Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A few words on PSN and Digital media...

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I don't have to say that I think digital distribution has it's failings, because they're already apparent. I don't have to explain why, because it's right in everyone's face. Case in point - The PSN situation. Here we have a bunch of downloadable games and online services which were a big part of everyone's fun, and now all of that is ruined because of hackers who felt they were wronged by the company on a personal level. Let's be honest, here. This isn't an issue about hackers, this isn't an issue about Sony either, this is an interesting look at digital services and how they might not be the thing we need sole focus on.

This current issue with PSN being down just goes to show that we can't have a solid push for Digital distribution only, because anything that has an online server and takes place on a network has the potential to be compromised. When it's compromised (because it's always a question of 'when') there is going to be a long period of trying to assess and repair the damage done by the intruder, which results in denial of service, compromise of accounts, ect ect. The customers weren't just affected by this, so were third party developers. Christian Svensson has gone on record by stating that this PSN downtime is hurting Capcom's bottom line. Here's the blurb of that from Gamesindustry.biz

'The PlayStation Network downtime that has crippled Sony's PlayStation 3 is costing publisher Capcom "hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue."That's according to senior vice president Christian Svensson, who aired his frustration as an executive and gamer on the official Capcom Unity forums.
"I'm frustrated and upset by it for a number of reasons," he said. "As a consumer, I also play games online on PS3, which I can't do... and likely my personal information is also compromised. Secondly I like to buy things in the PlayStation store and that I can't do right now."On a related note, as an executive responsible for running a business, the resulting outage obviously costing us hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue that were planned for within our budget. These are funds we rely on to bring new games to market for our fans." 
Sony's service has been down for almost three weeks now after hackers compromised 77 million PSN accounts. Gamers have been left with no online play or ability to buy games and DLC, while content providers are unable to sell products via the online store."In short, the hackers appear to be trying to 'punish' Sony for some perceived injustice, and they've been effective in that I suppose," added Svensson. "But they're also punishing millions of other consumers and businesses which makes it impossible to be sympathetic to their 'cause'." 
Capcom has a strong digital business, with titles such as Bionic Commando Rearmed, Marvel Vs Capcom 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix amongst many.'
 Of course you don't hear that much on DD being the way of the future, lately. That's because people are watching this issue very carefully in order to figure out how it's going to play out. The service will be back up eventually, but from what we're seeing now that might not be for a while.

Logically, the answer is always going to be a coexistence between Digital and Physical media. Physical media is a tried and tested sure thing. When digital services fail to provide the end user with an experience due to server failure or compromise, physical media works just about every time, depending on how well taken care of it is (Take care of your discs, people!!).

Hopefully PSN will be up by the 31st of this month, but with no true deadlines in the foreseeable future due to their programmers trying to fix or fortify the network from future attacks, Things are still up in the air.

Game on. 

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