Michael Pachter is of the opinion that it's only the hard drive size keeping Micrsoft from releasing new digital releases for the Xbox 360. On the other hand, retail stores can whine and groan all they want, but in the end, they are likely not going to have any other recourse but to jump aboard the digital distribution bandwagon because even Microsoft's publishing partners will back this service.
Talking to GamesIndustry, Pachter expressed his thoughts:
I don't see the timing between new release and digital download being a function of anything other than hard drive sizes. I think as soon as we have large hard drives - I think th rumored Project Natal 'new' Xbox 360 with a terabyte storage in 2010 - we'll have a day-and-date downloads.
As for the issue of retailers getting their feathers all ruffled, Pachter used the example of the iPod.
I don't think that the publishers care at all if downloads are day-and-date, and in fact, my guess is that many publishers favor such a model. It's true that retail partners wouldn't like it, but it is not necessarily true that they would have much to say about it.
I don't see how they could scream too loudly about day-and-date downloads, unless the price for the download was lover than the packaged product price. I don't see any retailers refusing to sell iPods, even though all the content on an iPod is distributed digitally.
Much in the same way, while retailers may baulk at the possibility of day-and-date downloads, I don't see too many refusing to carry Microsoft product in retaliation. Should a retailer boycott Microsoft, I think that the full force of the publishers would be brought to bear on that retailer, and they would find themselves starved for product.
The newly renamed Games on Demand service for XBL is launching in August, and Microsoft is promising to have 30 titles available for launch. Among the launch titles are Crackdown and Assassin's Creed. New games will then be added every week.
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