Friday, 14 September 2012

Digital distribution

One cloud-based software delivery and management channel we can handle. Steam, for instance. Everything we purchase goes through there, everything is available to install on a new machine and it all just works. Two channels we might grumble about, but if the games in question are exclusive and highly desirable, we'll probably cave in and use it, but we'll curse the companies who make such things necessary. Three and we'll balk. No. You're done. I have two of these things already, and there are tons of other games here. I know Helicopter Explosions 4 is the must-have game of the year, and exclusive to Upstart Software Channel, but honestly I find I can live without it, especially if I have these thousands of other titles available.

This is a problem for anyone who wants in on the digital game distribution channel racket. The solution is to make all of them compatible suppliers that can work as plug-in accounts to any one of a few customer-friendly front ends. The customer installs one of them, then adds their credentials for any of the supplier channels they want, and they can shop at will over all of those suppliers. That is a much more consumer-friendly way to go. It's the "sales platform" model that Amazon uses to sell for a lot of other suppliers, thereby becoming the one place everyone goes for physical goods.
The problem with the digital version is that you must have interoperability, and for now the games industry is high on DRM which is to compatibility as salt is to slugs. That's not to say it can't work with DRM. It will just require those suppliers to work out one standard DRM model that can be applied across everything evenly.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The solution won't happen.
PPS - Because DRM is not generally open to that kind of negotiation.

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