Top PlayStation executives are hoping the PlayStation 4’s emphasis on decreased download times will help digital game sales reach their full potential.
Speaking to Kotaku, vice president of hardware marketing John Koller saod Sony is “very bullish on digital”.
“One of the things we noticed through the progression of building the PlayStation 4 and now that we’ve announced it is that immediacy is a big problem in this industry. Digital is really harmed by that,” he said.
“The difference between an eight hour download and a 15-minute drive to retail – retail is winning that every time. Physical gaming will proliferate as long as that continues.”
Sony is working on a number of solutions, one of which is PlayGo, which allows you to start playing a game well before it has finished downloading. Koller said he expects digital game sales to grow “a lot more rapidly” thanks to this innovation.
Part of the motivation for this decision is the growing prevalence of mobile gaming despite the often wide quality gap with console games.
“When you play a game on tablet or mobile, you may not be playing the deep, rich immersive games you play on console, but you are immediately accessing that content. There’s not a lot of lag. So we looked at that,” he said.
“And, as we talked to gamers who were starting to say, ‘You know I love console gaming but tablets and mobile are engaging my time,’ we realized that as an industry we need to solve that. PlayGo was born of that. We said, ‘We need to make it easier for people to get into digital content, so that people don’t have to wait around.'”
PlayGo, Gaikai and other solutions will help “make things easier for people on an immediacy basis, as an industry”, Koller added.
“We need to make games more accessible,” he concluded.
Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida echoed Koller’s comments.
“The things we want to see change [is to have] more people embrace the digital side and have more people connect,” he said.