The U.K.’s biggest specialist games retailers, and my favorite places to frequent after picking up my traditional Saturday morning latte, are set to embrace digital distribution for the PlayStation 3 by offering downloadable games in store from today. Game and Gamestation have announced that alongside their digital PC releases, they will also offer some first-party PS3 titles.
First-party means that only Sony games will be available initially, with titles like God of War Collection, MAG, WipeOut Fury and Killzone 3, but third-party titles are expected to be available in the future. 42 stores will be part of the initial roll-out, with all 620 U.K. stores set to offer digital titles by September. Game is also looking to expand the feature to its other stores across Europe.
Game CEO, Ian Shepherd, says this is a big part of the retailer’s plans:
“This is a significant step forward in our digital strategy. For the first time, gamers will be able to browse a wide range of digital titles for the PlayStation Network in our stores, alongside a variety of other digital and physical products.
“The partnership reflects the close and long standing relationship between GAME and SCEE across Europe as both companies move rapidly to innovate and bring new products and services to customers.”
When you buy a title from one of these retailers, you’ll receive a 12-digit code, either on your receipt or in a text message, which can be redeemed on your PS3 in the PlayStation Store.
This means that for the first time ever, Game and Gamestation could begin bundling DLC with games as part of promotions and special offers. This will also make used or second-hand titles more appealing, according to TechRadar:
One of the big problems Game is facing at the moment is the clampdown on DLC content for used games – with some publishers using a system that expires once downloaded content has been obtained. This means that Game can’t sell this game on with DLC extras, which makes it less enticing to gamers.
This is an exclusive deal that means other retailers won’t be able to take advantage of the same features for the time being, but I’m assuming that at some point in the future this kind of service will be everywhere.
While I’m very much a big fan of digital distribution, I’m not sure whether it will take off for the majority of gamers. It’s unclear whether there’s any initiative to buying these games as a download, such as slightly cheaper prices, or whether they’ll be priced the same as their physical counterparts.
Of course, if you buy a digital game, you cannot trade it in when you’re bored of it, it takes up storage space on your system’s hard drive, and you’re eating into your precious data cap that might be placed on you by your ISP — which could be enough to discourage some gamers.
What do you think of digitally distributed PlayStation 3 titles? Will you buy them?