fraction of the cost of a full copy. The industry want`s to control distribution, price and availabilty of digital items. In effect they`re creating a digital monopoly which makes perfect sense for any business, but not so much for consumers though or should I say old fashioned consumers…

    All the consumer get in return is to pay whatever the corporation want the consumer to pay and some “convenience”. If you make a bad purchase – too bad. You`re sick of the game – too bad. You don`t wanna pay full price – too bad. You live in an area with poor internet service or maybe you don`t even have internet – too bad. You`re perfectly happy with version 1.2 of your generic shooter of choice, too bad, they´re upgrading it to 2.1 all the servers for 1.2 are shut down and local multiplayer is not allowed.

    You wanna import your favorite Japan only hentai action game, sorry you can`t, it`s regionally locked by country and the same is the hardware if there is any.

    If the industry had it`s way, it would be perfectly acceptable for them to lock every piece of software to your DNA profile with mandatory premium services for all games.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Cobra951

    @12, 14: It’s laughable to call the print attached to any product an agreement or contract. There is no offer, acceptance, or meeting of the minds on any terms. It’s a fiction that benefits only one party, the seller. I consider it the wishes of a private citizen, wishes I can choose to ignore.

    In order to ignore them, I need control of the product. If they retain the control, I lose that freedom. So we circle back to physical media and offline capability.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. DSB

    @18 You’re obviously free to be in violation of whatever you want, that’s your prerogative, but it’s a legally binding contract within the United States, and parts of Europe.

    You’re right though, the main difference is that it’s now easier to enforce online. Doesn’t change the fact that your rights are exactly the same.

    It’s a license to use, not ownership.

    I would say that someone who’s online and using digital distribution is playing the exact same game you are, so if it truly is just about feeling like you’re “sticking it to the man”, or “guarding your property” then I think that’s an argument against, that most publishers are willing to overlook.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. tmac2011

    with my internet i dont need digital ill always buy a hard copy cuz of the disc ill have forever and cool box art like mgs4 limited edition i like alot and my stratedgy guide i still have sealed

    #20 2 years ago
  21. mkotechno

    When you “buy” a game in fact you are renting the right to use it for live, no matter is digital or distributed copy, it’s the same, all this shit about “I prefer to get my disc because it’s mine” is bullshit.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Rosseu

    Call me weird but I like having the hard copies of the games displayed beside my console, so I’m not entirely happy for “digital only” releases when a game has a 15GB or more file size. Plus in my country, internet is shit – our most expensive internet plan can only compare to the cheapest plans in the US or Canada.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Rocketbilly

    @19

    Actually, no. In the USA an EULA is not a legally binding contract. The reason I can sell a game on eBay, or download a ROM on the internet, or sell my copy of a game to my friend down the street is that when I purchase the game, I own it. That aspect of a EULA is not enforceable. Some aspects of EULAs have been upheld in court, but others haven’t and they are generally far from settled law. The “lease” vs “own” aspect has not given copyright owners any power to stop used game sales and if you think that is because they haven’t bothered to enforce the EULA you are kidding yourself. Copyright laws actually require enforcement or else the copyright is lost.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. JB

    EULA`s are not in any way binding in The EU, consumer laws are what matters. There can be differences between certain member states, but unless there is some kind of member exception at the political level, The EU Court is the supreme authority.

    Like the recent German case:

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9228762/EU_court_rules_resale_of_used_software_licenses_is_legal_even_online

    “The German Regional Court originally ruled in favor of Oracle, but following UsedSoft’s appeal, the federal court decided to refer the matter to the ECJ. The final judgement must still be made by the German federal court, but given the ECJ ruling will form a large basis of the decision, Oracle looks likely to lose the case.”

    Valves response to this news:

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=485408

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/178190/Valve_could_face_charges_in_Europe_over_Steams_user_agreement.php#.USmiq6VLM2Z

    And so the battle continues:

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/german-group-sues-valve-6403307

    http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/game/3423715/valve-sued-in-germany-over-game-ownership/

    “While Valve was unwilling to change its practices on this point, it promised to change the way it gets users’ consent when it changes its terms and conditions. The last time Valve changed the terms and conditions for Steam, users were unable to play their games if they did not accept the new rules, Elbrecht said. Valve promised to adjust the mandatory consent to let users who don’t want to accept the new terms in the future to still be able to play their purchased games.”

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Cobra951

    @23, 24: Thank you. Spot on, except maybe the bit about downloading ROMs. That’s another matter entirely.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. CyberMarco

    @ DBS

    Let’s just ignore for a moment the EULAs, contracts and rights. What’s the difference of physical and digital games? At least for me, if I buy a physical copy of the game I’m sure I can play it for all my life, assuming that the console is still working, no matter what happens to the dev/pub/corporation who was involved in the process of making it.

    With digital distribution in the other hand, what happens if one day the said service ceases to exist? I wont be able to access my games no matter what.

    Well, you can say that this is a standard for PC gaming, what’s the matter with consoles? At least for me, I only buy digital through Steam, even if it’s a “rental of the license from the said service”, I know that if 1 day Steam shuts down, I am sure I’ll find a way to download my games from some torrent sites. I wont consider it piracy, because I already paid for those games, and don’t say “you paid for the given service and not for the game itself”.

    Oh! really? What better for those companies to make me re-buy the same content over and over again just to be in the norm of the EULA. It’s like saying, the sofa that I bought for my dorm can’t be moved to my house when I’ll finish my studies.

    Also I would like to touch the argument of music/movies CDs/DVDs etc. If I buy a music CD, I’m licensed to use the material on a CD player, and can’t rip it to transfer the content to my mp3. According to the license I must re-buy the music through a digital distribution service, yeah sure. It’s like saying if I buy a kg of oranges, I can only eat them and not make a juice out of them.

    Sorry for the long post, but as I see it corporations always try to have the upper hand in every situation. And if we continue with the mentality of leaving them practicing those business models I’m sure that we’ll have less freedom with our bought goods.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. silkvg247

    Man I just thought.. if they ever stop selling physical media then we’ll be screwed. Games will be what, 10gb on ps4? On most internet connections in the UK that just isn’t practical.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. sg1974

    @Hunam, I paid that for a Nintendo game 18 years ago.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. ps3fanboy

    the whole digital distribution is a wild west. there is no customer friendliness with it. all the power is on one side only, customers don’t complain or care for now since they get it on disc. i can just hope there isn’t enough idiots out there. that will accept these one side idiotic eula’s, when they go for digital only. because then your seriously fucked as a customer.

    i don’t buy digital and i don’t even buy games that are so broken that you will be depend on patches. that you have no access to make backups of. games like moh:warfighter, you buy the disc the game is unplayable with out patches. if you released this product in any other business, you would be forced to retract it from the marked. and give money back to the customers that bought it. but since this is the game business they get away with this crap.

    if this wild west still continue and not eu force the rules. ps4 will be the last thing of gaming i will spend money on. the ps5 will go for digital and gaikai, thats what they want. i have no interest in that at all.

    so if they have no interest in giving me as a customer fair rights of what i buy and wants 100% control. i have no interest in giving any money to them. there is always retro gaming and pc game hacking/piracy i can go to, it cost me nothing.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Joe Musashi

    EULA and Software Licences are two separate things. Consumers constantly banging on about ‘our rights’ rarely seem to care about the details or who genuinely has a right to what. Or even understand what their money has bought them. Brazenly choosing to ignore such rights is a fine attitude – so long as you don’t expect things to be one sided and have YOUR rights acknowledged whilst you ignore the rights of others. Consumers cannot pick and choose which rights they like and which rights they don’t – the world does not work that way. Especially on products you have no ownership of.

    In summary, digital distribution is not a change of rights. It is a change of how existing rights are being enforced.

    And if you think something is due to change about software ownership or reselling rights, the fact that the billions of purchases on phones and tablets are 100% digital and don’t have this should give you an indication of what to expect.

    JM

    #30 2 years ago
  31. CyberMarco

    ^ There’s a big difference in spending .99€ on a smartphone app and 50€+ on video game for a console.

    If you are fine with the accepting things as they are, good for you. I wont think twice before going the pirate way if I think that MY MONEY aren’t valued fair enough according to my believes. Call me arrogant, selfish and what not, we live in a capitalist world and if corporations had a chance to enforce whatever they like just to increase their capital, even by 1% I don’t think they would consider me or any other random consumer.

    You can say that I’m not obliged to follow these trends and buy games etc, but as long as my I see that these products have a value for me, I’ll keep doing it.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. JB

    If you sell something, you`re no longer the owner. If you sell a license then you no longer own the license, whoever bought the license owns it. The original seller cannot stop him or her from selling it. That´s the prelimanry basic ruling of The EU court against Oracle.

    That`s the basic premise.

    The games, movie and music industry are advocating the absurd case that this shouldn`t be the case for “digital products”. There`s all sorts of arguments, it`s a license, you`re only renting it or paying for the right to use the service (but paying full price), The EULA says so, you`re paying for a subscription service (but still buying individual products) or whatever BS.

    The basic idea is that the industry can sell you something but still retain control over the sold item. No one would ever accept those conditions or restrictions with a physical product.

    And the really depressive thing here is that not everyone is a gamer, but we`re all consumers. Yet when valve changed the conditions for using Steam – they put a gun to the head of every Steam user – accept the new user agreement or lose the access to play the games you bought through the service.

    You have no rights other than paying the $$$

    That`s the future for you if the courts buy the industry`s argument ><

    I prefer to think of this site as the future though:

    https://www.redigi.com/

    #32 2 years ago
  33. OrbitMonkey

    I appreciate the fear here and yeah internet caps will be a problem for many… But a lot or these fears are groundless.

    ITunes, Netflix, lovefilm, SkyTV are all subscription services that people seem able to live with, why the wet knickers over digital gaming?

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Joe Musashi

    @32 “There’s a big difference in spending .99€ on a smartphone app and 50€+ on video game for a console.”

    The legalities and rights are absolutely no different. Your perception and sense of entitlement happens to differ – but that has no bearing at the end of the day.

    “If you are fine with the accepting things as they are, good for you. I wont think twice before going the pirate way if I think that MY MONEY aren’t valued fair enough according to my believes”

    Your beliefs mean nothing. People like you, who refuse to understand what’s involved beyond their own personal gain and who ignore the rights of others and blatantly enforce your own sense of entitlement over legal rights – people like you are the ones who are directly contributing to the desire for the genuine rights-holders to want to keep an ever-closer grip on their products.

    Your actions have consequences.

    @33 “If you sell something, you`re no longer the owner. If you sell a license then you no longer own the license”.

    I’m not challenging that notion. But it’s crucial to understand that what is sold is the licence. The software ownership that the licence relates to is completely unchanged. You never owned it in the first place. You haven’t sold it on. People are very fond of blurring the lines here in order to give themselves rights to things they don’t own.

    As for the case of Oracle, people need to read closer. Firstly the context of enterprise software in business is different from consumer-facing software. Secondly “not preventing” is a world apart from “facilitating”. In that regard, the software companies need not change a thing and they’d still be in the right. They’re not blocking you from selling your digital content – but they’re absolutely not obliged to lift a finger to help. Again, be wary of reading one thing and interpreting it as something else – particularly blurring the lines in favour of some ill-perceived rights to something you don’t even own.

    As I say, look to iTunes and Google play and existing digital vendors. Cost of content has zero bearing here. This is billions of dollars of digital content, purchased by millions of consumers. This is the precedent that has been set, is under the same legal guidance that some like to quote in these sorts of debates, and has zero ability to be resold or repurposed in any way. These companies and devices have been doing this for years and years and years. That is the model that will be used. If you expect any rights to exist, you would see them here – ahead of anything that happens on a games console.

    JM

    #34 2 years ago
  35. DSB

    @23 Fair point, but you do realize it’s anyone’s game. A EULA is a lot more likely to be upheld in full in the US than in the EU.

    @24 That’s German law, not EU law, and in the case of Steam, you’re actually buying an entirely different product, which is service.

    Steam actually doesn’t transfer the license onto you in the way that a physical copy does. Steam retains the license for itself, and allows you the use, so technically there are two companies retaining more rights to that material than you.

    If Germans don’t grasp the concept of using a service like that, then I think they need to improve their educational system. Throwing your money around without knowing what you’re buying just isn’t very bright.

    @26 I just think the reality is missing.

    If you buy any product with the intent that it will last you all your life, you’re gonna be disappointed. Most of the shit I own right now will be gone within 10 years. Very little of it will last me 30 years. I don’t know anyone who keeps all their shit until they die.

    Sure the service could cease to exist. Equally, your disc could be scratched. It could lose the ability to retain information like has happened for older CDs. A bear might break down your wall and eat it right in front of you. It COULD happen, in some abstract instance of the universe.

    Chances are that when digitial distribution dies, it will be because something better came along. And if that happens, you will already have switched.

    Every single day we lay down for 8 hours and close our eyes in a universe we can’t even pretend to understand. If we don’t have a little faith, life suddenly becomes very difficult.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. JB

    @36 The German court was in favour of Oracle, it was The EU prelimary court who turned things around. Germany is a member of The EU = The EU court is the highest! If it`s EU law it`s German law by default.

    The German Consumer Protection Agency is taking Valve slash Steam to court because of the EU prelimany Court ruling, not the other way around.

    If that makes Germany and The EU stoopid and old fashioned I`m fine with that.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Gnosis

    …I prefer having hard copies, because they look purty in my shelf. Collector’s editions and all that stuff. Would be really disappointing, if they completely removed that :/

    #37 2 years ago
  38. DSB

    Sentimental value, offline capability and dodging download caps are all great arguments for boxed goods. Is it enough to stem the tide? I doubt it, but discs are going to be around as long as they have an audience.

    They just aren’t nearly as profitable for the producers, and in many cases the things you can’t do with them are leveraged by the convenience.

    I have a pretty huge record collection myself, so I know what that’s like. But I don’t expect things not to develop past that.

    @37 Fair enough, I missed that. I love life too much to try and even study EU legislation and the legal system, but I’m sure you realize that it too is full of holes. Some EU countries have to listen, others can just go “LALALA”.

    Case and point would be the “legalization” of software license reselling. It has absolutely zero bearing on anything that happens in any of those countries, and you will never see it enforced anywhere in its current form.

    The thing is, if everything the EU decided was ultimately enforceable, the entire union would break down, because the countries and values represented are often very different. It pretty much needs to have a great degree of posturing and a minor degree of actual effect.

    #38 2 years ago

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