Whenever I rant on about the terrible trend of digital distribution, I risk being stamped a kook. Then events like the recent PlayStation Network outage emerges and I feel vindicated. My rhetoric isn’t of issues that could arise; they’re consequences that are happening.
Ultimately, the outage was Sony’s reaction to hackers breaking into the network and pillaging private user information. I’ll likely expand on this, the true catastrophe of this event, in a later blog post or the podcast since it’s relevant to my religion (of sorts). But for the meantime, I’d like to begin by fortifying my previous points.
My basic position is that consumers are being duped into accepting it’s more favorable to pay admission for access than to trade for property. If digital distribution becomes the standard for media, consumers lose all their power in the market.
One of the bullet points in my case is that consumers will be completely dependent on the distributor to access the products they buy. Third party services like Hulu Plus and Netflix are reportedly included in the outage, which means that their subscribers have paid for services that they now cannot use. Video games that include multiplayer are now reduced to less than half of a full product. And thanks to DRM, some games are now effectively dead.