David Darling believes it’s only a matter of time before consoles go for digital distribution.
Recently speaking to GamesIndustry International about Microsoft’s about-turn on DRM policies for the Xbox One, Darling stated that, “It was interesting how the market did pull back with Microsoft. I don’t think Microsoft sold it in the right way – they weren’t strong enough. I don’t think they should have had a physical drive on Xbox One – it’s like having a dead body handcuffed to you. It’s dragging along this dead body and it’s going to slow them down. They’ve let the market pull them back but I think that was a mistake.”
Given that physical media sales on the down-low and digital sales are increasing, Darling expects console video games to eventually adopt a primarily digital distribution model in order for prices to go down and compete with iOS and Android games. “The price of console games has to drop otherwise they will not be competitive with Apple and Google. The industry will definitely move in that direction, and I think it will move very quickly.
“It’s a bit like flipping a coin – at some stage it will just flip. It will change in six months and everybody will wonder why it never changed before. There’s no point in distributing physical media when the internet exists.”
For now though, Microsoft will continue with the current plan for the Xbox One, especially in the face of the PS4’s support for used games.