After the complete and utter failure that was the PSP Go, it seems Sony has had a change of heart regarding physical media for their handhelds. The PSP Go was just an experiment, albeit an experiment that was doomed before it began given the fact that the PSP already had a large, established user base who owned mostly physical media.
In an interview with EDGE magazine, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida had some interesting statements to say, stating right away that the “time is not right” for some consumers with regards to a digital-only platform. Whether they’re realizing that those consumers would rather collect physical media, enjoy shopping for physical media or just don’t have fat enough pipes to the Internet coming into their homes, it seems Sony is going back to the tried and true method of game distribution.
This isn’t to say, of course, that PS Vita games won’t be downloadable. They will be, and a game like Uncharted: Golden Abyss will clock in at around 4GB. To those who might have downloaded RAGE on Steam this week, that might seem like a drop in the bucket, but for most consumers, including myself, the thought of downloading a 4GB title – especially if that is the only way to get said title – is rather terrifying.
The full interview is pretty interesting, and it includes a straight-up statement from the new president of SCEE, Jim Ryan, where he matter-of-factly says, “There are consumers in parts of the world – this is a global device – where the digital model has not yet fully been embraced.”
For me, this is awesome. I understand the desire to go all digital, as that is the direction many things are going. I think in the case of video games, while making things available in a digital-only format is awesome, we will never lose the physical retail product. Let’s just say I’m rather enthused that Sony didn’t envision the Vita as another digital-only device. That would not make me – and probably many other people – a happy camper.