by wildcard zen
Blog

Well, so much for a Digital market!

Sounds like a good way to rejoin the Cooptimus crowd after my workaholic hiatus.  Nothing like a good angry rant to pop back into the swing of things, right? :)

So, Xbox One thinks that "backwards compatibility is backwards thinking."

Sony's new PS4 doesn't offer backwards compatibility . . . yet!

And what does this mean for the growing market of digital purchases in the future?  Companies like Blockbuster Video have gone belly up thanks to the new digital market like Netflix and Gamefly.  The vast growing libraries of download media like iTunes, Steam, Xbox Live, The Playstation Network are now changing our game, movie, and music shelves from dusty book shelves to little pocket devices or hard drives on entertainment centers.

Now, throw into that transition a new problem for consumers - (This works better if Claptrap was reading it):

HEY! All that money you spent on Xbox Live Arcade games - well, Microsoft says SCREW YOU! The new Xbox One won't play them, and maybe the Xbox 360 support will last as long as the original Xbox support did.

That's right!  We now have the problem of seeing our favorite digitail content go obselete along with our hardware.  Now I'm sure many of you are thinking "Isn't this like going from VHS tapes to DVDs, then to Blu-Rays?"  Well, kinda.  But how often can you go to a yard sale and find an old VHS player and dust off those old movies, or go into a discount store and find a cheap record player for your old LPs.  Digital purchases are not items you can hold in your hand like a vintage Beatles vinyl album.  It's data on a storage device.  Most cases, it's on a storage device that can play only on a game console or other device with an active support service.

And now, Microsoft has shined the light on what obselence means on digital purchases.  It means that when Xbox 360 finally goes the way of the original Xbox, every DLC and game like Braid, Bastion, Gotham City Imposters, or The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned will be gone with it.  And your only hope is what?  Buy it again on another console, or PC, or keep your Xbox 360 running forever?  Otherwise every dollar spent on Xbox Live DLC is money down the drain - especially if that Company decides to pull the plug on whatever service holds the license on that DLC. 

Yeah, maybe movies and music will be okay - unless Microsoft decides that their resolution or something is not supported in the future and they make you re-buy it, or hit movies with the same fees that borrowed, rented, or used games are getting.  (But note my lack of confidence!)

It also make PCs suddenly look pretty good.  Don't tell Microsoft, but I can pop in an old Windows 95 game on my Window 7 PC and still play it! I can even pop it into a friend's MAC or my Linux laptop and play it. 

So - with Sony promising to add on some retro-compatibilty, and PCs with a proven track record of playing anything you can get your hand on no matter how new or old (and with services like Steam, iTunes, and Netflix on PC, where they have been long before game consoles started running apps)  I really have to wonder why a smart consumer would buy any DLC console game again after this - especailly the Xbox One.  How long will that one last until it's kicked to the curb like the original Xbox or the 360?

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