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Respawn: CliffyB and the Death of Physical Media

Posted Tue, Feb 25, 2014 by Xerin

Respawn

Cliff Bleszinski, herein known as CliffyB, has told the Internet to screw physical media. He’s not doing another physical media game and is instead going to make downloadable PC games because somehow the act of downloading versus sticking something into a console is vastly different enough to set the Internet on fire for a few days to redebate physical media vs. Internet downloads.

First, although CliffyB is admired by all, he is just wrong. Wrong on so many levels. Physical media has a place and indie gamers aren’t necessarily the end all be all of game development. Without AAA titles, we’d be stuck playing half baked Kickstarter games waiting on an 8-bit gem. It’d be like the 80s again, except this time instead of the Nintendo Steal of Approval it is the “Steam Greenlight.” Don’t get me wrong, there is some appeal to indie games but as I have written extensively, we can’t get hung up on these games that aren’t games trying to sell themselves as games that might be a game on day. A lot of the PC market is getting watered down by good ideas and no implementation. Games that are in early access forever, slow development, and tons of vaporware sneaking in.

Now, that isn’t to say CliffB, great and mighty developer he is, is a developer of vaporware. No, that is to say that denying AAA titles on physical media is like saying we should all throw in the towel and play Pong or just whatever the most primal of games are. Because at the end of the day that is what you’re asking us to do.

Preparing for TESO - Play Morrowind

Nothing to do with the topic, but this is super pretty.

The Internet isn’t at the point yet where we can just stream games to people’s consoles. The physical media is a great separator between “these games are full of money” and “these games are not.” These are two separate ideas, but they play into each other well.

The first one is so true. I have a really fast connection, but a 300gb cap. If I can purchase a disc with 40gb or more on it, I’m saving myself some hefty Internet fees. Many people in rural sections have only 4mbs… how is that to even support these massive (and awesome) games.

Secondly, physical media equals physical boxes, which equals awesome. Who doesn’t want a physical box to take up space in their house. It also provides a nice resell value without the issues that Steam has (where you have to be able to gift a game to someone else for cash and deal with Steam Trades).

The point of the matter is that saying that physical media is dead and/or AAA games are dead is like saying that console or PC gaming is dead in the current market. Abandoning physical media is just going to make gaming in of itself a “city” thing while people in the rural areas suffer to come up with ways to get the bandwidth to get their game.

Now, I do agree, the age of getting a GameInformer cover and going to E3 and all is nearing an end. Game media has changed drastically recently and organic game reviews from real people mean a lot more than random people in a magazine that you bought at CVS.

All in all, I just want to say I disagree that physical media is dead. On the flip side, I do agree that indie gaming is important and that buying a game at your local retailer means much less now. Unless, of course, we want to start a discussion on the death of consoles.

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