The more and more I come on to gaming websites, the more I see discussion about how the 360 is limited in capabilities when compared to the PS3. While this may be true when considering the overall hardware aspect, we really can't know for sure until the 360 gets similar exclusive engine treatment. The one major hardware difference between the two, however, has always been the capacity of the optical discs.
This is why I believe MS should start pushing major developers to produce some "Digital Distribution Only" games. I'll rundown some advantages and disadvantages of this plan:
- The first and most major thing is data size. Rather than being limited to just 6.8GB (per disc), the cap could be raised comfortably to at least 13-15GB for DD games. This would allow for more resources and higher quality content for games. Such as 720p or 1080p video content for cutscenes, higher texture levels, more artistic details.
- Another advantage to this method would be that the games run off of the hard drive, meaning developers could take advantage of this data transfer rate that exceeds optical media to make their games look and perform better. Load times could be reduced, pop-in and screen tearing could be eliminated, etc.
- Piracy is another big thing. If these games can only be downloaded to a 360 hard drive, piracy for these games would be non-existant. Developers would (hopefully) be more willing to lower prices on DD only games as well considering the lower distribution costs.
- Using this method would also ensure that people can take all their DD games with them very easily. If you ever LAN with people, you would no longer need to bring any game cases, or if you are just running to your friend's house quick, all you would need to bring is your HDD.
- Internet speed or no internet connectivity at all. While some internet is fully capable of downloading a 15GB file in just a few hours, such as most cable and fiber optic network providers, others that are still on DSL or satellite would never be able to do this unless they let their systems download all night or all day. Some people do not even have a 360 connected to the internet at all.
- I think this could easily be countered though. If the games are popular enough, people will find a way to get it. Such as take your 360 to a friend's house to download it faster, or the retailers could setup some form of kiosk where you can have the game transferred to your hard drive in a matter of a few minutes.
- Download caps. Even if you have super fast internet, you may be limited by download caps with your internet provider. I believe most of these are in the range of 100-250GB which would limit you to as little as 7 games per month (if that was all you were downloading) or less given your other internet usage.
- No used market. This would eliminate the ability to resell your games for those of us who just want to play a game, sell it, and play the next big game.
If you have any more advantages/disadvantages let me know and I'll gladly add them to the list. I merely made this thread off of stuff I could think of in the last few minutes so I'm sure I missed plenty of arguments for both sides.
The main reason I think MS should do this, though, is because it would allow 360 games to be developed and distributed for less cost while upgrading the performance capabilities by eliminating what I believe is the 360's main bottleneck and main disadvantage when it comes to a PS3 comparison.