While Microsoft Xbox was the first of the big three
console makers to jump on the digital distribution bandwagon, it won’t be alone for long. As the players in the next-gen console war get ready for battle, let’s see what Nintendo and Sony have up their sleeves:
Wii’s virtual console component is one of the device’s prime selling points. The company’s doing its best to keep details under wraps until E3, but it has confirmed Wii players will be able to download old Nintendo titles directly to their new consoles. And with 20 years’ history and no less than five versions of its console system, Nintendo has an expansive library of games to draw upon. The sytem’s one-handed controller will even mimic the original Nintendo controller when turned sideways. As such, kids can enjoy Super Mario’s eight-bit exploits like the last generation did.
To make its digital games menu even more attractive, Nintendo has teamed up with old rival Sega to make vintage Sega Genesis ‘best of’ titles available through the virtual console.
As the gaming world impatiently awaits the release of Sony’s PS3 system, the electronics company has plans for its current hardware. Sony execs have been dropping vague hints over the past few months, but the PS3′s on-line features have been kept quiet. What we do know, however, is that the original PlayStation (now aptly titled the PS one) is no longer being manufactured, and Sony is ensuring that its existing library of games will live on in cyberspace.
The majority of the PS one game library, consisting of between 800 and1,000 titles, will be available to download to the PSP. Sony has not yet announced exactly when and how this will work, other than the games will be download to a PSP memory stick. Like Nintendo, Sony is dipping its toe into digital distribution by starting with its own library. The PS3′s 60 gb hard drive, capable of storing large pieces of data, makes digital distribution a likely option for next-gen system as well.