At this year's E3 Expo in Los Angeles, both Sony and Microsoft pushed upcoming services and devices that allow users to download full games to their hardware. For Microsoft, it's a new arm of its online marketplace that will let gamers download full retail games to their system's hard drives. For Sony, it's the new PSP Go, a slimmed-down version of its flagship portable gaming hardware that does away with its game slot in place of pushing Wi-Fi game downloads to its 16GB of built-in memory.
Both companies are pushing direct downloads as the premiere way to buy new games, and many are expecting the direct-downloading technology to be one of the main selling points in the next generation of gaming hardware. As a side effect, the new revenue model largely cuts out used game retailers, since there's less physical media to resell or swap with friends.
But let's get real for a moment, this is nothing new. In fact, game companies have been trying to get direct-download games working on consoles since the early 1980s. Let's take a brief look at previous efforts to sell console games without any physical media: … Read more