In November 2013, Microsoft faced a setback after it became known that the new console required an "always online" Internet connection and ownership of the games was tied to players' Xbox Live accounts. This makes trading in games and lending money to friends more difficult. Sony took advantage of this setback with the infamous E3 dunk. In terms of the seemingly final year of the lifecycle of this generation of consoles, the digital future of the consoles, which used to worry us, is basically coming our way again.
Google has announced its online gaming platform, Stadia and this week, Xbox was the first major console maker to move into the digital future with the Xbox One S all-digital edition. Sony has also announced details of its next-gen console this week, without referring to "always online". So we know that hardware will not be available soon. However, with rising digital sales, these announcements keep teasing me when physical games eventually find their way to the LaserDisc.
I spoke with Heather Alexandra (1
Watch the video to view our entire discussion, or read a short excerpt here:
Heather: … The Capcom Home Arcade is an arcade game with arcade games, but that is it's like a handful of games. Or the new Sega console they are doing right now. There will be a point where I have no access.
Theoretically, I have no easy access to [older games] and it is frustrating to see that companies do not really have access to them to older games and curate the right libraries. And now, to shift our current generation of games to something more elusive and less tangible – it's really scary.
Paul: That's what makes this completely digital Xbox One S so intriguing to me because we're starting to see what has happened with laptops and other mobile devices for so long. That is, most people do not use this drive, so we will tear it out and make mass production cheaper and make it cheaper for the consumer. And anyone who wants this drive can buy an optional item along the way. So I'm curious what the answer is that could replace cartridges or plates.
Heather: I do not know. What scares me of preservation and what it means to just have digital games is: I'm afraid the companies will be curating what they think are important games, and just providing access to those things, and that's all we do to have.