Are You Ready To Embrace Digital Pre-Ordering and Downloading?

Remember the days of queuing up at a game store for a midnight release, before rushing home to play the game into the early hours? Days like this could disappear into the gaming history books as the Xbox One now has the ability to pre-load games before the official release should you be an Xbox Live Gold Member.

Microsoft will begin to accept digital pre-orders and pre downloading of games with Madden 15, with FIFA 15 and Forza Horizon 2 to follow in late September. This announcement comes only a few weeks after EA advised there will be no Madden demo, but EA Access subscribers on the Xbox One will get to play the game for 6 hours during the early access period and carry their progress over once purchased upon release, which will no doubt delight some gamers, yet anger others in equal measure.

Microsoft explains over on their Xbox Store: “Xbox One games expected to release on 29/08/2014. You may download the game from Xbox live before then, but it will not be playable until 12:01 am BST on the release date. No refunds on or after release date. Once purchase is complete, download this game by selecting the “Manage” button on the product details page on your console.”

Although we need to remember that Valve and Sony have similar pre-loading options available, it’s great to see Microsoft moving in the right direction in the same week that Sony called their own console boring.

Earlier this week Microsoft also announced the availability of their new ReddX reddit Xbox One app will be heading to your Xbox One console this autumn and advised:

You can combine your reddit experience with the biggest screen in your home: thanks to Xbox One, while you game, you can also browse the first-ever reddit app for the TV. ReddX on Xbox One can be snapped to the side of your TV while you’re gaming or using another app to help you monitor and join in threads on the site while you’re doing anything else”

It appears that Microsoft are not going to rest on their laurels and are hungry to make further improvements after an Xbox One 24-hour game demo promo appeared in error a few days ago which would be another interesting feature.

Technology and innovation are ensuring that improvements are arriving much sooner than they have in the past and the gaming landscape is changing dramatically before our eyes, although these are tiny changes, you cannot underestimate the impact of how we will be purchasing and playing games in the run up to Christmas.

  • Pre-Order and Pre-Download games digitally
  • Demoes being replaced by FULL play under EA Access
  • Future try before your buy options rumoured
  • High street selling digital codes to stay in the game

These changes, in many ways, are actually quite dramatic and although many will look back through gaming past with glasses armed with nostalgic filtered lenses, queuing up outside a shop at midnight in November is not as glamorous as we remember it.

Although, I personally embrace many of these changes, there is one aspect of this digital future that most of us have an issue with. I am of course talking about the incredibly inflated price of digital downloads.

MaddenPreLoad

$59.99 or £59.99 – How does that work?

In effect , we are telling publishers that we don’t need them to produce a plastic case, an instruction manual, shiny insert or even a disc but we will subscribe to the concept of a digital file because it is ultimately more convenient for both parties. However, the publisher’s look at their customers through cold lifeless eyes and say that’s £55-£60 pounds please. This is a massive kick in the teeth for consumers.

Gamers are a savvy bunch. They can find any physical new release for around £20 cheaper online and are left feeling somewhat baffled at the inflated price of the more convenient and economically friendly option of downloading a digital file instead.

We will buy a bigger hard drive if needed, because we are embracing the digital future, but gamers should not be ripped off for making this transitional progress easier for the publishers and sooner or later, a compromise of sorts will need to be made.

The Steam model, for example. is probably the best example of a system that is fair and offers its customers good deals on game purchases, so hopefully this kind of competition can only be good in the long run for consumers.

How do you feel about these changes? Are you embracing digital distribution or prefer the days of CD’s and midnight game launches? Let us know by commenting below.

About the author

Neil Hughes

My gaming journey began as an infant playing Pong, followed by an Atari 2600 with a beautiful wooden finish. Over the years, I progressed onto a Commodore 64, BBC B and my beloved Amiga 600 before entering the golden console years. It seems that if you write with an opinion criticising any platform you are now instantly labelled a fan-boy but this ageing gamer loves the PS4, Xbox One and Steam all for different reasons but if I see something I don't like, I might write about it...