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Moore Calls Game Discs Ridiculous

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the power-to-pipelines dept.

The Internet 257

Gamespot reports on a Churchill Club panel discussion attended by a number of industry heavyweights. They discussed, heavily, the future of gaming online and what it means for the industry as a whole. From the article: "[MS VP Peter] Moore said that the retail landscape is set to undergo a particularly drastic change of face. Even though he made a point that the current retail model was hugely important to Microsoft's plans for the near future, he sees its days as numbered. 'Let's be fair. Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous,' Moore said. 'We'll tell our grandchildren that and they'll laugh at us.'"

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257 comments

I hope so (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14686941)

I get sick of having my first CD damaged, so I can't play a game without taking extraordinary measures. At the same time, though, I don't want to not be able to play my games locally because my ISP managed to drop the entire block.

Re:I hope so (3, Insightful)

Orinthe (680210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14686986)

Good luck getting them to reauthorize you to download a new copy in the case of a hard-drive failure. Why do it, when they can just force you to buy a new one? Same story, different method of distribution.

Also, say good-bye to the days of lending your friend a game, or selling/giving one away second hand.

I hope so-Demos. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687085)

"Also, say good-bye to the days of lending your friend a game, or selling/giving one away second hand."

Loan them the demo disc.

Re:I hope so-Demos. (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687166)

Loan them the demo disc.

Didn't Microsoft just force an Xbox 360 upgrade that made a demo disc unplayable once the full version was for sale?

Re:I hope so-Demos. (1)

Torne (78524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687528)

Didn't Microsoft just force an Xbox 360 upgrade that made a demo disc unplayable once the full version was for sale?

No, Microsoft just forced an Xbox 360 upgrade that made a kiosk demo disc (i.e. for game stores to use on their demo consoles, not sold to home users) not run on people's 360s any more, because it had incorrectly had the media flags set to allow the (signed and therefore unalterable) executables to be run from non-Xbox media. This meant that you could take a copy of the disk onto DVD-R and it would still run in your 360. Various people are experimenting with modifying the data on the disk (you can change the data files, just not the executables which are signed) to try and discover a software exploit that will enable the running of arbitrary code. MS wanted this to stop, so they blacklisted the disc in a Live update.

Re:I hope so (2, Insightful)

minuszero (922125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687139)

Good luck getting them to reauthorize you to download a new copy in the case of a hard-drive failure.

If they go the way steam does, this shouldn't be an issue - you only need remember your username/password to your account.

However, this begs the question; what happens if their servers crash out? Better hope they keep backups...

Personally, I like my hard-copies

  • a) if it's good, the manual is dead handy, and looks prettier than anything I could print off (if I even had a printer a.t.m.)
  • b) it's a definite proof of purchase, right there, in my hand. Reassuring.

Re:I hope so (3, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687439)

Personally, I like my hard-copies * a) if it's good, the manual is dead handy, and looks prettier than anything I could print off (if I even had a printer a.t.m.) * b) it's a definite proof of purchase, right there, in my hand. Reassuring.

Don't get me wrong, I like the hard copies too. But I have to admit that the idea of still being able to play my game after my first disk got damaged, the little red piece of paper that had my CD key got thrown away because it's trash on my desk (thanks hon!), or any of the other things that can happen, do.

Of course, part of it may be me presuming that if game manufacturers do away with game discs, I'd still be able to burn a copy of the download (although not on an Xbox) to save the download time. Plus I'd think they could choose to cut the price to reflect the money they save in shipping, printing manuals and disks, etc. Of course, sometimes I'm too optimistic.

Re:I hope so (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687286)

Well, in some parts of the world we have consumer rights. Getting replacemenent disks has never been a problem here, though the processes have been bit cumbersome at times. So I do not see this as problem.

In regards to CDs and copy protection (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687981)

Why don't the game companies devise a new standard practice to handle copy protection (and take a cue from some business software developers)

My solution is to use hardware keys (or maybe RSA tags). I think it would be a more elegant solution to the problems. Also, since a software download won't come with the hardware key, the software could be programmed to allow a period of time (say 2 weeks) where the key is not necessary to allow shipment of the key. This will save wear and tear on the discs (if they exist) as well as allowing copy protection for downloaded games. I'm sure a hardware key would be more durable than a CD.

No copy protection plan is foolproof, people will continue to "patch" software to bypass the checks, but it would at least get rid of the stupid crap that goes on with validating discs (and as an added bonus, since the copy protection is on a piece of hardware, we could even make a backup copy of the software in case the original is damaged.)

Laugh at us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14686953)

Only if they want a beat down.

Ridiculous (5, Funny)

Lambticc (563530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14686960)

Of course our grandparents think it is ridiculous to drive to the store and buy a plastic disc with data on it too.

Re:Ridiculous (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687012)

Of course our grandparents think it is ridiculous to drive to the store and buy a plastic disc with data on it too.

Nobody understands us!!!! Back in the good old days, I used to run to the store and buy a cassette with all the hottest games. Sometimes it came with 99er, sometimes it was stand-alone.

> You are facing north.
  > Look up.
  > A piano falls on your head. GAME OVER

The alternative? (5, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14686967)

Not much better than paying real money to buy a "licence" to download DRMn'd glory where I've got to register to play, can only play it on a registered System, and only that as long as the publisher doesn't go bankrupt.

Re:The alternative? (2, Insightful)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687185)

The system will be cracked, just like every copy protection scheme is now. Eventually they'll give up on the DRM and just make it cheap enough that it's easier just to pay for it. The market will eventually foil all their little schemes.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to give every game I own permission to access the internet, unless I'm actually playing on the internet. This is just too much of a security risk, especially for content downloaded from the net.

Re:The alternative? (1)

Tighe_L (642122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687614)

Yah, that happened to me with my Tapwave Zodiac, thank goodness I have a developer key and for homebrew!

Friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14686968)

" Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous,' Moore said. 'We'll tell our grandchildren that and they'll laugh at us.'""

The more important question is: why is everyone so hell bent on killing the retail market? Was everyone tramatized by a retail store as a kid? As Rodney King said "can't we all just get along"?

Re:Friends (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687023)

The more important question is: why is everyone so hell bent on killing the retail market? Was everyone tramatized by a retail store as a kid?

A great many trips to the retail store have left me with a sour taste in my mouth and an empty feeling in my wallet.

Re:Friends (-1, Troll)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687982)

As Rodney King said "can't we all just get along"?
Rodney King? You mean, that guy who was driving at around 115 MpH (185Km/h) while intoxicated, resisted arrest, attacked a policeman, and had to be knocked down? That guy who, since then, was repeatedly arrested for drug infractions, spousal abuse, soliciting a prostitute, and motoring offenses? That guy who received $3.8 million in a civil suit against the LAPD, but somehow managed to go bankrupt, and now lives in a drug rehab center?

Uhm, we call it the Internet (0)

thaerin (937575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14686977)

Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous,' Moore said. 'We'll tell our grandchildren that and they'll laugh at us.'"

Actually, I think they're laughing at him already. Perhaps somebody should clue this guy in to this little thing we call the Internet. I don't know about you, but I haven't bought a game from a retail store in ages, I buy mine online. EBWorld offers some pretty swank shipping so I'm usually only a day or so behind my friends to get a new title, and sometimes they offer some cool extras for pre-orders.

Re:Uhm, we call it the Internet (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687007)

I buy my games from an online store that posts the games 1-3 days before release, so I get to play before anyone else.

Re:Uhm, we call it the Internet (1)

geekwithsoul (860466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687998)

You almost made half a point. Yes, it's called the Internet, but going online to buy a boxed version of a game, and having it shipped to you is just as stupid as driving to the store yourself. I think the point Moore was making was that the idea of selling games on media to be shipped around like a box of widgets is what is laughable, as you can just download the game and play it.

People slam Valve all the time, but thanks to Steam, I got Half-life 2 and the entire Half-life catalog of games for the price of one game, all without having to have a single game on CD. Some may not like it, but I call it a deal.

Games on CDs (and indeed any software on CDs) will be thought of as words hand-chiseled on stone tablets by future generations.

Jason

Not ridiculous. (3, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14686995)

Back before plumbing, people had to get buckets of water out of wells and bring them inside before they could use water. Would we consider this practice absurd?

Before the advent of speedy online delivery, we go buy games at a store before we can use it. Same concept.

Working within the technological limitations of your day is never "ridiculous." I submit that making baseless predictions about the future is ridiculous!

Re:Not ridiculous. (0, Flamebait)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687346)

Well, if the kids are sufficiently retarded, laughing may be the reaction.

Re:Not ridiculous. (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687401)

And people got these things called books which are cut down and processed trees with ink on them. I'm sure the day will come when we have access to tons of info at our fingertips (or neuron tips) without the need for books, but damn I think I'll miss them.
 

Re:Not ridiculous. (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687624)

Back before plumbing, people had to get buckets of water out of wells and bring them inside before they could use water. Would we consider this practice absurd?

Working with technological limitations isn't absurd, but accepting the limiation is.

Otherwise, we'd still be carrying buckets of water and not taking showers as much as we should be.

So long as I can burn it to my own disc. (5, Insightful)

Mike deVice (769602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687009)

I have zero problem with downloading software, including games. Like most people, I grab shareware and open source software online all the time. But I do want to be sure that I can retain the data I bought a copy of. I don't want to hop on a website and have to prove I bought the damn thing, and download it again if I need to reinstall my OS, or lose the game when the company I downloaded it from goes out of business for whatever reason. Driving to the store can seem like much less of a hassle than DRM locked data. Especially gigs of locked data.

Re:So long as I can burn it to my own disc. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687252)

Write the license key on the CD you back it up to.

Most downloadable software I've gotten just has a simple "license key" mechanism. Most everything from smaller distributors, as well as a fair amount from the bigger companies. It's probably not worth it, unless you're the high-value Autodesks or Quarks of the world, to have to deal with maintaining license servers, when a static or algorithmic key will work decently well until such time as pirating the years'-old version of the software is a moot point anyhow.

Re:So long as I can burn it to my own disc. (2, Interesting)

displague (4438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688053)

I liked the old mp3.com beamer system. You could insert all of your CDs, beamer would confirm through some algorythm that you had an original CD (or a complete copy I suppose), then you could access the CD through their web interface for free.

I have dozens of CDs that don't play anymore - some don't even show signs of physical wear. I would like to, one day, regain access to my virtual possessions stored on my defunct or lost physical possessions.

Drive? (1, Offtopic)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687014)

Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back ... will be ridiculous

It's ridiculous now, if you live in an urban area. Why not walk to the store and back? If you're able-bodied and live less than a couple of miles from the town centre, you have no excuse. No wonder the Western world is becoming so fat and lazy.

-Stephen, missing the point of the article

Re:Drive? (1)

Zcar (756484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687057)

Excepting that I live about 3 blocks from the town center whereas all the stores that stock anything resembling a reasonable selection are at least few miles OUT from the center, say about four miles to the closest.

Re:Drive? (4, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687062)

If you're able-bodied and live less than a couple of miles from the town centre, you have no excuse.

Are you kidding? Every time I get anywhere near the fricking thing, they ring the bell and I have to go inside to help shoot arrows against Huns or Teutons or whoever the fuck's attacking us this week.

Re:Drive? (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687165)

Yeah, Damn those Egyptians! Always attacking my Norse settlements, how dare they?

Who knew the Norse and the Egyptians were natural enemies?

Re:Drive? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687086)

It's ridiculous now, if you live in an urban area. Why not walk to the store and back? If you're able-bodied and live less than a couple of miles from the town centre, you have no excuse.

Today, it's raining and 35 degrees outside.

In three or four months, it'll be pushing 100 degrees with 90+% humidity.

When you regularly walk "a couple of miles" in weather like we get, let me know.

Re:Drive? (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687162)

I walk about 2 miles a day back and forth from the trains rain snow sleet hail or Virgina summers in a suit. I recall 97 and 90%+ humidity. Is that regularly enough for you?

Re:Drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687446)

Wow! Your suit must look pretty sharp by the time you get work.

Re:Drive? (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687097)

Why not walk to the store and back? If you're able-bodied and live less than a couple of miles from the town centre, you have no excuse.

Why do you hate America so much?

Re:Drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687115)

Hey Steven, while you are in town, can you grab me a copy too? Oh, and a Big Mac meal. Make the drink a diet... watching my weight, ya know.

Re:Drive? (1)

obarel (670863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687179)

I live in an urban area, and it takes me about 40 minutes to walk to the centre.

Instead of wasting that time, I could wait 20 minutes for the bus, and then spend the next 30 minutes on jam-packed roads full of people in their little cars trying to get into the centre, while two mums are smiling shamefully as their kids scream their lungs out, and six girls have ice cream dripping on the floor and one drunk is mumbling to himself on the front seat.

So you see why I prefer using public transport to walking.

Ignores reality of broadband penetration (2, Informative)

deuterium (96874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687025)

There are plenty of people in the United States who live in rural areas that aren't served by any mode of broadband, and it looks unlikely that this is going to change. Current boraodband requires either coaxial cable or a close location to a telephone exchange in order to get DSL. With many phone companies dropping the installation of land lines altogether, and rural TV viewers turning to dish-based television, it's also unlikely that cable companies will bother wiring up any small outlying areas.
Aside from this, I imagine that game companies bristle at the idea of their software being pirated more easily over network delivery.

Re:Ignores reality of broadband penetration (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687329)

Well, those in the rural areas can always go with Satellite internet connections. I'm pretty sure the coverage is alright, you just have to live in an area with a view of the sky in the correct direction (which I do not).

The bandwith is decent, it's just the latency that sucks

Re:Ignores reality of broadband penetration (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687518)

I already deal with losing my TV signal when a storm blows up. I usually head to the computer and surf the net when that happens (DSL connection). There's no way I'd put both my TV and my Internet connection on a satellite dish unless it was alot bigger than the 18" ones that they seem to use these days.

Re:Ignores reality of broadband penetration (1)

BasharTeg (71923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687513)

Have you seen the cities Verizon is rolling out FTTH? Out in the fuckin boonies here in California.

Re:Ignores reality of broadband penetration (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687876)

Agreed.

A coworker lives off in a mountainy suburb area and she got Verizon's fiber solution in. While the next town over is a little urban, it's by no means hub of business.

Meanwhile, I live in a suburb that's home to a major IT laboratory and about half a mile away from a Verizon office. Yet Verizon's fiber isn't available here yet.

I REALLY want that to come in.

Re:Ignores reality of broadband penetration (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687634)

There are plenty of people in the United States who live in rural areas that aren't served by any mode of broadband, and it looks unlikely that this is going to change.

A few points:

First, don't downplay the broadband yet. Look at how long POTS took to get to some of these areas, with the relative newness of DSL/Cable internet spreading today it's faster by at least a magnitude. Just because it's not everywhere in a decade deosn't mean it won't be in the next decade (which fits into the time frame quoted from the blurb).

Secondly, I doubt this will be over night. There will be choices to be made over time. Infact these already exist as we had seen with Steam allowing pre-installs to those who pre-purchased HL2. While the physical product will still be on the shelf slowly people will migrate to the downloaded versions.

And last, eventually we will get to the point where people will be SOL. Just like today with some of the minority OSs. Companies simply shrug and disreguard smaller market shares as potential clients. Even older versions of Windows face this. "Got W98? Well, you can try to run the software but we're not going to support it. What? You'll take your business elsewhere? No great loss to us." That will be the attitude you will see.

Laughing? I don't think so (5, Insightful)

cluke (30394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687031)

I don't think they'll be laughing. They'll be more likely in awe of the fact we actually owned a re-usable, permanent physical copy of the media we purchased rather than having to set up a bank order to transfer a monthly licence fee for the right to continue using it.

Monthly licensing fees... The real-world SkyNet (1)

CinciTech (953424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687258)

That's got to be the scariest concept to me: losing the ability to buy software, and having to pay recurring fees. As a big fan of replaying old games for nostalgia, will I have to continue to pay a monthly licensing fee to play Ultima 4 or Doom 2 one day? For whatever the future holds, massive change is historically filled with fear of the unknown, and rarely is it beneficial to EVERYONE. ...tho I have to wonder: even in today's *modern* world you can buy vinyl records of current music. Is it really so unlikely that we'd still have the option of buying a physical copy of the software if we chose? Even if it's a mail-order process...

Re:Monthly licensing fees... The real-world SkyNet (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687784)

As a big fan of replaying old games for nostalgia, will I have to continue to pay a monthly licensing fee to play Ultima 4 or Doom 2 one day?

Nah, you'll just subscribe to Origin RPG Classics for $2.95 per month (including such hits as Ultima 1-6, Tangled Tales, Bad Blood, Times of Lore, 2400 AD and a 15 day trial of Origin Space Combat). iDs Doom 2 will be open source so no problem there.

The great thing will be the fact that game companies will promise full offically written emulation software to go with each subscription. Simulate EGA, VGA, 286, 386, 486. Play the games you love on the dream system you never had, or get that nostalgic feel of playing on your junker of a pc!

Re:Laughing? I don't think so (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688052)

Hate to break it to you...cds are far from permanent. Actually, they decay a lot faster than people think.

If some company goes out of business, people will release a crack. So there is really nothing to worry about. Other than you being surprised when your permanent physical copies don't work in 10 years.

Re:Laughing? I don't think so (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688230)

that's just cd-r, though. the actual stamped cds that you get from retail are a hell of a lot more durable.

of course... (5, Funny)

solidtransient (883338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687033)

the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous
Of course we won't drive to the store... we'll transport there, duh!

Re:of course... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687096)

Transportation will never be allowed in the Empire. "They" will just claim that it would be another tool for terrorists.

//to be fair, though, it would. I think a whole lot of people would like to beam bush about 3 miles straight up into space

Re:of course... (0, Offtopic)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687618)

This is why the Federation, by the time of Picard, has devolved into a totalitarian military dictatorship. The only apparent choices, when confronted with the discovery of technology as dangerous as matter transportation and mass-energy conversion, it seemed the only logical choice. Replicators, warp drives, and transporters could easily give every single person a comfortable lifestyle, but were so incredibly dangerous that they could never be allowed to fall into untrusted hands. So, Starfleet (and later, the Federation) established itself as the only entity allowed to possess such dangerous technology, strictly and ruthlessly enforced, but in return, provided every person on the planet with all their material needs. This, of course, resulted in the elimination of free markets, because the only thing that could not be easily replicated was land. For a brief time, it was worried that, having nothing of value with which to negotiate the buying and selling of land, violence would break out between those that owned land and those which did not, and now could not because even human labor was now of minimal value. As a solution, Starfleet confiscated all privately owned land. Thereafter, land was apportioned to individuals on the basis of their contributions to Starfleet. This is one reason why, despite being a very hazardous occupation, it was so hard to get into the academy - becoming a member of starfleet was one of the only ways to gain significant amounts of landed property, though of course scientists and other professionals who rendered their services to Starfleet as civilians, while they could not be paid with any material goods (material goods having lost all value), were paid with land as well. The major exception was for human colonists. In order to promote human expansion, increase the amount of available Earth land available for Starfleet apportionment, and to encourage the dislocation of dissidents, colonists were granted the right to appropriate land on other planets according to whatever method of apportionment the colonists wished to choose - subject, of course, to the needs of the Federation. The net result of this policy was that most people remaining on earth were Starfleet supporters, and dissidents were strongly encouraged to leave Earth and colonize other parts of the quadrant. While a few colonists, desperate to escape the clutches of Starfleet, left federation space altogether, most could not afford to do so, having been stripped of the right to own weapons by the Federation and thus being almost totally defenseless and needing the protection of Starfleet. But Starfleet protection was not by any means inexpensive. In return for protection, Starfleet demanded complete obedience. Colonists were forbidden from owning energy weapons, warp vessels, or unauthorized replicators. Starfleet was even skeptical about allowing fusion reactors, but ultimately realized the necessity of it. As a result, however, Federation observation posts and starbases were never far away.

Eventually, some few came to understand all that had been lost in the great and glorious transition to an interstellar race, but they did not openly discuss it.

Re:of course... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687696)

That's a good point. In Star Wars books, every guy with ten bux has his own Star Destroyer. When was the last time you say any private (non-criminal) civilians in their own ship in Star Trek?

20 years from now... (5, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687037)

...Yes, folks. Back then, I could simply hand over $50 and I had full first-sale rights on the game. It came as an actual physical product that looked nice sitting on the shelf, worked even round at my friend's house for co-op play without us having to buy a license each, and when we were bored of it we could make about half that money back by selling it to someone else.

I mean, can you imagine it? It's a wonder the global economy didn't crash earlier, really.

No thanks (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687040)

I don't want my copy of Grand Theft Auto 4 to get remote-deleted because some script kiddy forged his IP and duped a bunch of rocket launchers.

payment? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687051)

And how am I suppose to pay? Probably by credit card. That's nice but for the major part of my game playing life I did not have one. We don't have a credit card tradition like the US has. What other options are there? Paypal? That's about as secure as letting the cat guard the milk. Other than that? Money transfer, now instead of driving to the store, buying the game and driving home, I can transfer the money and in a day or two I get to spend an hour or 2 waiting for the download to complete (which takes away almost half my ISP allowens), followed by half an hour while the game gets updated and then, perhaps, I get to the "loading" screen.
Even if I buy a game that way. How long will I have it? When they decide to end the products life, I 'll end up without my precious game. Unless, ofcourse, they, in their limitless goodness, would allow me to download an ISO.
If I could download an ISO, then sure, I'd go along, but I really doubt they would allow this. After all we're all stinkin' pirates, right?

Plastic Discs for Life! (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687072)

I don't want to HAVE to download software. What if the company that distributes it online goes out of business? Then I have no way of getting that software if my system needs to be reinstalled. I'd still have to make backups of what I buy; I'll take driving to the store. Hell, if you're that lazy, order it online... they'll ship it right to you.

Interesting idea, but wording makes me cringe (1)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687078)

I get the feeling that these people (yeah, the "industry icons") have some pretty Big Ideas(TM), but they don't really know what they are saying. Sure they postulate about multiplayer gaming and the disc going the way of the dodo, but these are just guesses wrapped up in verbal fluff.From TFA:

That move to digital distribution is just one in a series of transitions to a connected era the industry is currently undergoing. Moore could easily have been addressing the sum of those changes when he referred to the Xbox 360 as "a living entertainment experience powered by human energy," but it seemed every member of the panel foresaw a gaming industry where the publishers and the games themselves were much more closely integrated with the consumers.

"It [gaming] has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers.

We're not selling the bits. We're selling those other intangibles, the opportunity to feel special

Ironically, the idea with the best potential was:

"Linear entertainment in single-player is to media what masturbation is to sex,"

Even still, that was wordy and could have been trimmed down for a nice take-away thought. Perhaps, I'm cynical, but this article didn't feel like a 'discussion on the on-line future of the gaming industry'; it felt like a bunch of high-schoolers trying to come up with big, meaningful statements for their English essays.

Re:Interesting idea, but wording makes me cringe (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687431)

I suppose you bolded that bit because it sounded too much like the Matrix "human powerplants" to you, too?

Moore is dreaming (2, Insightful)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687094)

Sometimes when I feel nostalgic I switch on the old Nintendo and play some Duck Hunt. I never knew there was an easter egg in Atari Adventure until 2 years ago. Pulled that out of the closet and sure enough, there it was. I like the fact that I'm not paying a monthly fee for GTA San Andreas, I'm still trying to finish that one. (OK I'm not playing for more then an hour or two a week.) I like being able to put a game down for a few weeks or revisit some old favorites years later. You can't do that on a subscription model. When games go subscription only I won't be following them into that business plan. I'm already paying enough for HBO and Internet. Oh and heat, water, sewer and electricity. I'm not adding anymore monthly recurring expenses.

Re:Moore is dreaming (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687647)

Hell, I'm still trying to get through GoldenEye for the 2nd time, and that came out when, 1997?

Then again, I just bought a Vectrex so I'm not one to talk! ;)

Re:Moore is dreaming (2, Interesting)

marcovje (205102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687664)


Indeed. The problem with subscription games that

- if you earn money (read: have a (nearly) fulltime job), you don't have time to spend enough time gaming to make the subscription worthwhile.

- if you have the time (college, unemployed), you don't have the money.

So I wonder what public they are actually targeting with this? Bankrobbers? Time and Money :-)

Re:Moore is dreaming (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688096)

Uh, what? Only MMORPG are on subscription models. Games that you download are not. If there is some sort of authentication method like Steam, you will need a crack. But you can still copy that data to more permanent storage and use it in the future. Assuming that your system will still play it...which it probably won't and so your cds will be useless as well. If you are really worried about this, just stick with console gaming.

Reduce the price (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687095)

The big hang up I have with software I get online is that they usually want me to pay the same retail price as if I bought the boxed item. This forms a big disconnect in my head which essentially drives me to buy the box set instead.

One area that would certainly benefit is the mmog games. There is little real reason to buy the base software but that model is still used regardless. people with slow connections will be at a loss but even after months of release these people who do require boxed versions would be back in the same boat as many game updates easily overwhelm dialup connections. This is what probably holds back consoles with harddrives - how do you deliver games where storage isn't a given?

If the industry wants to change direction they will need to realize we will not pay the same price. Yes I know that publishers make up their money with new releases but something has got to give.

what i fear will happen is that we will be paying the box price for over the line delivery and a new upcharge for the box version. the industry will take a grand idea and exploit it in the worst possible method.

Re:Reduce the price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687934)

Most people assume that making boxes and discs is the costly part. Is isn't. The price of the box and discs is relatively insignificant in the whole retail unit price(the box, disc and manual costs less than two or three dollars to make). Most of the price of the games comes from the retailer's cut, the publisher's cut and whatever the developers make(and the Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo licensing fees on console titles).

Removing the retailer from the chain would help lower costs, but angering retailers by undercutting them would cause problems with large publishers(which is why Valve has Steam and large publishers like EA, Activision and Ubisoft aren't doing a thing).

should this be obvious? (3, Insightful)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687105)

Not to sound trollish, but we can already download many applications, music in mp3 format and movies/shows ALL LEGALLY. Wouldnt it be assumed that major applications and games would follow the same concept? Companies spend a large percentage on packaging and shipping alone. A large amount of money could be saved this way.

Re:should this be obvious? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687200)

Yeah, but we aren't seeing the savings.

Buying online, there's no middle-man to add his own profit. There's no store, so no cost associated with the building or the employees. There's no product, so it wasn't designed, manufactured, packaged, and shipped. Yet I have NEVER seen an online-only sale direct from the publisher/developer sell for significantly less than I would pay in a retail store.

They want to kill the retail game market? Let me buy the game for the same price they would have sold it to Wal-Mart. If you want to get rid of the middle man, give me a reason to get rid of him.

Re:should this be obvious? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687516)

They want to kill the retail game market? Let me buy the game for the same price they would have sold it to Wal-Mart. If you want to get rid of the middle man, give me a reason to get rid of him.

While I agree that we're getting ripped off the end reason for not going to the middle man will be because you don't have to. Would you rather download the content or drive to get it? I don't know about you but my closest BestBuy/CompUSA/Circuit City is about 20 miles away and loaded with traffic not to mention the dolts that man these stores... Even tho I'm not saving money I'd still rather buy online and avoid all this bad noise.

Another potential plus to this would be having your purchase "recorded" by the seller in such a way that if you ever lose the content you have bought (say, a HD failure) you should be able to re-download this content with no price to you, a better situation than the infamous "Send us the broken CD and 29.95 for a replacement" policy that many manufacturers have in place.

Re:should this be obvious? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687861)

While I agree that we're getting ripped off the end reason for not going to the middle man will be because you don't have to. Would you rather download the content or drive to get it? I don't know about you but my closest BestBuy/CompUSA/Circuit City is about 20 miles away and loaded with traffic not to mention the dolts that man these stores... Even tho I'm not saving money I'd still rather buy online and avoid all this bad noise.

I don't every make trips to buy games. I have to go 40 miles to get to anything other than Wal-Mart (not even a "Super"). But when I make the 40-mile drive to do whatever it is I'm going to do, I go half a mile out of my way and swing by Best Buy or some other store while I'm there.

I figure if I'm going to be paying the same price for a game either there or online, I'll do the local economy a favor and keep some of the money here.

Another potential plus to this would be having your purchase "recorded" by the seller in such a way that if you ever lose the content you have bought (say, a HD failure) you should be able to re-download this content with no price to you, a better situation than the infamous "Send us the broken CD and 29.95 for a replacement" policy that many manufacturers have in place.

Valve ties all your CD keys to your Steam login so that once you've installed and registered a game, you have access to reinstall it any time. I'm an avid fan of Steam, primarily for that reason.

Re:should this be obvious? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688104)

I figure if I'm going to be paying the same price for a game either there or online, I'll do the local economy a favor and keep some of the money here.

Perhaps for you this is true but for the majority of people out there? Why do you think Amazon.com is big? These same wares are normally available locally but most people disreguard the local economy over all.

Valve ties all your CD keys to your Steam login so that once you've installed and registered a game, you have access to reinstall it any time. I'm an avid fan of Steam, primarily for that reason.

And Steam also pretty much comes out and says that if you don't have a network connection to connect to their server that you're SOL. How long do you think it will be before Steam simply decides that not enough of their marketshare has no broadband access to care? Currently the bandwidth is what's holding these companies back from going to a media-free market. Steam has already shown intent by making some mods 'Download only'. Once the number of non-broadband holders hits a small enough of a market percentage Valve will be more than happy to cut physical products.

Consider that this is long term, this isn't next week, this isn't going to be Half Life 3 that I'm talking about but in a decade I can see it getting to the point where some companies will be more than happy to lose a few customers in order to eliminate the entire middleman structure. It will ultimatly come down to a matter of resources and the physical production of a product is a load that a company will choose not to take on if they can avoid it. The customer loss will have to be significant enough for them to not turn a profit for them to not get rid of it.

Size matters (2, Insightful)

Orinthe (680210) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687133)

If network and gaming trends continue as they are, video games will still be too large to download "on-demand". Notice that the only successful model of online video delivery, Apple's iTMS, only downloads reduced-resolution, iPod-sized videos. This isn't because they don't want you buying an episode of Scrubs or whatever for $2 and burning it to a DVD (and hence not buying the DVD set when it comes out), it's because we don't have the infrastructure to deliver full-resolution TV shows, much less feature films. Video games (many of them, anyway) are just as large, and keeping pace. Just because people don't mind starting up bittorrent and waiting a few hours/days for a movie doesn't mean that it's a valid distribution model. People do that because it's free--if a company tried to distribute their multi-gig program/movie/data over the internet, it would be paying far more in bandwidth costs, with nothing other than DEcreased customer satisfaction to show for it, than if it just paid a printing company and DVD fab to stamp their discs and stick in a shiny insert.

Re:Size matters (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687202)

I bought a download of AO online when they did their big relaunch a few years back. It was a terrible experience, it ended up costing the same as an instore copy (they charge you for a copy it after the 1 week trial) and I didn't get the maps or manuals (not even as a pdf) that others got with a physical copy. Also if you bought a copy you got a free month rather than a free week even though the prices were the same. Mostly I was stupid, but it was still a pretty annoying experience. Considering they could have made far more off my presence through monthly subscriber fees I'm surprised they didn't give the client away.

People Like to Own Things (4, Insightful)

ShamusYoung (528944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687171)

As others have said, digital delivery won't happen until some new uber-DRM scheme comes along to thwart piracy, which doesn't seem likely. But if it did, you'd still need a way to get content to laptops and other machines without universal high-speed access.

But even these other problems are overcome, the process of buying some sort of physical media is NEVER going to go away. When people pay money for something, they like to be able to hold the thing and say "I own this". The same is true of music. People want the jewel case with the nice artwork and a shiney disc. How often have you been in the store and seen people just browsing the shelf, reading the boxes and looking for something new? There is something going on here that is more than just buying data. Something that won't happen if you don't have boxes in stores.

Even if discs went away, and all content came over the net, you STILL wouldn't be rid of boxes in stores: Those boxes turn into impulse purchases.

Our grandkids may laugh at us. They will see predictions like the one in this article and laugh in the same way we laugh at the jetpacks-and-flying-cars future of the past.

Re:People Like to Own Things (1)

Belgand (14099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687687)

Our grandkids may laugh at us. They will see predictions like the one in this article and laugh in the same way we laugh at the jetpacks-and-flying-cars future of the past.

Laugh at?!? You're the bastard that's holding us all back! The rest of us are rightfully upset that we don't live in a technological wonderland of a future where we all have flying cars and sassy household robots. Whenever someone tries to mock the Roomba in some way I'm taken aback... it's a goddamn robot that cleans your house! People have dreaming of this for decades and now you're bitching about it when it's still in it's infancy, making people think that maybe it's not a good idea... maybe we should just develop holographic mousepads instead.

Stop keeping us down. Right now we're not even doing that well when compared to the glories of a cyberpunk future.

Re:People Like to Own Things (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688181)

I don't know, after switching to iTunes I laugh at people who go to stores to buy music. My friend did the same. It's fast, convenient, and gratifying. No stop lights to wait at, no lines, just quick fast and efficient.

Buying software in tangible formats (2, Informative)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687217)

The concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous

Isn't that what Larry Ellison, the head of Oracle, said on Triumph of the Nerds [pbs.org]?

I hate the PC with a passion. Me going down to the store and buying Windows 95, I've got to get into my car, drive down to a store, buy a cardboard box full of bits, you know, encoded on a piece of plastic CD-ROM and you bring it home and read a manual install this thing - you must be kidding, you know, put the stuff on the net - it's bits, don't put bits in cardboard, cardboard in trucks, trucks to stores, me go to the store, you know, pick the stuff out, it's insane. OK, I love the Internet - I want information, you know, it flows across the wire.

I'm surprised we're not there yet, to be honest. That show's ten years old now.

Re:Buying software in tangible formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687343)

Well, I don't know about you, but the last two operating systems I installed I got from the net, not a store. They were both Linux distros though, so not really worth mentioning in the games section :(

Merchandising (1)

Uukrul (835197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687274)

So no one is going to pay for a piece [toysrgus.com] of [paspespuyas.com] plastic [cnn.net].
Say it to George Lucas.
I like to keep old 5 1/4 game disks. I love it's boxes.

May be, better than a "virtual" game it's a box with merchandising in it. Or may be sell games cheaper...

Laugh at us!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687285)

Oh yeah, well we'll also be able to tell our grandchildren about how we used to drive to the store to buy a plastic disc that we would OWN and that would not require ongoing fees to enjoy and then we can laugh at them!

Multiplayer gaming is overrated (by this guy) (4, Insightful)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687288)

If you RTFA he basically says single player gaming is like masturbation, which I suppose could mean that it's practiced and loved by EVERYONE ... but that's not what he meant. He meant to say that multi-player gaming is the "wave of the future" and that single player games are dead. Let's think for a moment some of the biggest selling games of all time - which were all single player (not co-op, or p1 vs. p2) - Pac man, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, just to name a few. Even the GTA series are not co-op. I think he overrating the whole online player vs player gaming theory. Multiplayer online gaming can create competition out of the simplest concept, and sometimes make it fun. That doesn't mean that it's good game programming.
The real challenge in game programming is making a fun challenge that doesn't involve two humans competing against each other. Have they all just given up on AI? Have they all just given up on inventing new challenging puzzles? It's sounds like the easy way out.
All a game has to do it give two players a gun and let them try to shoot each other, and unfortunately that's what we see all too often.

Re:Multiplayer gaming is overrated (by this guy) (0, Flamebait)

syrinx (106469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687451)

Indeed... I don't think the comparison works very well anyway. For example, in two-player sex, you often have to pay extra to have the other player call you a gay Mexican Jew lizard, whereas in multiplayer games online, things like that just happen all the time for no extra cost.

Maybe d/ls are faster for some of you... (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687303)

I don't know what's with people and the "inconvenience" of buying a game in a store. I can go to a store ("go" as in "walk"), buy the game, take it home in less than 30 minutes. Compared to the days it takes to download all those gigabytes I wouldn't call that slow. And let's not kid ourselves, the absense of a physical medium won't lower the game prices, the savings will go straight into the publisher's pocket. Even worse, there won't be much of an incentive to have price drops because there is no stock to get rid of. Plus it'll kill importing, if a game isn't officially released in Europe you can just forget about ever getting it here.

And let's not forget ratings enforcement. How are you going to make sure the person downloading the game is old enough? That may not be an issue in the US but here in Germany it's a felony to let anyone download a game he's not old enough for.

Just like we're laughing at? (2, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687413)

Yes, our grandchildren will be laughing at the idea, just as we're laughing about our grandparents' leaving their home to see a movie... oh, wait ... um, how about how we're laughing at our grandparents for buying a single song instead of an album ...err, wait ... Oh! We're laughing at at our grandparents for going to a grocery store to buy food instead of ... oh damn!

This strikes me as Version 2.0 of the ideas that were being hyped back in the '90's. Remember when the idea of physical locations to buy anything was being derided as "obsolete," soon to be replaced by web stores? No one would be buying anything at a store, we'd all be buying over the Internet. Yet somehow people still are going to stores, and most of the "web only" retail businesses from that era are gone. We still buy all sorts of "obsolete" things like books.

He seems to ignore that people actually like having having their hands on a physical medium. I want the disk, I want the case, and no, I don't want to be locked into always downloading it with all the attending hassles. So no, I don't think that our grandchildren are going to be laughing at us.

Re:Just like we're laughing at? (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688149)

still, you can't deny the myriad things you CAN do from your chair now that just five or ten years ago required a phyical trip to the library, DMV, government center, washington DC, or the mall.

Opposing Positions (4, Insightful)

eyepeepackets (33477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687493)

The guys in this article seem to assume the internet as it currently exists will always be there, ripe and ready for their use. How can they be so sure?

The reality is the telcos in the U.S. are gearing up for a full-court press to get "their share of the pie" and could really mess things up, access-wise. If they succeed, say goodbye to the open internet as you now know it.

Businesses are furiously clamping down on any type of net access in a futile effort to keep their Microsoft-based PCs working from one hour to the next. Businesses will increasingly move towards closed intranets with extremely limited access to the general net.

Ma and Pa consumer are out big bucks for a PC which worked good for the first week, okay for the second week, slow for the third week and barely works at all at the end of the first month. They are less and less enthused with this PC/internet thing which keeps sucking money out of their bank accounts. The cure seems as bad as the injury, what will all the additional programs needed just to keep the base functionality of what they bought in the first place.

The U.S. federal government insists on retaining control of the internet but continues to show an absurd willingness to sacrifice the public good for the benefit of a few "business buddies" who give money to elected officials.

Will the internet as it currently exists still be functional five, ten years from now? That's a dicey bet at best and any business which bets the farm on internet-only access to their product is not paying attention.

Ciao.

Disappointed (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687530)

Here I thought from the headline the article was talking about Roger Moore, and we could expect to see a "Farenheit 360" documentary hit theaters sometime soon.

Re:Disappointed (1)

YoYoY (899475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688074)

Do you mean Micheal Moore?

Roger Moore would be rather more (sorry) double-O-360

Re:Disappointed (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14688106)

Oops, yeah. I conflated the name of Michael Moore with the name of his documentary, "Roger and Me." Boy is my face red.

Paperless office? (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687536)

Ah, yes... of course this will get rid of discs in a couple of years, just like the introduction of computers created the paperless office [wikipedia.org] in which nothing is ever printed on dead trees anymore.

Yes, just like that.

It's about margins.... (3, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687543)

By offering direct download of a piece of software, the software creator can *cut out middleman* (e.g. distributor) like Fry's, BestBuy, Egghead... etc and now take on more margin/profitability for itself even though the software is the same price to the consumer.

If you pay $50 for a game, whether $40 goes to MSFT and $10 goes to cheapsoftware.com or all $50 goes to MSFT, it stills costs YOU, the consumer $50. However, now MSFT financially looks so much better and the distributor, who was counting on you buying the game from them (rather than from another distributor) is the one that's left out in the cold.

You think MSFT (or any software creator) would actually reduce the price of the software from $50 to $40 and "pass on the savings" doubt it. You'd probably get a 'convenience fee' as well.

baaad predictions (1)

Doodlepants (646546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687612)

I'm growing tired to see some big names trying to tell us what WILL be the industry.

Technology IS ALWAYS going faster and bigger ! Moore thinks that in 10 years you'll be able to Download 25-50 g ( blu-Ray capacity actually ) in an acceptable delay ? THINK AGAIN !! In 10 years... 56k modems will still be around for lots of us who are not near enough a city. EVEN if we make it to Broadband everywhere, it will still takes too much time to download your favorite games, and NO ONE likes to wait. Put a sock in it Mr. Moore.

Most famous example is one of Bill Gates :

"640k ought to be enough for everyone"

I already do it! (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687809)

I already purchase games online! That's how: I go to an online store, find the game, click the purchase button, and in a matter of few hours it's available for me to install. Way faster than downloading AND with the supreme advantage of not expending any of my bandwidth!

Peter Moore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14687820)

"..the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous"

Yeah, way to win over the retail channel there, Peter. This man killed Dreamcast and he'll manage to do the same thing to Xbox 360.

I agree with Moore. (2, Insightful)

Vapok (953429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687914)

I've often wondered if there would be a time when all video game purchases would be "online" and going to a store to "buy" a game would be a thing of the past. I think that we are in the beginning stages of seeing that transition.

Take a look at Valve and their Steam application. There you can buy Half-Life 2 and a host of many other games, online, CD-less, and without having to drive to the store. Yes, you do have to download them, and the inital download takes time, especially if you're on a 56K modem. But Steam runs on your computer all the time, downloads in the background, and even updates itself in the background. Though the implementation of Steam was poorly done, the concept is valid and given enough time, I think they will improve it 10 fold.

I speculate that even the 56K modems will be a thing of the past in 5-10 years. Why? Consider companies like Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and other wireless companies. Wireless Broadband is becoming more and more popular, and more and more accessible. Internet clouds are increasing in popularity. Even your local Krystal burger joints have free broadband wireless capabilities. I live in a small neighborhood 30 miles east of Nashville. Some would call it backwoods. I was surprised to see just how many wireless routers were available. Now, yes, it's illegal to actually hook up to these, but if you think about it, it's not to far off when you'll be able to get broadband everywhere. So, having to download gigs and gigs of install files to play a game might not be that bad afterall.

What I see happening in the very near future are options for people. If you want to buy a game, great! Log on to our website, purchase it, and download it. But if you insist on going to the store, browse the game section. You'll see a host of game boxes available. Some might contain the instruction manual, poster, stickers, maybe even a T-shirt. But no CD's. Only a code and a web address that would allow you to download it.

Take World of Warcraft for example. I have 2 sets of CD's and even 1 DVD for install. All nicely kept in their packaging. I haven't even used them! I downloaded the World of Warcraft online, downloaded the Retail update, and downloaded the patches. Why do I have CD's? You don't even need them to play.

Farewell Game CD's... I think that they will soon be a thing of the past.

Ok, so disk are ridiculous (0, Flamebait)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687916)

Now explain why the xbox360 core doesn't come with a harddisk?
I mean, you've got to store those downloads somewhere? right?

Re:Ok, so disk are ridiculous (1)

Vapok (953429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687972)

I'm still amazed when I hear people talk of this. Why they didn't package a hard drive to the core system is beyond me. I think it was to simply be able to say "We can offer this system for $399. Oh if you want to actually save anything, you need to pay more for a hard drive."

Please...........

Software Download already available (1)

mightypenguin (593397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14687931)

Dell offers this service. Dell Download Center [dell.com]

Not sure how good it is, but it's there, and they offer a lot of products. Not everything is there, but a growing number of things are.
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