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Sony Plans Digital Distribution? 78

Along with Sony's plans to take on Xbox Live, they may be planning a move to counter the Revolution's classic gaming library. reports that Sony may offer digital downloads of classic PSOne and PS2 titles. From the article: "In Sony's case the challenges may be significantly more difficult, since PlayStation titles were customarily several hundred megabytes in size, and PS2 titles spanned multiple gigabytes - compared to just a few megabytes or less for NES, SNES and N64 titles in the Nintendo back-catalogue. However, as Internet connections speed up downloads of this size will be far more reasonable - already, several Xbox Live demos for the Xbox 360 are over 600Mb in size - and our sources indicated that Sony may also be investigating the possibility of remastering certain PS2 titles to allow them to stream later content over the network while the player is already playing early parts of the game."
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Sony Plans Digital Distribution?

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  • I don't like the idea of only getting to download part of the game at a time...ESPECIALLY if I'm going to have to pay for it.

    Also, is there any word on how much the games would cost? They certainly aren't worth much any more.

    • Re:anyone else? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kazzahdrane ( 882423 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:07PM (#14911721)
      I think you misunderstand. The "streaming" of old games that was suggested would most likely be similar to Steam's function where you can start playing Half-Life 2 once you've got the first level downloaded. The later levels download to your PC as you play so you don't have to wait for the whole thing to finish before you start. It's not so much "only getting to download part of the game" as "only having to download part of the game".

      I doubt any prices will be quoted for months, especially since this all rumour anyway. For my part, I've pretty much played all the PSX and PS2 games I wanted to (a few future PS2 releases aside), but I really hope Nintendo make a lot of their SNES and N64 games available - I've never owned a Nintendo console so would love to catch up on some classics with a Revolution.
      • Oh, I understand (but thanks for explaining... my wording was a little bad).

        My problem is, I don't want to only be able to download part of a game at a time on a console. On a PC, it isn't such an issue... but if I want to take my PS3 next door to download a game, I don't want to have to beat part of it to have all of it. As I don't have broadband, this is an issue for me.

        • As I don't have broadband

          Then you can raid bargain bins and eBay.

        • I think you'd be able to download the whole game in one go if you want, it's just that you'd be able to run the game once the first chunk was downloaded rather than have to wait until the end. I doubt the download would actually stop until you'd completed the first level though :P

          To be perfectly honest I think that since you don't have broadband Sony probably wouldn't care about you much with regards to digital distribution. The next gen of consoles is going to see a real divide between people with high-s
      • I've never owned a Nintendo console so would love to catch up on some classics with a Revolution.

        I've owned every console from the SNES through Gamecube, but I never got most of the really good games for, particularly, the SNES and some for the N64 too. So recently I've been playing with ZSNES (*gasp*). Yes, when you don't own the games, emulation is illegal, and I know that... I'd be more than happy to pay for the games if they were available. So when Nintendo comes through with this service, I know I'll b
      • Off topic I know, but you should definatly check out Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Turn-based, but you can time button presses to make attacks stronger. I've never seen this in any other turn based RPG style, and I loved it. Made you pay attention to animations and got you into the game more.
        • Although the first was my favorite in the series, it seems negligent to not mention that the series was continued with the same action/turn-based battle system on N64, GCN, GBA, and (?) DS. (I know there were two handheld ones, but I only own the first.) Unforunately, only the first was made by Square.
          • Names. Now.

            Seriously, I didn't know realy, didn't follow it, considering I actually played it way after release. I'd like to see this :)
            • I beleive the handheld games are Mario & Luigi:Superstar Saga (GBA) and M&L:Partners in Time(GBA?DS?). I know that Paper Mario (N64?) and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door(GCN) are similar systems, but with the flat graphics thing...
          • Personally I liked the handheld versions better, defense there isn't just pushing a button during a certain point of the enemy's animation and your character flinching differently, you make the character jump or use a hammer and sometimes have to dodge complex attack patterns. It feels much more like an action game and since the timing is more obvious it feels like you have more control.
        • One of the few classics I've played the ROM of (no way I could play the real deal since it got no release in Europe anyway). Great game, and I hope they make Paper Mario for the N64 available to download! :D
          • from what I understand, not only will all first party games be up for download, but they'll be free as well.

            Oh and I've played it on emu before, and was cheap with save state so I could get the super jacket :)
            • If you're talking about Nintendo then you've misunderstood whatever you read/heard.

              Nintendo have not named a single game that will be available for download, merely that they will make some old games available. And thus far the assumption I've read has been that they will be charging for them. Free first-party Nintendo classics would be awesome but I seriously doubt that will happen, beyond a possible "Free Super Mario All-Stars" with the Revolution console.
      • I haven't been able to play all the PS1 and PS2 games I've wanted to play yet, I'm not that rich.

        That said, my wife just sold off my N64 and games on Ebay and I have every intention of buying a Revolution just to replay some of my favorites.
        • I wish I was rich, I'm a 19 year old at university. However, During the PSX and early PS2 days I was at school and had lots of time on my hands and didn't have anything I needed to spend the money I had on - so games ahoy!
    • It sounds like that will have you download some of the game. So for a 4GB game you download 600MB and start playing. As you play the rest of the game is streamed down so in the end you'll have all 4GB. You just won't have to wait for the whole thing to download.
      • As you play the rest of the game is streamed down so in the end you'll have all 4GB.

        But would you have to play all the way through the game in order to get all 4 GB? Or could you just start the game, let the demo screen cycle overnight, and end up with all 4 GB? Some people like to download in one building and play in another.

        • Judging from the sounds of things, you would be downloading it even if you're just idling. It's just giving you the option of playing while you download, so you don't have to sit and wait for it to go. I'd liken it to watch a streaming video on a website, only you get to keep it once it's finished streaming.
        • It downloads the game normally but prioritizes the bits in the order they appear in the game. So after 50% completion it's really the first half of the game downloaded, not random segments scattered all over the place.
    • I don't like the idea of only getting to download part of the game at a time...

      Well, let's think about this. Suppose you want to you want to buy game X. You have the choice of either going to the store, buying a physical disc, and playing that, or downloading the game. Option A has obvious good points such as 1) the physical disc, and 2) it's ready to play as soon as you pop it in your console. Option B is missing the physical disc, and missing the ability to play it now. Well, why not give the abilit

      • And this is how they make more money! Get as many people to pay THEM as possible.
        • It's called paying for convenience. If you pay for broadband, you're doing it now.

          and I think the proper order for you sig should be: "I saw, I came, She conquered"
      • i revised this from a comment i left over at joystiq


        what if sony allowed you to download isos on your own, via bittorrent or whatever you choose, from where ever you choose to find the isos, and then charge you a slight fee to give you the ability to run it on the ps3? THATS how they could limit piracy. people already have shown that they are willing to download a 1-8~9 gig game if they can get it free or cheaper than normal. thats what the people want. not to trek to thirty different stores because your f
  • in Tokyo, where they will announce actual features in a preview.

    Given that, I'm not that interested in all these rumors. And I'm not going to line up for 24 hours to get a DS Lite in Bright White either.

    So, downloading PS or PS2 games over the Net ... sounds good, but for how much? Do we have to have an account that has a monthly charge to do that, or can any PS3 owner do it? What if it takes a long time and dies part way thru?
  • It has worked well for Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest and EverQuest II franchies, so why not? Who wants to visit a brick and mortar store in today's age of high speed internet, anyway?

    I say bring it on. Let's just hope they can price it right.
    • Who wants to visit a brick and mortar store in today's age of high speed internet, anyway?

      I do, along with everyone else who is living in rural parts of America. The best internet connection I can get, without spending the money for satellite, is about 84kbps. That is several days worth of downloading, when I can drive to Wal Mart and back in a few hours, and be ready to play. Not to mention that I would much rather have a hard copy of the software anyways.
  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:16PM (#14911788)
    It sounds to me that Sony is considering this as more of a checklist item then a headline feature. They have not been pushing their online component very hard at all, compared to say, the power of the cell processor.

    If this was meant to be a serious feature, it would have been mentioned and covered long before now. But since Microsoft has proven its self with Xbox Live, and Nintendo has been talking about the access to their back library for some time, it sounds like Sony is getting a bit worried.

    First, a week or two ago, someone brings up a story about a possible Revolution like controller scheme. Now were hearing about downloadable games. It just reeks of damage control marketing to me.

    It also does not help that Sony does not have all that much in teh way of classic, evergreen titles to draw on. Most of their monster hits have recent iterations available, and those iterations are often in the vein of Gran Turismo, where the new ones are just going to be better then the old ones. I am sure they have some titles that qualify, though. You cannot get into Sony's current position without having any enduring hits.

    • It seems like every other day, they promise the PS3 will do something new, cool, and wonderful... any idea that anyone else has, the PS3 will have too! Only better, cooler, faster!

      I suspect the PS3 is going to be a disaster... trying to please everyone is one of the surest ways of pleasing nobody at all. You do have to give them credit for one thing, though... they're fighting a great war of words.

      Words are cheap, though, so they should be using even more of them. They could get some great press by offer
      • It depends on who you mean by "they". So far, Sony has said very little. Almost all I've read on the web has been from game sites and industry analysts (read: fortune tellers, with all that implies.)

        As far as winning a war of words in concerned, they're doing it by firing very few shots, allowing others to speculate wildly. The critics will say they were lying if any of the speculation turns out to be wrong, without ever mentioning who was making the claim.

        In some respects, Sony is playing this ver
    • Oh yeah? What might those enduring hits be exactly? The PSX Diablo port? Square has basically been the selling point for Sony for a long time now (actually always) and Square hasn't really been bringing home the bacon lately. FFVII is about the only PSX exclusive many gamers will get alll misty eyed about. Most agree FFVIII sucked, as did FFIX, FFX was ok, FFX-II kinda blah. The other stuff (Gran Turismo, I'm looking at you) can easily be outdone, and nobody really wants to play an OLD Gran Turismo, a
      • this is the thing about sony that may be cause for their popularity. unlike all rival companies, they dont have an icon. they tried going with crash bandicoot for a while, but he never caught on. the icon for sony is whatever you are interested in.

        sony has so many franchises that no matter what genre you are interested in, you will find that sony has the bases covered.

        nintendo has mario, so therefore people associate the "kiddy" image of mario games with nintendo.

        microsoft has the master chief, so people as
        • Sony doesnt have a specific mascot or icon, so consumers associate whatever title they love with the playstation line. fighting fans may think tekken when they think playstation. shooter fans may think socom or killzone or some such when they think playstation. rpg fans may think final fantasy. same carries for metal gear solid, devil may cry, or grand theft auto

          This is probably the most insightful thing said in this thread. Yes, Nintendo and Microsoft have icons in Mario and the Master Chief respectivel

          • "no one has produced anything solid yet here except for microsoft, and even their launch was mediocre at best. Not only could no one buy a 360, those that did found only a few games available"

            I would argue this is another area where Sony is in deep trouble. Sony has yet to produce anything like a working model of the PS3, and the word on the rumor boards is that their engineers are panicking because they have no idea how to fit everything Sony has promised into the shell that Sony's been showing under gl

  • by CheechWizz ( 886957 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:19PM (#14911810)
    The PS2 is still out there and you can get a ps1 with all the games you'd want for a couple of bucks second hand.
    By the time the PS3 comes out the second hand ps2 games will go down in price as well, I wonder if it won't be cheaper to buy all the ps1 & 2 games you want second hand than through their online service.
    Nintendo's catalog is much more interesting in that respect, the originals are often hard to find and expensive, heck even microsoft's offerings on marketplace are more interesting, where else can you get those classic arcade games, legally?
    • Not very (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MMaestro ( 585010 )
      In all seriousness considering you're talking about two generations of gaming, with the exception of the major gems (anything by Squaresoft/Enix/SquareEnix, most Konami and Capcom games), Sony has a horribly small game library. (Of GOOD games, not 'wellllll I MIGHT want to play it again for 5 minutes before I realize how dated it is' games.)

      You're right though about Nintendo and Microsoft. Nintendo has at least three generations to go through (NES, SNES, N64) not counting the Gameboy line and Microsoft has

  • by Michalson ( 638911 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:22PM (#14911835)
    4.9GB games (a few PS2 games where even dual layer disks) pose another major problem - unlike the 1MB SNES games, where are you going to store them? The cost of the PS3 is already huge, do they really have the budget to include a 200GB harddrive? (and at that size they can't even use the cost cutting measure Microsoft used - to provide 10GB harddrives, they'd just bought already cheap 20GB units where one platter was uncertified, essentially B grade units that could be salvaged for the required storage space at a fraction of the cost)
    • actually fairly large HDDs are relatively cheap atm. You can get a 160 gb drive for $100 CAD retail, so I imagine sony themselves would be paying less than half of that. another $40 CAD is not a dealbreaker if it adds 160gb of storage to the machine.
  • by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <<moc.pekdez> <ta> <pevad>> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:31PM (#14911902)
    Traditionally most of the content was (red book?) audio CD's. So that aspect of it at least could be lossy compressed to go over the wire and expanded back out to make a 'virtual' CD image. Hell, the quantity of power the PS3 will have it could be done on the fly. So basically you're looking at shipping some MP3's and maybe fifty megs of data?

    • Perhaps early on, but all of the "killer app" titles for PS1 used up most of their space with movies. The music was usually synthesized MIDI, not streamed audio files. Recompressing those with MPEG4 and replacing the movie playing code could easily trim all of the huge 4-disc Final Fantasy games down, probably even to less than a single CD.

      Same thing with PS2 games. For example, the most recent Onimusha game used about 1.3GB for its game data, the rest was huge high-bitrate MPEG2 movies. I'd even bet that a
  • Neat potential... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:35PM (#14911932) Homepage
    If the PS3 could burn the content to disc so that the person would have a physical copy, this could really amount to quite a big thing.

    Sony would no doubt impliment some kind of DRM to make sure the burned copy is only played on the PS3 that downloaded it, though. Not that I would blame them entirely, but I wouldn't mind it so much if you could actually transfer it to another machine. (Suppose your PS3 goes tits up as Sony hardware tends to do...)

    This has potential. As it stands now as great as net-delivered content is, I'm not real comfortable paying for something unless I get to keep a physical media copy as well. Nintendo's online content delivery service might be crippled if it's limited to storing inside the Revolution hardware, though if you can transfer it to a memory card it won't be so bad.

    How many times have I jumped tracks here? I'll shut up now.
  • Most PlayStation 1/2/3 games are sequels, sequels of sequels, or just not really that original.

    I'm not too fussy about how original a game is, and I think that taking a good game and improving it slightly is fine. It does mean that I won't want the older version when there's a newer version, though. So when PS2 came out, most PlayStation games lost their appeal to me because they had better replacements. When PS3 comes out, the situation is likely to be much the same.

    So this service isn't of much interest,
  • A potential problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Godji ( 957148 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:46PM (#14912353) Homepage
    This is technically a great idea, and the right way to go! However:

    I may sound like a broken record here, but think about DRM. An online download could easily require authentication and even automated patching to play each time (especially on a closed hardware platform). Steam, anyone? This esentially means that whether you can play a game or not is entirely up to the mercy of whoever flips the switch somewhere out there.

    This will never happen, you say. What about the following:
    1. Can Sony find a reason why you shouldn't be allowed play the game? Forced obsoletion for instance? Yes.
    2. Does Sony even need a reason to prevent you from playing? No.
    3. Can Sony break the game with a patch that you'll be forced to install? Yes.
    4. Can Sony be trusted to implement fair and reliable DRM? Hell, yeah! Right!

    That's why this technology is dangerous as it is cool.
    • It's important to note that the management of sony's computer entertainment division is very very different from that of their music division.

      I really really doubt that Sony would intentionally break a game you've already downloaded unless it was free with a time limit. With this much cutthroat competition that would be like digging their own graves.

      The drm in all their other hardware is due to the pushing of music/movie studios. I'm sure sony's hardware division wouldn't give a rats ass about drm in blu-
      • "It's important to note that the management of sony's computer entertainment division is very very different from that of their music division."

        "Different middle management" != "Different company"

        SCEA still unabashedly puts "SONY" logos on everything they make, so it ultimately doesn't matter whether or not it's the same decision makers, Sony is Sony is Sony. If they insist on trying to milk the Sony name to make more sales, then they deserve to fall as the Sony name falls.

        You might have a point to make if
        • Yes Sony is Sony but expect all divisions to act in the same manner and you'll be largely disappointed.
          • So I should reward their poor associations with the benefit of the doubt?

            It's on them to try to sell their product. If they have to rely on corporate apologists such as yourself in order to coax back their sales, then they're doomed to (and deserve) their fate.

            If anything, by applying the "SONY" brand to all their products, they want me to associate the products and actions of one with the entire group. That's exactly what I'm doing.
            • Like hell I'm trying to convert you, they dont' care about the small population of half-cooky nerds who can't forget the sony/bmg rootkit that their video game hasn't heard or don't care about.

              I'm not a corporate apologist, I don't give a shit about what happens either way. I just thought you'd like to know that if you base any predictions on your logic you'll be wrong
    • Another poster already explained why Sony Music != SCEA. They are not the same, they just have the same branding (unfortunately).

      I don't like Sony Music. I have some respect for SCEA (not a lot, but some).

      That said, Sony Music's DRM tactics were based on a non-trusted platform. The PS3 is a trusted platform -- they can already control (they hope) the operation of it, what can run on it, etc.

      As such, DRM is not nearly the problem it would normally be, simply use keying that's tied to the hardware and be d
  • I was kinda counting on either audio cassette or LP record distribution

    But seriously, since when does "Digital" mean "download"?.
    All my CD-ROM games are already "Digital" and have been for ohhhh....ten or fifteen years?
    Same with my game cartridges....all ones and zeros there also.

    and, by the way in case you think I'm joking about the Analog distribution method...
    I *am* old enough to remember programs & games distributed on audio cassette (I had a Radio Shack/Tandy MC-10 which used a cassette interface f
    • If you were storing programs on tape, that was digital also. Remember, hard drives use magnetic storage as well, just on platters (and much more dense of course)
      • Just because audio cassette was a magentic medium doesn't make them digital. The signal is still stored in an analog form (continuously varying signal). Hard Disks (and Digital Audio Tapes) store the data in a digital form, with discrete values. The point being that (sufficiently small amounts of) noise can be tolerated without any degredation, since the signal can be reconstructed exactly as there are only a small number of valid signals.

        The "correct" signal on an analog tape can have any value, so any
        • you don't expect me to believe that you stored programs as analog... sure, every waveform transmitted is technicly analog, it just gets interpreted as digital. Same with tape backups. Perhaps my example of hard disks bad, since the computer doesn't determine if the stuff it read was above the "1" threshold, the HDD does that... but think data recovery, or bit rot or whatever... the magnetic values are analog... I'm having trouble making a good example, but basicly, everything is analog, but some can be in
    • and, by the way in case you think I'm joking about the Analog distribution method... I *am* old enough to remember programs & games distributed on audio cassette (I had a Radio Shack/Tandy MC-10 which used a cassette interface for storing programs ...early 1980s)

      Ah but there is a flaw in your logic as well. Digital, in the true sense of a word is just a method of storing 1s and 0s, tape can easily be as digital of a format as anything else. Now if you think digital even implies random access, you'd

  • ...this could really screw me over at school, since the housing contracts only allow us 5GB of data (upstream and downstream combined) for any 7 consecutive days.
    • You acctualyy have a bandwith limit??

      GOOD GOD!!!

        Here the only real limit is if you maybee pass a hundred gigs in a week. And then ITS would look at what sources/destnations, before they distrubed you with a phone call.
  • I dunno know about everyone else but I absolutely cringe at thinking of the poor souls who would decide to download Final Fantasy XII, let alone Final Fantasy VII. I'm pretty sure it a good couple of hours just for me to download each of the pre-loads for Half-Life 2, and then still had to download some more once the game came out.

    Not to say this isn't a bad idea, but its borderline "too early" for this, at least in the states where DSL saturation is nowhere near what it is in Japan.

    At least the revolution
  • I'm not sure this is going to work as well as Sony thinks. The problem is that Sony's old games don't have the nostalgia value of Nintendo's. When people see Sony's PS1 games, they are reminded that there are now newer and better versions available. When they see an old NES game, it's different. 9 out of 10 gamers, you put them in front of the original Super Mario Bros, and the minute that music starts to play, they'll crack a smile. Don't misunderstand me. Sony's games are good, and I think everyone enjoys
    • The problem is that Sony's old games don't have the nostalgia value of Nintendo's. When people see Sony's PS1 games, they are reminded that there are now newer and better versions available.

      Which subsequently leads them to a store to pick up the new Blu-Ray version of Metal Gear Solid 6: Snake's Walker. Or so Sony's thinking goes.
    • "When people see Sony's PS1 games, they are reminded that there are now newer and better versions available. When they see an old NES game, it's different"

      No it's not. When they re-released Zelda 1 on GBA I couldn't bare to play the bloody thing. LttP is it's better version. PS1 and PS2 have more games than the NES/SNES/N64 combines

  • This sounds like an awesome idea! For PSX games, most of them are either out-of-print or very difficult (if not impossible) to find, and this also applies to some PS2 ones already (e.g. Disgaea). If they want, it could open the door to wider library of games than before; I personally would love to try out some games that never got out of Japan, some that are ruined by poor dubbing (I don't like dubbing in general). Another benefit might be the load time, since they'll probably be run off HDDs. Imagine your
  • the weenie who lost an argument to me will now spend the final mod point on this post, and i win the karma race again!

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"