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26. Re: Morning Consolidation Mar 9, 2012, 16:41 Agent.X7
DG wrote on Mar 9, 2012, 15:49:
I'm going to call BS at this point though it's not inconceivable that they switch to flash media.

They could just sell an SD card in a box, or make a bigger leap to downloads complemented by kiosks which are basically download stations to a USB3 stick. I would guess starting with the former and a gradual progression towards the latter.

At the cost of the kiosks (hardware, space rental and bandwidth) there's a few dollars saved per unit on the drive itself. And a few more dollars per unit average on warranty costs associated with the mechanical drive.

More significantly, it nets them the retailer's margin (I guess 30%?) and ensures the full library of content is available everywhere. And it could kill the used game market. And, they probably fantasise, could kill piracy.

And, if Sony's stuck with optical media, Sony may be reliant on retailers who are already fragile and will be even more so if a huge swathe of the Xbox market is taken away from them. Strategically, there is some scope for nuking their competitor's distribution channel. Of course that also means nuking the main channel for selling consoles and peripherals, and there's going to be an awful lot of retailers pushing Sony and saying bad things about Xbox.

On the technical side it should have significantly faster read speeds than an optical disk, removes capacity constraint, may allow potential for virtual memory and advanced DRM. Oh, and it's quiet.

The problem with any of that is that you have to give retailers a reason to carry your stuff. Look at the Vita. Because they not only sell hard copy cards with the games, but each game is also available cheaper as a download, they had to make a specific concession to retailers so that retailers would carry it. And that is why you have $100 32 Gig proprietary memory cards. It works with the Vita because the mobile gaming market is much smaller (and I only mean specifically mobile game consoles, obviously phones and such are huge) than the console market.

They'd have to offer some pretty ridiculous incentives to get Gamestop, Best Buy, and others to give up used sales in favor of a kiosk. I'm also not sure that going back to a chip based game cartridge or memory stick would make sense financially. They already bitch about how much games cost vs how much they can charge. Why would they add to the manufacturing cost?
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