i don’t know about you, but sometimes technology pisses me off. sometimes it goes too far, and crosses lines that i make up. siliconera reported recently that sony is working on what they’re calling ‘degradable video game demos’. now, while the more optimistic among you may applaud sony, those of us whose benefit plans do not include trips to the optometrist for impractically tinted rose glasses know that this is a steaming pile of shit in the mouths of our online game accounts.
sony’s plans are to let you download or purchase full or nearly-complete copies of their new games. then, after either timed or progress-based checkpoints, they start removing features. think along the lines of fewer and fewer cars in a racing game, less powerful weapons in a fps, that kind of thing.
now, while in concept this sounds a little interesting, it ultimately crosses the line for me. here’s why.
space: i, like most of the world, do not have an unlimited amount of free space on my ps3’s hard drive. at least once a week, i have to clear out all the shit that weighs it down. i play a lot of games at once. most gamers too. your hard drive is gonna fill up damn fast if you’ve got a few games on there.
the time factor: i often download a demo only to play it four days later. sometimes i play it, and play it again weeks later. it’s because i have this thing called a ‘life‘. slap a time delay on a demo, something designed to make it worse? thanks for making an efforts to fuck up the playing experience.
sony marketing fail: traditional demos are quick sound bites of a game, designed to hook you in. love the demo? run out and buy it. feeling a little meh about it? rent it at your local video store. if you decide you love it, you aren’t going to make a separate trip to a game shop, and the likelihood of picking the game up at a video shop after you rent it is huge. plus, video stores are like candy stores for gamers, as mega chains often offer mega discounts, especially around the holidays.
trophies: if you play through a regular game demo, you like it, you buy it. you don’t invest that much time into it since it’s a demo. after you buy it, you can start to work on your trophy collection.
bloated whale syndrome: games are HUGE. i don’t want to have to delete my game save of something like fallout 3 game of the year edition to make room for something that turns out to be a waste of time. jericho, for example, was far too creepy for me to even keep in my house. i would have been pissed if i had to delete game saves for that download!
environment impact: as al gore is constantly banging on about, the planet is in trouble. a lot, in fact. say, for the sake of argument, sony goes with making it a physical copy you can buy anywhere. canada has a population of over 33 million people. if even half of them play video games, we’re in trouble. you’re looking at about 15 million discarded demos – for one game. if those gamers pick up three demos, there’s 45 million discarded discs. it goes on exponentially from there.
piracy: i feel like i’ve listed enough reasons, but i had to mention this. sony’s handed pirates a gift-wrapped bundle of love. well done.