Kutaragi: PS3 platform is made for "e-Distribution"

In the third part of PC Impress Watch interview, SCEI's Ken Kutaragi discusses the potential of digitally delivering content to Sony's next-generation console.

201 Comments

Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi continued to discuss SCEI's plans for the PlayStation 3 in the third part of an interview with Japanese site PC Impress Watch.

At the 1999 Microprocessor Forum, Kutaragi set out a vision of e-Distribution using broadband networks. At that time, most consumers still connected to the Internet with dialup, so that vision was largely ignored. But now Kutaragi stated that Sony will emphasize network features with the Playstation 3. "We really wanted to do this with the PS2," he lamented. "But now, Apple has realized a successful e-Distribution program. It's about time we made our move, too." He continued, "We'll be conducting network services from launch day." He explained why he has steered clear of the e-Distribution topic at conferences. "Talking about our distributors and network services isn't very engaging," he said, "so I didn't mention it at E3."

Regarding the business aspect of the PS3's online components, Sony seems to be taking its cues from the PC. "You can't charge money for network matching and other basic services. These things are just taken for granted on the PC...On the PS3, basic services will be taken for granted while content will be the bread and butter of our business."

Kutaragi does not think it will take long for digitally delivered PS3 content to catch on and gave a time frame of one to two years. With the availability of networked entertainment, it would seem that having optical drives would cease to be important, but Kutaragi goes one step further. "I expect even the hard disk to disappear eventually. If you have all the data on servers, you probably no longer need disk drives...But to do this, the server is crucial. It's a difficult problem."

Kutaragi also predicted the PS3 would be welcomed warmly by an industry trying to cope with falling DVD sales and looking for a successor. He made the further claim that the "PS3 will be the trigger that ignites flat-panel TV sales."

He also discussed the potential of using multiple Cell processors in concert. "Users will be able to connect to Polyphony Digital's server. So I want it to be a Cell server, with the number of Cells at a thousand to several thousand. This would allow us to maintain an entire cyberworld, as long as our power supply holds up."

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Mp5slipknot

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Is it just me or does this sound kinda similar to DOWNLOADING of XBL

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Killagorilla27

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Gawd. Kutaragi is such an ego-inflated bastard these days... Talking about e-distributions would bore people at E3? Apparently 10-minute-long-and-unimpressive Gran Turismo demos are REALLY exciting...

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Demandred24

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what do you do when your hard drive crashes all of the stuff you downloaded and payed for is gone. Anyhow this isn't anything new. The 360 is already doing it through live. You can download arcade games, and free demos. It was really nice playing e3 demos on my 360. Anyone here try lost planet. I like how sony tries and make it something they started.

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kylesito

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e-distibution is a matter of SERVICE, not hardware! XB360 is doing that TODAY with it's demos, trailers, updates, and arcade games. Wii already annouced e-distribution for old nintendo, sega, and turbo-grafix games. Not to mention all that's been done on the PC with Steam, D2D, FilePlanet, etc. Seems to me like Sony's just catching up.

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coltACP

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Also the bad bit of E distribution is NON refundable-so you cannot take it back to the shop if it is utter turd.

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coltACP

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This is the reason why he previously said the PS3 is upgradeable like a PC-you'll need a bigger hard drive later on if you choose to get more DL content-no doubt the 360 will have to do the same. Even the Wii may need a HD to store VC games on unless they release super cheap SD cards for it. It all does look like consoles are now just PC's with standardish specs.

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GTAPro91

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i never reallyy want this e-disribution thing to happen. i hate the idea of having ur game collection as mere data on a server, i want it to be physically there as my game collection in my room just like a trophy is a sign of ur accomplishments.

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faldo674

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ok. basic services are free, never seen that before cough cough xbox live silver cough i bet you will have to pay an annual subscription to play games online. something has to pay for the servers. if it does end up to be free it won't be good. if they don't make money from it they wont pay attention to it. sony need to make with some innovation and quick, as it stands i think wii will win the next gen console war. i would have that over 360, ps3 or a new pc with dx10. (i will have all three in the end anyway :-P) the only innovative thing sony has come up with for their new console is the names they used to cover over the other consoles features.

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ryokinshin

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hopefullly their basic service will include online gaming, wich wil giv u ps3 ppl a nice edge over us 360 ppl, wich puts pressure on microsoft to possibly lower the price of xbl even more, of course its pretty low even now considering the playstation brand of consoles is the most popular now, hell yea it will drive sales of hdtvs

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runstalker

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Wait for the final list of PS3 launch titles before you become too emotional.

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chikahiro94

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"Kutaragi also predicted the PS3 would be welcomed warmly by an industry trying to cope with falling DVD sales and looking for a successor." It's not looking for a successor. You can buy a movie, rent it, watch it over the internet or pay-per-view. There's a lot more competition now, period. Toss in the fact the early DVD boom was people replacing their VHS collection and you really *should* expect sales to go down after people have done that. Plus I, for one, am sick of companies trying to double-dip so much. Why bother buying a movie now when I know I can wait a few months (closer to the holidays) and get better version (director's cut, special edition, collectors edition, etc)?

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Bloodhawk_DX

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E-distrebution is a pathetic idea. When people start modding Nintendo's Wii so they can download illegal copies of games. We'll see how "bright" the idea of '"Downloadable" games are. Wont take long for hackers to crack those codes and start selling illegal copies. I don't really care though, it's Sony's battle in the future. He also needs to reconize that the reason DVD sales are falling. Isn't because people are looking forward to "Bluray" They're going digital. Digital movies, streamed movies, illegal copies.... Blueray is hardly a solution to that. Kutaragi, to put it simple is ambitious but stupid. Every PS3 needs to come with a mini-kutaragi inside. One that pops out and cleans house, does taxes and doesn't talk! For that price... it better, and talk about inovation. Not even Nintendo thought about that! ;D

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neilwb23

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"omg u guys ever played on the ps2 online it was freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee get it thre ur thick head its gona be free and u pay for content" and how was the ps2 online? HORRIBLE one of the many fanboy's phrases is "you get what you pay for". very well then, the online service will blow. just like every online service sony has ever made.

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neilwb23

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THE WONDERFULL ADVENTURE OF E-BUYING FROM SOE! this is the true story of buying everquest 2 Downloading a trial game-7 hours due to server crashes Buying the game-had to pay for it 3 times downloading the game-had to download it TWICE, about 7 hours and still to this day, they refuse to let me cancel my account, steal my money and provide horrible onlne service. nice try, sony. don't buy this BS, people.

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arthera09

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If you guys don't like then don't use. Just use it for gaming and playing bluray.

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denbot

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omg u guys ever played on the ps2 online it was freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee get it thre ur thick head its gona be free and u pay for content

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Beer_cap

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Do you guys hear an echo... it sounds like XBOX LIVE

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gitaruman

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New content won't be difficult to download, and shouldn't be as large as many think. The new levels, characters, etc. should only be a few megs of Data, as the game engine should still be run from the cd. Anyone familiar with a pc knows that expansion pack disks are 20% the size of the original game. I hope sony's E-distribution plan works. I look forward to having a game that I can keep playing as long as they are making new content.

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alpha_company

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Woohoo... more money for us to waste.

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shizwill03

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More talk and less walk. I state AGAIN that we will ALL see when the PS3 launches......

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spidey008

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Sony is just plain full of it. They need to find someone other than Ken to speak in there behalf. He makes the entire company sound like a room full of village idiots.

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Seraphim_24

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e-distribution= You pay same price for pretty much nothing. If your hard drive crashes you're screwed because no one will enable you to re-download it for free, and DVDR and CDR technologies degrade rapidly, so they are not a suitable backup medium. Fact is that the more I pay for something, even "just code" the more I want a physical object in exchange for my hard earned cash. Plus if I buy Code Only through e-distribution I can't exactly take the game to work to show off to my friends (sans handheld titles).

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yyr

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Before you all go any more crazy than you already have: Remember just a few years ago? Kutaragi was spouting crap like this about the PS2. "Computer entertainment system," he said. "It'll do everything, browse the Internet, pay your taxes, make coffee..." What did PS2 wind up being? A DVD player and game console, and little else. Don't worry. If they realize they can't handle it, they won't.

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Seifer_Denmark0

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^ well said, however I'm not sure if Sony will lose the console war, Japan for one will probably cause the PS3 to sell great alone, as for EU and USA I don't know, but in the end I think that WII will come out on top, then PS3 and last XBOX 360

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Autolycus

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lageasy311 "Wow too many fanboys clogging sony's forums up in here.........I love seeing the hate though, it gives me faith the console really will be a mega hit. Nobody pays attention to the un-important and ignored, the fact that you guys wanna bash and bash Sony only tells me that they are FAR from un-important and ignored. If sony sucked so bad, turn your back on them and let them slowly fade away. Your only proving Sony right again and again by posting hate in these forums. What is the issue with you people? He's just talking about something they MIGHT do......he has not said anything beyond that. Just sharing ideas. Funny how Micro said they wanted to be as culturally significant as APPLE yet nobody has said jack about that statement. MIcro has stolen practically every piece of controller tech from Sony yet I still see no Micro haters for that.....you know why? Sony fans don't give a damn. Next year will be the year to prove once again Sony is the place to be........b/c we have Japans' back and the whole world isn't obbsessed with War games and FPS. PM me on this, lets hear some good arguments." And because "SONY boys(not men) dont give a damn", that is exactly why the system will fail. Because mom and dad dont have more then half a G to throw down on a system for you. Go get a job, pay your taxes and take the little money that is left and realize it will take you over 1 year to save for the system. While you are at it, dont buy any food or have any fun with that money. You children are so ignorant. SONY IS GOING TO LOSE. DEAL WITH IT AND STOP CRYIJNG

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Phazevariance

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Ken DOES have apple envy. Mostly because Sony has been in the audio industry for ever, and Apple came in with the i-pod and completely ruled it, like Sony did with the gaming industry in the past... Only now they force you to buy a blu-ray system and 20gb HDD for it to become obsolete when e-distribution starts... Once hackers have their way with PS3 people will download every game for free. Good selling tactic, bad move.

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Autolycus

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new world order coming up. Here you go might sony god. please hold all my personal information such as my address, my credit card numbers(gotta pay for the service somehow). While you are at it, please figure out what my work schedule are most likely to be based on my offline time. What's that? I am talking trash about SONY and they concluded that I am an actual negative to their PROFIT GOALS? Well...luckily they know where I live and when I am most likely to be home....so I have nothing to worry about right? Either do you....

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venus577

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PS3 will be the trigger that ignites flat-panel TV sales So the console division is just there to fuel Sony's other divisions? Figures...

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fluffebunnie

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Bah. I don't like e-distribution. I want to own the physical copy of the product I am buying.

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chrisdojo

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krazy ken is at it again...

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rarson

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Niteowl, right on. We are being bombarded with media coverage about the emergence of HD DVD content (in either format), like we are being told that we need it. I'm all about new tech but I don't feel an ounce of desire at the moment for HD DVDs. Frankly, the image quality of current DVDs is high enough for me, and in fact, I'd need to buy a new TV to really get the best out of my current player (no, I'm not buying an HDTV without HDCP). And that's another good point. A movie comes to DVD and the hardcore fans buy it. What do they get for their early adoption? A high price and often a DVD stripped of extra features. Because we have to have something else to add back in when the "special edition" comes out! The mass amounts of duplicate movies is the very reason I stopped buying DVDs and started renting instead (well that, and paying $20 for a disc that costs pennies to press kind of irks me as well). The fact that they've started another format war is adding insult to injury. They want to be babies about it, fine, I won't buy into it until there is a clear winner then (and if it's like DVD+-R, then I might just never buy into it). Sony can try to push Blu-Ray with their PS3 all they want, but they have to realize that everyone is getting used to Sony making up their own useless formats. No one is going to give a damn the fact that the PS3 uses BD-ROMs if HD-DVD becomes the standard. Sony will have effectively shot itself in the foot by simply making their games way more expensive to manufacture than the competition. It's like the PSP, Sony had to go create a new disc for it, and tried to get into it's buyers' pockets with UMD video. Well who gives a crap that the PSP plays movies now? It's just another game console format. That is what I see happening to Blu-Ray. With as many formats as Sony has pushed and the current needlessness of Blu-Ray at this point, Blu-Ray will probably be relegated to a games format only and those who wish to watch movies on their PS3 will be doing so with regular DVDs (and everyone else will simply be watching the same DVD's on other, much cheaper DVD players). Which is a shame for gamers like me who were really looking forward to the PS3, because the price is simply TOO HIGH.

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rarson

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FruitCakes, that's the model that Sony has used with the PS2, which is, NO MODEL AT ALL. Leaving it up to the developers to create the online infrastructure meant the death of decent online gaming with the PS2. EA burned me personally with it's Motor City Online on the PC. They simply decided to stop supporting the game (because they don't make money off of running servers for games that don't sell anymore). Microsoft has shown the superiority of the Live online gaming model, and it doesn't surprise me at all. Infrared: It costs probably less than a dollar to press DVD's. Considering the fact that the distribution and retail infrastructure is already there, the total cost to physically ship a game is probably less than $5. So I really don't see how that would reduce the cost of games (companies would just eat the profit instead). The large portion of game prices is development costs, which e-distribution would have no effect on. Although, I see the ESRB as having MORE of an effect on games with this model, as parental control chips would actually prevent kids from getting ahold of games they shouldn't play. Somehow it sounds like you feel this is a bad thing, and that astounds me. The whole reason the videogame industry is getting a bad rap is because parents are ignoring the ESRB ratings. ESRB != FCC. The FCC came into existence because people didn't want to be "offended" by what they heard on the radio. That became a moot point the minute more than one radio station existed. The FCC has no purpose now, other than to censor free-thinking people. The ESRB works like the movie's rating industry and TV's ratings. Nobody stops you from watching the channel, they simply tell you the content of the program so that people can DO THEIR JOBS AS PARENTS.

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niteowl74

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DVD sales are falling? when did that happen. amybe if they stopped flooding the market with 30 different versions of a movie people might buy more.

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juanfraino

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nahh, nothing is gonna make me change my mind, Wii60... -F-T-W-!!!!!!!!

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sirk1264

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I've stopped listening to this guy back in the ps1 days. He's always full of BS in my opinion.

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infrared13

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E distribution will be the way to go for all games. It will make them a bit cheaper and we won't have to worry about the ratings board getting games pulled from the stores! Wall mart and others can pull GTA but who cares if we can get the game via E distribution. It will work just like Itunes works, then the ESRB will have about as much as an effect on the sales of games as the FCC on satellite radio.

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PSDUDE

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All I have to say is that I'm sure it will be no surprise that PS3 will dominate 360 in Japan. Heck, it'd probably sell on launch in Japan more than what 360 did since launch there. As for the US and Europe, I doubt PS3 will have much of a problem there. I'm sure some people are feeling resentment towards Sony due to possible system problems with PS1 and PS2 (though both my PS1 and PS2 has worked fine since I bought them), but for $600, I'm sure they have taken many precautions to ensure that PS3 will be a longlasting, working product.

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flex49

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lageasy311, I'm sorry to inform you but you can win the console race WITHOUT Japan. More consoles and games are sold in US and Europe than in Japan by millions. Secondly, the reason people are annoyed is because Sony keeps talking about the future when they haven't even explained what their PRESENT actions are going to be. They are fuzzy about many details on what PS3 games being released at launch & at what price and about their "free" online service....so people have a right to be skeptical. This is the third interview and we still haven't heard about the GAMES!! Their future is about the RELEASE of the PS3 after delaying it....not e-distribution, competing with Apple or blu-ray. Thirdly, the US & European charts differ with your opinion....FPS, War games and sports are the biggest sellers! The only place they aren't big is in Japan.

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FruitCakesRUS

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Do you guys honestly not remember ken saying that the online was free but it was an open network where developers can just add their own servers and charge however much they want? I mean it can go both ways, some developers will charge money realizing the bank that can be made. While other developers will see it as a hassle to have dedicated servers and just use ps3 service. So just hope that the developers find the idea of dedicated servers a hassle and itll all be worth it lol

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rarson

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Not to mention their quality control sucks (coming from a PSX and PS2 owner whose had problems with both).

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rarson

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And gay means "happy" in English... just thought you should know. The problem with Sony is that they feel their dominance, image, and brand are strong enough to sell the PS3 regardless of price AND software. And the games industry has already disproven that several times. The crash in 1985, Sega's fallout as a hardware manufacturer, etc.

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shinrock_live

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hate to say people, but the x360 has been doin e-distribution since it hit store's. i guess sence no 1 likes the x360 you wouldn't know that.

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i_love_my_ds

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I think its cool you can buy the game online, but I'd rather have the game on an actual disc. If the hard drive gets messed up and you lose all your data then all your games would be deleted......

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XAF1

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e-distribution is nice but I actually enjoy collecting my software, music and movies in a more tangible format. If my harddrive crashes or the server the data is stored on crashes then I am left wondering if I have to pay for everything again. I'd rather not have to bother with that thought. It's neat being able to download extra stuff but I don't want to depend that much on e-distribution because of the possibility of infrastructure collapse.

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lageasy311

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Wow too many fanboys clogging sony's forums up in here.........I love seeing the hate though, it gives me faith the console really will be a mega hit. Nobody pays attention to the un-important and ignored, the fact that you guys wanna bash and bash Sony only tells me that they are FAR from un-important and ignored. If sony sucked so bad, turn your back on them and let them slowly fade away. Your only proving Sony right again and again by posting hate in these forums. What is the issue with you people? He's just talking about something they MIGHT do......he has not said anything beyond that. Just sharing ideas. Funny how Micro said they wanted to be as culturally significant as APPLE yet nobody has said jack about that statement. MIcro has stolen practically every piece of controller tech from Sony yet I still see no Micro haters for that.....you know why? Sony fans don't give a damn. Next year will be the year to prove once again Sony is the place to be........b/c we have Japans' back and the whole world isn't obbsessed with War games and FPS. PM me on this, lets hear some good arguments.

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lbw666

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Igwababa said: his whole no hard drive idea bull, you need the hard drive other wise the thing would take forever to upload your demo. he was talking about what might happen in the future. It should be possible to stream a demo from the server with a large enough bus width, so instead of running everything from your console you would be running the program with networked cells. won't happen anytime soon though.

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enigma_2099

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AHA!!!!!! So THAT'S how they're gonna do away with the idea of selling "used games" on the PS3... I'm gonna glance up from my Metal Gear Solid 4 and just throw angry scowls at my PS3... I dunno if I'm gonna support Sony after this. And someone tell Kuta-dumbass that we're not ALL made of money!!!!

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Igwababa

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Oh I was also wondering why he evens mentions the blu-ray as a useable format, it isint. Inside that $600 system sits a blu-ray drive noy burner, that drive cant burn onto a dic, to burn you need an add on (wait I see now, the PS3 is like a computer, you pay your money and then you find out, oh yeah you need to upgrade that, or this.) to burn. So what Sony suggests is paying even more just to play the game you just got. Sony stop alienating gamers, we buy the PS3 to play game not so it can surf the web or clean up when the dog craps on the floor.

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Igwababa

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All I can say is who cares and his whole no hard drive idea bull, you need the hard drive other wise the thing would take forever to upload your demo. Besides I can bet you that the online will be the exact same as XBL their is a free version and one you pay for. I cant see how sony is going to maintain such a network for free its bad business, why not just chrge half of Live, you still get the low price and actualy have incoming funds not just expenses in that area.

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