As part of its 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo presence, Microsoft announced that it would be introducing a games-on-demand download service through Xbox Live. The initiative, which replaces the publisher's current Xbox Originals program, will let Xbox 360 owners download full current-generation titles when it launches with a library of some 30 titles, including Mass Effect, BioShock, and Assassin's Creed.
For its part, Sony Computer Entertainment does not plan on countering its archrival's on-demand game service. Speaking with IndustryGamers, PlayStation Network Operations director Eric Lempel said that the size of PlayStation 3 games is a primary factor as to why full, current-generation software downloads won't be coming to the service he heads up anytime soon.
"It's not something we have planned, just because the size of the games is massive," Lempel said. "With Blu-ray we can put up to 50 gigs on a dual-layer disc, while [Xbox 360] is still on a 9-gig media. So technically it's possible, but I think the issue would be, 'Do you want to download 40 gigs and keep that on your hard drive?' I think there's great opportunity there in the future, and it's something we'll always look at, but for the time being it's not a direction we're going in."
Though no dedicated games-on-demand service is planned, Sony is already involved with offering full games through the PSN. In 2007, Sony released its multiplayer-only action title Warhawk through the PSN as well as at retail. Similarly, Slant Six's online-only competitive shooter SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation was offered as a digital download and boxed product in 2008. Third-party publishers have also lent their wares to the PSN, with EA releasing Burnout Paradise through the service in September. The PSN also offers numerous full PSP and original PlayStation games for download.