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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Let's Get Digital

Next Generation has two interviews of note when it comes to the concept of digital delivery. First is a chat with Greg Costikyan about Manifesto Games, where they manage to wrangle a few more details about how the company expects to float. Second is a talk with three different companies about how digital delivery might work for the market in general.

Now, I haven't tried Stardock's TotalGaming.Net just yet, but technically it seems to hit all the right buttons. It's relatively hands off, doesn't shove DRM down anyone's throat and keep things simple. I have used GarageGames to purchase their Torque 2D license and found it an excellent digital setup. Everytime I log in, I have a little list of licenses I've purchased and if I needed to download them again, I can.

Personally, I prefer either setup to Valve's Steam. Steam is way too intrusive of a design for me. I've even used's similar EXEtender application, and that's far less problematic than Steam. Steam is, I think, it's own worst point of failure. Anything goes wrong with it - installation, registration, etc. ... and you've lost everything you have ever transacted with it. That's too much pressure for a single application. The only thing Steam has going for it is Valve's fairly impressive library and the fact that it's the only way to access them.

However, I guess we should hand it to Valve for being the first major developer to attempt it. While indies probably have the most to gain from it, the whole industry is going to need to head this way - consoles and desktops alike. If anything, the five year estimation almost seems somewhat far out, considering all the consoles will be delivered next year with their own idea of a marketplace.

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