The climate of digital distribution is going through the equivalent of global warming at the moment. Most of the mainstream, and popular downloading sites are seeing a massive increase of revenue, and downloads. Gameindustry.biz conducted an interesting, and compelling interview with the CEO of Gamersgate, Theodore Bergquist.

The questions, and thoughts raised in the interview will be ones vital in the coming years. How big will digital distribution end up becoming? Will it be a brick-and-mortar killer? If so, how can the job market fluctuate to keep people working?

As I read, and research more on the subject I’ve come to the conclusion that digital distribution is banking on two things. First, and most importantly is the strength, and quality of broadband connection. As it stands now, most people run anywhere between 5mbps – 10mbps. There’s exceptions but that’s par for the course. Within that average, downloading a game around 3-4GB takes around three to four hours to complete. The strength of the content provider is another key issue as well. So, as game sizes continue to rise the strength of broadband needs to as well. Because if someone is having to wait 5+ hours for a download, why not just go to Wal-Mart and pick the game up and have it downloaded within a hour?

Another key component of for the future of digital distribution is the psychology of the consumer. The internet savvy community generally presents a skewed view when talking about the future of online media. To the online community, brick-and-mortar stores should be shaking in their boots as in five years they could become obsolete. I think the more broad market is a different matter. I was at the mall the other day and it was to watch consumers make their way through various stores. I still believe that there’s always going to be a place for the retail world.

I believe there’s something ingrained in us that loves to go out to shop. There’s nothing online that can replace being able to pick up a product and try it out yourself. Plus, there’s a social aspect to shopping. How many times have you called up friends to go to the mall? The different aspects to consumer spending I believe will never go away.

That’s not to say that digital distribution won’t have its place in the world. I think you need only look to music for a look at how the online world has drastically changed things. iTunes is now the #1 distributor of music. Of course those file sizes greatly differ from what you see for movies, and games. Therefore, I think we still have awhile before digital distribution catches on as fast as the tech world believes it will. Like with any industry, predicting the future is nearly impossible.

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